Taken from the latest GoAuto E-News - http://www.mellor.net/mellor/enews.nsf/edition/$first
VZ Commodore will be powered
by two versions of Holden’s
all-new 3.6-litre V6
By MARTON PETTENDY
HOLDEN will replace the trusty but tired V6 that has powered Commodore
since mid-1988 with not one, but two all-new Australian-made V6s in August,
when the facelifted VZ Commodore is launched.
Dubbed Alloytec, Holden’s all-aluminium, 24-valve DOHC 3.6-litre V6 with
variable valve timing will replace the current 3.8-litre cast-iron, pushrod Ecotec
V6 in both VZ Commodore and WL Statesman after about 16 years of service.
But as part of an uncharted, two-pronged fightback against its six-cylinder
large car rivals including Falcon, Camry and Magna, Australia’s most popular
model will be available in either 175kW base or 190kW premium guise.
Holden will not say which engine will power which VZ (or WL) variant until
next month’s official launch. But in a move believed to be aimed at keeping the
new powertrain’s spiralling costs down at base level, Holden has confirmed
that only Alloytec 190 engine variants will employ a new 5L40-codenamed ZF
five-speed automatic transmission.
That means while a new six-speed manual transmission will replace the
five-speed manual currently available at Commodore Executive and S level,
these and other entry level Commodores will continue with a revised version
of General Motors’ antiquated 4L60 four-speed auto.
Holden is also yet to reveal details of the V8 engine and transmission
line-up for VZ and WL models. But it’s likely there will be little change from
the 235kW (Calais and Statesman) and 245kW (SS, SV8, CV8 and Caprice)
outputs currently offered by the 5.7-litre Gen III V8, which should also continue
with GM six-speed manual and four-speed auto transmissions.
It’s unknown, however, whether the tiered V6 power approach will extend
to the all-new VE Commodore due in 2006, or if the 5L40 five-speed auto will
be the exclusive Commodore transmission.
In a move Holden says enables it to “meet different segments of the market
and maintain the level of value Holden is renowned for, as well as provide a
premium arrangement for other models”, the Alloytec V6 will produce peak
power of 175kW at 6000rpm and a substantial 320Nm of torque from just
2800rpm. That’s 23kW and 15Nm up on the current Ecotec V6’s peaks of
152kW/305kW – as well as having a decided advantage over both Toyota’s
3.0-litre V6 and Mitsubishi’s 3.5-litre Magna V6.
But it still falls short of the 182kW and 380Nm outputs offered by Falcon’s
4.0-litre DOHC cast-iron straight six – although Holden says its 175kW
(ECE) peak converts to roughly the same power as Ford’s 182kW (DIN)
figure, which is not expected to change for this year’s cosmetically facelifted
BA II Falcon.
Meantime, the Alloytec 190 produces about 190kW at 6500rpm and a
slightly healthier 340Nm at 3200rpm, thanks to the use of a more sophisticated
variable valve timing system.
GoAuto understands Commodore’s new, locally-built
V6 is considerably more expensive per unit than the
Buick-based Ecotec V6 it replaces, but Holden insiders
claim Commodore’s resulting price increase won’t be as
dramatic as some reports have suggested.
While the reveal of Holden’s two-tiered V6 engine
and (auto) transmission strategy disproves some media
theories that Commodore would continue exclusively
with either its current four-speed auto or a locally-built
unit similar to the sequential-shift four-speed auto found
in Falcon, it could also prove to have valuable marketing
and cost-saving advantages.
Commodore’s most direct rival Falcon currently sells
at $33,860 in base XT manual form, rising to $34,660 for
the auto. VYII Commodore pricing starts at $31,970, but
becomes $34,990 with auto and air-conditioning.