HSV Grange: Next GM Flagship sedan... please!

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What choices does the dedicated GM "car guy" have when he wants to drive something that has all-around performance, is a rarity on the road and isn't a Corvette or Cadillac? Hopefully someone at The General has the insight to see that such a vehicle is already being produced and well within our reach.

Yesterday at the Sydney Auto Show, Holden's HSV group (Holden Special Vehicles) unveiled the HSV Grange saloon, yet another addition of its new E-Series family. Based on the new full-sized Caprice and aiming to join the ranks of the BMW's M, Mercedes' AMG, and Audi's S division offerings, the HSV Grange is designed to not just get into the fight, but to be the last one standing

The car looks great from any angle, can accommodate 5 adults comfortably, and should be able to hang with the best in straight-line acceleration and cornering. Power comes from a GM-sourced 6.0-liter LS2 V8 making 412 horsepower and 406 lb-ft. of torque and all of it is channeled through GM's new 6-speed sequentially-shifted automatic transmission.

This is a car that could help provide GM entry into the exclusive club dominated by the German big boys. With the economy booming and demand for high-end products greater than ever, having this vehicle join the upcoming Pontiac Grand Prix (another Holden-sourced product) could help lure the luxury performance enthusiast back into GM showrooms.

Well, if the price is right, that is. You see, the cost for the new HSV Grange in Australia? Roughly $100,000 AUD, which works out to around $76,000 USD. That kind of number could be a tough sell here.

Thanks to Ben for the tip!

(Press release, add'l photos after the jump)

[Sources: drive.com.au, GM Holden, HSV]

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Holden Special Vehicles Grange debuts at Sydney International Motor Show.

Combining an elegant, individual sense of style with traditional HSV hard edged performance cues, the WM Grange has debuted at the Sydney International Motor Show ahead of its wider Australian release in 2007.

Managing Director of Holden Special Vehicles Mr Phil Harding said the all new Grange provided the ultimate in Australian luxury with an engine and suspension package destined to make the WM a 'classic'.

"We are delighted to welcome the WM Grange to the HSV range, which combines all the luxury and performance of the E series in a roomy, completely new, long wheel based edition", Mr Harding said.

"The Grange is everything the Australian public have come to expect from a car wearing the Holden Special Vehicle badge, at a price that will make overseas 'competitors' blush".

Mr Harding said he expected strong demand for the Grange within Australia but were also confident of continuing the HSV push internationally.

"We are intending to build on the successful export of Grange into China, exploring new markets for this new Grange", Mr Harding said.

Styling and design

WM Grange continues the HSV mantra of 'Luxury and Performance'. The emphasis is on restrained elegance giving only a hint of the model's true performance potential.

Front facia and rear bib are totally unique – the front featuring an understated premium European-style chrome grille complemented by a thin chrome surround for the lower intake. The chrome theme continues on the window surrounds. Elegant 10-spoke 19-inch alloy wheel add further sophistication to the side elevation.

At the rear there's a subtle lower diffuser, a set of four premium exhaust tips, a flush mounted rear spoiler and discreet Grange badging. Hi-tech LED rear lamps give a low, wide look to the rear of the car.

Interior styling is everything you would expect in HSV's top or the range luxury model. Colour combinations and quality trim materials have been carefully selected to reinforce the sophisticated individual character and unique seating offers excellent lateral support and sumptuous comfort.

Grange also offers a no-cost option of 'Light Urban' trim which is designed to contrast to the standard dark 'Onyx' trim throughout. By using classic horizontal colour elements set in relief against the dark lower and upper cabin trims, it creates a high class interior ambience that's very much typical of European flagship models. Other sporting highlights include a unique HSV instrument cluster and a chunky design steering wheel rim.

Engineering and technology

The Grange is designed to deliver the most comfortable and luxurious ride possible, while staying true to the famous HSV performance requirements.

Under the bonnet the unique-to-HSV 6.0 litre LS2 V8 now produces 307kW @ 6000 rpm (up from 297kW @ 6000rpm) and 550Nm @ 4400rpm (from 530Nm @ 4400rpm) thanks to a revised intake and exhaust system (including new smooth flowing 'four-into-two-into-one' tubular extractors) and a 24 month program to refine the engine calibrations, positioning Grange as one of the fastest luxury/sports limousines in the world.

As a complete performance package, brake performance is now also at the very top tier of world class. Developed in conjunction with AP Racing, the all new system consists of enormous (365mm front and 350mm rear) grooved and ventilated rotors complete with extremely rigid HSV specific four piston front callipers that reduce flexing and improve pedal feel and performance. It's backed up by the latest HSV-tuned Bosch ABS system and more linear friction levels from the new brake pad material.

Electronic driving aids have become a major HSV feature and the Grange receives the full arsenal, including ABS, Traction Control and Stability Control, which together form Electronic Stability Control (ESC). The ESC system has been developed, calibrated and tested specifically to HSV requirements to ensure it perfectly matches the Grange's new suspension technology and delivers improved overall safety levels without detracting from the traditional HSV driving experience.

The advanced technology of the all new Magnetic Ride Control (MRC) system instantly gives the Grange a significant edge over every locally manufactured vehicle and all but a precious few European models. Developed over 3 ½ years at a cost of $4.5 million, this electronically controlled damper system offers Grange drivers two modes – 'Luxury' or 'Performance' – that transform their vehicle from a luxury ride bias to race track inspired chassis at the press of a dash mounted button. Metal particles suspended in the magneto–rheological fluid within each damper respond to changes in an internal magnetic field to provide continuously variable damping force without any mechanical delays.

To further exploit the rear grip of the new chassis, the front and rear wheel sizes now differ in width – 8-inch front and 9.5-inch rears. 19-inch wheels remain standard and they're joined by new tyres specifically developed in conjunction with Bridgestone and featuring unique construction, belt angle and tread compound tuned to the hi-tech suspension system.

Grange highlights

LS2 6 Litre V8 (307KW and 550Nm)
6L80 E six-speed automatic transmission
HSV Premium Four-Piston Brake System
Exclusive 'Luxury Performance' body styling
19-inch alloy wheels
Unique Grange leather seats and interior
Optional 'Light Urban' trim (no-cost)
ESC – Electronic Stability Control
MRC – Magnetic Ride Control
Unique HSV instrument cluster and steering wheel
Curtain air bags – six air bags in total
Rain sensing wipers
Rear, headrest mounted, DVD Player
Tyre pressure monitor
Tri-zone electronic climate control
Bi-Xenon headlights (self levelling)
LED tail lamps, with 10 way electric fronts and three memory settings
Heated exterior mirrors

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