Rewind back to 2015 and I was looking at buying a HSV GTS in April 2015, and the HSV dealers wanted about $104,000 drive-away (which I thought was outrageous). So I waited until October 2015 when the Gen-F2 models were appearing in the showrooms. I went in on the last day of October and was able to negotiate $85,250 drive-away on a Gen-F1 GTS that was in stock at the dealer. So by waiting six months, I was able to save a huge $18,750. It just goes to show that timing is crucial when it comes to buying a new car.
I can summarise the car in three categories.
The vehicle’s performance for a large four-door family sedan is incredible. The combination of acceleration, braking and cornering in a car of this size is really unmatched in its price range, and only equalled by Euro cars costing 2–3 times the money of the GTS.
The MRC suspension with its four settings means there is an ideal ride comfort/handling combination for just about any surface you drive on. Bulletproof drivetrain. The engine, transmission and differential form a time-proven combination. The transmission and differential are over-engineered in terms of their strength. They aren’t going to let you down, even in the long term.
Interior chrome trim is blinding on sunny days. Did no-one actually test-drive this car on a day when it was 40 degrees and the sun was shining?
Build quality is not perfect. My car had a couple of very minor paint defects that somehow made it past three levels of inspection (i.e. Holden factory, HSV facility, the dealer pre-delivery process). The service department were really good, though, when I pointed out the defects and they admitted that the defects shouldn’t have really made it past the first level at the Holden factory.
The factory Continental Sport 5P tyres, in my honest opinion, are the worst tyres I have ever had. I had more punctures with them in the 18 months I had them than in my some 30 years of driving. Once they were about 50 per cent worn they were unbearably noisy. And don’t get me started about the lack of grip. Replacing them with the Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S was the best thing I have ever done.
Fuel consumption. Absolutely horrible around the city. But that’s to be expected when you buy a car with a supercharged 6.2-litre engine. Expecting decent fuel consumption from a GTS would be like buying a Justin Bieber album and expecting decent musicianship! Despite that, I’ve given it a 9.5 for ‘performance & economy’ because economy wasn’t a consideration for me.
Long-term ownership will be expensive. For example, consider the brakes. I’ve heard of dealers quoting between $5000 and $6000 to replace all four rotors and pads using genuine items. So, while the GTS has awesome braking capability, it does come at a price. Same with the MRC shocks. They are supposedly $1500 a corner.
Now come back to 2019. The GTS is out of warranty and there is nothing to replace it within its price range. The closest would be an AMG C63 S, but they are about double the GTS. The Camaro? A two-door. But after owning a CV8 Monaro (which was a great car), I vowed to never buy a two-door car (with rear seats) ever again.
Time for an aftermarket exhaust system, camshaft, cold-air intake and supercharger pulleys with a higher ratio. Result: an estimated 610kW at the flywheel and a quarter-mile time at the drags of 10.8 seconds.
The only problems I have had with the car are:
1. The head unit/LED screen had intermittent glitches (e.g. freezing, reverse camera not working) that came good when the car was restarted. A software upgrade by the dealer appears to have fixed that.
2. The driver’s side seat felt like it was loose. A known failure fixed by the dealer.
The biggest tragedy of it all is that we no longer manufacture such a great car in this country.
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