2017 HSV Clubsport R8 LSA 30 Years quick review

With GTS production quietly and sadly due to wind up in the not-too-distant future (prior to production of the GTSRs) your only option if you want a hot sedan – sub-$100K – from Holden Special Vehicles will shortly be the Clubsport.

And so it makes sense that HSV has moved the much-loved (and last all-Aussie) Clubbie more into GTS territory as part of its recent round of 30th anniversary updates.

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While power and torque from the venerable 6.2-litre supercharged LSA V8 are now up 10kW/20Nm to 410kW/691Nm, the Clubsport R8 LSA now cops the trick brake-torque-vectoring rear diff as standard – once the preserve of the GTS – and, for $3495, you can also now have the GTS’s bigger six-pot brakes.

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While the brilliant Magnetic Ride Control is still off-limits for Clubsport, the fixed dampers still offer a well-judged ride/handling balance in a car that’s been subtly improved rather than dramatically overhauled.

While the power increase simply makes it feel the tiniest bit more eager – like you’d only just started putting 98 into it instead of 91 (and boy will you be putting some 98 into this thing) – this is still a seriously fast car.

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It sounds better, too, with HSV fiddling with the bi-modal exhaust to seemingly remove the odd ‘chuffing’ sound of the old model as the valves opened. HSV has put the price up $2K, now $82,990 for the manual, the price also inching further into GTS territory.

But as well as a tonne of special ‘30th anniversary’ badges, it scores you a subtly improved car – one that was a truly excellent, practical muscle car to begin with – fast, surprisingly agile for its size, a car that you want to take for a long drive.

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