HSV GTS brings power to the people

By Colin Smith

HSV's new GTS is impressive, says Colin Smith

Holden HSV GTS 'Gen F' Photo / Supplied
Holden HSV GTS 'Gen F' Photo / Supplied

You can focus a lot of attention on a single number and overlook other attributes which separate the new supercharged GTS flagship from the rest of the HSV Gen-F family.

The LSA supercharged V8 engine - borrowed from the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 and Cadillac CTS-V - grabs all the headlines.

The Eaton four-lobe supercharger sitting atop the 6.2-litre alloy V8 boosts output to 430kW at 6150rpm - that's an extra 90kW compared to the already rapid SV Enhanced Clubsport R8, which had provided my first taste of the new VF-based Gen-F model range.

Driving the GTS reveals three other attributes which provide separation from the Clubsport R8 models - the torque delivery, the clever Magnetic Ride Control suspension and the biggest braking package yet for any HSV car.

The front end treatment for the GTS model provides the additional airflow needed for cooling the supercharged V8 engine.
The front end treatment for the GTS model provides the additional airflow needed for cooling the supercharged V8 engine.

Torque increases from the 570Nm I'd sampled while driving the SV Enhanced Clubsport R8 to a mighty 740Nm and the peak is more accessible as well at 3850rpm - or 800rpm earlier than the naturally aspirated V8.

It's a giant of a power unit which on one hand screams "overkill" but is also refined and tractable at the small throttle percentages required for everyday driving and happily cruises at 1600rpm in top gear at 100km/h on the highway. Using a big chunk of the power should be saved for the right occasion but it's always apparent the urge arrives a little earlier and with less throttle opening than the R8 needed. It uses a little more fuel as well but my 11.8 litres per 100km road test average in the GTS was only half-a-litre per 100km thirstier than the R8.

A lot of the engineering is unique to the GTS. Increased output has required special cooling solutions for the engine, transmission and the differential. There's a beefed up propshaft and driveshafts and the big 9.9-inch differential is unique to the GTS and requires a special rear suspension module - and takes up more space so there's no longer room for a spare wheel well and an emergency tyre sealant and inflator kit becomes standard fitment.

The biggest HSV braking hardware for the GTS comprises 390mm front and 372mm rear drilled two-piece rotors with forged six-piston callipers, which are painted in yellow to contrast the satin graphite wheels. The braking performance is just as impressive as the accelerative ferocity.

The upgrade in the rear brake hardware is particularly important with the added work they need to do with the electronic torque vectoring function - a new and GTS-specific system which helps to reduce understeer through altering the rotational characteristics of the rear axle under power.

If the Electronic Stability Control detects understeer the brakes on the inside rear wheel are applied, transferring torque to the outside rear wheel and helping to counter the understeer. The MRC suspension is where the genuine sophistication is found.

There's a remarkable simplicity to the MRC suspension concept. Running a low voltage electric current through a magnetic fluid alters the viscosity and provides a range of suspension response characteristics which are controlled through the Driver Preference Dial which offers Touring, Sport, Performance and Track modes.

It means that driving on less than perfect road surfaces is possible with some decent suspension compliance and comfort. One area where the GTS shares its specification with the rest of the Gen-F line-up is the Continental ContiSport 5P tyre package. The forged alloy wheels are a 12-spoke design shod with 255/35 R20 dimension front rubber and 275/35 R20 on the rear. With a $125,900 price tag the GTS is also generously loaded with luxury features and technologies. An Onyx leather and alcantara combination trim is highlighted by silver stitching and equipment highlights include heated front seats, satellite navigation, dual zone air conditioning, alarm and immobiliser security system, push button engine start, power adjustable drivers' seat including lumbar adjuster and a flat bottom leather steering wheel.

The MyLink infotainment system is integrated with the nine-speaker Bose premium audio system and the unique-to-GTS Head Up Display projects digital speedo display, outside temperature, tachometer and fuel consumption read-outs into the lower part of the windscreen.


The MyLink screen is also headquarters for the EDI Enhanced Driver Interface where enthusiasts can access and data log an extensive range of performance data. Safety technologies are based on the latest features from the VF platform with camera-based Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure Warning functions along with the Side Blind Zone Alert with Reverse Cross Traffic Alert and Automatic Park Assist functions which are now standard across the HSV line-up.

Supercharging propels the HSV flagship through the 400kW ceiling and removes it from the performance realm of FPV and Chrysler SRT8 rivals and into the rarefied atmosphere of the BMW M5, Audi RS6 and Mercedes E 63 AMG.

Considering the special engineering requirements needed to support 430kW the $125,900 price tag is another remarkable aspect of the GTS.

- NZ Herald

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