AUSTRALIA’S last-ever homegrown super-sedan range will bid farewell with a torrent of piping-hot V8s.
HSV’s 2017 line-up will not only see the revival of the long-rumoured GTSR badge – last seen on the ‘be-winged banana’ VS GTS-R in 1996 – but there will be a limited-run mega-sedan sitting above and beyond even the ‘regular’ HSV GTSR, called GTSR W1.
Packing the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1’s epic dry-sumped 6.2-litre LS9 supercharged bent-eight instead of the regular GTSR’s tweaked LSA unit, the W1 will justifiably sit right at the top of Australia’s balls-out, muscle-car hierarchy. And it won’t be just numbers on a dyno sheet either. While 474kW and 815Nm are worthy of their own cult worship, the W1 will back up this beef injection with a raft of upgrades to gearbox, suspension, wheels and tyres intended to ensure that it’ll be the closest thing we’ll ever see to a V8 Supercar for the road.
With volume to be capped at just 300 units, the W1 appears destined to become the GT-HO Phase III of its era. But HSV will also produce a regular-production GTSR line – a sedan (from $109,490) and a Maloo ute (from $96,990) – to satisfy the inevitable demand for Australia’s last-ever domestic muscle cars.
Based on the updated MY17 GTS, the new GTSR scores a bunch of engineering enhancements including a K&N high-flow air filter, nudging the output of its blown 6.2-litre LSA V8 to 435kW (but still with 740Nm). Its six-piston brake package cops a ‘premium’ upgrade too, featuring larger 410mm front discs (up from 390mm units) with monobloc calipers and Ferodo pads behind new 20-inch forged wheels in a dark stainless finish.
The rims themselves are half an inch wider at both ends (9.0-inches front, 10-inches rear), forcing 12mm-wider front guards on each side with chunky new vents unique to GTSR. And the front-end amps up the visual menace, too, with a restyled, more aggressive fascia, larger air intakes and a “race-inspired” front splitter.
At the rear, the GTSR sedan gets a completely new fascia with large side ‘vents’, while both sedan and ute feature new diffuser inserts. Diamond-shaped exhaust outlets exclusive to GTSR house the dual exhaust tips on each side, whereas the regular GTS keeps its four individual pipes. And GTSR sedan features a unique rear spoiler – “integrated, cohesive and appropriate”, according to HSV, unlike the original ’96 GTS-R’s laughably enormous wing (as was the fashion at the time).
Inside GTSR sedan and Maloo GTSR, HSV’s excellent seats receive Alcantara inserts with diamond-quilted stitching and leather outer bolsters, in conjunction with a new start-up screen for the ‘Driver Interface’ set-up, also fitted to MY17 GTS.
The W1 one-ups the regular GTSR in a bunch of areas. Unlike the manual or auto options on the LSA, the W1’s dry-sumped LS9 (with carbonfibre airbox) will be offered solely with a six-speed manual ’box – a close-ratio Tremec unit. And W1’s suspension will ditch the standard GTSR’s excellent Magnetic Ride Control (MRC) arrangement for a unique, fixed-damper ‘Supashock’ set-up, taken directly from the Walkinshaw race car but refined for road driving.
Visually, the W1 builds on the already-smokin’ GTSR with a few subtle but worthwhile extras. Additional ‘W1’ front guard and bootlid badges, a unique “carbonfibre-upper” rear spoiler, matte-black for the scalloped section of the side skirts, and unique tyres for the 20-inch forged wheels shared with GTSR – Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R rubber measuring 265/35R20 up front, 295/30R20 at the back (instead of 255/35 front and 275/35 rear).
Inside, W1 again takes the whole GTSR upgrade a step further with full Alcantara facings for its diamond-quilted seats, ‘W1’ embroided into the headrests, and stitched Alcantara wrapping for its steering wheel and gearknob.
With a retail sticker of $169,990, the W1 is even more expensive than the exxy 7.0-litre W427 from 2008. But no matter the cost, this LS9 beast will fly out the door. Sales begin February 1 with production starting early April. As one of the most hardcore four-doors ever produced by a GM brand, it’s a fitting send-off to Australia’s fastest-ever car.