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Validation front-loading using simulation is required to save efforts and support decision making during the development process. For automotive distributed embedded systems, the fast increasing system complexity usually prevents the use of simulation encompassing the entire communication architecture. The simulation is then focused to single domain and/or components. We present in this work a heterogeneous co-simulation model of a FlexRay based system comprising simulation models from the software components down to the waveforms within the FlexRay electrical cables. This platform enables the efficient analysis of the assembled system and more especially of the interactions between the components. The description of the models is supported by three test campaigns in order to highlight the importance of holistic simulation as well as the potential of the proposed approach.