The Australian high performance market is hotting up for 2008 with the introduction of the LS3 6.3L V8 engine for all HSV products. Expect this engine to appear in all HSV products throughout the world this year.

Australia has had a long tradition of producing uprated high performance version of large family saloons. The task of upgrading these vehicles generally fell in house with the manufacturers (Ford and Holden) having a special division which handled the work. As the popularity of these performance vehicles increased both Ford and Holden decided to create off-spin companies to cater specifically for the performance enthusiast. Holden created HSV (Holden Special Vehicles) in 1988 and this company has grown to produce vehicles which can compete with the world’s best.

Known as the Holden Commodore in Australia and New Zealand, the HSV versions are sold as Vauxhalls in the UK and Pontiacs in the USA.

New for 2008 is the replacement for the outgoing 6.0L LS2 Chevrolet engine, the LS3. The LS3 raises the capacity the V8 to 6.2L , the extra 200cc produces 10 more kilowatts over the outgoing LS2 to give a huge 317kW (425hp) at 6000rpm. Torque remains at a considerable 550Nm.

This new engine could not come at a better time for Holden as its arch rival, Ford, is in the process of introducing its new FG Falcon range which is a direct competitor to the Commodore. The Falcon will also get a new range of high performance versions of the bread and butter Falcon model courtesy of its performance division FPV (Ford Performance Vehicles). FPV performance fans are expecting a revised 4.0L turbo six and a 5.4L V8 by June this year.

The LS3 V8 engine will be introduced from April this year and will be found under the bonnet of the whole range of HSV vehicles. 2008 should be a bumper year for the Australian car enthusiast.

Gallery: Australian HSV now offers LS3 engine