2017 HSV GTSR W1 Unveiled

By: Andy Enright, Unique Cars magazine

GTSR W1 front GTSR W1 front
GTSR W1 badge GTSR W1 badge
GTSR W1 wheel GTSR W1 wheel
GTSR W1 engine 2 GTSR W1 engine 2
GTSR W1 interior GTSR W1 interior
GTSR W1 on track GTSR W1 on track

HSV’s halo car goes out with a bang

By now, you’ve probably seen the headlines. HSV has planted an LS9 into the pointy end of the GTS and upgraded just about everything that could be plugged and played. It’s a fitting tribute to the end of local production, a tyre-frying, 475kW wrecking ball of supercharged fury. Australian cars didn’t fade away. They went out with an almighty bang.

Sourcing the LS9 engines – a lump GM no longer produces – wasn’t easy in itself, but an internal sleuthing mission tracked down a warehouse facility with enough engines for the 300-car production run and spares for warranty cover. Although the swept capacity looks much the same as the supercharged LSA, the dry-sumped 6.2-litre LS9 is a different beast with an Eaton four-lobe supercharger, forged titanium conrods, titanium inlet valves, hollow-stemmed sodium-filled steel exhaust valves, and oil jets spraying the underside of the pistons.  Developed for the sixth-generation Corvette ZR1, it’s an altogether angrier engine than the LSA, thriving on revs, deployed to the ground via a beefier TR6060 six-speed manual transmission and some clever electronic torque vectoring trickery. The MH3 close-ratio gearset from the Corvette, a unique input shaft and a ZF Sachs twin-plate clutch with solid flywheel ought to satisfy those who really want to bang through the gears.


Of course, the badge has a bit of history. Unique Cars readers will doubtless recall the 1995 GTS-R, painted in Melbourne taxi-spec XU-3 Yellah paint and sporting the most outrageous rear wing of any Aussie production car. That was beside the lurid yellow seats, three-spoke alloy wheels and carbon fibre trim details on the wheels, wing, front bumper and side skirts.

GM decided against reprising the big wing for the latest car and the yellow signature paint was also given a swerve. Perhaps the most intriguing thing is how far we’ve come in terms of power. Back in ’95, the blueprinted 5.7-litre ‘stroker’ V8 ruled the roost amongst Aussie muscle car powerplants, cranking out 230kW. The asking price was $85k if you chose the blueprinted motor option – and why wouldn’t you – which, accounting for inflation, would be around $125,000 today. So is the $169,990 GTSR W1 a bargain?


Of course it is. You’re getting 475kW and 815Nm rocket. It’s in the same ballpark of grunt as a quarter-million dollar Merc AMG E63S (450kW/850Nm) and will hold its value a good deal better. It’s rammed with sexy bits like carbon fibre air intakes, flared guards, quilted Alcantara seats and V78 Supercar-spec SupaShock dampers. With 800 orders taken against a production run of 300 vehicles, allocations could become very messy. Those looking to flip are already expecting a 20 to 30 percent markup. But why would you? If you’re one of the lucky 300, this one should be a keeper.

See Motor magazine's news page for more info on the 2017 HSV range.

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