The latter-day GTS-R was more than just a nod to the GTS-R of 1995. In fact, it’s a love letter to the whole rear-drive, V8 HSV dynasty which, as you would know already, ends right about now.
Oh sure, the HSV GTSR W1 is the attention seeker of the family, but since it’s actually based on this car, that whole GTS-R mob stands as the pinnacle of what could be done, not to mention an anthemic way to bow out.
Read the full MOTOR 30 Years of HSV special
The reality, too, is that you couldn’t buy a W1 now, even if you had the gold. They’re all gone; spoken for before they’d even been built. And that means that the GTS-R models are where you should be aiming if you want to salt away a slice of the best this country could do. And you have choices.
Within the F2 GTS-R line-up, there’s a choice of either the GTS-R sedan or the Maloo GTS-R ute and either of them gets the good bits. Those include the wide-body front guards and apron which allow for a 265 front tyre and give the car a meaner, harder look when it looms up in your mirrors. But there are also specific fascias, fender vents a rear diffuser and exhaust tips and inside, there’s alcantara aplenty.
But there’s also a fair bit going on mechanically, too, and that starts with the blown 6.2-litre LSA engine which comes in for a slight tweak to liberate another five kiloWatts courtesy of a revised air-filter. Torque remains as it was, but at 740Nm, that’s a long way from being a criticism.
Wheels become a forged 20-incher and there’s finally a 295 tyre on the rear.
It’s the braking package that has come in for the most attention in the ramp-up to GTS-R, though, and that starts with a set of monster front rotors which will stretch the tape-measure to 410mm.
They’re a two-piece design, too and are fully-floating. Next-generation AP calipers are now a Monobloc design and run to six pistons at the front while the rear gets four-potters.
While there’s no doubting the appeal of the W1 big-hitter, I’ll go out on a limb here and suggest that if you actually want a HSV you can live with and maybe even drive on the road (god forbid!) then the GTS-R is a better bet. For starters, you’ll drive home from the dealership with an extra $60K in your sky-rocket, and that buys a lot of beer, petrol, dirt-bikes and a bunch of flowers for the significant other.
Just for starters, you miss out on the full alcantara interior of the W1, but in the real world of grimy paws and work clothes, that mightn’t be a tragedy.
And anyway, you do still get the lush diamond-stitching in the leather/alcantara mix, so it’s hardly a vinyl taxi-pack interior, right? And should you desire an automatic transmission, then the W1 is ruled out again, because it’s manual-only. And the auto GTS-R is nicer again, because you get paddle-shifters.
You don’t get the W1’s Supashock, V8 Supercar-spec dampers in the GTS-R, but the Magnetic Ride Control adaptive arrangement you do get is possibly a better bet when bumps and speed humps come into the reckoning. As it is, the springs on the W1 are almost as hard as a V8 Supercar’s set-up for a street circuit. Ouch.
And those semi-slicks on the W1? Don’t make us larf. They’ll be horrible in the wet, they’ll wear out fast and most W1 owners intending to actually drive their car will be up for a second set of wheels and another four tyres.
Likely they’ll choose something like the ContiSportContact 5Ps that the GTS-R already has as standard.
And let’s not lose sight of the fact that the GTS-R remains a 6.2-litre, supercharged V8 with straight-line performance that would send a supercar of just a few years ago running away in tears. It stops hard, it goes round corners on that fat rubber and it will always be a memorable chunk of Aussie motoring lore.
And if real-world useability and practicality hasn’t been a cornerstone of local muscle over the years, then we don’t know jack.
Engine: 6162cc supercharged V8, OHV, 16-valve
Power: 435kW @ 6150rpm
Torque: 740Nm @ 3850rpm
0-100km/h time: We don’t know… yet
Price when new: $109,490
Years on sale: 2017