3 August 2004

Vauxhall only started selling the current Monaro (right) this summer, but it already has a faster version in the pipeline, as part of a wider facelift mirroring the revised US-market Pontiac GTO (abve) revealed this week.

The company’s GM sister, Holden in Australia, already builds both models. It plans to launch the revised Monaro on the domestic market in October, but UK imports aren’t expected to arrive until next spring.

The revised Monaro will get a more aggressive front bumper, the GTO’s pointier headlights, new five-spoke 18-inch wheels and a new rear bumper that locates the twin exhaust pipes on either side of the car. The fuel tank will also move from beneath the boot floor to the rear of the boot for better weight distribution.

As part of the facelift, the Monaro line-up gains a new more powerful 400bhp model, powered by the new C6 Corvette’s 6.0-litre LS2 V8. It adds a further 40bhp over the current LS1 5.7-litre V8. Pontiac claims the LS2 GTO slashes the 0-60mph time from 5.3sec to 4.6sec, and the standing quarter-mile sprint to 13.2sec, 0.6sec quicker. Top speed, as before, is electronically limited to 155mph.

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GM has worked to reduce friction in the big-bore 6.0-litre overhead-valve engine, raising the red line to 6500rpm. So thoroughly re-engineered is the new small-block V8 that it gets a new aluminium block.

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