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First look: Holden's surprise new WM Statesman!

Distinct: Holdens says redesigned Statie's panels are virtually all new.

Holden stages a double-act by revealing its redesigned Statesman alongside the new VE

17 Jul 2006

THIS is Holden’s pitch to its important Middle East market – the Caprice. With the arrival of the all-new long-wheelbase WM Statesman and Caprice, Holden benchmarked the premium German brands of BMW and Audi for the car’s exterior and interior.

It’s clear their $1 billion gamble has paid off with improved quality, equipment and a distinctly European exterior design that echoes Audi and BMW.

Holden director of design Tony Stolfo hopes that the new Statesman and Caprice would attract buyers who would have normally looked to Europe for a high-end long-wheelbase car.

"We would like to think we’ll lure European buyers to Statesman and Caprice who wouldn’t have considered it before," he said.


13 center imageLeft: WM Caprice. Below: WM Statesman. Front quarter gills extend to long-wheelbase model, as do quad exhaust outlets and a six-speed auto for V8 variants. V6 versions will offer 195kW. Both the VE Commodore and Statesman were largely the result of former Holden design guru Mike Simcoe, now in GM’s Detroit HQ, with Mr Stolfo coming into the program once the VE had been largely set in stone.

However, Mr Stolfo had a strong input into the interiors of both the VE and LWB sedans and was also instrumental in the exterior look of the Statesman and Caprice.

The Caprice adopts a two-tone leather interior scheme with a four-spoke leather steering wheel that has audio and cruise control and an Audi-style roller button to flick between programs.

The dual-zone climate control and integrated radio and navigation screen sits in the middle of the console, with a Saab-style handbrake lever and twin cupholders ahead of a roomy console bin.

Rear seat passengers gain individual seatbelts and adjustable headrests that lower into the seatbacks as well as individual climate controls.

Holden claims the new Caprice – and Statesman – feature the highest ever level of bespoke design with virtually every panel and interior feature different from the Commodore range, except for front doors.

Holden invested $190 million to develop the new-generation long-wheelbase cars on top of the $1.03 billion for the VE program.

Both cars follow the path off offering huge amounts of rear legroom, in keeping with their limousine status.

The Statesman and Caprice will offer high output versions of Holden’s Alloytec 3.6-litre V6 as standard, developing 195kW at 6500rpm and 340Nm at 2600rpm while the Gen IV V8, developing 270kW at 5700rpm and 530Nm at 4400rpm, will be optional.

Apart from the standard addition of ESP, both cars will also get side and curtain airbags, anti-lock brakes and a host of other safety features.

A roof-mounted DVD system will be available on the Caprice as well as rear-seat head restraint-mounted screens.

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