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Old 18th August 2008, 05:47   #1
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Thumbs up Holdens' Special Vehicle

Okay, I primarily went to test drive this car because there was an arrangement made without consulting me. Hesitantly, I mean, very hesitantly, I drove myself to the showroom and went to the adjacent building because apparently, there is where they keep their steroid fed horses. Hmm, it was a Holden showroom. No, bear with me, this one is special. And, I myself realised it after stepping into it.



We are aware of the catastrophic under-steer problems Holden’s have had in the past and also that they did not sound as good as their arch rivals – the blue oval – Ford. The major compensation it steadily has is its’ price tag. They are, let me use the phrase – worthy every buck. So, they manage to maintain sales. But, in all these considerations we completely forget Holden’s parent company – GM. GM re-badges them numerous cars under them and sell them under different names in different countries. In a nutshell, the Chevvy you are driving need not necessarily be a Chevvy. This one however, is a Holden, an Aussie car for real. Or, is it?



Visit: Holden Special Vehicles (HSV) - LS3 E Series GTS



It is called HSV GTS where HSV stands for Holden Special Vehicles. So, instantly you know that this car is a fast one. It is attractive too. The red colour car has big wheel arches, gills and sits on 20 degree wheels with 275-wide Bridgestone Potenza ZR20s tires showing an aggressive stance. Its’ body can undoubtedly be recognised to have been influenced by the V8 racing that is popular in this part of the world. The fender vents, grills and gills are to get as much as down force as possible makes the car look very attractive and masculine. Even the interiors are of the racing pedigree with black and red colours used which is an optional for an extra AUD 700. Another way to justify the Aussie influence in making this car is the large seats and surprisingly spacious leg room for the passengers. I mean this; the plethora of room available can easily accommodate 3 XXL blokes from a beer bar. I was already drooling over the looks of this monster. I hadn’t ignited it yet.


Before beginning the test, a sales executive, a friend of mine says to me, “Oye, be gentle with the throttle, will you?” I simpered as I woke up the monster. The feeling was good, in fact great. I engaged the manual transmission as I adjusted the seat to my seating position. My right leg slipped to the right-most pedal which if I am not wrong is the gas pedal and the car came into life and just spun its’ wheels. This car is quite comfortable to drive in the city. Since, it has got seats in the back it is kind of a luxury, sports sedan. But, I was more interested in the sportiness of the car. I was eager to know how good or bad would its’ reaction be while you execute a turn at an alarming speed. So, I took it to the track after a long drive of warming up them horses.


By now, I had realised that once the revs went north of 2000, the V8 growled. Once the revs exceeded 4600 revs, 550nm of torque got unleashed. Honestly, the car sounds so good that at times, I would deliberately down shift a gear to listen to the growl. After tons of wheel-spin and making donuts, I began thrashing it round the track. The racing attributes can be seen by the arrangement of the pedals too. The distance between the brake and throttle is just right to encourage some heal-toe action. The GTS comes with a feature they term MRC (Magnetic Ride Control) with the manual transmission. Since, all were talking about it, I was specifically told to test the manual model. I learn that the MRC instantly adjusts the viscosity of the springs depending on the driving conditions. Once the “Track” button is pressed, the suspension stiffens to tighten the monsters’ turning abilities. After hitting the track button, I hit the button with squiggly tyre marks symbol on it and all those electric nannies responsible for stabilising the car where summoned to stay mum = ESP turned off. Now, the 6.2litre V8 churning 317kw = 425hp was freed from its chains.


The car runs up to 100ks in 5.3 seconds and touches 260kph. HSV claim if the gears are shifted quickly it would be less than 5 seconds and would touch 275kph. I began testing its’ handling and when confidently turned in the car for a left bender, I exclaimed “Holy Dooley!” I was shocked and can I admit? I was scared too. The fat Aussie had under-steered. Again, turned left for the left bender and I react, “Oh, bugger!” I was just beginning to love this car when it does something that is alone enough to disregard for lifetime. Then, I stalled and thought about it.


Come on, this is an Aussie influenced car, isn’t it? Aussies, remember? The ones who have meat in every meal. These are the ones who add at least a tiny amount of alcohol in most of their main course meals just for that extra kick. These are the ones who spill wine and beer on their bbq. So, I decided to stop respecting the monster and mistreating it with rudeness.


As I approach the left bender, I rudely shove its neck into the turn and react, “You’re a ripper!” It was text book power sliding without the slightest hint of under-steer. It was now when all those fender vents started to be purposeful. So, I cannot entirely claim this car to be free of under-steer. But, when you treat it aggressively, you can get rid of it unlike prior models. After that, I just kept going sideways and I began to think this was one of those cars like the Monaro that is just so simple to drift in. You just need to trust that the arse hanging out will definitely come back, and it will. Even when the stability control is switched on and during an alarming incident, the car does not react as if it is slapping you to straighten up. The ESP gently eases the situation rather than abruptly cutting out power to the wheels. So, even the quickest drive isn’t jerky.


For AUD 75,990, you are loaded with all the latest goodies namely cruise control, auto-headlights, climate control, Bluetooth connectivity, ESP and side impact air bags. For the automatic model, you pay an extra 2 grand. It is very hard to get bored with this enthusiastic car. It looks good and drives well. This muscle car easily defeats its arch rivals the Ford Falcon GT and Chrysler 300C SRT 8 (in the regional zone) in every aspect except one. All its performance figures are better than the rivals. Okay, you tree huggers; here is a fact that shall make you more of an environmentalist than us. This gas guzzler gulps 1 litre to move for 6.5 - 7ks. In the track, it moves for 5ks/litre – the only reason for you to buy one of the two competitors instead.


Another fact; this car is assembled in the US keeping the Aussies in mind. The influence is evident, don’t you think? And, one more thing, are you ready for this one? The LS3 engine in this car comes from the current Corvette! Don’t you just want one?


So, if you are a rich man and like a mental car to have fun with and at the same time like go shopping with your family, this car is just right.
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Old 1st September 2008, 11:28   #2
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great review. what it's missing is pics. 5-starred.
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Old 1st September 2008, 13:03   #3
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Default @rippergeo

Hey there, thanks for reading and appreciating. Sorry about the pics. We strictly abide by not clicking pics while road testing as we are disallowed to do so. However, for the latest review on Mazda 6, we had pics clicked in a motor show. We have uploaded them. Kindly have a read.
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Old 11th September 2008, 03:14   #4
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Default A few photos clicked ATD

These are a few photos clicked by one of our members who is planning to own one.
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Old 11th September 2008, 16:54   #5
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the styling reminds me of the EVO. nevertheless, looks good
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Old 11th September 2008, 21:44   #6
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Wow cant believe i missed this before. Nice review. Car looks good too.
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Old 11th September 2008, 21:55   #7
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seen many of these in auz. the look and sound good.
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Old 12th September 2008, 02:29   #8
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Hey all,

Thanks for reading and appreciating.

@rippergeo - For a 2 litre sporty Japanese car, Evo looks fat. We prefer the earlier Evos' both in terms of looks and performances. The gills make you feel that it is similar to the Evo. The HSV is a muscle car and is just great.

@coodude1988765 - Yes, it is a very very attractive car. If not the looks, then the sound is sure to drive you crazy - "Honestly, the car sounds so good that at times, I would deliberately down shift a gear to listen to the growl".

@akshay1234 - Yes, since it is primarily made for the Aussies, you see many of them in Australia.
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Old 12th September 2008, 10:15   #9
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The review is very intractive and of a quality that can hit the press!

Too good review, the humor of understanding that reviews are meant to find out faults was really good.


Post EDITED since it contained various [FONT], [COLOR] and [SIZE] tags. Posting with such text formatting should be avoided on Team-BHP as it is inconvenient for members to read post. Kindly go through Announcements section before proceeding.

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Last edited by Jaggu : 12th September 2008 at 10:19. Reason: Font tags
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Old 12th September 2008, 11:51   #10
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That car is damn hot. Lucky you got to ride her.
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Old 12th September 2008, 12:05   #11
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My God! Thats a beast!

I would agree, styling cues are very EVO X inspired but very tasty nevertheless.
Only flaw i could point out would be the fog lamp cluster, could be a little neater but i am sure it looks better in flesh.

Love the tail lamps.

@Brosreview- The write up was excellent.
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Old 12th September 2008, 12:15   #12
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Hey there, Thanks for reading.
@zaks - Oh dear!!! the car is steaming hot. One of our members is actually buying one soon.
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Old 12th September 2008, 12:21   #13
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@abhik - Thanks for reading and appreciating. Umm, we would rather put it the other way round - the Evo X is HSV inspired because the gills are adapted in V8 cars (Holden is a competitor) which has then been adopted by many brands including the Evo X.

Yes, in the photos, the fog lamp cluster may not look nifty. But, when touched and felt, it looks great.
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Old 12th September 2008, 17:39   #14
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nice one pal,I am sure you must be feeling like a King when you ride it.
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Old 13th September 2008, 02:40   #15
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@jazzy 2cool - Hey there, thanks for reading and appreciating. Yes, umm, one would rather feel like a Kings' spoilt second son rather than the King in this car.
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