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Buy a VF HSV Clubsport R8

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HSV is gearing up for the biggest change since its inception in 1987 ? existence without a Commodore V8. For now, though, it's all about celebrating an engine configuration that's helped define Australian cars ? and the lifeblood of HSV.

The ClubSport R8 is the latest specimen. The mainstream model in the Holden Special Vehicles lineup has adopted the 6.2-litre supercharged V8 that only arrived in the GTS flagship in 2013. To be fair it's a detuned version (leaving all important headroom above for the GTS) but it is still the second most powerful car ever to be produced in Australia ? at least until the anticipated revival of the legendary GTS-R.

What Do you Get

The so-badged LSA version of the ClubSport R8 ? chosen because it's the model code of the new engine ? means all change for the HSV lineup. For now there's no version of the regular ClubSport, which removes the price leader from the hot shot Holden equation.

The step up to the LSA supercharged V8 (more on that later) has also led to a hefty price rise on the ClubSport R8. The $83,490 ask (plus on-road and dealer costs) for the auto version (the manual is $80,990) tested here represents a $7700 leap, making it the most expensive ClubSport ever.

And when the norm these days is to add equipment to tempt buyers, HSV has done the opposite; accompanying the price increase is the removal of the tricky EDI system, or Enhanced Driver Interface. The impressive data logger and performance display ? it gives real time information on everything from wheel slip and G forces to how much power and torque the engine is producing ? now costs $1095, but is still standard on the more expensive GTS.

The rest of the gear is decent. A head-up display, reversing camera, self-parking system, Bose audio, dual-zone climate control, powered front seats and smart key entry with push button start. New 20-inch alloy wheels look the business, while plush leather seats with embossed logos in the head rests round out the deal. There are also some active safety systems, including blind spot warning and lane departure warning, although no auto braking.