HSV GTS road test proves brute is not just all power

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

But 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.

Torque increases from the 570Nm in the 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 100kmh 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.

A lot of the engineering is unique to the GTS. Increased output has required special cooling solutions for the engine, transmission and the differential.

The biggest HSV braking hardware for the GTS is painted in yellow to contrast the satin graphite wheels. The braking performance is just as impressive as the accelerative ferocity.

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.

It means that driving on less than perfect road surfaces is possible with some decent suspension compliance and comfort. 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, sat nav, dual zone air con, alarm and immobiliser security system, push button engine start, power adjustable drivers' seat including lumbar adjuster and a flat bottom leather steering wheel.

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.


Model: HSV GTS.

Details: Four-door rear-wheel drive performance sedan.

Engine: 6.2-litre supercharged V8 generating maximum power of 430kW @ 5900rpm and peak torque of 740Nm @ 4200rpm.

Transmissions: Six-speed manual or six-speed automatic.

Consumption: 14.8 litres/100km (combined average).

Performance: 0-100kmh in 4.4 seconds.

Bottom line: $95,490

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