If you don’t know who Craig Lowndes is then you must have been living under a rock, Craig Lowndes is multiple Bathurst 1000 and V8 Supercar Champion who currently drives for the Triple 8 Redbull racing team in the V8 Supercar Championship.
This list of racing car drivers that have been honoured by car manufacturers over the years by having special edition models named after them is not very long at all but it includes such legends of motorsport such as late multiple formula 1 champion Sir Jack Brabham, Touring Car Legend and 9 time Bathurst 1000 winner Peter Brock.
Well now there is a new name to add this exclusive list V8 Supercar Champion and multiple Bathurst winner Craig Lowndes with Holden’s announcement of the special edition Craig Lowndes SSV Commodore.
Ok I hear you already, actually Craig Lowndes is already that list he joins an even more exclusive list of having special edition cars from 2 manufacturers named after them as Ford named a special edition BF Falcon Ute after him.
Having driven an VF SSV Commodore before I was extremely interested on how the Craig Lowndes Special Editiion SSV was going to go.
Although when you look at things on paper with no extra power over the standard SSV Redline, the Craig Lowndes SSV does not look that special at all.
But that’s things on paper and things can look different on paper, first thing I noticed when walking over to it was how damn good this car looks this got to be one of the best looking VF Commodores I’ve ever seen.
The Lowndes SSV gets unique black bonnet stripes, blacked front trim, black roof, black rear spoiler and black alloy rims combined with the bright Red paint means that this car stand out where ever you go and really makes a statement.
Step inside and apart from the Craig Lowndes signature on the dash strip it’s pretty much your standard Redline fair, which means the car is very well equip.
The leather seats are comfortable and supportive, the leather bound steering wheel comfortable to hold.
The instrument panel is extremely easy to read, the LCD screen between the dials lets you display a myriad of functions including a digital speedo which is extremely handy.
The which displays in the wind screen in front of the driver is extremely useful and means you dont have to look down to check your speed.
The centre stack is home to Holden Mylink infotainment system and if you have any read of my Holden reviews over the last year or so you will know how much I like this system, it’s ease of use and functions makes one of if not the best infotainment system on the market.
Under the bonnet this particular car came with Holden’s 6.0L V8 pumping out 260Kw and 517nM of torque, which means it’s no slug.
The big V8 is tractable enough to just rumble around in peak hour traffic without an issue but once you hit the open road the it comes its own light.
It just lopes along at highway speeds barely breaking a sweat, push the loud peddle down though and you are greeted by a rush of acceleration and the feeling of being pushed back into your seat.
Backing the V8 is Holden’s 6 speed auto transmission which seems well matched to the engine, I found the shifts smooth, slip it into sport mode and the transmission will hold gears for you based on your driving. One upgrade to the MY15 model VF SSV is addition of shift paddles behind the steering wheel I found these extremely easy to use and there is no hesitation at all when changing up or down a gear.
One thing the Craig Lowndes special has you don’t get on your regular Redline is rear brembo brakes, and the standard Redline is not bad braking wise but the CL special had a slightly better pedal feel and it stopped a fraction a better as well.
On the road the Craig Lowndes SSV soaks up the bumps better than what you would think, At times I felt like I was in a smaller car during cornering that’s how sure footed it felt.
The Electric Power Steering is calibrated for Sports tune and it works awesome its well weighted, offers great feedback and allows you great precision which means the car goes where ever you point it the steering is a complete revelation.
Safety wise the SSV has a 5 Star ANCAP Safety rating and comes with Electric Park Brake, Hill Start Assist, Auto Park Assist, Lane Departure Warning, Side Blind Zone Alert, Forward Collision Alert, Reverse Traffic Alert, ISOFIX child restraint systems, Rear seat belt alert that warns the driver when rear seatbelts are unbuckled and the list goes on. It also gets bonus points for not only having front and rear parking sensors but a rear view camera as well.
So after a week I came away mightily impressed with the Craig Lowndes SSV Special Edition, it has everything you want in a big sports sedan.
Plenty of room for 5 people, comfortable to ride in, has excellent handling, braking and one of the meanest presence on the road this car looks mean from any angle and it does attract attention where ever you go.
There were only a couple of let downs about the car the exhaust noise so quiet it’s not funny and the fact it doesn’t have any more power than your regular SS Commodore, one would of thought a special edition celebrating one of the country’s greatest touring car drivers would have had some extra ponies under the bonnet.
But that would not stop me buying one this car has everything and the fact it looks so damn hot is a massive plus as well, that not forgetting the exclusivity that this car offers as well there is only going to be 161 of them made and owners get to go to a private Red Bull Racing function and factory tour hosted by Lowndes, a trackside pit tour, tickets to a V8 Supercar race and a framed certificate of authenticity.
Be warned though Holden are only building 233 of these and they will sell out quick if they haven’t already so you better head into your Holden quickly if you want to own a piece of Australian motoring history if I could afford it I would of place my order ages ago.
Thanks Holden for the loan of this fabulous car, to check Holdens range of vehicles check out their website www.holden.com.au