HSV GTS by Walkinshaw Performance

words - Joshua Dowling
Look what happens when HSV's aftermarket division gets its hands on an E2 GTS

HSV GTS by Walkinshaw Performance

First Drive
Melbourne, Australia

Price guide: (recommended price before dealer and statutory charges): $131,910. ($81,990 for a GTS and $49,920 for all the kit, including around $17,000 for the supercharger).
Options fitted to test car: WP Supercharger and intercooler. Cool air intake. Three-piece mesh alloy 20-inch wheels. WP six-piston brakes (front), WP four-piston brakes (rear), WP carbonfibre hood scoops, fender vents, lip spoiler, mirror covers, engine cowl. WP Rockford Fosgate sound system. WP 3-inch dual exhaust with high-flow catalytic converters. WP bi-modal exhaust. WP 4-inch dual exhaust tips. WP suspension (springs lowered 10mm). Adjustable link rods (rear). Eaton True Trac diff centre.
Crash rating: five star ANCAP
Fuel: premium 98 octane unleaded
Claimed economy (L/100km): N/A
CO2 emissions (g/km): N/A
Also consider: Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG, Chrysler 300C SRT8

Overall: 4.0/5.0
Engines and Drivetrain: 4.5/5.0
Price, Packaging and Practicality: 3.5/5.0
Safety: 3.5/5.0
Behind the wheel: 4.5/5.0
X-factor: 4.5/5.0

About our ratings

It's appropriate that the latest creation from HSV's party tricks division -- Walkinshaw Performance (WP) -- is green. At times its grunt is so scary that it's part horror movie and part swamp monster.

This is what happens when an already-quick HSV GTS gets given the go-fast treatment from a bunch of blokes who used to turn spanners on V8 Supercars.

And it's absolutely wild.

The main ingredients are a supercharger, a massive exhaust system and a remapping of the engine management computer. The other stuff like the wheels, the brakes, the lashings of carbonfibre and the audio system are mainly for looks (and sound).

Given this is WP's showcase on wheels, it has the lot, including a new Eaton True Trac diff centre that helps make sure the traction gets to the road -- off the line and in corners. And for the first time, WP is now covering its handiwork under its own warranty -- for the balance of the new car warranty -- so confident is it in the reliability of the system.

Over the past two years WP has done more than 200 supercharger kits, with no major dramas reported. Indeed, according to WP, the only issue in those 200 cars was a hose that let go after a track day -- but it was a hose that someone else had fitted incorrectly, so it wasn't deemed a WP fault (WP fixed it as a sign of goodwill).

WP has managed to achieve reliability because it doesn't turn the wick up all the way on its superchargers. The cars typically run 0.8 bar of boost whereas as some tuners wind them up to 1.2 bar. WP says it is happy to add boost but this voids its warranty.

After sampling the green monster (the third WP supercharged car we've driven over two years) we can assure you there is no need for any more! The green car pictured here pumps out 480kW and 802Nm. In case you're wondering that's almost 50 per cent more power and torque than the standard car.

As it stands, WP's calling card can log the 0-100km/h sprint in 4.2 seconds (independently verified by our friends at MOTOR magazine). That was using a HSV test driver at Holden's Lang Lang proving ground so there's a chance in the real world this would equate to about 4.5 seconds. But 4.5 seconds ain't exactly slow.

What's perhaps more impressive is the in-gear acceleration. The standard 6.2-litre V8 is responsive, but this conversion gives you responsiveness and instant torque.

It's also more driveable than previous WP supercharged cars. Earlier renditions could get grumpy at certain revs, this one revs cleanly and smoothly.

The sound is something else. The standard GTS bi-modal exhausts sound sweet, but this thing sounds like a V8 Supercar when the baffles open up.

It drives better than earlier WP cars, too, because they've designed a new 20-inch wheel that can take the genuine factory HSV tyres (Bridgestone RE050). The 22-inch wheels on earlier WP cars looked awesome but the availability of good rubber was limited.

Having access to a wider range of tyres is a good thing. Because if you turn the traction control off, you may end up going through a few sets.

Overall, the E2 GTS by WP is an example of just how far this small outfit has come in a relatively short space of time. For a monster of a machine it's much more polished than before. But it's still a monster.

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Published : Wednesday, 7 April 2010
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