It was with considerable excitement that I sat behind the wheel of HSV’s formidable GTS, and started that giant engine.
I had just been given a behind-the-scenes tour of the Melbourne production line, watching the meticulous process of building these sought after vehicles, and meeting the people who make them.
I was a bit overawed as well. HSV has such a reputation, the company has such a history in Australian motoring. It brings with it an army of fans. And I was about to drive the latest and fastest version, and a red one at that!
As well as making me excited and somewhat overawed, this vehicle also produced another emotion; I felt nostalgic. It’s the kind of car I longed for when I was growing up.
Buying tastes have changed, many motorists are opting for smaller, more frugal vehicles or SUVs. Sad then that it’s all winding down, but in this incarnation at least, the local car making industry is going out on a high.
There are still lots of people who are prepared to stump up the $98,490 for one of these. Wherever you go, it causes a stir.
Maybe it’s the sound of the 6.2 litre Supercharged LSA engine, or just the car’s reputation, but people seem to love it judging by the admiring and envious looks it gets.
Nostalgia aside, this is a surprisingly modern vehicle, complete with all the safety mod-cons, and impeccable road manners on the commute or taking the kids to school. Remember is a family sized sedan!
The roomy cabin is well thought out, driving position and controls are just right, and fit and finish are of the highest standard.
The infotainment system works well, and it’s very handy to be warned of speed limit changes, and when there’s a train level-crossing or school zone nearby.
It’s a long time since I have looked forward to the experience of driving to work, but that’s how enjoyable and reassuring it proved to be in stop-start traffic conditions.
On the open road though is where it excels. The HSV GTS is fast, very fast. Handling is a joy. Nimble, sure footed in the extreme, and for a big car, it feels smaller and surprisingly agile, especially on winding roads or when cornering at speed.
It fires up too, thanks to that 430 kilowatt LSA V8. 0-100 kph in 4.4 seconds.
Not exactly miserly fuel consumption – around 15 litres per 100 kilometres – but the car’s loyal supporters are unlikely to mind.
The HSV GTS. It’s a car I like very much, and I really agree with the slogan “HSV – I just want one”.
If you feel the same way and you’re thinking of making a purchase, maybe order up soon. Holden won’t be making the base Commodore much longer, and with that, sadly, this car won’t be available either.
NUTS and BOLTS – 2016 HSV GTS
Engine: 6.2 litre supercharged V8 developing 430kW and 740Nm
Transmission: Six-speed Automatic
Safety: Five stars
Price: from $98,940