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Car reviews - FPV - GT - FG range

Launch Story

FPV logo16 May 2008

By GEORGIA OCONNELL

A GROUND-BREAKING turbo model is the star of the all-new Ford Performance Vehicles range that goes on sale next month. While FPV still expects V8 models to account for the majority of its sales, the new boosted six is the clear hero car.

FPV won't say it officially, but there is little doubt the new F6 turbo is not only faster than the GT, but considerably so.

FPV has not ignored V8 fans, increasing the power and torque of its Boss engine and introducing a new, more subtle version of the GT.

The new GT-E comes with all the features and performance of muscular GT, but passes on the big spoiler, the loud bodykit and stripes.

Pricing for the FPV range is up by between $2000 and $3000 across the range, but customers will not be charged any extra for an automatic - which can cost more than $2000 extra on rival vehicles.

There is no longer a price difference between the boosted six and V8 models.

The FPV FG range starts off with the F6 and Pursuit Utes at $57,990, while the Super Pursuit Ute is $62,990.

The F6 and GT sedans cost $65,990, the premium GT-P costs $75,990, while the new subtle GT-E is $76,990.

All FPV cars pick up the raft of upgrades that were introduced with the FG Falcon range, including new Virtual Pivot Control Link front suspension, monotube shock absorbers, a redesigned steering rack and new interior and exterior designs.

Important FPV firsts include electronic stability control and side curtain airbags as standard across the range.

The Boss engine has been tweaked to pump out 13kW more for a total of 315kW, while torque is up by 11Nm and now stands at 551Nm.

Like the Boss 290, the Boss 315 is effectively a hand-built engine. With no naturally aspirated high-performance V8 in the Ford family to take, FPV imports an alloy block, crankshaft, rods, flywheel and unassembled alloy heads and sources its own camshafts, valves, pistons, extractors and manifold to build the Boss engine.

It balances the crankshaft assembles the heads and then puts together the engine, which is an amalgam of a pick-up truck engine (including a Triton block as used in the F-Series) and a former Mustang powerplant (Cobra R heads) with other components thrown in.

As opposed to the BF-series Boss engine, the new motor has new camshaft profiles and camshaft timing, a twin-plate throttle body, new intake manifold plenum, a higher-flow dual exhaust and a compression ratio has been increased from 10.5:1 to 11:1.

Max power arrives 500rpm later at 6500rpm, which is also the point the engine cut-out comes in, but the point at which it generates maximum torque, 4750rpm, remains the same.

The Boss 315 can be mated to a new six-speed Tremec TR6060 manual, which has triple synchromesh on first and second gears and double synchromesh on all other gears including reverse.

The ZF six-speed automatic continues, with some minor revisions.

While power and torque is up, fuel consumption figures have dropped, with the manual V8 returning an average mixed cycle figure of 14 litres per 100km - a 4.8 per cent improvement.

The turbo six engine has been significantly improved for the FG F6. FPV engineers managed to crank out an extra 40kW and 15Nm over the existing F6 engine.

They did so by cranking up the boost pressure to a maximum of 0.91 bar (or 13.3 psi), fitting an intercooler with 22 per cent larger core volume, adding a more efficient Garrett turbocharger and new intake and exhaust manifold, strengthening the pistons rods and reducing the compression ratio from 8.7:1 to 8.47:1.

Its peak power of 310kW comes at 5500rpm is expected, but the torque delivery figures are exceptional. With a torque curve that looks like a billiard table, the F6 turbo belts out 565Nm from just 1950rpm all the way through to 5200rpm.

The F6 engine is paired to either the Tremec six-speed manual or the ZF six-speed automatic. Both transmissions have been optimised to work with the boosted engine.

The manual features a launch mode which limits revs to 3500rpm when the clutch is fully engaged and throttle is opened adequately. After two to three seconds, the turbo spools up with 80 per cent fresh air that is pumped into the deactivated cylinders. All cylinders are reactivated when the clutch is released.

The idea is to both cut turbo lag and also protect the drivetrain as drivers don't need to slip the clutch (and risk burning it out) to get off the line briskly.

The automatic transmissions feature a cylinder cut-out, which lasts for 0.25 seconds, for shorter and sharper gearshifts when the throttle is opened wide enough. Using an automatic transmission, the F6 uses just 12.1L/100km, which is an incredibly low figure considering the car's capability.

All FPV models come standard with cruise control, alloy-look pedal covers, unique FPV instrument cluster with blue lighting, a sports leather steering wheel, full colour seven-inch central information display screen, sports seats, Bluetooth connectivity, an FPV starter button and build number plaque located at the bottom of the dashboard centre stack and a limited-slip differential.

All models are fitted with 19-inch rims, which are carried over from the BF II range.

The F6 sedan, F6 ute, GT and Pursuit ute run braking systems with 355x32mm cross-drilled and ventilated discs gripped four-pot Brembo callipers at the front and 328x26mm cross-drilled and ventilated discs with single-pot callipers at the rear.

GT-P and GT-E use six-pot Brembo callipers at the front and four-pot Brembo callipers at the rear, while the Super Pursuit ute gets six-pot Brembo front callipers and a single-pot set-up at the rear.

The more potent braking system is available as a $5547 option for the F6 and GT, and it costs $3630 on the F6 ute and Pursuit ute.

The Pursuit and F6 utes, which are fitted a soft tonneau cover as standard, start off the FPV range.

The Super Pursuit ute adds the more potent brakes, high-series screen, premium audio, FPV floor mats, leather-trimmed FPV sports seats with suede-feel bolsters, dual-zone climate control, a chrome grille, hard tonneau cover and unique wheels.

The F6 and GT sedans have the standard brakes, but come with the high-series information display screen, a premium audio system and dual-zone climate control.

Choosing a GT-P adds the more potent brakes, FPV floor mats, adjustable pedals (automatic model only), leather seats, six-way power seat adjustment (up from four-way), a chrome grille and different wheels.

The new GT-E, which does away with the wild bodykit and grey patches beneath the headlights, runs the more potent brakes but with sliver callipers, plus unique alloy wheels, more subtle 'shadow' leather seats (red trim is a no-cost option), woodgrain sections on the dashboard and doors, reverse parking sensors and a reverse camera.

FPV is confident the GT-E will appeal to customers who it describes as "executive racers."

"It's for those who want the power and the sound of a high-performance vehicle without the overt styling and bright colours," said FPV general manager Rod Barrett.

FPV has maintained a similar suspension system that Ford developed for XR range, with some exceptions.

Spring and damping rates were altered for all models, but the V8 models came in for the most attention, with engineers reducing the roll rate and improving turn-in to minimise the feeling of nose-heaviness.

Like the standard Falcon Ute range, the FPV haulers continue to run a leaf-spring rear suspension system which has been improved with the use of monotube dampers.

Payloads stand at 486kg for the F6, 472kg for the Pursuit and 427kg for the Super Pursuit, which is less than XR utes but more than the HSV Maloo. Towing capacity for the utes stands at 1200kg for manual models and 1600kg for automatics.

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