This sure takes some of the wind out of FPV's GT. The power advantage of HSV over cross-town rival Ford has been continually decreasing ever since the introduction of FPV, and with the BA Falcons' awesome value it looked like the FPV boys were finally beginning to have the game in hand. Now it's a tossup all over again.
This here, see, is HSV's VYII-gen Clubsport, which, despite not being the flagship in GM's arsenal (that title goes to the GTS), packs only 5kW less than Ford's biggest gun, the GT. This is a fast, roomy and practical sedan that can be used for blistering quick track days in 6-speed R8 guise (which features an adjustable suspension and bigger brakes, among other things) or cracking hardly sedate mid-5 second 0-60mph runs in auto guise. You can do it all in whisper quiet serenity surrounded by plenty of standard kit, all for only hundreds more than the GT's asking price, effectively evaporating the Falcon's advantage. If this sounds like your ride - and by the sounds of happy owners' testimonies and jealous North Americans' rants, it sounds like this is just about everyone's ride - then step right up. If you want me to be frank with you, keep reading.
The Clubsport isn't perfect. The 5.7L Gen III LS1 is a gluttonous oil
drinker: HSV says 2.5L per 10,000km is normal. By comparison, FPV's cars are
less greedy and have much more leisurely 15,000km service intervals. The
suspension, while independent at both ends, is far too firm over poor road
surfaces and is a few steps behind the GT's 'Control Blade' set-up. Finally,
the styling, particularly at the rear, is full of odd creases and mad,
criss-crossing angles - weird! The beauty of this car isn't in the details,
however; it's in the pleasure that comes from overtaking European machinery of
twice the cost, doing hot laps with the same ease as traffic jams and
continuing a half-century old rivalry that still leaves Ford owners looking
over their shoulders. Hide your kids, lock the dog and stock the
non-perishables: this war is in full swing!
- by Traian Popescu
Specifications Clubsport / Clubsport R8
|Base Price, AUSD||61,100 / 70,440||Engine Type||OHV 16-valve V8
|Powertrain Layout||Front engine, RWD||Displacement, cc||5665|
|Curb Weight, lb||3739||0-62 mph, sec||5.3|
|1/4 mile, sec||13.5||600 ft slalom, mph||-|
|70-0 mph, ft||-||Top speed, mph||-|