13 October 2004

General Motors’ Australian outpost, Holden, has unveiled a car that could eventually take on the BMW 3-series. The rear-wheel-drive 375bhp Holden Torana will pose a serious threat to Europe’s compact elite, if hints dropped by GM product chief Bob Lutz at the Sydney Motor Show come to fruition. Officially it’s strictly a concept but there’s a reasonable chance the basic idea could be sold globally.

During recent interviews Lutz has suggested that a rear-drive mid-size car would fill a void in the GM line-up in Europe and the US, and enable some GM brands to compete with big-selling models from Merc, BMW and Audi. Built in Europe, and marketed as a Saab, Cadillac, or even a five-door sibling for Vauxhall’s Monaro, he hinted that the Torana could be that car.

About the same size as a BMW 3-series – 4553mm long, 1800mm wide and 1474mm high – the Torana has interior space on a par with the 5-series’s. Based on a unique floorplan, it uses suspension from GM’s new Kappa platform, and is powered by a 375bhp twin-turbo 3.6 V6.

But Holden has since revealed that to make it viable more extensive use of Kappa architecture would be required, as well as a minimum of 120,000 cars built per year.

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