Two years after wowing showgoers with the Commodore-based Monaro two-door coupe, Holden and its performance car partner, HSV, shook up the 2003 Sydney Motor Show with the four-wheel drive, 270kW Coupe 4.
The super Monaro was unveiled at the Sydney events centre last Thursday morning.
The HSV Coupe 4 goes on sale in Australia in June 2004, priced at less than $A95,000.
It will come to New Zealand in small numbers and is likely to cost between $120,000 and $130,000. At least one NZ Holden dealer took a firm order for the car last Thursday after a prospective buyer spotted the car on the Internet and telephoned him at the Sydney show. Holden says the Coupe 4 is the first all-wheel drive (AWD) sports coupe to be built in Australia. It debuted at the Sydney show with two other new Commodore-based AWD Holdens, the four-door Crewman Cross 8 ute and the Adventra five-door station wagon. HSV introduced its version of the Adventra, the Avalanche, at the same time.
HSV and Holden powertrain, chassis engineering and design specialists developed the Coupe 4 jointly.
HSV managing director John Crennan says technologically advanced vehicles like the Coupe 4 show the new directions HSV and Holden are taking as they accept the challenge of automotive change.
The hyperbole was flowing when Crennan said the Coupe 4 is "a sports performance dream come true...the first of the Lion clan to show the sensational results that can be achieved when you apply advanced, home grown, all-wheel drive technology to a low ride height, high performance vehicle."
Crennan says the Coupe 4 takes HSV into a new performance vehicle category. We're confident that it will appeal to people who have traditionally chosen European marques and be responsible for bringing many first-time buyers to the HSV brand.
"Our current plans are to produce just 100 examples next year, which makes this a rather exclusive machine.Mind you, we'll be happy to build more if that's required."
The Coupe 4 runs a HSV-enhanced, 270kW 5.7-litre LS1 V8. A four-speed automatic gearbox transmits power to all four wheels via a traction control-based HSV Quad Drive permanent all-wheel drive system.
Crennan says HSV test drivers have clocked the Coupe 4 at 6.6 seconds for the 0-100km/h sprint - on gravel!
The car's HSV Performance braking system consists of 336 by 32mm ventilated and grooved front and 315 by 18mm ventilated and grooved rear discs.The front discs get HSV-embossed red callipers.
Its 19-inch by 8-inch alloy wheels are shod with Pirelli P-Zero 245/35 ZR19 directional tyres. The Sydney show car wore HSV GTS Coupe wheels. Production cars will have Coupe 4-specific wheels in Chrome Shadow.
HSV's unique AWD low ride sports suspension is designed to deliver flat cornering, sharp handling and a supple ride.
A torque split of 38 percent front and 62 percent rear gives the Coupe 4 a sporty rear-drive bias. The Coupe 4 shares that torque split with Porsche's Cayenne SUV, which was also designed to provide a rear-wheel drive feel.
The Coupe 4 makes a sporting car statement with its wide stance, flared wheelarches, large air intake and a quartet of big bore exhaust pipes.
HSV's take on its looks is that the Coupe 4 "is more Euro-chic than aggressive."
It gets a unique grille, Senator-style front facia with mesh inserts, black bezel headlights and High Intensity Discharge driving lights, sculpted side skirts and technical mesh rear inserts.
Exterior finishes - Phantom Black, Sting Red and Quicksilver - can be colour-co-ordinated with a choice of plush fabric or leather-trimmed interiors in Anthracite and Ochre.
Standard equipment includes LED interior lighting, rear park assist, eight-way electrically adjustable front sports seats with active head restraints, driver, passenger and side impact airbags, leather-bound sports profile steering wheel, specific instrument cluster, premium 200 watt sound system with 6 disc Compact Disc changer and sub-woofers, dual zone climate control air conditioning, satin chrome accents and alloy pedals.
Added cost extras include satellite navigation, a tyre pressure monitoring system, and tailored sunroof.
To accommodate its all-wheel drive powertrain components, increased track and larger wheels, the HSV Coupe 4 requires extensive sheetmetal and chassis modifications.
They'll be done on a new, dedicated production line at Holden's factory at Elizabeth, near Adelaide, in South Australia.
The cars then go to HSV's factory in Clayton, Victoria, to be hand-finished.
HSV Coupe 4 production begins in May 2004.
HSV Coupe 4 specifications.
Engine. 5.7-litre LS1 V8. Maximum power, 270kW at 5700rpm. Peak torque, 475Nm at 4000rpm.
Transmission. Full-time all wheel drive. HSV performance calibrated 4L65 automatic gearbox.
Dimensions. Length, 4789mm. Width, 1840mm. Height, 1397mm. Wheelbase 2788mm. Front track, 1610mm. Rear track, 1615mm. Ground clearance 100mm. Kerb weight, 1802kg. Fuel tank capacity, 75 litres.
Performance. Sealed surface: 0-100km/h, 6.1 seconds. 0-400m, 14.3s. Gravel surface: 0-100km/h, 6.6s. 0-400m, 14.8.