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HSV E3 adds race car technology

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HSV E3 adds race car technology

Toby Hagon

September 6, 2010

HSV's new E3 Grange has an advanced touchscreen that brings data logging and lap timing capabilities as part of a model update.

There's a touch of PlayStation, a hint of V8 Supercar and even Bathurst's Mount Panorama crammed into the updated HSV E3 range that was revealed today.

The new HSV Grange E3 will debut a race car-like data logging computer and lap timer as part of an advanced technology upgrade designed to separate HSV from its Ford Performance Vehicles (FPV) rival and add artillery against European performance cars it's hoping to compete with.

While the new HSV E3 range will get no extra power (317kW and 325kW depending on the models) to combat FPV's recently revealed new pair of 315kW and 335kW supercharged V8s, the new HSV data logging and high-tech electronics are expected to be fitted as standard to all new HSV E3 models, which will be revealed next week. E3 denotes the third generation of HSV's VE-based E-Series range.

The data-logging system adds to the additional technology packed into HSVs over the last few years; HSV was one of the first car makers in the world to fit a magnetic ride control adjustable suspension system that also arrived in various Ferraris and the Audi TT, while more recently HSV added an F1-style launch control system to those cars fitted with a manual gearbox.

The new E3 Grange's basic touchscreen is shared with the updated VE Series 2 Commodore that was revealed last week, but it is packed with software from electronics specialist and race data provider MoTeC that gives it added functionality as part of what's tagged the Enhanced Driver Interface, or EDI.

The result is a level of driver-visible data not far off some race cars and similar to that used in the $160k Nissan GT-R supercar.

By monitoring the various forces on the car, as well as steering, gear selection, throttle and braking inputs from the driver, the HSV Grange's EDI can trace wheelspin, front and rear slides (understeer and oversteer) and G-forces generated during cornering and braking.

Its customisable screen also allows owners to monitor oil pressure and temperature, fuel economy, intake air temperature, exhaust pressure and how much of the 325kW of power and 550Nm of torque is being used at a given time. As part of the update the Grange picked up the 325kW version of the 6.2-litre V8 that was previously reserved for the GTS performance hero.

The new HSV EDI also has a stopwatch and lap timing function that includes data on tracks such as Bathurst's Mount Panorama, Phillip Island and Winton. Owners can also input their own lap data in conjunction with the satellite-navigation system.

Once captured, up to an hour's worth of data can be downloaded via a USB stick (through a connection in the glovebox) for use on a PC with a customised program that comes with the car.

"Our customers are passionate about driving, and this system is about delivering race bred technology in a new engaging way that is relevant to a road car," says HSV managing director Phil Harding.

"We are confident our customers are going to love the way they can access data, and interact with their car."

HSV says it worked on ensuring the EDI on its new E3 range was user friendly and intuitive, rather than a mass of numbers.

"One of the challenges with designing the graphics is in making the data accessible to the driver," says Julian Quincey, HSV chief of design and styling. "Making the display intuitive was the most important thing for us during the development process, and it really required a whole new level of integration between design and engineering.

"For instance, it is not terribly engaging to get a whole stream of data in the form of numbers or a line graph. If you are a race driver you get used to that, but in a road car it needs to be more intuitive."

HSV acknowledges the graphic colour display has the potential to distract drivers, something it says it worked on.

"It's not our intent to distract people from the job at hand," says Tim Jackson, HSV general manager of marketing and communications. "There's a warning screen when you start the car similar to those for sat-nav [systems]."

The EDI can also keep an eye on how much LPG the new LPI (liquid petroleum injection) system is using for those who splash out the $5990 (plus luxury car tax and minus a $2000 government rebate).

HSV has added the option of LPG to its range in response to environmental concerns.

While fuel use for the 6.2-litre V8 is still high compared with regular passenger cars with less power, HSV claims the LPI system will emit about 15 per cent less carbon dioxide (or CO2).

The system uses both petrol and LPG, depending on the driving conditions.

In regular driving it runs on LPG but when engine revs rise beyond 4000rpm it will switch to petrol at some point, ensuring the peak power outputs are identical - and, therefore, the acceleration times are the same.

The new HSV Grange has only had mild visual updates, including the addition of LED daytime running light strips that made it to the rest of the HSV range last year.

Value is still strong in the Grange, which is expected to sell for close to its current price of $87,990.

Based on the long wheelbase Holden Caprice, the Grange has acres of rear leg room as well as luxury amenities such as leather seats, power front seats, climate control air-conditioning, cruise control and satellite-navigation.

It also comes with the bi-modal exhaust system that gives a roartier sound at high revs.

The Grange will also come standard with a new lane departure warning system, which uses ultra-sonic sensors on each corner to detect other vehicles in its blind spot. The so called Side Blind Zone Alert (SBZA) can be switched off via the EDI touchscreen.

"Our Grange buyer expects the best appointed car in our range, and with this much equipment as standard we are sure they won't be disappointed," says Darren Bowler, HSV's general manager of sales.



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HSV beefs up Grange

New face: HSV's Grange gets high-tech goodies such as a blind-spot warning system and race-style data monitoring in its latest upgrade.

Top-shelf V8 and new toys set to lift Holden Special Vehicles luxury flagship

6 September 2010


HOLDEN Special Vehicles’ luxury Grange will get the high-output 325kW version of HSV’s 6.2-litre LS3 V8 engine in the ‘WM3’ upgrade of its Caprice-based long-wheelbase flagship.

The engine can be ordered in either petrol or – for the first time in an Australian-built production car – dual-fuel liquid propane injection (LPI) variants that HSV says produce identical performance.

The latest Grange, which is based on Holden’s recently launched Series II Caprice, has also been loaded with a bunch of toys for drivers who want everything in the toyshop, including a touch-screen ‘enhanced driver interface’ (EDI) that can deliver race-like data such as G forces and track lap times.

Co-developed with MOTEC – the same company that supplies V8 Supercar race ECUs and data loggers – the unit also helps the driver to control some of the new extras on the car, such as the bi-modal exhaust, rear-view camera, sat-nav and European-style Bosch blind-spot warning system, a first for an Australian-built car.

Left: HSV Grange. Below: HSV's Enhanced Driver Interface.

To go on sale towards the end of September along with HSV’s new short-wheelbase E3 range, which is yet to be unveiled, the updated Grange is expected to retain a sub-$90,000 price, with perhaps a slight increase over the current $87,990 sticker.

HSV’s Grange announcement today marks the start of a staggered launch for its new models in the wake of Holden’s VE Series II debut last week ahead of its October on-sale date.

The Grange will be the only car in the HSV range to get a power boost, shifting up from the 317kW version of the Corvette-sourced LS3 V8 that it shared with the ClubSport, Senator and Maloo to the 325kW variant that was previously exclusive to the performance-leading GTS.

The GTS is expected to retain the 325kW unit in the E3 upgrade, even though rival Ford Performance Vehicles has upped the ante with its new 335kW locally-developed ‘Miami’ supercharged 5.0-litre V8 based on Ford’s American-made Coyote.

The revised Grange gets a redesigned nose and tail, gaining the daytime running lights that were introduced on the short-wheelbase models at the ‘E2’ update.

But the biggest changes are evident in the cabin and under the bonnet, with HSV looking to lift the Grange’s appeal as Australia’s premium performance luxury car.

HSV managing director Phil Harding said the changes suited the character of the car.

“The Grange buyer traditionally wants the most luxurious and technologically advanced Australian-made car there is,” he said.

“The Grange has always fitted that description well, but the new styling, increased power and extra technology makes WM3 a compelling proposition for a luxury car buyer who is passionate about driving.”

The optional dual-fuel LPI system – developed in league with Orbital Engineering, which is also working on an LPI system for Ford Australia – was heralded for the HSV range back in December 2008.

Unlike traditional LPG (liquid petroleum gas) systems beloved of Australian taxi operators, LPI involves injecting the fuel in liquid form into the inlet port rather than as a gas vapour.

HSV claims the system can cut CO2 emissions by up to 15 per cent, without loss of power or torque compared with the petrol-only system. No fuel economy figures were quoted.

HSV says liquid injection provides cooler combustion and better fuel metering.

Engineering manager Joel Stoddart said the critical challenge was to make it work seamlessly across both petrol and LPG, without loss of performance.

“The good news from our perspective is that, when we have put people in a development car, they thought they were driving a normal HSV car,” he said.

The engine starts on petrol, uses LPI in the low-to-mid rev range, but switches to petrol when full power is required, all the way to the red line.

Depending on load and RPM, the changeover point between LPI and petrol is about 5300rpm.

HSV began its LPI development program when the price of oil spiked in 2008, fearing a buyer backlash against big V8 petrol cars if the high prices continued.

Mr Harding said LPI overcame the traditional LPG compromise of reduced running costs and lower emissions at the expense of peak performance.

“From the very beginning, we committed that we would not compromise on engine performance,” said Mr Harding. “LPI overcomes this problem.”

The LPI system will be a $5990 option on Grange, although buyers can qualify for a $2000 government rebate.

The main addition to the Grange’s interior appointments is the new EDI touch-screen driver interface that allows the driver to skip through a number of models and controls, some useful and some bordering on frivolous.

The system even allows the driver to record “oversteer and understeer events”, record lap times using GPS technology – with some tracks such as Bathurst’s Mount Panorama already pre-loaded – and display esoteric information such as manifold pressure and intake air temperature.

If you want, you can download all the data for analysis on a laptop, pretending to be Garth Tander’s race engineer.

The driver can also be a bit naughty by turning off the bi-modal exhaust control to open a valve in the exhaust for extra aural pleasure, or turn off the new blind-spot warning system that alerts the driver when objects are deemed too close to the side of the car.

HSV designed the graphics for the system in-house, with the emphasis on intuitive use.



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