Holden VZ Monaro
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 3
It was always going to be difficult to improve on
the magnificent V2 Monaro, but essential to the success
of any update would be one ingredient, better performance.
And so the VZ Monaro was indeed a better car, if power
and torque is the gauge by which any car should be
judged. Boasting 260kW and 500Nm, the VZ was, for a
time, the most powerful mainstream Holden ever manufactured.
increases in output were courtesy of a revised camshaft
and split-dual exhaust
system, providing increases
in torque over a wide rev range, averaging 40Nm or
better between 2300rpm-5300rpm.
The new exhaust
had 25% less backpressure, and exited either side of
the tail through 95mm chrome tips, however despite
the mechanical improvements it would be the addition
of bonnet vents (reminiscent of a theme established
with the HT/HG Monaro’s of old) that polarized
opinion of the new model.
The VZ Monaro was afforded improved braking performance, courtesy of substantially
larger 320mm x 32mm front discs (over the 296mm x 28mm used in the V2), complete
with twin-spot front calipers borrowed from the C6 Corvette.
The vented rear
discs measured 286mm x 18mm, and combined with an upgraded ABS system, Brake
Assist and Electronic Brake-force Distribution, the VZ boasted awesome stopping
engineers fitted an electronic throttle control to allow a smoother pedal
response and improved drivability; an upgraded traction control system rounded
out an already polished and capable driving experience, although many would switch
it off to enjoy the subtlety of the V8’s ample torque and sublime chassis,
a trait most commentators put down to the fact that the two door had greater
structural rigidity over the standard 4 door Commodore configuration.
A new M12 six-speed manual gearbox provided shorter ratios up to fourth gear,
thereby giving better performance and torque availability. In automatic versions
the heavy duty 4L65 four-speed (which was usually reserved for the HSV variants
and commercial vehicles) was fitted as standard. But there were some other modifications made necessary due to the fact that the
majority of Monaros were destined for the US, to be marketed as Pontiac GTO’s.
Most significant of these changes was the relocation of the fuel tank to the
boot (rather than under the car). There was an upside and a downside, reduced
boot space the former, more space for a throatier exhaust
system the latter.
Cosmetically, the VZ was more aggressive, thanks not only to the (controversial)
new bonnet scoops, but also the modified nose treatment. The new front bumper
with larger air intake flanked by vertical parking and fog lamps and a sharper
headlight design and grille achieved a more aggressive and powerful look. Chrome exhaust
tips exited either side of a new satin black lower fascia panel. Interior
changes were minor, with the addition of oil pressure and voltmeter gauges above
the centre console.
The CV8-Z was a limited edition run of only 1200, manufactured from July 2005.
Unfortunately the deicision had been made to cease manufacture of the Monaro,
a decision we perhaps (as car enthusiasts) cannot understand, but one that will,
as the ad says, make them an instant classic. Priced the same
as the standard Monaro CV8, the Z featured factory fitted "Holden By Design"
sunroof, black bonnet scoop accents, machined 18-inch five-spoke alloy wheels
with one spoke embossed with the CV8-Z logo, modified rear lamps and unique gun
metal chrome CV8-Z badging on the rear.
It was available in Quicksilver, chromatic
Teal Blue Mica Turismo, bold Devil Yellow, Black Phantom and a new special edition
colour, Fusion (an orange-based metallic delivering sharp gold highlights
through to darker bronzed drop-out). As for the bonnet scoops, well we love ‘em. It is, after all, a Monaro,
and for us, that’s enough said.
Standard Equipment: 260kW V8, 6 speed manual transmission
Limited slip differential (LSD), Control Link Independent
Rear Suspension (IRS), Monaro FE2 Sports Suspension,
with ABS EBD and BA, Traction Control
(TC), 18 x 8 inch alloy wheels
with 17 inch alloy space
saver spare, front foglamps, quick response LED centre
stop lamp, leather wrap steering
wheel, cruise control,
rear parking sensors, trip computer, driver and front
passenger airbags, driver and front passenger side
impact airbags, 6-disc in-dash CD player, steering
wheel audio controls, antenna on rear glass, dual zone
electronic climate control, front power windows, twin
cupholders, security system with twin Priority Key.
Equipment: 4 speed automatic transmission
, satellite navigation, electric sunroof.