Driven: HSV Clubsport GXP

By: James Stanford

Big alloys and out-there styling is pure HSV Big alloys and out-there styling is pure HSV Big alloys and out-there styling is pure HSV
The interior is dated and cheap  but the ripper 6.2-litre V8 takes your mind off it The interior is dated and cheap but the ripper 6.2-litre V8 takes your mind off it The interior is dated and cheap  but the ripper 6.2-litre V8 takes your mind off it

HSV's Clubsport GXP is a cut-price Aussie muscle sedan that's scored a stonking engine


HSV Clubsport GXP

Holden lost a lot of export business when Pontiac went feet-up last year, but there is an upside for Australian muscle car fans.

The short-lived Pontiac GXP, a range-topping model with an LS3 V8 and unique suspension, has been dusted off and reissued as a cut-price, limited-edition Holden Special Vehicle.

Still wearing the GXP badge, it sets a new entry point to the HSV brand at $61,990 for the sedan and $55,990 for the ute, which means the GXP works out about $9000 less than the ClubSport and Maloo. Think of the GXP as a cross between the Holden Commodore SS and HSV ClubSport.

Importantly, it gets the same cracking 6.2-litre V8 as most HSV models, which generates a stonking 317kW and 550Nm.

It’s a tremendous engine with shovel loads of torque down low in the rev range, but it also pulls strongly all the way through to the 6600rpm redline. This V8 is far stronger than the rival FPV offering.

The Chevrolet-sourced engine also belts out the most menacing, guttural exhaust note; gruff and angry with more than a hint of V8 Supercar.

A six-speed manual is standard, which is nice enough if you don’t have to negotiate stop-start traffic daily, but if you do, a six-speed auto is a $2000 option.

The latter is a lot better than past GM automatics and changes quite quickly in manual mode, but it’s still not as good as the ZF six-speed in rival FPV products.

The GXP sedan has unique springs and shock absorbers, developed for the US Pontiac program. US suspension settings are usually jelly soft and the GXP is not as firm as an HSV, but it isn’t spongy.

In fact, a track blast revealed the GXP retains excellent body control with minimal body roll. It’s also a little more forgiving on bumpy roads than HSVs too.

Pontiac didn’t have a GXP ute so HSV came up with its own suspension solution. Front suspension is SS and the rear-end is Maloo, but with SS dampers in order to get the back-end to ride low.

Both ute and sedan sit on 19-inch rims that you may recognise from the previous generation ClubSport.

The GXP gets the same interior as ClubSport, including cloth sports seats, extra centre dials and Calais info screen. Unfortunately, it looks cheap and dated and doesn’t come close to the European prestige brands HSV insists it competes against. The plastic surfaces look like they belong in a far cheaper car and the digital displays lag at least a generation behind FPV opposite numbers.

Exterior-wise, the GXP gets a ClubSport nose with the LED daytime running lights and vented bonnet. It also gets chrome-look wing mirrors and chrome-ringed door handles.

The GXP doesn’t look quite as cool from behind, though, and misses out on the unique LED taillights that make other HSVs look more special than Holdens.

Still, at this price you can’t have everything. It isn’t perfect, but the GXP handles well, is great value and, more importantly, is a cheap way of getting access to that cracking engine.


HSV Clubsport GXP

Body: Four-door sedan
Weight: 1810kg
Drivetrain: Front-engined, rear-drive
Engine: 6.2-litre V8
Transmission: 6-speed manual or automatic
Power/torque: 317kW @ 6000rpm/550Nm @ 4600rpm
Performance: 0-100km/h – 4.9 secs
Price: $61,990 drive-away


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