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First look: HSV reveals WK Grange flagship

Luxury sportster: HSV range-topper gets thorough midlife makeover, inside and out.

HSV's new Grange reveals direction of the updated hot Holden range

28 Aug 2003

HOLDEN Special Vehicles has unveiled its WK Grange long-wheelbase sports limousine, based on the latest Caprice.

The Grange goes on sale in early September, along with the YII short-wheelbase Commodore-derived range and the Monaro-based Coupe III.

Just 100 Granges will be built in 2003, with 60 sales already accounted for. Pricing has been set at $85,990, plus on road costs, which is $216 more than the previous model.

While HSV is holding back on details relating to the other models in the range until next week, the Grange gives away some of the secrets. The LS1 5.7-litre V8 engine has been boosted out to 285kW and 510Nm, bringing it virtually in line with the Ford Performance Vehicles’ 290kW/520Nm range of Falcon-based V8s.

The Grange and the rest of the range also replaces the old GM 4L60E four-speed automatic transmission with the heavier-duty GM 4L65E automatic transmission, previously only seen mated to the Y Series GTS.

It isn’t only pressure from FPV forcing HSV to uprate performance, as Holden’s donor cars continue to be ever more powerful and sporty.

The Caprice is a classic example, the WK evolving into a far more energetic car than its predecessor, with a 245kW/465Nm version of the Gen III V8, sports suspension tune and more aggressive exterior style.

Up till now, HSV models were 260kW/475Nm or 255kW/475Nm, the old WHII-based Grange residing in the latter group.

The other engine in the range is the 300kW C4B used in GTS, but where that model goes next isn’t due to be revealed until the first quarter of 2004.

The Grange’s power and torque boosts have been obtained courtesy of detail changes to both the intake and exhaust system, along with minor engine calibration refinements.

Other mechanical modifications include a uniquely calibrated steering rack designed to be more direct and a more sporty version of HSV’s “Prestige” suspension tune.

Styling adpaptation from the Caprice was done in-house by HSV, and includes lowered ride height, 18-inch alloy wheels, a unique front bumper incorporating foglights, integrated side skirts, a unique rear decor panel and subtle boot lid spoiler.

Inside, the Grange benefits from the Caprice's midlife makeover, but has different leather trim and fabrics than Caprice, and a HSV sports steering wheel, alloy pedals and instrument cluster.

But fundamentally the specification level is identical, including the DVD player with screens in the front headrests and 430 watt Blaupunkt audio system, dual zone cruise control and safety equipment which includes dual front and side airbags and anti-whiplash headrests.

“Grange remains our ultimate luxury limousine,” said HSV general manager, Chris Payne. “Since 2000 we have produced only 600 examples of Grange, and they remain favourites with their owners.

“In July we previewed the car under security to over 1000 previous owners and prospective buyers at private functions. Approximately 60 of the 2003 production run of 100 vehicles have already been sold.

“In this market people are buying exclusivity, but they also want a car that makes a statement. Grange is a big statement car. It says, ‘I’m successful, confident, prepared to lead the way’.”

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