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HSV’s GTS Maloo blasts off

Thunderous: If you want to own possibly the world's fastest production ute, you had better be quick – only 250 are up for grabs and buyer interest is already unprecedented.

Buyer response prompts HSV to double production of Australia’s fastest load lugger

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HSV logo12 Sep 2014

HOLDEN Special Vehicles (HSV) has almost doubled the planned production run of its fire-breathing 430kW GTS Maloo ute after unprecedented buyer response before the model was officially announced.

The high-performance car-maker had originally chalked up a limited run of 165 units of Australia's most powerful ute, but that number grew to 250 after reports of its arrival prompted punters to offer deposits at dealerships around the country.

Formally announcing the new HSV ute flagship today, HSV marketing and planning general manager Damon Paull told GoAuto that dealers had been inundated with calls after reports of the super-ute began surfacing.

“Many customers were willing to put down deposits on vehicles that our dealers weren’t in a position to confirm,” he said.

“Certainly that helped determine likely demand, but more importantly we have an obligation to satisfy as many customers as we can – especially those who are repeat purchasers.

“We worked fairly closely in a very short space of time with our suppliers to determine whether we could increase production and we think the 250 really does help to satisfy as many customers as we can, but at the same time retain that element of exclusivity.

“We may have under-called it from the start.”

The GTS Maloo was first proposed for production around the time that the GTS sedan was launched in Australia 12 months ago.

Pricing of the GTS Maloo has not been confirmed but HSV said it would be in the $85,000-$90,000 range, making the ute version cheaper than its $92,900 sedan stablemate.

Other than a load bay in place of second-row seating, the GTS Maloo is mechanically largely the same as the sedan version, with the same supercharged 6.2-litre LSA V8 engine behind its heavily ventilated nose, churning out 740Nm of torque.

The Chevrolet-sourced LSA engine is shipped directly from the US factory and is installed at Holden's Elizabeth assembly line, before the cars head to HSV's Victorian facility for finishing.

HSV said it would not publish official acceleration or top speed figures, but weighing in at only 20kg less than the sedan, the 1875kg Maloo's performance “should be very close” to its four-door sibling.

Four-door versions of the GTS crack 100km/h in about 4.4 seconds, and 400 metres – the traditional quarter-mile – in 12.3 seconds.

Its mighty power output makes the GTS Maloo Australia's most powerful production ute, but its impressive credentials could elevate it to the top of a few world titles too.

HSV is not planning to take its latest creation to Germany's famed Nurburgring, but if it did it would likely steal the commercial vehicle title from the current king – the Holden SSV Redline Ute.

The GTS Maloo differs from the sedan variant in a handful of areas, including a retuned vehicle stability program.

Electronics specialist Bosch assisted in the development of the ute's 'torque vectoring' system which mitigates understeer, while tweaks to the traction control system tamed the rear end, despite less weight over the rear axle.

From the outside, some versions of HSV's hottest ute will be identifiable by two new unique paint colours Jungle Green and Some Like It Hot, although HSV predicts most Maloos will be ordered in the more traditional black, silver or white.

“Blade” 20-inch alloy wheels are presented in Dark Stainless satin finish, which is unique to the GTS Maloo, as are dark chrome exhaust tips and painted-out rear number-plate surround.

HSV said the significant cost of developing its Magnetic Ride Control system for such a limited run did not justify the inclusion for Maloo, and that the cost-versus-benefit ratio would not have been right.

A nine-speaker sound system in the sedan has been reduced to six speakers due to space constraints in the Maloo's smaller cabin.

Both six-speed automatic and manual versions of the GTS Maloo will be available, with the latter equipped with an unusual twin-plate clutch to deal with the significant torque, while manual versions get a launch control system allowing optimum acceleration off the mark.

Scrubbing speed is dealt with by six-piston callipers and 390mm two-piece discs at the front-end, and 372mm rotors at the back.

Three driving modes can be selected by Driver Preference Dial, making adjustments to ESC, steering and the bi-modal exhaust system according to the desired driving style.

Interiors get HSV's black leather performance seats or optional Red Hot trim, and equipment includes head-up display, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, rain-sensing wipers and EDI information and entertainment system.

Production of the HSV GTS Maloo starts in November with the first vehicles arriving in dealerships later the same month.

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