In a tribute to 20 years of Craig Lowndes thrilling fans and winning races, Holden has teamed up with the Australian V8 Supercars racing driver to produce a Special Edition Commodore, the SSV Redline Craig Lowndes Edition.
As the name suggests, the special edition model is based on the SSV Redline and developed with extensive input from Craig Lowndes. It is the most performance-focused Commodore in the range. Want anything sharper, you will be looking at a HSV.
Prices start from $57,990 plus on-roads for the six-speed manual, while the six-speed automatic fetches a $2,200 premium, retailing at $60,190 plus on-roads.
That’s $6,500 more than the standard SSV Redline, and a significant $12k costlier than the SSV. A big ask, you may think. Well, the good news is the SSV Redline Craig Lowndes special edition is not just a tarted up SSV with some eye candies. Its primary focus is on improved driving dynamics.
There is the exclusivity that comes with it, too, as only 233 units will be built and each will be individually numbered.
Given that the standard SSV Redline is already a very accomplished sports sedan, Holden is off to a good start with the special edition model.
As fitting for a motorsport-inspired model, the Craig Lowndes SSV Special Edition Commodore has the racetrack as the inspiration for many of its upgrades – high performance four-piston Brembo brakes fitted front and rear (standard SSV Redline only gets Brembo for the front), paddle-shifters for the automatic transmission, and upgraded suspension bushes.
While the regular SSV Redline rolls on 19-inch wheels, the special edition employs larger 20-inch items draped in gloss black, giving the car an unmistakeable presence and aggressive stance.
Available in Red Hot or Heron White, the Craig Lowndes SSV Special Edition also features unique body side decals, bonnet decal and chrome finished boot badge. Black grille, fender vents and rear spoiler, a black roof and black window surrounds combine to produce the most eye-catching Commodore on-sale today.
In contrast, interior enhancements are much more subtle. There’s a distinctive embroidered ‘Craig Lowndes’ signature on the dash pad, and automatic version gains steering wheel mounted paddle shifters.
Owners will also be offered a package of ‘money can’t buy’ experiences which includes a framed certificate of authenticity with build plate, Red Bull Racing private function and tour hosted by Craig Lowndes, and two General Admission tickets to customers’ local 2015 V8 Supercar race and Red Bull Racing pit tour.
Like the regular SSV Redline, the Craig Lowndes edition is equipped to the brim. Seriously, there aren’t many cars in this price range that can come close to the flagship SSV’s long list of standard feature. Colour head-up display (HUD), launch control, automatic park assist, rear view camera, lane change assist and blind spot monitoring are all included. Also standard are satellite navigation, LED daytime running lights, leather-Alcantara upholstery and powered sunroof.
Of course, no SSV is complete without eight cylinders arranged in a V under the bonnet. Carried over unchanged from the standard SSV, the 6.0-litre atmospheric V8 channels 270kW and 530Nm (260kW/517Nm for the automatic) to the rear wheels. The sprint from rest to 100km/h takes just 5.8 seconds (tested), which is pretty respectable for a large four-door sedan.
The Craig Lowndes edition also gets all the good bits that make the SSV Redline such a sharp handler. They include the FE3 suspension set-up (FE2 in the SSV) and added new lightweight aluminium chassis components – including larger bore struts with rebound springs and new damper tuned for sportier driving, as well as the biggest stabiliser bar ever fitted to a Commodore.
With uprated suspension bushes and brakes, the special edition SSV makes even bigger strides in handling and performance over the already very impressive SSV Redline.
An enthusiastic drive through some of Victoria’s best driving roads was all it took to convince us that Port Melbourne’s latest hero is the most accomplished Commodore ever, and also one of the best handling sports sedans for the road.
Despite weighing a hefty 1.7 tonne, the SSV is completely manageable, with confidence inspiring dynamics and excellent body control.
Turn in is sharp and direction changes are swift, thanks to a neutral chassis and one of the most communicative and precise steering wheels in its class.
There is abundance of grip coming from those Bridgestone Potenza tyres, measuring 245 for the front and 275 for the rear. Despite having thinner side walls to accommodate the 20-inch wheels, the SSV Craig Lowndes edition’s ride quality is no harsher or noisier than the Redline with 19-inch. Instead, we find the lower profile rubber gives a slight improvement in steering response.
On a track, the SSV serves up its entire arsenal for an even more engaging experience through a special driving calibration called Competitive Mode. In this setting the electronic watchdog is loosen but not completely off, allowing some slips through corners without cutting power, kicking in only if an idiot is detected behind the wheel.
There is also greater emphasis on steering input and feedback at higher speeds. All well and good, but it seems Holden’s engineers have left out giving the throttle response some sharpening in this mode, leaving the right pedal feeling a little blunt on a track.
The full Brembo kit in the special edition bites harder while exhibiting less fade in a track environment. But, if you are serious about circuit work, a heavy duty setup is still a must.
Away from the twisty back roads and race tracks, the SSV is as comfortable as any other Commodore. Unlike most cars with sporty bloodline, the ‘supposedly’ track-oriented SSV Craig Lowndes edition is able to maintain a ride quality plush enough for everyday use. It has almost similar levels of ride comfort as the standard SSV, only just a little firmer.
The Holden Commodore SSV Redline is already an impressive package, but the Craig Lowndes Edition packs even sharper dynamics and a bolder look, without compromising on comfort and driveability. It is truly one of the best performance sedans you can buy for $60k.
Holden Commodore SSV Redline Craig Lowndes Edition price and specification
|Price (Excl. on-roads):||From $57,990|
Manual: $57,990 (tested); Automatic: $60,190
|Engine:||6.0-litre 8-cylinder V8 petrol|
Automatic: 260kW @ 5,600rpm, 517Nm @ 4,400rpm; rear-wheel drive
Manual: 270kW @ 5,600rpm, 530Nm @ 4,400rpm; rear-wheel drive
|Transmission:||6-speed automatic / 6-speed manual (tested)|
|Combined Fuel Consumption:||Automatic: 12.3L/100km, Manual: 11.5L/100km (Tested: 13.6L/100km)|
|0-100km/h (seconds):||5.8 (tested)|
|Dimensions (mm):||Length: 4,966, Width: 1,898, Height: 1,471, Wheelbase: 2,915|
|Kerb Weight (kg):||1,766 – 1,780|
|Towing Capacity (kg):||2,100 (Braked)|