HSV CONFIRMS top dog supercharged V8 Camaro for Oz
HSV HAS DECLARED the Chevrolet Camaro a success as it prepares to unleash its nuclear-powered ZL1 variant Down Under in dealers this month.
With V8-starved GM fans buying the majority of MY18 Camaro models sight unseen before September last year, the local sales performance has given Clayton the confidence to import and convert the Mustang-beating ZL1 for Australia and New Zealand.
Damon Paull, HSV’s chief of marketing, confirmed to MOTOR that sales have proved there’s “an ongoing demand and excitement” for the Camaro, and that ZL1 dealer inquiries are “through the roof”.
GM has granted HSV a run of around 300 units, making up a chunk of the 1500 Camaros it expects to sell in 2019, a figure that would fare 50 per cent better than other models in HSV’s range.
The news also dispels doubts significant investment into emissions and crash testing programs would have prevented the ZL1 from being sold here, however, it’s not known how much was spent to pass them. Or, what’s been changed at Clayton to re-engineer the super coupe to right-hand drive.
Powered by a supercharged 6.2-litre V8 internally codenamed LT4, it will produce around 480kW and 860Nm when it arrives in Australia, making it the most powerful car the company has sold and more powerful than even the LS9-powered W1 that bowed out with 474kW and 815Nm.
On top of this, it has revealed the LT4powered monster will come with both the 10-speed automatic and six-speed manual transmissions now that core Camaros will be sourced from the US, rather than Argentinian, specification.
Equipped with the 10-speed auto, the ZL1 is claimed to reach 97km/h from rest in 3.6 seconds and hustle the quarter mile in 11.4sec at 204km/h. This transmission, only introduced in US cars in February, will also feature a tyre- shredding line-lock feature and optimised launch control.
To conquer the racetrack, ZL1’s pack magnetic dampers tuned to FE4-spec, an electronically locking rear diff and 20-inch wheels that measure 10 inches wide up front and 11 inches wide at the rear. It’ll also score front monobloc Brembo calipers with six pistons, instead of four on a 2SS, and two-piece front rotors that previously were only available on SS 1LE models in the US.
Inside, it upgrades to front Recaro bucket seats and a suede-wrapped flatbottom steering wheel. The rest of the cabin will be as per regular MY19 2SS models (see below).
Outside, ZL1s retain the MY18 model’s front-end design and frame it with an aggressive front splitter and carbonfibre hood. Meanwhile a unique rear spoiler aids rear aerodynamics and sits atop revised rear styling for MY19.
We’re told the Camaro ZL1 will reach dealers this month with the 10-speed automatic for $162,190, excluding on-roads, whereas production of the six-speed manual begins in May and will cost for $159,900. The only optional extras listed are $850 Garnet Red and Crush metallic paint. Bring it on. - LC
COMPLEMENTING THE ZL1’s arrival is the base MY19 Camaro 2SS. Key changes from the MY18 car most obviously include its exterior, defined by its, erm, interesting ‘flow-tie’ grille and new headlights. Meanwhile, it also wears new tail-lights (as seen above) and five-spoke 20-inch alloys.
Mechanically it’s identical to the old one with its 6.2-litre V8, rated at 339kW and 617Nm, except for a transmission line-up that now includes a six-speed manual (featuring rev-matching and launch control) and a 10-speed automatic transmission.
Inside, it also responds to safety criticisms with a new reversing camera and forward-collision alert system. HSV has also succeeded in retaining a heads-up display.
Price-wise, manual versions will cost $86,990 before on-roads while the auto asks $89,190, representing a $3200 increase on the MY18. - LC
PININFARINA BATTISTA Electric 1397kW Bugatti eater
PININFARINA HAS STUNNED THE supercar world with its Battista, an allelectric hypercar promising to be the fastest accelerating road vehicle in the world when it lobs next year.
It will celebrate 90 years since Battista ‘Pinin’ Farina founded the design house. Never heard of his work? There’s a better chance you’ve seen it.
His company was in charge of every Ferrari’s exterior design from 1951 to 2017. But rather than pen Maranello’s scarlet red beauties, it wants to thump them with its own cars. This is its first.
The Battista extracts a turbine-like 1397kW/2300Nm from a 120kWh battery pack. It’ll drive each wheel directly through four electric motors and rocket to 100km/h from rest in under two seconds, 300km/h in less than 12 seconds and eventually reach 350km/h. These are times, it says, that’ll give Lewis Hamilton’s F1 car a proper scare.
How does a company pull a car like this from nowhere? It’s buddied with Rimac and Pirelli on the project. Components will be distributed in a T-arrangement down the centre of the car, while a carbon-fibre monocoque and body will offset its complex powertrain’s weight. After all, it’ll need five radiators just to stay cool.
The suspension system is promised to be “tuned specifically to deliver a thrilling, engaging and yet comfortable dynamic experience”. It’ll also be electronically adjustable and help deploy the four-motor layout’s torque vectoring.
The vectoring will help create “infinitely variable dynamic responses” in lieu of traditional stability and traction control that it says won’t handle the power. Former F1 driver Nick Heidfeld is the brave man helping develop them, and will be braced by aluminium and carbon-fibre crash structures should he make any big mistakes.
Retardation comes in the form of massive six-piston calipers that clamp 390mm carbon-ceramic brake rotors front and rear. It’ll also rely on regenerative braking, and an active rear wing, to slow its ferocious speed.
It’s not clear how much playtime a full charge will give you, but owners can expect 450km of driving range and, if they’re close to a rapid charger, can recharge as much as 80 per cent of its capacity in 40 minutes.
As a company that knows a thing or two about design, its ‘butterfly wing’ doors reveal an interior completely focused on the driver. Inside, we’re promised a signature sound under acceleration from the motors, HVAC system, air flow and carbon chassis. It’s adjustable to driver preference and free from artificial trickery.
Each Battista will be hand crafted at the company’s Cambiano headquarters, in Turin, where Paolo Pininfarina, company chairman and Battista Farina’s grandson, will keep a close eye on each build. It’ll charge between USD$2m (AUD$2.8m) and USD$2.5m (AUD$3.5m) for each car, and allocate 50 units to the three major markets comprising America, Europe and the Middle East combined with Asia.
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CLASSY CADILLAC debuts new Alpha platform and twin-turbo V6
CADILLAC HAS ALLAYED fears its ATS would continue without a successor by revealing the CT5.
It announced the handsome, if conservative, looking four-door mid-size sedan ahead of the New York Auto Show this month. It will feature an evolution of the Alpha platform that underpins the Camaro.
Engines from launch are a 2.0-litre turbo inline four and a twin-turbo 3.0-litre V6 that will pair with a 10-speed automatic transmission. It’ll also offer all-wheel drive and rear-drive, however, at the time of publishing there was no word on if it’ll be the right-hand drive gift Cadillac boss Johan de Nysschen once promised Aussies by the end of this decade.
Despite production taking place in Lansing, Michigan, Holden has confirmed it is currently undergoing development work at its Lang Lang proving ground in Australia.
Range wise the CT5 slots underneath the firm’s full-size CT6 sedan, a rear-drive four-door that’s built on a longer wheelbase Omega platform.
Although labelled mid-size, it falls somewhere between the old ATS and large CTS sedans. It will reportedly be followed by a compact CT4 sedan.
It’s too early in its life cycle to know if it’ll spawn a high-performance variant like the ATS-V that packed the 477kW and 855Nm LT4 V8 we’ll experience in HSV’s incoming Camaro ZL1.
However, the brand’s limited edition CT6-V, that brandished a new 410kW and 850Nm twin-turbo V8, is a good indication. That would give it proper C63 S thumping power.
ASTON MARTIN has revealed the Valkyrie will produce 853kW and 900Nm when it hits roads at the end of this year.
Figures were confirmed after the completion of powertrain certification with working prototypes, whose F1-inspired mechanicals consist of a Cosworth 6.5-litre V12 and KERS hybrid system. The petrol engine makes up a fair chunk of those numbers, producing 735kW/740Nm at 10,500rpm/7000rpm respectively, and will be the most powerful atmo unit on sale at its release. Meanwhile, the KERS-hybrid system adds another 118kW/280Nm.
Rimac is behind the hybrid technologies and Red Bull Racing is said to have overseen the implementation of the whole powertrain with the same “meticulous ethos” as its F1 program.
1000KG DOWNFORCE! McLaren’s fearsomely expensive track toy
McLAREN HAS UNSHACKLED the Senna from road regulations to build a track-devouring GTR variant.
It takes a refreshingly old-school approach to performance among the hybrid-powered and all-electric hypercars, boosting the 4.0-litre twinturbo a 27kW increase on the road car.
While junking the audio and infotainment system has only dropped weight by 10kg, it still boasts a fearsome power-to-weight ratio of 510kW-pertonne when dry, thanks to more carbonfibre bits in its Monocage III-R chassis.
Where the GTR makes advances in aerodynamic rear-wing, shifted further back, to its bodywork, while it’s also redesigned the splitters at both ends of the car. The result? An extra 200kg of downforce at 250km/h for a total of 1000kg.
Only 75 units will be built, and each has already been sold for around £1.1 million (AUD$2.6 million) plus taxes. Deliveries start late this year.
IT SEEMS Toyota, after conquering Le Mans and setting the world alight with its new sportscar range, is sick of success on earth. Instead, it wants venture into space. Announcing a joint project with Japan’s national space agency JAXA, it wants to build a fuel-cell powered rover with a surface range of 10,000km. The vehicle, measuring six metres long and just under four metres high, is basically a small apartment on wheels for two astronauts. It’ll allow them to de-suit in pressurised air and can be controlled either autonomously or via remote driving. There’s no word on targeted acceleration figures, and it’s not clear how it’ll get to its lunar playgrounds, but if built, it’ll certainly prove more impressive than any Land Cruiser.
SADLY, AUSTRALIA’S Gosford car museum has closed down. The silver lining, perhaps, is its collection inside is being auctioned off by Lloyds. At the time of publishing, lots included a Porsche 911 R, HSV Maloo GTS, Maybach 57S, Ferrari Testarossa 512TR and Lamborghini Countach 5000 QV. They’ll be sold by the time you read this.
NSW POLICE has added a Honda Civic Type R to its fleet. A promotional vehicle, the 228kW front-drive sensation is not intended to do active duty - so Nasho night racers can stop breathing in and out of their paper bags - but instead, is a publicity stunt to improve public relations. It will do the rounds in NSW for 12 months.
SEVEN PEOPLE faced court after NSW Police seized a Ford Falcon V8 Supercar during a drug bust. Although the BA Falcon was dressed in the colours of Craig Lowndes 2006 Bathurst 1000 winner, it was raced by Paul Radisich and Steven Ellery. The bust reportedly seized 40kg of cannabis with an estimated street value of almost $900,000.