We're still lamenting the loss of the Pontiac G8, our version of General Motors' four-door, Zeta-platform vehicle, but the platform is still going strong in its native Australia. Holden Special Vehicles just introduced the 2011 WM3 Grange flagship sedan based on the same Zeta platform.
GM's high-performance division in the Down Under is Holden Special Vehicles, Holden's high-performance division, and it offers a higher-performance version of just about every vehicle in its lineup. The 2011 WM3 Grange is based on Holden's Caprice sedan, but offers a number of unique features as HSV's flagship.
"The Grange buyer traditionally wants the most luxurious, and technologically advanced Australian-made performance car there is," HSV managing director Phil Harding said.
HSV's new Grange delivers on both fronts with a number of exterior, technology, and powertrain upgrades over the outgoing car. For 2011, HSV installed a slightly more powerful version of GM's 6.2-liter, LS3 V-8, which now produces 436 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. Horsepower has increased by 11, but torque output remains unchanged, and a six-speed automatic remains the only transmission option. Grange buyers also get GM's dual-mode exhaust, as seen on the Chevrolet Corvette, which opens butterfly valves under hard acceleration to unleash an unfiltered V-8 roar.
In addition to more power, the V-8 can now run on liquid propane as well as gasoline. Powering the car with liquid propane produces fewer emissions, compared with gasoline, and is also less expensive.
Technology upgrades for the new Grange include HSV's new Enhanced Driver Interface as standard, along with Side Blind Zone Alert. EDI is a touch-screen, performance data interface that allows drivers to view various vehicle dynamics in real time. Drivers can see lateral acceleration, power, torque, accelerator and brake positions, and even stability control involvement, and download the information to a USB memory stick for analysis. The Grange is the first Australian-made vehicle to receive a system like SBZA.
In addition to introducing technology and engine upgrades, HSV redesigned the exterior. It receives a shapelier front fascia with added LED daytime running lights, which contrasts against the outgoing model's chiseled look. Exterior revisions continue with a new rear fascia in back, with a rear diffuser and ovoid exhaust tips. The wheels are also new for 2011.
HSV's new 2011 WM3 Grange goes on sale later this month at HSV dealerships across Australia.