Tuesday, February 20, 2018

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Review - HSV’s ClubSport R8 Enhanced - Page 2

clubsport01The support from the wings of the seat is admirable and into hard corners holds the body in tight and that’s a plus. Seats wise, I’d like to see the crocodile skin style replaced with a more suave looking suede style plastic.Holden’s spend on new architecture has paid off; a relocation of the window switches and central locking to the driver’s door, a new touch screen setup plus HSV’s addition of the EDI (Electronic Driver Interface) which provides a treasure trove of info such as G forces side to side or front to rear, race track info and stopwatch information, actual kilowatts and torque figures thanks to the fly by wire interface; it’s intuitive, user friendly and supplies the kind of info a driver likes to have.

There’s also the HUD, Head Up Display, providing an eye level (and height adjustable) information source including the aforementioned G forces, revs, and speed. It’s handy and well placed. Other fun stuff comes in the form of the Forward Collision Alert (FCA) and Side Blind Zone Alert (SBZA), which uses side facing sensors to warn of vehicles at the rear and side of the car that may not be clearly seen in the rear vision mirrors. There’s a reverse park camera as standard, the parking assist system (uses the sensors to measure and read a parking space) plus the hidden Hill Start Assist and Hill Hold Control (HSA/HHC) which applies a touch of brake to hold the car before moving off.

clubsport03Music wise there’s a Bose audio system powered and accessed via the eight inch touchscreen, with satnav and internet radio apps Pandora and Stitcher plus there’s a voice interactive setup alongside Bluetooth music streaming. 

The Bodywork

Body mods on the ClubSport aren’t as “in yer face” as the VE based models; a restyled front bumper locates the LED running lights closer to the top of the corner mounted vents, which themselves are more of a functional look and feel. The hawkeye look headlights have the internal blackout colouring and the side vent insert is a matt black, rather than the chrome on a Commodore. At the rear it’s subtle, with a smaller rear wing (a bigger one is an option), LED taillights and restyled rear apron.

It’s still a matter of taste regards the look as the quad exhaust tips poke through the matt black plastic but are separated by a colour coordinated (test car was Heron white) V strip. It’s a better look than before but a subjective one. Of note is the shark’s fin radio aerial which, at speed and on a rainy day, funnels a stream of water directly down the middle of the rear window, making the rear vision mirror useless in seeing vehicles behind and there’s also no airflow to clear the side mirrors of precipitation either. The bonnet is now aluminuim and with that comes a small yet vital change; there’s only one gas strut required to keep it up. There’s a subtle restyling to the grille as well.

On The Road

The combination of a lightish clutch, a smoothish gear lever movement and more torque than a chat show means the ClubSport is a doddle to get off the line. Acceleration is pushed back in your seat rapid, with the first couple of gears snatched quicker than a wallet by a pickpocket as the ClubSport reels in the horizon. Whilst you’re peeling your eyeballs off the back of your skull, your ears are reverberating with the bass notes produced by that superb exhaust.

clubsport07Freeway speeds come up with indecent haste (HSV quotes 5.0 seconds to 100 km/h) but it’s the seamless delivery of torque that excites; at Bathurst’s Mt Panorama it was almost possible to climb up through the Esses in no lower than fourth. Around town in sixth it’s barely off idle and will pull away with a touch of drivetrain vibration quite comfortably with nary a hint of road noise via the Continental tyres at 255 and 275/35/20s front and rear.


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