During a deep-dive pre-launch presentation held late last month, HSV executives and engineers named the BMW M5, Audi RS6 and Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG as natural rivals for the ballistic new GTS, which has surged in peak output from 325kW/550Nm to 430kW/740Nm thanks to the introduction of General Motors' supercharged 6.2-litre ‘LSA’ V8 from the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1.
HSV marketing and communications general manager Tim Jackson said conquesting customers from significantly pricier German marques was not the brand’s primary goal with GTS, but believes HSV’s effort to specify the new model as highly as possible will see it make a strong case against its $200K-plus rivals.
“I’ve already had a couple of dealers call me to say a guy's already handed his keys in, or ready to,” Jackson said.
“I think time will tell. For us the first and foremost is that we want to make a great HSV. Obviously an E63 AMG, an M5 is where this spec vehicle [GTS] sits. You look at the power, torque, brake packages, the feature sets; it’s a very similar type of package.
“Our customers, they demand performance because we are a performance car manufacturer. They know what the benchmarks are so we need to know what the benchmarks are.”
HSV chief engineer Joel Stoddart admitted the brand had not done any back-to-back testing of the GTS against the German trio, but confirmed its engineering team had spent time in those vehicles as part of the car’s development.
“We’re aware of the M5 and RS6 specifications for GTS, and at that performance we’ve got to make sure that tyres, brakes, chassis, power are in that playing field,” Stoddart said.
HSV managing director Phil Harding said driving rival cars was an important part of developing the best and most relevant GTS possible.
“We’re always driving other products to enhance our knowledge, but we didn’t say, ‘We must beat this thing or this’,” Harding said.
“We’ve all got within this group a fair idea of what other cars can do. We take that knowledge into our cars and say, ‘We want to do this’.”
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HSV GTS versus Germany’s super trio:
Engine: 6.2-litre supercharged V8
Price: TBA (here in September)
Engine: 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8
Power: 412kW at 5700-6700rpm
Torque: 700Nm at 1750-5500rpm
0-100km/h: 3.9 seconds
Price: circa-$230,000 (here in November)
Engine: 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8
Power: 412kW at 6000-7000rpm
Torque: 680Nm at 1500-5750rpm
0-100km/h: 4.3 seconds
Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG (facelift)
Engine: 5.5-litre twin-turbocharged V8
Power: 430kW at 5500rpm
Torque: 800Nm at 1750-5000rpm
0-100km/h: TBA, circa 4.0 seconds
Price: circa-$240,000 (here in September)