Holden has released its latest generation Statesman and Caprice models based on a stretched VE Commodore chassis. The Australian built LWB sedans are due to go sale in its country of origin this month with exports to the Middle East, China, South Korea and New Zealand to start soon after. For the Middle East, the cars will be sold wearing Chevrolet badges while Asian markets see the vehicles sold as Buicks.

The cars were first revealed at Holden’s official launch of the VE Commodore back in July after a development period of close to a decade. Estimated budget is over $1 billion dollars for the short wheel base model with an additional $190 million for the two stretched versions.

Drive trains include either a 3.6-litre 260hp (195kW) V6 or an American sourced 6.0-litre Gen IV V8 which develops 360hp (270kW) and peak torque of 530Nm. A first for the model include GM’s new six-speed automatic as shared with the Corvette or a lesser five-speeder both with a tiptronic style manual function.

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Holden today officially launched its top-of-the-range WM Statesman and Caprice models, offering more differentiation from their short wheelbase siblings than ever before.

First revealed alongside the VE Commodore in mid-July, the all-new Holden flagships will make their Australian sales debut in September and set sail for export markets soon after.

The product of a $190 million investment on top of the $1.03 billion VE program, the new generation long-wheelbase sedans deliver benchmark levels of build quality, ride refinement, safety and spacious comfort for locally built sedans.

Holden has announced its pricing strategy for the prestige pair, with the V8-powered Caprice positioned under $70,000 and priced below the previous generation V6 model.

At $69,990, the new WM Caprice is $5400 less than the equivalent WL model, a drop of 7.1 per cent. The Caprice V6 at $65,990 is $4700 or 6.6 per cent below the previous model.

The new Statesman V6 and V8 models are priced at $58,990 and $62,990 respectively.

GM Holden Chairman and Managing Director, Denny Mooney, said WM Statesman and Caprice were flagship models capable of capturing worldwide attention.

“The WM models are confident, global designs which show that Australians can make truly compelling cars,” Mr Mooney said.

“Statesman and Caprice have more differentiation from the short wheelbase cars than ever before and the result is two stand alone vehicles with distinct identities.

“They are spacious, comfortable and offer fantastic ride and handling for cars of that size. Domestic and overseas customers will be proud to have these vehicles in their possession.”

WM Statesman and Caprice were launched at their place of manufacture, Holden’s Elizabeth plant in Adelaide, South Australia.

Since 1999, Holden has shipped more than 82,000 of its long wheelbase sedans to markets in the Middle East, China, South Korea and New Zealand.

In 2005, GM-branded models based on the WL series recorded export sales more than seven times higher than the number sold in Australia.

The major market for Holden’s long wheelbase cars, the Middle East, will again be the primary destination for WM.

Singular style

Holden designers took advantage of brand new body architecture to create the most individual offerings in the history of the Statesman and Caprice nameplates.

Characterised by a stretched silhouette and a wide stance accentuated by flared wheel arches, the WM series Statesman and Caprice make a powerful impression.

They differ significantly from their Commodore siblings despite sharing the same rigid basic body structure.

Major aspects of the interior design, including the instrument pad, cluster, centre console, seating, door trims, fabrics and finishes, are also exclusive.

Holden Design Director, Tony Stolfo, said the long wheelbase sedans were intended to stand apart and make their own statement.

“WM Statesman and Caprice had to echo the best elements of Holden DNA − mature design, great proportion, purposeful stance and style,” Mr Stolfo said.

“You notice immediately that they have real presence. In profile you can see that the longer rear door is the key to the dramatic new proportion, accentuated by a sweeping roofline and substantial wheel and tyre packages.

“We’ve maintained the fantastic interior dimensions these cars are renowned for and every aspect has been specifically designed to give our buyers a unique prestige driving environment.”

In classic saloon style, the radiator grille is the focal point of the front graphic. Housed on the ‘drop down’ engine hood, it incorporates the nameplates’ exclusive lion and wreath emblem.

Detail highlights include signature LED repeater lamps in the fender vents, striking LED tail lamps and bright chrome accents. The jewelled headlamp design is unique.

In a first for a locally manufactured car, Caprice offers advanced Bi Xenon headlamp technology. Light output from the high intensity discharge Bi Xenon lamps is up to four times brighter than halogen bulbs and the system features automatic levelling and integrated headlamp washers.

Overall styling themes for Caprice reflect a sports character whilst Statesman is prestige comfort orientated.

Caprice cruises on bold five spoke 18 x 8-inch wheels. Statesman rides on detailed ten spoke 17x7-inch alloys. There is a choice of nine exterior finishes, five of them new to the range.


Like the VE, the all-new Statesman and Caprice offer a spacious and safe passenger compartment with optimised storage, packaging and ergonomics.

Themes for the specialist interior design team were comfort, sophistication, harmony, luxury and attention to detail.

The expansive instrument pad features a wide binnacle, unique chrome-ringed instrument cluster and integrated centre stack with a high resolution 6.5-inch multifunction colour screen, zoned audio and climate controls and satin chrome detailing.

Generously proportioned seating is contoured differently for each model and tailored in twin-stitched leather trim. All doors have large storage boxes able to accommodate 600ml drink bottles upright and the storage compartment in the centre console is topped by a sliding armrest.

In the roomy rear, where longer doors make for even easier entry and exit, cup holders pop out of the seat base and the fold-down centre armrest incorporates a storage tray.

Feature highlights

Statesman has rich woodgrain accents and extensive standard equipment including eight-way electric front seats; visual front and rear park assist; auto rain-sensing wipers; 11-speaker, 230 watt sound system with six disc CD player and roof-mounted diversity antenna; MP3 and Bluetooth mobile phone connectivity; night mode dash illumination and exterior mirrors with ‘puddle’ lamps.

Drivers can access 16 personalisation options and functions and a help function built into text screens explains features at the touch of a button.

New high-performance flat blade wipers have washer nozzles mounted on the arms and a high-tech acoustic windscreen dampens glass-borne noise.

Optional is a factory-fitted sunroof, designed to integrate seamlessly with the optional roof-mounted DVD player with wireless headphones, which can be dealer-fitted at any stage.

Caprice elevates the luxury level with authentic aluminium accent, deep-bolstered front sports seats with ten-way electric adjustment, ‘soft touch’ leather and suede trim.

There is a Bose premium audio system, remote control three-screen DVD with roof console and a Tri-zone electronic climate control system with foot level ducting to the rear compartment.

Further equipment includes a tyre pressure monitor and extra priority flip key memory preferences, such as seating positions for three drivers and exterior mirror placements.

Fully integrated turn by turn or full map navigation will be available later in the year, as will a choice of three telematics systems.

Safety systems

Safety systems for the WM Statesman and Caprice were developed in tandem with VE Commodore.

Their purpose is to help drivers avoid crashes and provide better protection should a crash occur by minimising intrusion into the passenger compartment.

Development began with the largest virtual crash modelling program Holden has ever undertaken. Emphasis was placed on considering the wide range of impact scenarios that occur in real world accident situations and differing occupant criteria.

Safety technologies were benchmarked against the world’s leading luxury brands and major engineering programs delivered a stiffer body structure and vastly increased usage of advanced strength steels.

Multiple load path strategies for frontal, side and rear impacts improve passenger compartment integrity. They are complemented by an improved multipoint airbag sensing system and an adaptive restraint system which includes dual stage front airbags, thorax side impact airbags, curtain airbags and front seat active head restraints as standard equipment.

Structurally optimised crush zones absorb crash energy and other occupant protection features include a steering column ride-down mechanism and breakaway brake pedal.

In terms of active safety technology, Statesman and Caprice come complete with the highly commended Electronic Stability Program (ESP®), traction control and anti-lock braking systems, electronic brake assist and electronic brakeforce distribution.


WM Statesman and Caprice can be specified with a choice of V8 or V6 powerplants, matched to Holden’s smooth-shifting five and six-speed automatic transmissions with Active Select tap up/down control located on the shifter.

Both have all new, full length dual exhaust systems with twin or quad outlets according to engine size.

The Generation IV 6.0 litre V8 alloy (L98) engine delivers increased peak power and torque of 270kW @ 5700rpm and 530Nm @ 4400rpm using 98 RON fuel.

It benefits from performance-oriented calibration and a high-flow exhaust for responsive launch feel.

The Alloytec High Output 3.6 litre V6 with new variable intake manifold also offers extra peak power and torque of 195kW @ 6500rpm and 340Nm @ 2600 rpm using 91 RON fuel.

Further refinements provide a livelier launch response, reduced drive noise and improved cold start and running performance.

Fuel economy (ADR081/01)

3.6-litre High Output Alloytec V6: 11.7 litres per 100 kilometres.

6.0-litre Generation IV V8: 14.4 litres per 100 kilometres.

Driving dynamics

Given the world-class structural stiffness of WM models, Holden chassis engineers had a solid base to work from in giving the vehicles a poised and responsive ride and handling character.

The introduction of new Linear Control Suspension has increased primary ride control attributes and isolation qualities and sharpened Holden’s traditional edge in chassis dynamics and ride comfort.

The refined multi-link system is the result of an eight-year development program. It has high lateral stiffness and a rubber isolated suspension frame that helps isolate the body from road imperfections and drivetrain vibrations.

It is supplemented among other advances by a forward-mounted steering rack, all-new larger brake systems and specifically developed wheel and tyre combinations.

The new brakes reduce stopping distance by around five metres. With lightweight aluminium calipers all round, increased pad area and larger rotors front and rear, they are more fade-resistant and provide a stiffer brake pedal feel.

There is a 16-inch V6 brake package and a 17-inch performance version for V8 versions.

A cleverly designed park brake is integrated into the centre console, allowing a simple switch for left-hand-drive and right-hand-drive applications.

Color selection

*Sandstorm − warm neutral satin gold metallic

*Red Passion − rich saturated metallic red with mica highlight

*Nickel − mechanical dark silver with metallic highlight

*Evoke − smoky metallic charcoal

*Crema − buttery gold mica

Odyssey – dark mercury silver

Vespers – dark inky blue metallic

Heron − solid white

Phantom − metallic black with silver highlights

*denotes new

Recommended Retail Pricing

Holden WM Caprice and Statesman

(excluding dealer and government charges)

Statesman V6 $58,990

Statesman V8 $62,990

Caprice V6 $65,990

Caprice V8 $69,990

On sale

September 2006.

ESP is a registered trademark of Daimler Chrysler AG

Power and torque figures as per ECE regulations