HSV’s range-topper comes at a premium — given its performance, it can be viewed as an absolute bargain. It gets leather trim, heated seats, head-up display, LED daytime running lights, ample driver aids and eight-inch infotainment screen with custom driver interface. Auto adds $2500. Warranty is three years/100,000km, service intervals are nine months/15,000km. Capped price servicing over five years will be $2513. Resale is 45 per cent.
Commodore dictates much of the design. However, HSV designers contrive some stand-alone character with a dramatic rear-end design and a unique front clip. The look is much bolder and in-yourface than the C63, with a sizeable fixed spoiler on the boot and bright yellow brake calipers. It is far more basic than the Merc. There is a lot more space for second row passengers too.
The pride of the GTS is in the engine bay — a cracking Chevrolet LSA V8 displacing 6.2 litres. But wait, there’s more. This one has a supercharger, so it belts out a remarkable 430kW/740Nm, making it easily the most powerful Australian performance car ever made. Expect 4.5 seconds for the 0-100km/h sprint. Drive modes can be changed through the centre screen but the alterations make far less difference than in the Merc.
The GTS hasn’t been tested. ANCAP gives the Commodore five stars and 35.06/37. There are six airbags, reversing camera, radar collision warning, lane departure and blind spot monitoring.
The GTS is a thrilling muscle car that can double as a family car. Its sheer performance will put a smile on your face. The engine makes a terrific roar, which builds into a vicious howl as the revs build. This seems like the closest a regular person could get to driving a V8 Supercar. It feels bigger and heavier than the Mercedes (and it is) and the steering disappoints thanks to limited feel. This is a far less refined machine than the C63 and levels of road and tyre noise are much higher.