Kappa + Zeta = Alpha? Another GM RWD platform coming?

Click on the photo for a high res gallery of the Holden Torana Concept

In the past 18 months, GM has brought out two all-new rear-wheel drive platforms at opposite ends of the spectrum. The Kappa platform underpins the Solstice and Sky roadsters, as well as several concepts that have been shown at auto shows this season. At the larger end, the crew at Holden has created the Zeta platform that drives the Commodore/Pontiac G8/Chevy Camaro/2009 Impala and likely more.

Now it's being reporting that there will be a new mid-sized RWD platform code-named Alpha. Alpha would apparently take pieces from the other platforms and be used for future Pontiacs and Cadillacs. The next generation G6 may use this architecture instead of the front wheel drive Epsilon II. For Cadillac, the new car would slot in below the CTS and also replace the much derided BLS in Europe.

If it's done right, such a Cadillac would give the brand a real competitor for the BMW 3-Series and Audi A4/S4, as long as consumers aren't hounded by the memory of other entry-level Cadillacs like the Cimarron. A smaller, rear-drive sedan and/or coupe would fit in much better with Cadillac's current lineup, however, and further help to lower the average age of the brands' customers.

: In the comments reader The Other Bob mentioned a Holden concept called the Torana that was unveiled in 2004. The Torana is a mid-sized rear wheel drive car with a turbocharged 3.6L V-6 that just might fit the bill for Alpha. Check out the gallery for some high-res images of the concept.
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[Source: Winding Road] The Torana Legend Lives Again

Australian International Motor Show, 7 October 2004 : Holden today revived a famous Australian nameplate when it took the covers off a sensational showcar called Torana TT36.

Holden drew on General Motors' global resources to build the hot pink Torana TT36, which is powered by an experimental 280kW twin turbo 3.6 litre Alloytec V6 engine, sports a glass roof and showcases bold directional design themes.

Not for production, this mid-sized hatch concept demonstrates the strength and versatility of Holden's design talent to a worldwide audience and emphasises its ability to react swiftly to changing customer demand.

Torana TT36 highlights Holden's rear wheel drive powertrain engineering expertise and the practical benefits to be gained by sharing GM global suspension and chassis components and modular structural systems.

The new millennium hot hatch pays homage to Holden's Bathurst-winning icon car of the seventies, the Torana A9X. It is 25 years since the revered V8-powered Torana A9X last conquered Mount Panorama and wrote itself into Australian automotive legend.

* Holden Chairman and Managing Director, Denny Mooney, today said he believed the Torana's spiritual successor showed how times continued to change in the automotive industry.

"Torana TT36 represents a revolution in concept car design at Holden. We've unveiled several examples of our design flexibility and build capability in recent years but this car is exceptional for yet another reason," Mr Mooney said.

"All recent showcars have been based on our Commodore V-car platform. Torana TT36, on the other hand, shares many basic structural elements with the latest GM sports concepts and much of its chassis componentry is sourced directly from GM.

"It is the first Holden showcar to merge Australian design and engineering expertise with GM technical resources. Quite simply, for us it is a 'game changer' in automotive design and production.

"Naming the concept car was easy. We knew many fans would immediately call it Torana because it is a high powered, mid-size, rear wheel drive hot hatch. The TT36 stands for Twin Turbo 3.6."

The twenty-first century Torana has slingshot performance potential. Its experimental 3.6 litre twin turbo Alloytec V6, hand-built at Holden's new Port Melbourne engine plant, produces 280kW of power, transferred to the tarmac via a heavy-duty six speed manual transmission.

Ninety per cent of the 480Nm of torque developed is available from just 1600 rpm and the TT36 shares the power-to-weight advantage that helped its A9X sporting predecessor to drive into the record books at Mt Panorama a quarter of a century ago.

The four-seater showcar is finished in luminous, look-at-me pink - dubbed 'ManGenta' by the trend-spotting stylists who created it - contrasted against a slick new-tech interior in minimalist black and white. A panoramic glass roof extends from the steeply raked windscreen all the way back to the hatch and the TT36 sits on 20-inch, ten-spoke alloys.

The project was originally named XP54, reflecting the acronym 'eXperimental Project' and coded 54 in recognition of Holden's so-called Studio 54 design workshop in the outer suburbs of Melbourne .

Holden Design Director, Tony Stolfo, said the showcar's aggressive, sports-oriented frontal treatment recalled its hard-charging Torana heritage while speaking the design language of the here and now.

"It's very performance-driven in terms of the size of the apertures, the air intakes and grille.

The fenders and quarter panels are pumped to accentuate width and stance," he said.

"It also displays some of the key proportions we'll see in future cars generally: front wheels forward, minimal overhang, high belt lines and a high deck. All these elements create strength and purpose and deliver expressive contemporary styling.

"The hatch style gives us a very fast line running over the top, and we've given it strong directional lines. In terms of overall design intent, it's far more sophisticated sports machine than street machine.

"And because it's a vehicle which delivers a really large interior compartment in relation to its exterior size, it shows off our packaging skills, which are a traditional Holden strength."

The Torana TT36 interior is an exercise in black and white contemporary cool, described by Holden's young colour and trim team as 'nu luxury'. Taking inspiration from forecast fashion trends in domestic and industrial design, they gave it smoothly sculptured white leather seats and mirror-gloss finishes in piano black and pearlescent perspex, contrasted with soft-feel textures and black techno-mesh rubber floor covering.

The pink exterior theme is picked up in clever LED lighting effects and a 'retro future' 3D instrument layout that can be customised to the driver's taste. Open the door and a full- length lighting strip integrated into the glass roof radiates a healthy pink glow. Press the backlit central starter button to play twin turbo engine idle music. Touch the interactive infotainment screen to control myriad functions – phone, CD, SatNav, DVD, address book and other Blue Tooth-compatible features.

"The Torana TT36 may be simply for show – but it's not about outrageous technology. We consider that something very close to this concept could be practically achievable in the not-too-distant future," Mr Stolfo said.

"It's a first step towards monitoring public reaction to a type of rear-wheel drive vehicle that doesn't exist in today's General Motors portfolio. It could be designed and produced off a number of GM platforms, taking advantage of the virtual maths-based processes and component sharing which enabled us to build this working concept in a very short space of time."

Holden Torana TT36
Design and Feature Highlights


- Layered, luminous 'ManGenta' paint finish

- Technical aero-theme projector headlamps with bead-blasted clear acrylic indicators and ambient LED pink lighting: matching wrap-around 'circle and beam' tail lamps

- Panoramic glass roof, frameless glass hatch opening

- Ten spoke, 20-inch, hand-cast aluminium alloy wheels in Titan Silver, wheel nut caps and lion brand in gunmetal chrome.

- Matt black Venturi-style rear underplate, housing twin rectangular chromed exhaust tips

- Mirror-mounted repeater LED indicators

- Twin aircraft-style fuel fillers

- Textured mesh grille inserts

- Fog lamps


- Tailored white leather seats (8-way electric)

- White leather door trims

- Padded white leather console upper and binnacle hood

- Four-spoke, deep dished leather-rim steering wheel with menu navigation roller controls

- Pearlescent back-painted centre console with integrated grab handles, flowing front to back

- High-gloss white uppers, contrasting with soft-feel matt finish lower trim

- Glossy piano black lower door, front seatback and console accents

- Textured woven 'Rubco' floor covering, rear seatbacks, cargo floor with cross-patterned overlay

- Secure underfloor storage/wet area

- Full-length roof-mounted LED strip lighting with semi-translucent pink lens, LED task lighting

- Pink LED-lit foot wells, armrests, rear sub-woofers

- DVD screens with piano black surrounds, integrated into front seatback head restraints

- Gunmetal chrome Holden ID

- Pink backlit starter button on centre console

- Full-colour TFT touch screen menu-driven display can be set to individual preferences.

- 'Floating' IP dials with clear pink indicators on 3D black background

Holden Torana TT36 Specifications



3.6 L twin turbo Global V6


Air to air intercooler
Two x KO4 Warner turbochargers


Continuously variable valve timing,
variable intake manifold, variable valve actuation

Engine displacement

3.6 L (60 degree engine)


280 kW


480 Nm

Compression ratio


Bore x Stroke (mm)

94.0 X 85.6


6-speed heavy duty manual transmission

Gear ratios (:1)

1 st


2 nd


3 rd


4 th


5 th


6 th


Final drive ratio



Body/chassis structure

Lower dominant tube structure
Chassis integrated with upper body structure
Full length outer main rails
Multi tube centre tunnel structure

Chassis material



Front and Rear

Independent SLA suspension
Forged aluminium upper and lower control arms and knuckles
Adjustable aluminium monotube shocks with coil springs


20 x 8 inch ten-spoke aluminium

Tyre size (front and rear)

245/35 R20

Tyre brand

Bridgestone Potenza REO5OA


Forward mounted power rack and pinion


4 wheel disc with Anti-Lock Braking System, Traction Control, Electronic Brake Assist, Electronic Brake Distribution, Corner Brake Control and Electronic Stability Program

Front size (mm)

365 x 35 ventilated discs
alloy billet machined 6-piston calipers

Rear size (mm)

365 x 35 ventilated discs
alloy billet machined 4-piston calipers

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