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The Mercury Cars Guide : October 17th 2009
Saturday, October 17, 2009 Classifieds 62 300 400 • carsguide.com.au ---3 Holden fine-tunes its grunt SPEEDSTER: Love it or hate it, the Holden HSV E2 GTS is impossible to ignore. driving with PAUL GOVER IT is absolutely impossible to ignore the new GTS. It is one of those cars that just screams for attention. Wrapped in gold bodywork, in the stop-go traffic to Mount Panorama last weekend, the GTS turns heads and stops traffic. But it is not just the rust-belt boys and V8 Supercar fans who are captivated by Holden's new muscle car hero. Even the parking attendant at the five-star Intercontinental Hotel in Sydney is an instant fan. ''Man, I've parked every car in- cluding Porsches and BMWs, but this is the hottest,'' he says as he reluctantly hands me the keys. Then I fire the V8 and get an instant reminder, from the loud and proud new active exhaust, of the engineering work that has gone into the Series II update of the HSV VE. The body bits are in-your-face aggressive, but the real work is in everything from the engine to the suspension and even an F1-style launch control on the six-speed man- ual gearbox. ''We've spent 75 per cent of the money on things you cannot see. I am an engineer and I always want the money to be spent on engineer- ing,'' says HSV chief, Phil Harding. ''I promise you will not find a car that rides as well on 20-inch rims as this one.'' The body bits are a love-it-or-hate- it job, and the cabin is not much better than a regular SS Commodore, but it's hard to ignore the work done by Harding and his team. The car really has a superb ride, the front-end grip and response is exceptional, and the engine has more grunt you can feel from 4000 revs. It is nowhere near the refinement of a Mercedes E63, but it torches the V8s from Ford Performance Vehicles and is way cheaper than the booming new Benz. When you're driving the GTS you need one of two things: a big ego or thick skin. If you like the stares you will love the cars, but otherwise you need to ignore the endless looks and cracks. Oh, some driving talent also helps in a car that now cracks with 325kW. It's easy to drive the car briskly, just slotting into a high gear and letting the torque do the work, but there are vast reserves of power and brilliant corner grip available on the right road at the right time. Drilling all the way down to GTS bedrock, however, would mean booking a racetrack. Once you hit 4000 revs the engine comes alive and you need to be paying attention, but the GTS has HSV's best brakes and that makes for a well-balanced package. The six- speed shift and clutch are still heavy, but the launch control is brilliant. It means anyone can do a thunking good job of a 0-100km/h sprint, although I was not able to match the sub-five second run of the HSV engineers. A few ticks more is still pretty good for a car this big and heavy. The fuel economy will run 9.1L/100km on the highway, and averages 13.9 during my test, but will easily slip beyond 16 if you call up all the horses. I also like the car's supportive seats, and the punchy sound system, and the Bluetooth phone connection, but a car with this price should come with satnav as standard. And with something, anything, to make the cabin more rewarding for the person who has paid big to get HSV's hero. Lined up against its rivals the GTS is an easy winner over anything from Ford Performance Vehicles, even the turbo I personally prefer over the V8 GT, and is a bargain against the class benchmark from Mercedes-Benz. It is also a car that looks like becoming an instant benchmark for Aussie muscle. You can love it or hate it, but it is impossible to ignore it. small torque HSV GTS Price: $80,990 Engine: 6.2-litre Gen III V8 Power: 325kW at 6000 revs Torque: 550Nm at 4600 revs Transmission: Six speed manaul (six-speed sequential automatic) Body: Four-door sedan Seats: Five Dimensions: Length 4988mm, Width 1899mm, Height 1457mm, Wheelbase 2915mm, tracks front/ rear 1616mm/1590mm Steering: Variable ratio rack and pinion power steering Suspension: Front MacPherson strut direct acting stabiliser bar; progressive rate coil springs rear. Magnetic Ride Control Fuel tank: 73 litres Fuel type: 98 RON Fuel consumption: 14.8 litres/ 100km (13.9 litres/100km auto) Weight: 1834kg (1857kg auto) Brakes: Anti-skid all-round discs Wheels: 20-inch alloys Tyres: 245/35 R20 95Y front, 275/30 R20 97Y Safety gear: Dual front, side, curtain airbags, active front headrests, electronic stability control, traction control, anti-skid brakes, tyre pressure monitoring, limited slip differential, daytime LED running lights CO2 emissions: 352g/km (329g/km auto) The Bottom Line: A knockout car to scare European performance sedans and thrill died-in-wool HSV enthusiasts. Score 80/100 35 Brisbane Street, Hobart www.tilford.com.au 6234 0200 2009 Focus LX Demos from$24,990 EAWAY 2009 Mondeo LX Hatch $32,990 TAKE ADVANTAGE NOW OF THE 50% INVESTMENT ALLOWANCE Your business may be eligible for the Federal Government s proposed Investment Allowance. Small business with an annual turnover of $2 million or less may be able to claim a 50% tax deduction on an eligible asset purchased before Dec 31 2009. Please consult your tax advisor to determine your eligibility. Featuring: 6 Airbags 5-star ANCAP safety rating Cruise Control DSC Safety * Metallic Paint $400 extra Featuring: 6 Speed Automatic Transmission Air Conditioning 7Airbags Voice Control * Metallic Paint $400 extra 2009 Fiesta CL 5 Door from$17,990 DRIVEAWAY Featuring: ABS Brakes Rear Spoiler Dual Front Airbags German Built & Engineered * Metallic Paint $400 extra 2009 FORD PASSENGER RUNOUT! STRICTLY LIMITED STOCK!
October 10th 2009
October 24th 2009