HSV GTS/Vauxhall VXR8 (2013) first pictures of new Aussie M5

Published: 14 May 2013

This is the new HSV GTS: all 577bhp of it. The V8-powered supersaloon has had a supercharger bolted onto its 430bhp engine, taking power from BMW M3 levels to the same poke as a Mercedes E63 AMG S. Plus, there’s a new exterior and cabin design. On sale in Australia in September 2013 and sitting atop the new Holden Commodore range, it’ll arrive in the UK next year badged as the new Vauxhall VXR8.

Tell me about the HSV GTS’s hardware

Under the bonnet is a supercharged 6.2-litre V8 – basically the same lump used by the old Corvette, and outgoing VXR8 family. For the 2013 GTS, HSV has added a wealth of unique components to up the power. There’s a high-flow exhaust, upgrade engine and transmission cooling, unique rear suspension and 9psi of boost from the Eaton supercharger. The resultant 577bhp and 545lb ft are sent through the rear wheels only via either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission.

That makes the HSV GTS the most powerful Holden ever, usurping the old HSV W427, which used a 7.0-litre V8 with ‘just’ 503bhp. Strewth mate, etc…

Ride comfort is adaptive via a magnetic ride system, which can vary the stiffness of the suspension using an electrical current to change the viscosity of the damper fluid. Choose from three modes: Touring, Sport and Track, which Holden Special Vehicles reckons makes the new GTS more comfy when cruising, and a tidier handler on maximum attack.

Has the new HSV GTS got the brakes to match?

Brake disc diameters are increased versus the outgoing GTS, and you get two-piece, six-piston forged calipers front and rear. Rear brake pad size is also up by 12%. It’s not all just brawen though: there’s techy brains on show too. The new GTS uses brake torque vectoring to reduce understeer, by shuffling power and braking inside wheels to tighten the car’s line. Similar systems are in use by Porsche on the new Cayman, 911, and forthcoming 918 Spyder supercar.

Sounds like the new HSV is getting a bit over-complicated…

The ‘Driver Preference Dial’ which switches driving modes between Touring, Sport, Performance and Track would appear to confirm that, but HSV says it’s been designed to be simple and driver-friendly to operate, with just one dial to twist to select pre-tuned modes. The different presets alter the GTS’s stability and traction control, launch control, torque vectoring, electric power steering and the active exhaust note.

It’s not what you’d call a Q-car either…

Nope, this is as lairy-looking as super-saloons come, and all the better for it. The blown engins needs 75% larger cooling apertures at the front, hence the big front ‘nostrils and wide-mouth grille. Wheels are forged 20in alloys, with wider front tyres than the outgoing car to improve the handling balance.

Bespoke touches inside include suede trim, a new instrument cluster, leather sports seats (with 18-way electric adjustment) and a sackful of standard toys. There’s blind-spot monitoring, a head-up display, automatic parking, sat-nav, a reversing camera (handy to see past that monster wing) and a push-button start. Quality has also taken a step up from the relatively low-rent cabins of previous GTS models, which majored on bang-for-buck over Germanic quality.

By Ollie Kew

Former road tester and staff writer of this parish