2013 HSV F-Series GTS review

By: Scott Newman

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2013 HSV F-Series GTS 2013 HSV F-Series GTS 2013 HSV F-Series GTS
2013 HSV F-Series GTS 2013 HSV F-Series GTS 2013 HSV F-Series GTS
2013 HSV F-Series GTS 2013 HSV F-Series GTS 2013 HSV F-Series GTS
2013 HSV F-Series GTS 2013 HSV F-Series GTS 2013 HSV F-Series GTS
2013 HSV F-Series GTS 2013 HSV F-Series GTS 2013 HSV F-Series GTS
2013 HSV F-Series GTS 2013 HSV F-Series GTS 2013 HSV F-Series GTS

Australia, meet your new muscle car king...

2013 HSV F-Series GTS review
Driven: HSV GTS

 

HSV GTS

Forget the numbers. With 430kW/740Nm, the new Gen-F HSV GTS is the most powerful Australian production car ever by a country mile, but to focus on the headline-grabbing outputs is to sell short the most complete and capable muscle car this country has ever built.

And yet it’s the 6.2-litre supercharged LSA V8 – shared with Chevrolet’s Camaro ZL1 – that dominates your initial impressions. It erupts into life with a push of the starter button and you can feel its potency as it idles, the whole car rocking with the pent-up aggression of a sullen teenager.

Set off, though, and you’re immediately struck by the engine’s civility. It’s quiet and tractable, and the Tremec six-speed ’box that sits behind it is reasonably slick given the loads it’s being asked to handle.

It’s so easy to drive that you almost forget that there is 577hp lurking under the bonnet. Until you floor it. Then that V8 snarls like a wounded animal and the scenery starts going past very quickly indeed. You’d expect all sorts of wheel-spinning histrionics, but the traction control remains calm as the new 9.75-inch rear end feeds power evenly to the 275/35R20 rear Continentals.

The level of grip the new GTS can find is stunning, but repeat the process a few times and a nagging question forms: Does this thing really have 430kW? Make no mistake, the GTS is seriously rapid, but it feels little faster than an FPV GT-P, a car with supposedly 95kW/170Nm less.

The stopwatch confirms it. With Wheels Deputy Editor Nathan Ponchard at the wheel, the GTS manages 0-100km/h in 4.7sec and 0-400m in 12.8sec. Fast, but no faster than the best times extracted from the FPV. Someone’s telling fibs (though we suspect it might be the Blue Oval).

Hit a few corners, though, and you won’t care about the engine anymore. Despite the diet program employed as part of the Gen-F upgrade, the GTS tips the scales at a hefty 1882kg (blame that supercharged donk and all the coolers needed to contain its power), yet it nonchalantly shrugs off the weight with the help of high technology.

The ‘Driver Preference Dial’, a rotary selector just behind the gearshift, cycles through four modes: Touring, Sport, Performance and Track. Each twist slowly unleashes more of the GTS’s feral side, adding weight to the electric power steering, firming up the thirdgeneration Magnetic Ride Control dampers, opening the bi-modal exhaust, slackening off the ESP system and, in Performance and Track mode, activating the Torque Vectoring system that gently brakes an inside rear wheel in corners to kill understeer.

It all gives the GTS a tremendous breadth of ability, a car that can switch from a quiet, comfortable long-distance cruiser into a sharply honed track weapon in seconds. But possibly HSV’s greatest achievement is in making a 430kW Commodore so easy to drive. Whether on road or track, the new GTS never feels in the slightest bit wayward or intimidating.

Of course, being based on the new VF Commodore architecture means the new GTS also benefits from a huge lift in interior quality and a raft of features that wouldn’t be out of place in a car costing twice its $92,990 ask. This is an HSV that can park itself and has blind spot and forward collision alert, lane departure warning, rain sensing wipers, on-board telemetry and a fantastic head-up display.

For years Australia’s hottest sedans have faced up against the offerings from AMG and the M Division and come out looking pretty good considering the price differential. But the new GTS needs no such qualification. HSV has created a car that can hold its head high against the very best four-door sedans the world has to offer in terms of technology and overall ability.

 

SPECIFICATIONS

2013 HSV F-Series GTS

Engine 6162cc V8, OHV, 16v, supercharger
Power 430kW @ 5900rpm
Torque 740Nm @ 4200rpm
Weight 1882kg
Gearbox 6-speed manual
0-100Km/h 4.7sec*
Top speed 250km/h (limited)
Price $92,990
Our rating 9.0/10

* Wheels September 2013

 

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