$50-100K: 5th- Holden SS-V Redline

Which car at Bang 2014 was slowest in class down the straights but had the most mid-corner grip?

The IS350? Maybe the S3? Think again, it’s the SS-V. And judging by photos like the one on the front page, you’d be forgiven for thinking all us MOTORers need to go back to driving school.

Yep, a lack of grunt hurt the SS-V – something we’d never thought we’d say about an Aussie sedan with 270kW and 530Nm – but mid-corner grip helped it claw back lost ground. Another sentence we never thought we’d utter about an Aussie four-door.

But so the story went: to 100km/h the SS-V’s 5.7sec was second last, beaten by everything except the Lexus. Which means that yep, an Audi SUV on 'roids would show you up at the lights.

After 400 metres, the SS-V has pipped the smart-arse Audi but despite a respectable 13.8sec quarter, it’s still third last.

It’s not even your normal diagnosis of the big, boofhead Aussie sedan struggling to put its power down, either. Its 400m trap speed was fourth last, its 80-120km/h time of 3.5 seconds wasn’t flash and as, err, aforementioned, its lap v-max of 166.39km/h was slowest in class.

Yep, in this company the SS-V needs more grunt. But grip? Got plenty, thanks.

A 58.22km/h apex v-max plonks the SS-V in first place (!) for mid-corner clinging, beating all in class – including giants like Golf R and M235i. Respect.

Mixing the lack of grunt with a surfeit of grip produces a midfield fourth-placed laptime, too, of 1:43.5sec – behind the Golf R, S3 and M235i, about where you’d expect to plonk an SS-V. The SS-V finished about midfield for braking, too, its 100-0km/h of 38.15m putting it fifth.

When you weave the SS-V’s performance data with its $52K ownership fee (the cheapest car in class) the Bang mathematical digestive system spits the SS-V out fifth.

What the numbers don’t tell you is the SS-V curried favour among the judges for, well, have a gander at the pic below.

For going sideways, 270kW and 530Nm is more than enough when you’ve only got two contact patches to work with. Snappy steering, a proper diff and a Goldilocks wheelbase mean Holden should be exporting the drift-happy SS-V to Japan, not America.

It’ll wriggle sideways and stay there until you run out of corner or balls it up from laughing too hard – whatever comes first.

It’s a hoot to drive and, frankly, there’d be nary a judge who didn’t feel a bit proud flogging this Aussie muscle car around Winton. For $52K, it’s that good.

But while we admired its cornering keenness for something weighing 1741kg, its fade-free brakes, its sweetly weighted-steering and the fact it’s just an all-round cracking package, in this company it needs more oomph.

$50-100K placing – 5th
Overall placing – 11th
Judges’ ranking – 9th

0-100km/h – 5.70sec – (8th )
0-400m – 13.80sec @ 168.41km/h (7th)
Lap Time – 1:43.50sec (6th)
Pricing – $52,490 (14th)

Engine: 5967cc V8, OHV, 16v
Power: 270kW @ 5600rpm
Torque: 530Nm @ 4400rpm
Weight: 1741kg
Gearbox: 6-speed manual
Suspension: strut, anti-roll bar (f); multi-links, anti-roll bar (r)
Brakes: 355mm ventilated discs, 4-piston calipers (f); 324mm ventilated discs, single-piston calipers (r)
Wheels: 19 × 8.5-inch (f); 19 x 9.0-inch (r)
Tyres: 245/40 R19 Bridgestone Potenza (f); 275/35 R19 Bridgestone Potenza (r)

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