On the face of it, the GT-P is a distant third place when it comes to big, local talent. And against the stopwatch that view is hard to dispute.
This Performance Car Of The Year article was first published in MOTOR Magazine November 2008.
With 0-100km/h coming up in six-dead (eight-tenths slower than the HSV) and the standing 400m in 14.0 at 169.2, the GT-P also trails the other pair by a fair chunk at the end of the kilometre with 25.0 (at 217.6) almost a full second behind both the F6 and the GTS.
The Wakefield layout doesn’t do the GT-P any favours, either, and it scored a 1:10.8 lap to be almost a second behind its F6 stablemate.
The V8 FPV simply requires more forward planning on the track if you're going to nail the apex every time. The extra weight over the front wheels makes it a bit pushy and there's less suspension control in evidence. Neither is the GT-P as adjustable via the throttle when it does all start to slew around although, that said, it’s still a pretty good drift weapon if you’re that way inclined.
Let’s see: more mass, same rubber and brakes as the F6. No surprises there, then. Of course, the GT-P was the only local car to be running an automatic gearbox, and that’s a bigger part of it than you might imagine.
Not that the six-speed slusher isn’t good, because it is, and on the track or the road, the box’s decisive nature and slick shifts both up and down mark it out as a good ’un. And that’s the point.
The auto tranny suits the GT-P perfectly and is a metaphor for the whole way the GT-P plays out in the real world. It is clearly more about eating interstate runs than blitzing a 70-second lap. See, if getting somewhere relatively nearby in a real hurry is your go, then there are better cars than the GT-P.
But if covering big distances with minimum fuss and maximum comfort is on the agenda, then you could do a lot worse. Let’s start with the seats. The front chairs would have to be among the best in the game. You need to climb over the side bolster and free-fall into the cushion a little, but once you’re there, it’s bliss.
Only the steering column that doesn’t adjust high enough (something it shares with the F6) takes the edge off the accommodation. The noise is pretty damn good, too; a rich V8 burble that the HSV with its loopy firing order simply can’t match.
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And once you’re up and rolling, the V8 does a good job of both keeping you moving and soothing you into thinking this might just be one of the all-time great Aussie Grand Tourers. Which it undoubtedly is. Sure, you’ll pour a few extra litres into it over the F6 on the same cruise, but pointing that big, orange bonnet-bulge at another state or territory and letting her rip is what the GT-P is all about.
A shame, then, that it will rush you around for $77,190 or just under a grand less than the HSV, because when you consider the merits of the pair, the GT-P just isn’t the all-rounder it probably should be.