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HSV dodges power war

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HSV dodges power war

Toby Hagon

September 21, 2010 - 3:15PM

Comments 20

200km/h with Garth Tander in the new HSV

Former V8 Supercar champion and Bathurst winner puts the new HSV race car technology to the test.

Video feedbackVideo settings

The updated HSV E3 range is loaded with technology, but there's no extra power to combat the beefed up Falcon GT.

HSV is "very happy" with the performance and power output of its cars despite being outblasted by rival FPV with its imminent new supercharged V8.

The latest round of updates to the E-Series 3 range didn't touch the 317kW and 325kW power outputs of the 6.2-litre V8; only the Grange jumped 8kW by utilising the output once reserved for the GTS.

Yet Ford's new Falcon GT musters 335kW from a new 5.0-litre supercharged V8, potentially reigniting the power war that for almost five years has remained all but dormant.

"I'm very happy with our performance," says HSV managing director Phil Harding, who believes the HSV range competes with European imports rather than the FPV products they are more closely priced to.

"We're very happy with the car we've got, the feature content, the options we've got. Our focus is to make the car even better ... and we've done that.

"It's all about making a great car and we've done that."

FPV recently said it was not interested in what HSV was doing.

''We won't be designing our cycle plan around what another competitor is doing," said Prodrive (the owner of FPV) managing director Bryan Mears. ''I don't think we are in a space where we are always going to be competing with what the other guy does. We think in this competitive market that we're being chased. We don't follow.''

HSV has long held the upper hand in outright power of its cars, proudly boasting with the engine outputs listed on the rear and/or sides of the cars, something considered a strong marketing tool.

"It will continue to be a powerful marketing feature for us because we'll continue to put the power figure on the car [the numbers on the car]," says Harding.

However, FPV said it was content with its 335kW output and hinted that its plans for its new engines would shift the goalposts.

"We have developmental plans for the future, well into the future, and by coincidence that will address some of the outputs [expected from HSV performance upgrades]. One of the lower priorities will be what the other guy does on the back of his car; the higher priority for us is to give our customer a terrific experience driving our car."

Key to HSV's E3 upgrade is new technology more akin with more exotic brands.

Harding says the new touchscreen EDI (Enhanced Driver Interface) that includes race car like data logging is the most advanced of any production car and reaffirms the performance heritage of the brand.

The new HSV E3 range has risen in price by $1000 on most models; the Senator Signature is the only one to rise by less than that, with a $560 hike.

However, the new car comes with more options, many of which are typically reserved for European marques.

They include a blind spot warning system, which HSV markets and Side Blind Zone Assist and sells for $1990.

HSV marketing boss Tim Jackson says the brand has evolved into more than just a muscle car company.

"Whenever we do research ... what comes back, it's about the overall performance of the car, it's about the overall design ... and more and more technology," says Jackson.



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