HSV’s retune of the GTS’s suspension hardware and software has added a little bit of tautness, crispness and high-speed stability to the car’s handling and has certainly done enough to make this feel more like a really fast and purposeful track machine than any VXR8 to date.
But to have taken this car onto the side of the super-saloon spectrum marked ‘firm’ or ‘highly strung’ would have been a betrayal of the laid-back, grunt-over-grip, ‘she’ll be ’right, mate’ performance ethos of every HSV-prepared Holden to have made it to the UK. And, thankfully, that’s not a betrayal HSV is guilty of.
Even in its firmer ride modes, the GTS-R still feels like an Alcantara-upholstered La-Z-Boy compared with, say, a Mercedes-AMG E63 S.
Its suspension has the sort of longish-travel suppleness that has been engineered out of the likes of the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio, and combined with grip levels that are high – but deliberately not heroically so – the GTS-R deals with uneven B-roads particularly well.
There’s a delicacy and an interactivity involved with driving this car fast that the sheer competence of newer rivals doesn’t allow for.