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First look: HSV’s Sydney show stunner

Expertise: The Coupe 4 was developed by HSV and Holden powertrain, chassis engineering and design specialists.

Holden’s all-wheel drive system hits the road under a hot Monaro

16 Oct 2003

HOLDEN Special Vehicles took centre stage at the Sydney motor show today, revealing the all-wheel drive Monaro-based Coupe 4.

No pie in the sky concept car, Coupe 4 will go on sale in June 2004 with an asking price HSV promises to come in under $95,000. Just 100 are planned for 2004 production at this stage.

The Coupe 4 was unveiled by outgoing Holden chairman and managing director Peter Hanenberger, an appropriate choice considering his key role in bringing Monaro to market and the company’s development of all-wheel drive technology.

The Coupe 4 is also full of symbolism for HSV. Traditionally, it takes production Holden Commodore V8s and uprates them, but this time it has been given first crack at the all-wheel drive passenger car market.

HSV’s future has been under intense study all year, with former Holden marketing executive Rob McEniry installed at the company’s Clayton headquarters to develop a 10-year plan.

As previously reported in GoAuto, a key component of that strategy is HSV developing more bespoke vehicles. The Coupe 4 is an obvious starting point.

"The Coupe 4 gives us entry into a new performance vehicle category," said HSV managing director John Crennan.

"We are confident that it will appeal to people who have traditionally chosen European marques and be responsible for bringing many first-time buyers to the HSV brand." Holden’s first two all-wheel drives are high-rise cross-overs – the Adventra wagon on sale this month and the Crewman Cross8 which goes on sale in December.

HSV’s Avalanche wagon goes on sale in December (see page 2) and an identically named Cross8 adaptation in the first quarter of 2004.

At this stage there is no indication when Holden will use the traction control-based all-wheel drive Cross Trac system to underpin a passenger vehicle.

Coupe 4 is powered by a 270kW/475Nm version of the HSV 5.7-litre LS1 V8

But significantly the Coupe 4’s basic structure will be built on a special line at Holden’s Elizabeth plant because of the need to make extensive sheet metal and chassis system modifications, before being shipped to Clayton for final assembly.

The existence of this new line is solid evidence that Holden will soon add passenger all-wheel drive cars to its range.

The Coupe 4 was developed by HSV and Holden powertrain, chassis engineering and design specialists.

It use the Cross Trac system, dubbed Quad Drive by HSV, and features the same 38:62 torque split front to rear. Front and rear tracks are both wider than the rear-wheel drive car and weight lifts to a hefty 1802kg.

Coupe 4 is powered by a 270kW/475Nm version of the HSV 5.7-litre LS1 V8, mated only to the 4L65 four-speed automatic gearbox.

HSV claims 6.1 seconds 0-100km/h on tar and 6.6 seconds on gravel, with a 0-400m dash completed in 14.8 seconds.

Other key mechanical features are HSV Performance brakes, 19x8-inch alloy wheels, Pirelli P-Zero directional tyres and a unique AWD “low ride” sports series suspension set-up.

The styling treatment includes flared wheel arches, large air intake and a quartet of big bore exhaust outlets. There is also a unique grille, Senator-style front facia with mesh inserts, black bezel headlamps and High Intensity Discharge driving lamps, side skirts and technical mesh rear inserts.

Inside, the standard equipment list includes LED interior effect lighting, rear park assist, eight-way electrically adjustable front sports seats with active head restraints, the driver’s seat with three memory settings, driver, passenger and side impact airbags, leather-bound sports profile steering wheel, specific instrument cluster, premium 200 watt sound system with six-disc CD changer and subwoofers, dual zone climate control air-conditioning, satin chrome accents and alloy pedals.

* Thailand was yesterday confirmed as Holden’s latest export customer, with General Motors announcing a program for Holden Commodores to be sold in Thailand as Chevrolet Lumina.

The cars will have an immediate starring role in their newest home country, being used as the official vehicles for the APEC CEO Summit meeting in Bangkok from October 18 to 21.

Two models of the Chevrolet Lumina will be exported initially in right-hand drive configuration – Lumina LTZ, equivalent to Holden Berlina and Lumina S, equivalent to Commodore S.

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