Chris Miller road tests and reviews the 2013 HSV GTS.
As far as muscle cars go, the 2013 HSV GTS is at the top of the food chain, offering blistering acceleration and a sound track that brings tears to the eyes of grown men.
And unlike most muscle cars, the big HSV GTS is great in the bends.
With a 6.2 litre V8 direct from the latest Corvette, this 325kw HSV GTS has the potential to be a bit of a pig to drive, but with a wonderfully balanced chassis and some great suspension tech, the way the HSV GTS gets all that power to the ground is quite an achievement.
And the way the car shrinks around you is nothing short of inspiring, with great front end bite enabling confident cornering with tonnes of grip.
In six-speed manual guise as tested, the HSV GTS sees 100km/h flash up in around 5 seconds, and with massive rotors & six pot calipers up front, it’ll pull up to a standstill even quicker.
On the road, the ride is firm but more than compliant for comfortable cruising, and it will eat large distances in a relaxed unfussed manner, in the same way it can be docile and easy to drive in city traffic, although with the weight of the clutch you will bolster your left thigh muscle if you go for the manual option.
The intention of this car though is not for leisurely cruises or city driving, but rather for screaming around a racetrack or blasting up a winding road, where the big HSV GTS is in its element.
The mountains of torque available, 550Nm to be exact, make this an extremely drivable car in almost any gear, and if you hook it up right, the pace can be insane.
The magnetic ride control system, or MRC, keeps body roll to a minimum in corners, meaning you can attack with aggression.
Point the nose to where you want to go, give it lots of right pedal and the back end of the HSV GTS comes around and hunkers down to sling shot you out of the apex.
You’ll get brief flashes of the traction control on the dash, but the car is so communicative that is very easy to judge the limits of adhesion, meaning that the electronic nannies aren’t constantly interfering.
There’s no hiding the HSV’s Commodore roots, and inside the hard dash plastics constantly remind you of this, but the extra touches like oil pressure, temp and voltage gauges, lashings of leather and the brilliant Enhanced Driver Interface (EDI) go a long way to make up for it.
The EDI, displayed in the large high-res central screen which also facilitates the reversing camera, Bluetooth & audio controls, will help you become an expert on your driving style with readouts on shift patterns, power outputs, G-Force and lap timing functions.
You can also control things like the bi-modal active exhaust, which at 4000rpm opens extra valves making the already magnificent burble of the V8 sound like a supercar.
The USB port hidden in the glove box will also allow you to download all your data for analysis on your home PC.
You wouldn’t buy this car based on its green credentials, but surprisingly after a week behind the wheel my average came out at 13.9 litres per 100km. Impressive considering the engine displacement and that addictive sound that is always encouraging you to hit the noise pedal.
5 Star ANCAP Safety comes via some excellent active safety features like the blind spot warning system, albeit looking like a bit of an afterthought with two small towers in each corner of the windscreen that light up red when another vehicle is sitting beside you.
At $82,990 the HSV GTS doesn’t come cheap, but in comparison to its European counterparts it is an absolute bargain.
If you’re looking for a racetrack weapon that is also capable of dawdling around town with the minimum of fuss, the HSV GTS has to be on the shopping list. Well engineered, capable and downright exciting, the HSV GTS really is the best of both worlds.
NUTS and BOLTS
Engine: 6.2 litre V8 petrol developing 325kW and 550Nm
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Safety: Five stars
Price: From $82,900
For further information, please see Recalls and faults: HSV E-Series GTS.