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VZ Commodore, Berlina and Calais
WL Caprice and Statesman

Development Cost
$189 million

Durability and Test Kilometres
1,600,000 (VYII upgrade 400,000)

Alloytec V6
Alloytec is a 3.6 litre, 60-degree V6 offered in two variants. 

Alloytec - producing 175 kW of power @ 6000 rpm and 320Nm of torque @ 2800 rpm in the ECE measuring standard. Specified in VZ Commodore Executive, Acclaim and Berlina.

Alloytec 190 - producing 190 kW of power @ 6500 rpm and 340 Nm of torque @ 3200 rpm. Specified in VZ Commodore SV6, Calais and V6 WL Statesman and Caprice.

Both provide 90 per cent of torque between increased rev ranges (over 3.8 litre ECOTEC V6). These are 1630 rpm to 5460 rpm for Alloytec and 1570 rpm to 5870 rpm for Alloytec 190.

Alloytec features include:

  • sand-cast alloy cylinder block and forged steel crankshaft;
  • four valves per cylinder with roller finger followers;
  • double overhead cam with advanced continuously variable cam phasing, which on the Alloytec 190 is on both inlet and exhaust camshafts, for operational flexibility;
  • variable intake manifold on Alloytec 190 to facilitate greater torque at low to medium engine speeds and increased power at higher speed;
  • micro-hybrid design engine control unit with 32 bit capacity dictating every aspect of engine-management hardware operation and calculating more than 7,000 variables, compared to 1,350 on the ECOTEC, for faster and more efficient data flow;
  • electronic throttle control, which precisely coordinates the driver's intentions with the actions of various control components;
  • piston cooling jets; and 
  • coil on plug ignition for maximum spark energy in precise timing

New Alloytec exhaust systems are designed for improved harmonics and long life.
Dual close-coupled catalytic converters reduce fuel use and CO2 emissions.

Auto Start
Alloytec variants feature an Auto Start function, where there is no need to hold the key in the 'start' position − just turn key to 'start' position and then let go.

On Alloytec manual variants the clutch must be fully depressed before starter will engage to avoid starting the engine in gear.

Oil change intervals are 15,000km or 12 months.  Spark plug changeover is at 120,000 kms.

Five speed automatic transmission

A 5L40 five-speed automatic, with Active Select paddle shift is specified on VZ V6 Calais, Commodore SV6 and WL V6 Statesman and Caprice. It uses new generation hardware strategy with a new transmission controller, EC Cubing, Shift Stabilisation and Performance Algorithm Liftfoot (PAL). The transmission controller accurately determines current vehicle operating conditions to create a strategy for optimum shift performance.

EC cubing controls the difference between engine rpm and transmission input shaft rpm in third, fourth and fifth gears, increasing transmission efficiency during low torque applications, allowing fuel economy improvements to be delivered earlier and providing excellent driveability.

Shift Stabilisation reacts to differing vehicle loads and is active during constant speed driving. It reduces busy shifting or hunting in real world scenarios. PAL responds to driver requests or driving style, holding gears during some deceleration movements and cornering, for more stable exit feel.

Active Select allows drivers to choose the most appropriate gear for current conditions.

The 5L40 has a bigger ratio spread than the four-speed automatic and shift points are engineered for improved launch and mid-range response. The combination of a new transmission and the engine's high performance nature results in a more free-revving powertrain and the ability to shift up to 6500rpm.

Four speed automatic transmission (4L60)

An upgraded 4L60 four-speed transmission with new torque converter, more advanced controlling module and software is specified on VZ Executive, Acclaim and Berlina sedans and wagons.

Upgrades to the four-speed automatic transmission have improved shift feel and shift-to-shift variation through a new calibration that times shifts events to ensure favourable use of available engine torque, resulting in a more integrated powertrain feel between the ETC and transmission. This equates to better shift stabilisation and consistency.

New electrical architecture, a more advanced transmission control module (TCM) and 'Common C' software language introduce 8448 calibration variables, compared with 625 in the previous TCM.

Upgraded EC Cubing allows for partial lock-up or controlled slip. The new torque converter allows improved engine-transmission integration, reduced heat generation and improved fuel economy.

6 speed manual transmission (D173)

A premium application six speed manual transmission is optional on Commodore SV6.

Ratio selection is optimised by computer simulation matched to torque curves and tyre sizes. The ratio spread from first to sixth gives a more responsive first gear for better launch feel while allowing a sixth gear ratio of 0.75, nine per cent taller than the superseded five-speed.

Clutch diameter has increased by 14mm to 254mm. More progressive clutch pedal engagement complements the ratios and engine torque character.

A dual mass flywheel tuned to engine characteristics reduces torque fluctuations in the transmission, lowers driveline noise and vibration levels.

Wear is reduced by the use of an integrated concentric slave cylinder and release bearing.

A new first gear ratio and increase in clutch size allow 1600kg maximum towing capacity.

The short throw and light effort combine for quick shifting, tailored to match Alloytec engine characteristics.

5.7 litre Gen III V8

Electronic Throttle Control

The V8 has 'drive by wire' electronic throttle control and an upgraded engine management system. Throttle response suits a wide variety of driving conditions with changed calibrations set to a different torque map. A smoother pedal response improves driveability, launch feel and mid-range torque delivery. Elimination of the throttle cable improves system durability.

V8 Transmissions

A hydraulics and controller upgrade to the V8 automatic improves shift-to-shift variation through new calibration of more tables, which times shift events to ensure available engine torque is used and reduces down-shift delays.

The Commodore SS and SV8 6-speed manual transmission has a new final drive ratio of 3.73:1 (compared to 3.46:1 in VY II), providing shorter gearing for improved launch feel and better mid-range power delivery.

Induction System

V8 engines now use a 95 millimetre diameter air intake system and Mass Air Flow sensor, reducing the pressure drop by 25 per cent through the air intake path to the throttle body and allowing the engine to breathe more efficiently.

V8 Power outputs

As a result of electronic throttle control, engine calibration, induction and exhaust changes, most V8-powered VZ and WL models deliver more power and torque.

VZ Commodore SS, SV8 and WL Caprice have increased outputs of 250 kW at 5600 rpm (up from 245 kW) and 470 Nm of torque at 4800 rpm (up from 465 Nm).

WL Statesman increases peak figures to 245 kW and 465 Nm (up from 235 kW and 460 Nm). V8 Calais and Berlina power and torque are unchanged at 235 kW and 460 Nm.

V8 cooling system has a new radiator crossflow and the Gen III V8 and Alloytec V6 engines have a 'get home' mode that allows the car to be driven to a secure location on reduced power in the event of sudden coolant loss.

Extensive computational fluid dynamics modelling for new VZ/ WL facias ensured maintenance of airflow and cooling performance.

Fuel Economy
The 3.6 litre Alloytec complies with Euro 2.

All VZ and WL six-cylinder sedans and wagons with the exception of the SV6 manual deliver better fuel economy than ECOTEC V6 models.

VZ Executive, Acclaim and Berlina automatics reduce fuel consumption to 11.1 litres/100km. (from 11.3 litres/100 km). Corresponding wagon models improve fuel economy performance with figures of 11.3 litres/100 km (from 11.7 litres/100 km).

Alloytec 190 models produce 11 per cent more power and a 59 per cent increase in 90 per cent torque range (over ECOTEC V6). SV6 and Calais automatics return 11.5 litres/100km compared with Supercharged ECOTEC V6 figures of 12.9 and 13.4 litres respectively.

V6 Caprice and Statesman models return 12 litres/100km, a 1.4 litre reduction from 13.4 litres per 100km.

With electronic throttle control and resultant engine recalibrations, fuel efficiency for most V8 models remains the same, or in some cases slightly improved.

ChassisDevelopment and Testing
Two winter calibration programs in Sweden in 2002/2003. Two summer calibration test programs in Germany in 2002/2003. Vehicles were stationed in Korea and Germany for ongoing chassis development.

Front Suspension
Refinements to the front stabiliser bar connecting link system sharpen steering response and increase the range of mild understeer at low to mid lateral 'g' forces.

Revised geometry of the pickup point on the front stabiliser bar decreases stabiliser bar mass.

The bar crank length is 40mm shorter and a rubber joint is replaced by a ball joint. The changes improve front compliance understeer at low lateral accelerations and reduce any delay in the bar reacting to the roll of the vehicle.

Benefits include improved lane change behaviour and faster steering effort build up off-centre. Steering is now sharper and more direct.

Power Steering
All models have a new lightweight aluminium power steering pump with new hoses. It reduces fluid temperatures, resulting in reduced noise, improved durability and a mass saving of 1.8kg. Steering ratios are unchanged.


Alloytec electronic stability control program (ESP) improves vehicle safety performance in situations that require emergency response for collision avoidance. It achieves this by correcting vehicle paths through individual wheel brake applications and engine torque management.

System features include:

  • Latest generation Bosch ESP8;
  • Dual Texas Instruments 'Jupiter' 18 MHz ECUs with 512 kilobytes of memory each
  • 10,000 calibration variables
  • linear apply valves for smoother, more flexible control; and
  • improved ABS and TCS calibrations, based on the extra sensor capability of the system

ESP is specified on VZ Commodore Acclaim, Calais and Alloytec V6 WL Caprice and Statesman

Corner Brake Control (CBC)
During heavy braking on curves or corners a Corner Brake Control (CBC) function is activated on Alloytec models with ESP. CBC senses different wheel rotational speeds and co-ordinates the brakes as they are applied to the individual wheels so that yaw moments around the vertical axis are minimised and vehicle stability is maintained.

The new ABS unit for Alloytec models is the latest generation Bosch ABS8 system.

System features include:

  • Dual Texas Instruments 'Titan', 15 MHz ECUs with 256 kilobytes of memory each;
  • 1000 calibration variables;
  • Mass reduction of 0.6kg from previous ABS 5.3;
  • Linear apply valves for fast smooth control.

Electronic Brake Assist and Brake Assist
Electronic Brake Assist is specified on all ESP-equipped VZ and WL sedans. Commodore SS, SV8, SV6 and Executive, Berlina and wagon models receive a Brake Assist feature.

Both brake assist systems sense how hard and fast a driver hits the brake pedal and determine whether additional braking assistance is required. Both have a dual reaction ratio in the booster that assists the driver to reach ABS braking threshold more easily in emergency situations. In addition, Electronic Brake Assist ensures maximum brake pressure is maintained if pressure is inadvertently reduced by the driver. EBA disengages once pedal pressure is reduced below its threshold.

EBA utilises an extra software module that comes with ESP, while the Brake Assist mechanism is housed within the brake vacuum booster valve body. Both systems will activate on a brake pedal feel above .5g to .6 g deceleration.

The combination of new brake booster and master cylinder achieves ABS-invoking pressure in almost half the time it took the previous system. This very fast brake pressure response reduces stopping distance by about four per cent. It provides a stiffer pedal feel above .5 g deceleration, allowing the driver to reach the ABS-activation threshold more easily.

Traction Control
A new traction control system for VZ and WL utilises electronic throttle control. Engine intervention is achieved via engine spark control and electronic throttle intervention.
On Alloytec models a new slip control algorithm and linear apply valves offer smoother, more flexible brake pressure control.

Electronic Brakeforce Distribution
Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) is available across the VZ and WL sedan and wagon range. It transfers brake torque between axles, providing optimised control of rear brake pressure on all road surfaces and under all vehicle loading conditions when there is natural transference of weight from rear to front axle due to braking. Another advantage is longer life for the front brake pads.

New designs are introduced on all alloy-wheel models. Tyre sizes and types are the same specification as VYII and WK.

Tyre pressure monitoring
L Caprice is equipped with a Tyre Pressure Monitoring system. Pressure sensors incorporated into the tyre valves constantly monitor pressure on all four wheels.

A dual stage alarm senses when tyre pressure is too low or when pressure is decreasing at too fast a rate. A display on the instrument cluster monitors tyre pressure.

Crash Testing
The VZ and WL barrier crash test program took particular account of new powertrain and fuel systems and covered the gamut of full frontal, offset and side impact for real world conditions.

VZ Headlamps

New VZ headlamps have a more compact assembly for projector and reflector-type lamps, which contain more efficient optics.

WL Tail Lamps
WL Caprice and Statesman models have LED (Light Emitting Diode) tail lamps. Each tail lamp contains 24 LEDS in five horizontal rows that operate at two different intensity levels. The proportional control diodes are low intensity and become high intensity with brake application. Light-up occurs 1000 times faster than an incandescent bulb. At 100km/h this amounts to about five metres of extra warning for following cars.

Front Park Assist
WL Caprice has Front Park Assist, which emits audible beeps in response to signals from ultrasonic sensors mounted in the front bumper facia. The beeps increase in frequency as the vehicle approaches obstacles in front of it. Front Park Assist operates automatically in any of the forward gears and switches off when the car reaches 25 kilometres an hour. It can be disengaged in heavy traffic.

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