HSV’s most aspirational and inspirational nameplate, the legendary GTS, returns as the top-flight E Series model and its remarkable list of specifications and features mark it as a more than worthy successor to its illustrious forebears.
It immediately stamps its authority with increased power, an awesome new braking system, high-tech suspension, more rubber on the road for greater grip and an on-road presence that points to its status as one of the fastest four-door sedans in the world.
Not only does it drive, stop and look better than any previous model, it also carries the best pricing proposition ever for a GTS.
Measured against any rival performance sedan, in any market across the world, using any criteria for comparison, the new E Series GTS is a born leader.
Styling and design
Whether on the road or standing still, the GTS is a car that demands your attention, no matter which angle you’re looking from. The ‘Sports Performance’ styling package opens with a finely chiselled twin-nostril grille above a front facia that features a dynamic lower intake complete with V8 Supercar-like pseudo brake cooling ducts and a set of driving and fog lamps.
The side elevation is dominated by E Series signature fender vents (consisting of a totally unique to HSV fully metal pressed lower guard section) and the radical looking 20-inch alloy wheel design which deliberately exposes the awesome new HSV brake package, as well as emphasising the vehicle’s rear drivetrain. A more distinctive and aggressive GTS appearance is created by ‘Matt Black’ bonnet header strip, fender vents and rear spoiler supports.
The rear statement is no less bold with a lower diffuser section that carries design cues seen in the storming GTS-R show car, a set of ultra-cool quad exhaust outlets and, arguably ‘the jewel in the crown’, LED rear lamps. Mounted below the rising side featureline, the hi-tech twin intercepting LED circles look stunning, as well as giving a low, wide look to the rear of the car. They’re also a key point of differentiation since they don’t just replace the Holden lamps – they actually require a new rear facia, rear fender cap, electrical body harness and mounting system. Further raising the overall level of visual sophistication is an HSV ‘first’, high quality, moulded mesh material used front and rear.
The interior is as overtly sporting as the exterior with colour combinations and quality trim materials carefully selected to reinforce the message. The bespoke GTS seats boast a fabulous race-inspired design that incorporates exceptionally generous side bolsters and its own exclusive centre bolster which are finished in suede for texture contrast and even greater lateral support.
For even more individuality there’s a ‘Red Hot’ trim option which contrasts against the standard dark ‘Onyx’ trim throughout. Here ‘Red’ trim elements are set in relief against the dark lower and upper cabin trims to produce a seriously race-inspired interior character. Other sporting highlights include a unique HSV instrument cluster, as well as a smoothly integrated three gauge, dash top auxiliary cluster and a chunky design steering wheel rim.
Engineering and technology
Just as there will be no way of mistaking the GTS in terms of styling, there will also be no mistaking its outstanding abilities as a driver’s car of world class proportions. Under the bonnet the unique-to-HSV 6.0 litre LS2 V8 now produces an even more exhilarating 307kW @ 6000 rpm (from 297kW @ 6000rpm) and 550Nm @ 4400rpm (from 530Nm @ 4400rpm) thanks to a revised intake and exhaust system (including new smooth flowing ‘four-into-two-into-one’ tubular extractors) and a 24 month program to refine the engine calibrations. That not only makes GTS (and its E Series stable-mates) the fastest HSV and one of the fastest sedans in the world, it also makes it a member of the ultra-elite ‘four second’ club.
A manual version – featuring an upgraded Tremec T56 six-speed manual with an improved gear shift mechanism for smoother and faster shifting – now takes a scintillating 4.96 seconds for the 0-100km/h sprint.
The all new automatic transmission – in the form of the 6L80 E six-speed unit – takes only fractionally longer and clocks just 5.04 seconds to reach100km/hr from zero. The new auto has been specifically calibrated to deliver smooth but firm up-shifts and includes a ‘Tiptronic’ function. As a true driver’s car, it will hold selected gears without up-shifting, even when the engine is taken to the rev limiter.
In addition, HSV has invested heavily in unique differential ratios – automatics 3.27:1 and manuals 3.70:1 – aimed at producing extra launch urge.
Importantly, improved engine performance is matched by seriously-powerful braking performance. Developed in conjunction with AP Racing, the all new system consists of enormous (365mm front and 350mm rear) grooved and ventilated rotors complete with extremely rigid HSV specific four piston front callipers that reduce flexing and improve pedal feel and performance. There’s also the latest HSV-tuned Bosch ABS system and more linear friction levels from the new brake pad material. Brake performance is now at the very top tier of world class with the GTS capable of stopping from 100km/h in just 36.0 metres, making it more than a match for a bevy of supposedly heavy hitting, mega-priced European sports models.
To its electronic driving aid arsenal, GTS now incorporates two pieces of cutting edge technology – Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and Magnetic Ride Control (MRC). The ESC system has been developed, calibrated and tested specifically to HSV requirements to ensure it perfectly matched the GTS’s new suspension technology, 20-inch diameter wheels and larger rear tyres and delivered improved overall safety levels without detracting from the traditional GTS driving experience.
MRC technology takes GTS into an all new realm with, not only the most sophisticated and advanced suspension systems fitted to any Australian manufactured vehicle, but also a system that offers a clear lead over most European manufacturers. Developed over 3 1/2 years at a cost of $4.5 million, this electronically controlled damper system offers GTS drivers two modes – ‘Performance’ or ‘Track’ – that transform their vehicle from a luxury ride bias to race track inspired chassis at the press of a dash mounted button. Metal particles suspended in the magneto-rheological fluid within each damper respond to changes in an internal magnetic field to provide continuously variable damping force without any mechanical delays.
To further exploit the rear grip of the new chassis, the front and rear wheel sizes now differ in width – 8-inch front and 9.5-inch rears. Combined with the 20-inch diameter wheels on GTS (yet another HSV ‘first’ for the local market), it culminates in a massive 275 width rear tyre that provides simply extraordinary grip. New 20-inch tyres, developed specifically for the HSV range in conjunction with Bridgestone (featuring unique construction, belt angle and tread compound), are all about peak performance with fast response and high levels of grip. Indeed, in GTS, HSV chassis engineers recorded the best ever results in the high speed lane change test.