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First look: HSV evolves GTS flagship

More refined: Ohlins suspension and a linear steering rack headline changes for HSV's latest GTS.

HSV eschews more performance for ride and handling with its new GTS

27 Feb 2004

HAVING established a reputation for increasing performance at almost every opportunity, HSV was expected to deliver something extra special in the shape of an even more powerful, Y Series 2 version of its range-topping GTS sedan and coupe at the Melbourne show.

After all, the GTS nameplate – 36 years old this year – was discontinued in August last year and has remained absent from HSV's current range since its launch in October 2003. With competition from FPV stronger than ever, it seemed HSV was preparing another coup.

Instead, the Clayton car-maker has unveiled only a better equipped, dynamically improved Y Series 2 sedan and coupe with the same 300kW output, alongside its new Avalanche XUV twin-cab ute (see separate story) and the forthcoming Coupe4, which makes its Melbourne debut.

For now, the Y Series 2 GTS sedan will be priced at $97,500 ($2850 more than it was last sold at, in Y Series guise), while GTS Coupe will cost $98,500 – an $1850 increase.

HSV currently holds 15 orders for GTS sedan and coupe, which will be available by sepecial order only through HSV retailers, and expects to commence deliveries by May.

Biggest change for 2004 GTS models is in the suspension and steering departments, with the addition of racetrack-inspired adjustable remote-canister gas-pressurised suspension damper units and an exclusive new linear-ratio steering rack.

Designated HSV Adjustable Performance Suspension, the Ohlins-based system comprises ‘piggyback’ style shock absorbers to replace the standard rear dampers.

Meantime, the front strut units have been adapted to accommodate Ohlins dampers, complete with remote canisters mounted on the strut tower brace under the bonnet.

HSV claims the precisely tailored internal Ohlins components and a mono-tube construction deliver a level of damping control that is "virtually unheard of in road car applications", by reducing internal stiction (friction) to promote greater fluidity of movement throughout the damper’s operating range.

The result is more grip and more compliant ride quality, according to HSV, plus the ability to adjust bump (compression) damping over a range of eight positions to suit individual driving styles or racetrack conditions. Rebound damping is factory set and non-adjustable.

20 center imageTo compliment the improved ride and handling package, HSV engineers also developed a unique steering rack ratio designed to improve on-centre responsiveness while maintaining what HSV describes as the GTS’s "refined Grand Touring steering qualities".

While other steering components remain unchanged, HSV produced tooling to manufacture the new rack exclusively for use on GTS models, which now feature a rack ratio that remains linear across its travel, as opposed to the previous variable ratio.

HSV claims the result is greater predictability from lock to lock, as well as a quicker on-centre ratio. Together with the revised suspension, GTS is claimed to create a new benchmark in chassis dynamics.

Also featured as standard across the GTS range is the new HSV Tyre Pressure Monitoring system, which tracks tyre pressure and temperature levels and provides a warning to the driver should they exceed preset limits.

The addition of extractors and a larger-diameter exhaust from other Y Series 2 models is said to have refined the power delivery of the US-built 5.7-litre Chevrolet-based C4B V8, whose peak power and torque outputs remain unchanged at 300kW and 510Nm.

In response to power steering related problems, HSV has also developed a power steering oil-cooler, which will be standard on GTS and available as an option across the HSV range.

Other new standard GTS features include HSV Xenon Performance driving lights (which work only when high beam is activated), HSV Rear Park Assist and HSV LED Interior Lighting, which uses a soft LED light to illuminate the centre console controls during night driving.

Inside, the GTS will feature new generation HSV Performance Seats inset with premium ‘chain-mail’ leather from the Bridge-of-Weir Leather Company in Scotland. They feature eight-way power adjustment with driver’s memory and Active Head Restraints.

GTS sedan will be available in Sting Red, Phantom Black and the HSV-exclusive colours HSV Racing Green and HSV Ultra Violet. For GTS Coupe the choice will be Phantom Black, Sting Red, Quicksilver, Devil Yellow, Impulse Blue and HSV exclusives HSV Ultra Violet and HSV Racing Green.

The only GTS options will be satellite navigation, a sunroof and a DVD entertainment system.

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