The next generation interpretation of GTA Online is finally here, bringing smooth and sharp 4K visuals, a solid 60 FPS cap, and incredible load times for the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S consoles. But that’s not all; players can also trick out their cars with the brand new Hao’s Special Works HSW Performance upgrades that transcend your GTA online vehicles to a whole other level.
I should preface that the hype around the update was mainly due to it being the first DLC released on next-gen consoles, which will slowly take over in a few years’ time. Regarding content, there are a few noteworthy additions aside from new performance upgrades. All in all, whether or not it is worth buying an entirely new console is something I’ll answer in today’s Hao’s Special Works guide!
Hao’s Special Works Overview
On current generation consoles, Hao’s Workshop replaces the underground car customization shop and removes all of its previous functionality while introducing new conversions and mods into the mix. You also get to try your hands at many racing missions where you can test out your decked-out vehicles.
Let’s not forget what I consider to be a revolutionary feature that Hao’s Special Works brought to GTA Online. Have you ever look at a car and thought of wanting that exact setup and build? We all have! Before this update, the standard way of doing that was opening up the car’s online listing, purchasing it, and then figuring out all the necessary cosmetic and performance modifications while going back and forth with the vehicle’s owner. It is just as tedious as it sounds!
Fortunately, though, Hao’s Special Works pretty much simplifies the process – you can go to a car meet, figure out what vehicle you like the best, and open up the interaction menu to buy a replica of the vehicle with all of its modifications in place. Now, you can obtain tricked-out cars without having to randomly guess or remember what exact parts went into their making.
Unlocking Hao’s Special Works
A pre-requisite for unlocking this amazing workshop is that you need to have the next-gen version of GTA V for either the PS5 or Xbox Series S|X. After that, you need to transfer your GTA Online character to the next-gen edition, log in and wait for Hao to contact you.
Hao, being the welcoming automotive expert he is, will call you over the phone and request you to collect one of the tricked-out vehicles that he wants you to “test drive”.
After a friendly interaction, you’ll have to follow the marker on the map to Hao’s Vinewood garage. Once you make it to the garage, you’ll have to lift up the garage’s shutter, where you’ll be first introduced to Hao and the car he was talking about. He’ll tell you to get behind the wheel and challenge you to a time trial. I make it sound like a challenge, but in reality, Hao genuinely wants to test out his state-of-the-art upgrades before showcasing them to the rest of the world.
Before you start tensing up, let me tell you that Hao goes easy on you, offering you a solid 8 minutes to complete the time trial. So just sit back, relax, and cruise slowly as you’ll finish the time trial with some extra minutes to spare on the clock. If you win the time trial, which you will, you can get an HSW Performance Upgrade for free, that too exclusively for the Karin S95.
LS Car Meet
The time trial ends conveniently outside of Cypress Flats, where the LS Car Meet takes place. You get a call from Hao after you finish the test, and he’ll tell you to stop by anytime over at his workshop to upgrade your car, and for your troubles, he’ll offer a free tuning upgrade, including a few cosmetics.
But there are a few more steps to follow before you get full access to Hao’s Special Works. Open your phone and access the email sent from Mimi, who informs you about the LS Car Meet Scene in GTA Online.
Navigate the interaction menu or map and set a waypoint to the LS Car Meet. You’ll know that you’re in the right place once you stumble upon a graffitied garage shutter with car engines going off inside. Make your way inside to be introduced to Mimi for the first time, including a cameo from Hao, plus a few other faces.
After the cutscene is over, you’re given the freedom to explore the social space. You’ll find various interesting spots inside the Car Meet, including merchandise stalls, race organizers, and tattoo parlors. Still, before you can interact with these points of interest, you’ll need to become a member.
In order to secure your spot in the workshop’s social circle, you’ll need to talk to Mimi and purchase the LS Car Meet Membership for 50,000 GTA dollars. Doing so will give you access to everything the LS Car Meet offers.
You also gain access to a new reputation meter that can be seen by pressing down upon the D-Pad, which allows you to unlock many cosmetic items, including a few vehicle modifications in the update.
Now, you can customize and convert any car you want at Hao’s Special Works!
Hao’s Special Works Features
Hao’s Special works pretty much takes some inspiration from Lowriders’ book and implements a system similar to what we’ve seen over at Benny’s Original Motor Works. With that said, you shouldn’t be intimidated by the preconceived notion of an overly complicated overhaul – in fact, let’s explore all that it has to offer!
Before unlocking the various customization options for select vehicles, you have to first opt for or purchase a full overhaul or conversion for a vehicle. This allows you to gain access to a new platform that brings other improvements over the base versions of vehicles – formally, it’s known as an HSW Performance Upgrade in GTA and GTA Online.
At the current moment, only a few select vehicles are allowed to get conversion mods, and I expect many more to pop up in the scene with further updates.
|Pfister Astron Custom
|Coil Cyclone II
|Imponte Arbiter GT
|Pegassi Weaponized Ignus
|Grotti Turismo Classic
|Übermacht Sentinel XS
|Shitzu Hakuchou Drag
|Principe Deveste Eight
|Grotti Brioso R/A
|Benefactor Stirling GT
|Declasse Vigero ZX
Note: As a bonus, I’ll tell you a little secret about the Karin S95. As a returning GTA Online player, you can claim it for free with all the maxed-out customizations, best parts, and HSW upgrades. You just have to head on over to the Southern San Andreas Super Autos to claim the Karin for free. Now, you can drive the 1,995,000 Karin absolutely for free!
After you get your hands on a select car that capable of receiving the HSW conversion, simply head over to the LS Car Meet and watch Hao do his magic. Before you add anything crazy to your ride from a cosmetic standpoint, I’d recommend investing first into HSW Performance Upgrades before anything else.
While you can get one HSW upgrade for free upon winning the time trial, you’ll have to pay a premium for all HSW upgrades from that point on. Once you convert your car, here’s everything you can get to make your car all the faster and more powerful.
- HSW Engine Tune
- HSW Suspension
- HSW Turbo Tuning (Stage I, II, and III)
- HSW Brakes
- HSW Transmission
An interesting addition to Hao’s Special Works, one that I enjoy myself, and hope for further additions down the line to, are the time trials and races that were previously not available. These missions require vehicles that have been given the HSW conversion treatment, allowing you to put these beasts to the test!
Players can participate in upwards of 14 races that are similar to the Land Races launched by Rockstar, with the caveat that you need HSW upgraded vehicles to participate in the first place.
And that’s pretty much it for Hao’s Special Works Guide. Now, you can tune select cars in GTA Online and turn them into real speed demons. We upload one of the most interesting and detailed GTA Online Guides over at Grand Theft Fans, so stay tuned for more. Till then, see you later and goodbye!
Question: What do I need to do to unlock Hao’s Special Works?
Answer: In a nutshell, the first thing you need to do is log in from a next-gen console and wait for Hao to contact you and invite you over to his garage. Here, he’ll give you a time trial challenge to complete, after which you will enter his special garage from the first time! Now, all you need to do is buy a membership from Mimi for 50,000 dollars, and you’re all set to enjoy the perks of having Hao’s Special Works at your disposal!
Question: Is Hao’s Special Works worth it?
Answer: Well, if we’re talking about upgrading from old-gen to next-gen, then buying a PS5 or an Xbox Series X|S just to access Hao’s Special Works is a bit of an overkill. However, the conversation becomes genuinely meaningful if we’re talking about buying the next-gen version of the game. In that case, the answer depends mainly on whether or not your favorite car is currently eligible for HSW tuning. If it is, which, in my case, is the Karin S95, then you should definitely go for it – even if you’re not a fan of the HSW-exclusive race, free-roam feels phenomenal!
Question: How many cars are eligible for conversion mods?
Answer: Currently, only a select roster of just 11 cars can receive conversion mods from Hao’s Special Works. But of course, considering how much these performance upgrades improve the overall experience of driving your car, from handling to accelerating, it all comes at a steep price. Furthermore, it’s very likely that Rockstar will add more cars to the roster soon – not only will that attract more people to the DLC, but also make HSW-exclusive races a lot more fun!