If you've got an HSV Gen-F2 GTSR in the driveway or on order, you are one very lucky boy. Or girl.
That's because we've just had this Spitfire Green example through the MOTOR office and it made us wonder, do you really need a W1? But since nobody on MOTOR staff has driven a W1 yet – long story – we can't be conclusive. And we weren't about to lend it to Morley (who has driven a W1). All we know is, if we never got to drive a W1 and were left with a GTSR, it wouldn't be all so bad.
This is an excellent muscle car. Perhaps it's not the 'greatest' car HSV has ever made, but it could be the sweetest. The 'best', even.
It starts, of course, with the exterior. In that luminous green it can't be missed, rolling on those huge 20-inch Hyper Dark Stainless wheels hiding the same enormous brakes as the W1. Up front AP Racing supplies 410mm two-piece drilled rotors with monobloc six-piston calipers; out back, 372mm two-piece cross-drilled rotors, with monobloc four-piston calipers.
These are, perhaps no surprise, the best brakes we've ever experienced on an HSV and are genuinely from supercar land, with outstanding feel and power, matched well to the slightly wider (than Clubsport, by 0.5-inch) 9.0-inch front wheels with 255/35 Continental ContiSportContact 5Ps.
With warm tyres in the dry, these are brakes that you keep pressing, pressing, pressing, waiting for some ABS, but then bailing out because it feels wrong that such a heavy car should be standing so hard on its nose. But it does, and happily.
Traction from the rear 275s is equally impressive. You can feed the rear tyres far more of the 6.2-litre LSA V8's 435kW/740Nm than you should be able to. While we didn't performance-test this manual example this time around, it feels strong and it feels quick.
We got a 4.14sec 0-100km/h and 12.19sec at 189.17km/h out of a GTSR Maloo. The best we've got from a Gen-F GTS is a fluke-y 4.31sec and 12.37sec. This car? Perhaps it would match the Maloo in perfect conditions. Interestingly HSV claims the 474kW/815Nm W1 should do 4.2sec. Our own testing of a W1 yielded a best of 4.5sec.
A lot of that has to do with the manual 'box, and while we normally caution against the three-pedal model in HSVs, in the GTSR's case it's the one we'd get.
Our test car, while fitted with a spec of the almost ubiquitous muscle car manual 'box, the Tremec TR6060, slotted gears with a sweetness we've not felt from it before, making it a pleasure around town and on a twisty road. Still a slight workout to use, but you also save $2500.
The GTSR's ride, with Magnetic Ride Control, is spookily good, too, in Sport mode (RIP Tour mode), with a lovely long-stroke waft along the highway and compliance on bumpy city roads. (Why can HSV get the ride right but AMG can't with its C63 et al? Bizarre.) And it makes the GTSR an easy companion for the daily drive.
With huge, addictive power, great traction, incredible brakes and generous lateral grip, the Gen-F2 GTSR is absolutely a car you leave home at 5am on a Sunday morning in for far-flung great roads.
It's fun, it's satisfying, it's exciting/terrifying depending on your experience level, still able to throttle-steer out of tight corners with help from a world-class ESP system. Yet it's possible to nit-pick the GTSR a little bit.
An LS3 SS Commodore sounds better, HSV creating a meaty and satisfying tailpipe burble at idle and roar at full throttle, but still hasn't done anything about the unpleasant coarse induction noise that's dogged (to our ears) LSA HSVs since day dot. That's not to say this car sounds bad; it sounds good, but could be better.
This is as good as steering has ever been on a VF Commodore but that's still not saying a huge amount; a C63's steering will still shade it, as will that of many other cars. It's hardly a deal breaker.
This is also a terrifyingly thirsty car. It's like every time you glance at the fuel gauge it's moved a few millimetres, even during normal driving. It has a 71-litre fuel tank.
One could also argue $109K for a Commodore is also stretching the friendship. That's twice (!) the MSRP of a manual 304kW SS-V Redline, itself a plentifully fast car.
Yet it's still somehow justifiable for us. Maybe it's the 12mm wider (per side) pumped front guards. Or the way it looks. But mostly, it's just how it makes us feel.
4.5 stars out of 5
Likes: Grunt, grip, ride, looks, brakes
Dislikes: Tyre and fuel bills, feels huge, still haven't nailed the noise
2017 HSV Gen F2 GTSR specs
Engine: 6162cc V8, OHV, 16v, supercharged
Power: 435kW @ 6150rpm
Torque: 740Nm @ 3850rpm
Price: $109,490 (manual)