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by David Zalstein

For the $169,990 (before on-road costs) asking price of the just-revealed 2017 HSV GTSR W1, you could get yourself into a BMW M3 Competition, Mercedes-AMG C63 S, or even the brand-spanking new Alfa Romeo Giulia. Talk to the man in charge at HSV, though, and he says justifying the company’s most expensive ever model is simple.

“I think there’s simple justification: just have a look at the performance of the vehicle versus its competitive set,” HSV managing director Tim Jackson told CarAdvice.

“Can you find a car that delivers what [the 474kW/815Nm GTSR W1] delivers for anywhere near the price? No. That’s the justification I think.”

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Powered by the monstrous supercharged 6.2-litre LS9 V8 engine out of the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1, the W1 – in sheer outputs terms anyway – easily trumps the likes of the 331kW/550Nm BMW M3 Competition ($144,615), 375kW/700Nm Mercedes-AMG C63 S ($155,615), and 375kW/600Nm Alfa Romeo Giulia ($143,900).

“If you want to say, ‘Oh, it’s the most expensive HSV ever done’, look at the content in the vehicle, the investment that we’ve made, and the performance of the vehicle,” Jackson said.

“It stacks up to what else is in the market, and it’s a moment-in-time vehicle.”

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Whether you’re a Holden Special Vehicles fan or not, the numbers – at least – don’t lie. And to get close or better the W1, you’ve got to start looking at cars such as the $230,615 BMW M5 (423kW/680Nm), circa-$250,000 Mercedes-AMG E63 S (450kW/850Nm), and $246,700 Audi RS6 (445kW/700Nm).

“If there’s an evaluation to be done on ‘does it look like we’re making a lot of money on W1’, all I say is take the LS9 engine – you can look them up online, there’s a number on it of around US$25,000 – turn that into Aussie dollars, ship it over here, put a transmission on it, do all the other work we’ve done to it, add your luxury car tax to it, add your dealer margin to it, and your GST to it.

“There’s a very clear walk up in what the recommended retail price looks like, and you can have a look at it and say, ‘Okay, I can understand why it’s that price’.

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“I firmly believe the value equation’s there,” Jackson said. “And you can look at that from what you think the costs include – the content on the vehicle, and the development of that vehicle – you can look at it from the competitive set in the market place, and then you can also look at it as a moment-in-time vehicle [that is] limited and unique.

“There are lots of different ways you can put a perspective on it, and from my perspective, I can look at it from all those angles and say, ‘Okay, I think it’s a fair price for that car’.”

Elaborating further, Jackson said a key part of any program is deciding what the company feels is a fair price to charge for a vehicle, and the GTSR W1 program was no different.

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“We look at it right at the start, not at the end, because we don’t want to get to the end and say, ‘Oh, well actually we think that’s too much to charge for that vehicle’,” Jackson said.

“But, we know where the demand has been, we know where – in terms of inquiries that have come to us and dealers – the demand for the vehicle [is], we know the content that’s going into it, we’re obviously closer than anyone to knowing the cost of development, and it sounds funny, but we get off on making great product.

“We obviously need to get an appropriate return for that, but we know HSV is always about value. It’s not about going, ‘Okay, well I can match that up – from a content perspective, from a performance perspective – well you should put us up against a Mercedes-AMG E63 S, so make it [around] $250,000. But that’s not what HSV has ever been about. We’re about providing great performance at great value, and being able to demonstrate that difference.”

In the end, Jackson summarises his viewpoint succinctly. “We get off on making great product – we [just] can’t do it for free. But what floats our boat is delivering great product to the customer, and in this instance, we think we’re going to do that.”

What do you think? Is the near-on $170k 2017 HSV GTSR W1 good value for money? Let us know in the comments section below.

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