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Car reviews - FPV - F6X - 270 5dr wagon

Launch Story

FPV logo1 Feb 2008

By GEORGIA OCONNELL

FORD Performance Vehicles’ first foray away from Falcon-derived vehicles was realised this week in the shape of the F6X 270.

Based on Ford’s range-topping SY Territory Ghia Turbo AWD, the F6X 270 is also the most powerful six-cylinder SUV available in Australia.

Priced from $75,990, the FPV SUV will be on sale from February 29, which coincides with its public debut at the Melbourne International Motor Show.

While most of the exterior and interior changes are minor, the BFII F6 Typhoon sedan and Tornado utility’s 4.0-litre twin-cam in-line six-cylinder petrol engine – mated solely to an unchanged ZF six-speed sequential shift automatic gearbox – and a series of mechanical-related changes differentiate the FPV from its “Hammerhead” Territory Turbo donor car.

In the F6X installation, the turbocharger is a Garrett GT3540, working in unison with an aluminium air-to-air intercooler.

No manual version will be offered and, although GoAuto has learned that a small number of V8 prototypes exist, there will be no eight-cylinder Territory-based FPV SUV in this generation of vehicle.

As with the Territory Turbo, drive is delivered to all four wheels permanently using Ford’s Acutrac system. The rear-wheel drive model was not considered as it does not come with a six-speed gearbox.

As its name suggests, the F6X 270’s 3984cc unit delivers 270kW of power at 5000rpm and 550Nm of torque between 2000 and 4250rpm. The previous most powerful Territory derivative, the Turbo, produces 245kW and 480Nm.

Running on 95 RON unleaded petrol, the F6X 270’s ADR81-01 fuel consumption is rated at 14.9L/100km while its carbon dioxide emissions rating is 357g/km. Towing capacity is 2300kg.

FPV says it spent in excess of 2500 hours testing, including hot and cold climate validation, with full engine mapping and recalibration carried out on a dynometer for fuel, spark timing and boost control.

While the F6X uses the Territory’s sophisticated virtual pivot control link front and Control Blade multi-link rear suspension set-up, alterations include retuned damper and spring settings, for a “firmer, sports feel”.

More specifically, the damper features a unique valve code that is said to improve initial roll control, helping to achieve more direct steering response and more linear feel. A 10 per cent increase in the spring rate over the Territory Ghia Turbo has resulted in a discernible decrease in body roll.

On the braking side, an upgrade sees front Brembo six-piston calipers working with 15mm larger (355mm x 32mm) ventilated rotors, while the rears are enhanced with 328mm x 26mm ventilated rotors with single-piston sliding calipers.

With the help of supplier Bosch, a recalibrated stability control system (DSC in Ford-speak) results in a higher – as well as an altered – intervention threshold.

Visually, as part of its FPV makeover, the F6X gains a crosshatch grille finished in a ‘Molten Metal’ look (which also garnishes the front and rear skid plate, hood scoop and mirror scalps), alloy running boards, chrome belt line mouldings (a first for any Territory), an FPV dual exhaust outlet, body-coloured bumpers and door claddings, and the option of ‘F6X 270’ stripes.

The latter has been included at the behest of boss Rod Barrett, despite the view of some within the company that stripes on an FPV should be limited to V8-powered vehicles.

Redesigned 18-inch alloy wheels along the lines of those found on the F6 Typhoon and Tornado, shod with road-based Goodyear Fortera P235/55 R18 tyres, are also part of the visual package.

Larger wheels were considered, but a tight deadline coupled with the difficulty of sourcing performance SUV-suitable tyres forced FPV to work with the 18-inch units.

The F6X 270’s interior boasts a greater amount of differentiation, with special two-tone leather seats with ‘F6X’ embroidered head rests being the main change.

Along with the Territory Ghia’s ‘Premium’ centre console unit featuring a Molten Metal finish, there is FPV branding for the instrument cluster, scuff plate inserts and floor mats, plus a build number badge.

As with the Territory Ghia Turbo AWD, all F6Xs include side curtain airbags, rear parking sensors, the aforementioned leather seats, dual zone climate control, premium audio and power adjustable pedals, while satellite navigation and third-row seating cost more.

However, time constraints precluded the inclusion of a push-button start mechanism – a de rigueur FPV item until now.

This year’s production run is listed at 601 vehicles, but, as FPV’s first SUV – and with the failure of Holden’s VY/VZ Commodore-based Adventra still fresh in peoples’ minds – the firm is keeping mum about sales expectations, except to say that it expects all to be sold.

Mr Barrett believes existing FPV owners – particularly F6 types – will upgrade to the F6X 270.

As for rivals, the FPV boss does not believe there are any even close to the F6X’s price point. “The F6X is on its own,” he said.

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