By Steve & Tamami Laser
You probably already know that Holden, GM’s Australia division, builds the current Chevrolet SS for the U.S. market. And while it receives some minor upgrades for 2016, the rear-drive performance sedan hasn’t been a showroom star due to its limited availability and rather sedate styling. We think Chevrolet is missing a great opportunity to inject a huge shot of adrenaline into its lineup by importing the new 2016 HSV Maloo R8 LSA introduced yesterday in Australia – and calling it El Camino SS.
Yes, we know what you’re thinking. The Holden Ute upon which the HSV model is based almost made it to our shores a couple of times. First as a Pontiac, and later as a Chevy. Unfortunately both plans were scrapped. Yet the new HSV Maloo R8 LSA is so potent and good-looking that it could be an instant success since it’s a high-performance model and there are no direct competitors. Unlike Chevrolet’s lengthy list of popular nameplates from its past, including Camaro, Impala, Malibu and others, El Camino hasn’t staged a return – yet.
Hot on the heels of the announcement of GM Holden’s updated Commodore VFII comes word from the HSV performance group that they’ve made the rear-drive cars even hotter. The HSV Gen-F range, now called Gen-F2, includes the ClubSport R8 LSA, ClubSport R8 Tourer LSA, Maloo R8 LSA, Senator Signature, Grange and GTS.
Like the other models in the range, the new Maloo R8 LSA high-performance ute will now feature HSV’s 6.2 liter Supercharged LSA V8 powerplant together with a bunch of exterior styling enhancements. (video: HSV)
The LSA engine, first fitted to an HSV with the introduction of the GEN-F GTS in 2013, features a raft of key componentry including:
• Eaton 4 lobe rotors, 9 psi boost, 1.9 liters of air per revolution
• Stand-alone water-to-air, charge-air cooling system
• Stand-alone transmission and differential cooling systems
• Water-to-oil, engine-oil cooling system
• Hi-flow exhaust system with cross-pipe intermediate and Bi-Modal mufflers
• Hi-flow exhaust manifold and catalytic converters
• Unique rear suspension module with 9.9-inch differential plus upgraded drive and prop shafts
• TR6060 (MG9 spec) 6-speed manual transmission with oil cooler and twin plate clutch
• Optional 6L90E 6-speed heavy-duty automatic transmission with oil cooler
Power and torque have been confirmed at 400kW (536 hp) and 671Nm (495 lb-ft), up significantly, from the previous LS3 engine outputs of 340kW (455 hp) and 570Nm (420 lb-ft).
HSV says it has produced over 80,000 cars for Australia and international markets since unveiling the first “Walkinshaw” at the Sydney Motor Show in 1987. Today, HSV is an important part of Holden’s operations with dealers across Australia and New Zealand.
“HSV has carved a unique niche in the performance ute market,” said HSV’s Managing Director, Tim Jackson. “Maloo fans have always been drawn to the vehicle’s class-defining levels of performance and styling. With the introduction of the Maloo R8 LSA, we’ve taken those attributes to another level,” said Jackson.
The addition of the Supercharged LSA engine also brings with it modifications to the vehicle’s suspension set-up. Spring and damper rates have been stiffened to reduce body-roll and further improve corner-entry response while the unique rear suspension module delivers improved rear stiffness and rear braking efficiency.
Inside, the cabin provides a sporty environment for the driver and a single passenger – just like a two-seat sports car. In our humble opinion, that gives it more of a “Corvette” feeling than the four-door sedan version. Plus there’s room out back (pardon the pun) to carry sports equipment and other gear that would never fit into a car like the Corvette.
In addition to the extra engine power, HSV says Maloo fans will enjoy a raft of exterior styling upgrades. The front-end features a redesigned fascia incorporating a subtle “splitter.” while the addition of black hood vents help deliver an even more aggressive edge.
The black styling theme is carried through to the mirror caps and fender vents while a 20-inch, 5-spoke alloy wheels complete the exterior styling make-over. A new exterior color – Slipstream, a vibrant ocean blue, will also be available.
HSV says Recommended Retail Pricing (RRP) for the new Maloo R8 LSA has been confirmed at AU$76,990 (about US$53,875). With production of the GEN-F2 range set to start in early October, vehicles are due to arrive in HSV showrooms in Australia later that month.
Here’s a look at the full lineup of the HSV GEN-F2 range. While it’s unlikely we’ll ever see the Maloo in the U.S. it’s possible that the performance and styling upgrades might find their way onto the option list for the Chevrolet SS. Unfortunately, Holden plans to end production of its Australian-built models by the end of 2017, so there’s not much time left for this scenario to play out. (video: HSV)
For more information visit the HSV website.
Prices, features and specifications are for Australian market models and subject to change without notice by the automaker.
News source, photos and videos courtesy HSV
Story (intro and commentary) © 2015 CarNichiWa.com