Limited editions should always be treated with a bit of caution. Normally a model’s sales slow and need a spark, so on go a set of alloys, cheap stripes and a ‘this is a special model’ badging.
This review was originally published in MOTOR’s January 2004 issue
But that’s not how HSV chose to launch the Y Series 2, GTO Coupe Series III. The first 100 (80 of which are autos) of the 285kW/510Nm-adorned GTO will be the LE, Limited Edition, that offers a few nice little extras.
Senato-style plush leather interior, roof spoiler, factory sunroof, massive Signature 19-inch alloys and a choice of three paints – grey, silver or deep purple – are some decent goodies for the $79,990 asking.
But it’s what’s not exclusive that matters most, and the thunderous 285kW Gen III V8 is now standard across the HSV car range, with a deeper induction and exhaust note. That’s a good thing, and while it renders the 300kW GTS Coupe as a special order only from February 2004, unless you’re in need of bragging or heavy braking, there’s really little need for it. The GTO’s extra 25kW over the old car are felt throughout the rev range; it’s fatter underfoot from 3000rpm to the 6200rpm cut-out.
Ride quality is so good that it’s easy to forget it’s riding on 19s, and that’s impressive because the handling and roadholding are way up there with the best. Yeah, it’ll push on turn-in like the Holden chassis tends to do, but it just puts its power down so well.
Traction control off, it’s a struggle to break the rear end free unless you’re being stupid. But it suffers in a straight line: Holden and HSV coupes have always struggled to equal their comparable sedan’s times, and while a 20kg heavier HSV ClubSport manages 5.3 seconds to 100km/h and a mid 13-second quarter mile (incidentally the same times HSV claims for the GTO), the identically geared GTO struggled to get closer than one second to those times. Its speed was also down around 10km/h through the 400m marker, so its lack of herbs may not be a true representation.
We hope the same is true of build quality. Sure, this was car 001, but it’s not HSV’s first Monaro and there should have been no reason for its massive panel gap inconsistencies, the loose headlight switch or the misfit spring on a console door.
Still, the Y Series II does offer more. Updates include parking sensors, active head restraints that fly forward during a rear collision, a front strut tower brace and the option box of HSV’s Adjustable Performance Suspension by Ohlins.
Brakes are HSV’s Performance pack with 330mm front rotors and PBR twin-piston calipers that stand up to a decent prod without turning to putty. They’re not as impressive as the Clubbie R8’s 343mm Premium Package with four-piston calipers, but they’re not far off.
The LE version is a good deal, but with the engine revisions to the GTO, don’t fret if all 100 have sold out because, disregarding quality issues, even the regular version is now a bigger hoot than ever.
2004 HSV GTO Coupe LE
Engine: 5.7-litre pushrod 16-valve V8
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