New HSV GTS: Australia’s most powerful car
26 April 2013
-- HSV saves the best until last: “Gen-F” GTS is Australia’s fastest and most powerful sedan of all time
-- Supercharged V8 has 430kW and 740Nm of grunt, more than the world’s best performance sedans
-- HSV GTS overtakes the iconic Ford Falcon Phase III GTHO as the new king of Australian muscle, on sale August priced about $100,000
The new HSV GTS has been one of the best-kept secrets in Australian automotive history.
Given the uncertain future of local manufacturing, and an imminent switch to four-cylinder economy cars, the new HSV GTS is poised to become the Australian automotive equivalent of the iconic racehorse Black Caviar.
The new generation Holden Special Vehicles GTS will be powered by a 6.2-litre supercharged V8 borrowed from a race-bred Chevrolet Camaro, known as the “LSA”.
Its epic 430kW of power and 740Nm of torque eclipses that of any car previously made in Australia, and has more grunt than the world’s fastest sedans currently on sale in Australia (see table below). Only the new Mercedes E63 which goes on sale locally later this year will match its kilowatt output.
In imperial measurements the new HSV GTS “Gen F” has 575 horsepower, only 25hp less than a 2012 V8 Supercar. Performance times are yet to be announced but the new HSV GTS is said to accelerate quicker than most Porsches, reaching 0 to 100km/h in “comfortably less” than 4.5 seconds, which also happens to be the unofficial time for the latest supercharged Ford Falcon GT.
While most of the HSV’s European peers can top 300km/h on an autobahn, the GTS has been electronically speed-limited to 250km/h, to meet General Motors’ global guidelines but still enable enthusiast drivers to explore its potential on a race track.
To tame its mammoth grunt the HSV GTS “Gen F” will be fitted with performance technology never seen before on a locally-made car, some of it inspired by Porsche. Electronic “torque vectoring” brings new levels of driver control by apportioning power to the outside wheel when accelerating out of corners.
The stability control system on the new GTS will have five settings (up from the current three) that will also adjust steering and suspension feel at the press of a button, from “comfort” to “track” mode.
The shock absorbers use the same technology as Ferrari, with tiny magnetic particles adjusting the damping forces in milliseconds, enabling the car to better respond to road conditions.
New Continental tyres, which end HSV’s 20-year relationship with Bridgestone, were initially developed for Mercedes-Benz and are said to have achieved an amazing double-act: more grip and longer wear.
Given the raft of new technology and hardware upgrades required to handle the extra power, the new HSV GTS won’t come cheap. It is the second-dearest car to wear a HSV badge since the limited edition HSV W427 V8 sold for $155,500 in 2009.
The new HSV GTS is due on sale mid-year with an RRP of about $95,000 -- but the transaction price will be closer to $100,000 once on-road costs are added. That’s almost triple the cost of a basic Holden Commodore, but less than half as much as its European rivals.
As our computer-illustrated images show HSV has taken a much more conservative approach to the design of the new model. It is unclear whether fans will embrace the change, having grown accustomed to greater visual differentiation between HSVs and Holdens over the past seven years.
The new HSV “Gen F” lacks the twin bonnet vents, the large trapezoidal exhaust tips, the repositioned tail-lights and the prominent blacked-out nose treatments which were signatures of the current line-up. Even the front fender garnishes are the same as those found on the regular VF Commodore, albeit with different finishes (black instead of chrome).
Unusually, HSV will not highlight the GTS output by displaying its power number on the bootlid, as it has done with its flagship model for the past 25 years. Instead of the numbers “430”, the bootlid badge will simply say “LSA”, the code for the Camaro-sourced engine.
HSV has fitted LED tail-lights that are different from those fitted to the standard Commodore, but they occupy the same space -- unlike the bespoke tail-lights on HSV’s VE range which looked dramatically different from the Commodore and were mounted lower. It is understood that it would have been too costly to make changes to the aluminium bootlid.
While there has been widespread speculation about what might power the new HSV range -- given the Commodore’s link to the US Camaro’s underpinnings and its engines -- no-one has to date published more than guesswork.
Contrary to perception, fitting the LSA engine in the Commodore was not a straightforward process. While the supercharged V8 engine was readily available off the shelf, significant upgrades were required to the clutch, gearbox, tailshaft and axles to handle the awesome power. A new heavy-duty differential with extra cooling and extra mounting points had to be developed, as did extra under-body strengthening.
430kW V8 for HSV
26 April 2013
HSV will soon begin selling the fastest, most powerful car in Australia’s history.
The Australian muscle car is set to enter a new chapter with the arrival of the HSV Gen F, which is set to get a supercharged V8 with 430kW of power – or 575 horsepower in the old money – and a mighty 740Nm of torque.
Drive has learnt that Holden’s performance partner, Holden Special Vehicles, is set to unleash its most brutal muscle car – and a car set to become one of the fastest, most powerful four-doors in the world.
Based on the upcoming new Holden VF Commodore, the HSV Gen F – which a Drive reader spotted testing in Melbourne earlier this month - will bring a new look and a supercharged V8 set to make it the most powerful sub-$100,000 car on the market.
The Gen F version of the HSV GTS – which is due in dealerships about August – will get the new supercharged V8 engine that ups the V8 muscle-car ante and looks set to quash any performance comparisons with arch rival Ford.
With 430kW the engine has 32 per cent more power than HSV’s current most powerful offering.
The 105kW power jump matches equals the biggest power jump in the brand’s 25 year history.
The new supercharged V8 for the HSV GTS will even have more power than the limited run of HSV W427 models (each with a 375kW 7.0-litre V8) and will comfortably outmuscle Ford’s Falcon GT, which has a still impressive 335kW.
The 6.2-litre supercharged V8 is borrowed from the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 and is understood to have led to a major re-engineering program for the Commodore-based four-door to ensure it can safely and reliably deal with so much grunt.
HSV’s 58 dealers were recently informed of the plans for the upcoming Gen F and are understood to be queuing to get their hands on the important new model to satisfy the inevitable early demand for what will be the fastest, most powerful locally-produced car.
While the GTS – with the new supercharged V8 engine - will be the hero in the Gen F range dealers were also told HSV will continue to offer regular (non-supercharged, or naturally-aspirated) versions of its current V8.
The current 317kW engine will still be used in the entry-level ClubSport version of the new HSV Gen F, while the better equipped ClubSport R8 continues with the 325kW version that was previously the most powerful on offer.
However, HSV will offer a new “SV enhanced” pack that will up the power of that 6.2-litre V8 to 340kW.
With the new 430kW engine the new HSV GTS Gen F will vie for the title of the world’s fastest sedan.
It will easily eclipse rivals costing double or more its expected sub-$100,000 start price.
The BMW M5 produces 412kW while the soon-to-arrive new Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG with an optional performance pack makes 430kW (410kW in regular tune).
Then there is the upcoming new Audi RS6, which with a 412kW twin turbo V8 is shaping up to be the fastest accelerating wagon thanks in part to its Quattro four-wheel-drive system that virtually eliminates wheelspin.
Even the soon-to-arrive new Maserati Quattroporte only manages 390kW of power, while Porsche’s Panamera Turbo tops out at 382kW.
Then there’s the Aston Martin Rapide, which may be the brand of choice for James Bond but only musters 410kW from its V12.
The new HSV has been the subject of speculation for years, especially from owners of older models keen to upgrade.
"Sometimes the Aussies get it right. Other times the Aussies get it really right. This is the Holden HSV GTS. It's a 2014 Chevy SS with the 575 horsepower supercharged V8 from the Camaro ZL1. That makes this Australia's most powerful car. Of course, it isn't coming to America. Damn."