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Review: HSV GTS 40th Limited Edition

February 17th, 2009
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Check out our HSV Clubsport Review too!

Who says Supercars have to have Super price tags? Those rich Italians will try and brainwash and tell us that a Supercars need over 400 horsepower, capable of accelerating to 100 km/h in under 5 seconds and cost $250,000. Not Down Under, the only difference here is that it won’t cost you a quarter of a million dollars.

HSV are commemorating 40 years of the GTS badge in Australia by releasing a Limited Edition 40th Anniversary in the GTS herd. Holden instigated the GTS badge on the 1968 HK Monaro GTS so it was no sheer coincidence some visuals on the HK GTS would be resembled on HSV’s VE example.

When you see a HSV GTS purring down the road you never look twice, mainly because you never take your eyes off it the first time. HSV have done a bloody good job with the GTS so much so they have tapped into the prestige car segment targeting the German’s customers by offering bang for buck with more punch under the bonnet.

HSV’s 40th Anniversary GTS as tested was the first of one hundred to be produced; each GTS Limited Edition is commemorated with a unique build plate and owners certificate under the bonnet. This one had 001, how nice.

On the skin the GTS has eye catching features, and being a Limited Edition I’m glad HSV didn’t simply just add a new set of alloys and a badge. This GTS canvas has black heritage stripes on the bonnet, boot and incorporated into the side skirts ensuring this model stands out from all angles.

For the oldies you’ll remember these heritage stripes were first seen on the original Holden HK Monaro GTS in 1968 adding credence to this Supercar.

HSV GTS 40th LE

Available in two colours HSV offer Heron white and Sting red making it quicker for customers to place their order – trust me you do not want to wait long to drive a GTS. On paper I thought the GTS in Heron white would be like All Bran cereal, doesn’t look that good but gets the job done. However I was somewhat mistaken, approaching the GTS at HSV’s HQ the Heron white vehicle shows the beautiful lines of the VE ensuring those wide wheel arches are prominent from side on and the black heritage striped provide a great contrast.

Open the driver’s door and be welcomed with a sports cockpit, the leather and alcantara combination sports seats are comfortable yet supportive. A mishmash not that familiar in sports cars. The side thigh bolsters are flexible so that you won’t get your cheeks wedged getting in and out. The charcoal leather trim and white contrast stitching is of high quality and not too fancy looking. The alcantara trim is sewn into the upper backrest, side hip bolsters and in the thigh support, the alcantara trim provides that bit of extra grip for the passengers during a corner.

One more thing to mention with the seats is the unique badge, HSV have further added the 40th Anniversary checkered flag logo into the headrest.

After only sitting in the GTS behind the steering for only a short period of time it doesn’t take long to feel at home. The leather bound steering wheel with alloy highlights has a nice thick to feel to it, with thumb rests at 10 and two. With easy to reach functions for audio, trip computer and the cruise control you only need to take your hand off the wheel for a gear change.

The instrument cluster is colour coordinated with the exterior colour with a HSV logo and speedo that dials up to 280 km/h.

In the centre of the dashboard the GTS features additional dials providing feedback to the driver. The three dials consist of a voltmeter, oil temperature meter and an oil pressure gauge. For every day driving you wouldn’t glance more than once at it, but would prove to be useful for track days and if the GTS only gets used infrequently.

Magnetic ride control (MRC) suspension is an advanced piece of handling technology, the shock absorbers fluid contains metallic particles which use an electric current to modify the viscosity, and this current is controlled by the sensors in each corner providing feedback to each shock absorber. For the more determined driver there is a Track mode providing a firmer ride and even better handling.

After a few days of driving the GTS and becoming a custom to the nature of the beast I flicked the switch to activate the MRC Track mode, after already being impressed with the handling what was I in for? The Track mode tightens the rear up and really keeps all four paws on the road – flat.

HSV GTS 40th LE

The MRC matched with the large HSV engraved brakes makes the perfect couple, for a large car this GTS pulls up surprisingly fast, HSV claim braking to a stop from 100km/h can be done in just 36 metres.

And now the best till last, the LS3, in 2008 HSV upgraded its V8 engine line-up to a larger capacity to 6.2 litres gaining more grunt. Power has increased to a whopping 317kW which translates to 450hp when you’re comparing against its European rivals.

The GTS manual transmission variant as tested will cost you $78,170 and accelerates to 100km/h in a mere 4.96 seconds… Enough said.

Specifications

Engine

LS3 6.2 litre Generation 4 V8

317kW @ 6000rpm

550Nm @ 4600rpm

 

Transmission

6-speed manual transmission

6-speed automatic transmission with sequential shift

 

Handling

Front: MacPherson strut direct acting stabiliser bar. Progressive rate coil springs.

Rear: Multi-link Independent Rear Suspension (IRS). Progressive rate coil springs. Stabiliser bar.

Magentic ride suspension

20” alloy wheels

 

Brakes

Front: 365mm x 32mm ventilated and grooved discs

Rear: 350mm x 26mm ventilated and grooved discs

 

 

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

 


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