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First look: FPV's new FG Falcon-based line-up

Who's the Boss: FPV's forthcoming V8-powered GT, with FPV badges in place of the Blue Oval.

Ford Performance Vehicles promises “stunningly quick” performance from new models

18 Feb 2008

A CLOSER relationship between Ford Australia and Ford Performance Vehicles (FPV) was clear to see on Sunday with the introduction of the special vehicles arm’s new range of FG-based sedans and utes alongside the mainstream Falcon models.

The new range - which will carry FPV rather than Ford badges on the grille and boot - will not be formally released for another few months, so FPV has not released performance figures.

However, new company boss Rod Barrett promises that the new models “are stunningly quick”.

He said that getting the power he wanted was the biggest challenge for the new generation of cars now that the regular Ford models are using the previously FPV-exclusive 302kW Boss 290 V8 engine and 270kW turbo-six, but that he eventually got exactly what he wanted from both eight and six-cylinder models.

“I would expect that, when we release our cars, our most ardent supporters and critics will be impressed with what comes out,” Mr Barrett told GoAuto.

“The number on the boot is not what we’re chasing all the time it’s a complete driver’s package and I think that’s the difference between us [and HSV]. We don’t go 185, 195, 215, 225, so every time you buy one of our competitor’s cars the old one is outdated already.

“We’ve had that (5.4-litre) 290 there for a long time and people have been quite satisfied with it. We get criticised that we’re not keeping up, but wait a couple of months and I think you’ll be well impressed.”

19 center imageLeft: Ford Performance Vehicles general manager Rod Barrett.

FPV also revealed that there will be a new GT-E luxury model in the line-up, which Mr Barrett said was introduced at his instigation to cater for buyers who want the performance of the V8-engined GT-P model but not that car’s stripes, wings and seats.

Nevertheless, the GT-E will come with 19-inch alloy wheels and a premium brake package with six-pot Brembo calipers, but the rear wing is less overt.

FPV produced a handful of pre-production prototypes for the launch that were only finished last Thursday evening.

Disappointingly, they reveal that FPV has not changed any of the wheel designs from the current line-up, a fact that Mr Barrett conceded was done for economic reasons.

Mr Barrett has been keen to establish closer ties with the factory and the evidence was there to be seen on Sunday – not only with the joint launch but also with FPV following Ford’s lead in dropping some long-established model names.

In FPV’s case, that means that the Typhoon and Tornado names will disappear when the new range goes on sale in June, although the Pursuit and Super Pursuit names will be retained for the utes.

The seven-model launch line-up will include four sedans called GT-E, GT-P, GT and F6 as well as the Pursuit, Super Pursuit and F6 utes. The FPV line-up will be completed by the recently launched Territory-based F6X.

For the first time, all Falcon-based FPV models will come with electronic stability control, including the utes - ahead of the standard Falcon utes, which will not get this vital technology for a little while yet.

Mr Barrett said the new naming regime was designed to be simpler and reflected the new more collaborative approach with Ford.

“Following in Ford’s footsteps, as they’ve got rid of Futura, Fairmont and Fairmont Ghia, we decided to go with the two families – the GT family and the F6 family. We believe it is just a maturing of the brand (although) I think the F6 will always have the nickname of the Typhoon or the ’Phoon,” he said.

“This is the first time that FPV has been launched together with the Ford range so, yes, we are working very closely with them and that collaborative approach was one of the things I mentioned when I took over in August last year. As (Ford Australia president) Bill Osborne said, we are FPV, but the F does represent Ford.

“The great thing with FPV at the moment is that we have a lot of input into engineering and we’ve got our own team within Ford that represents FPV, and Ford employees that work within our team, so from product strategy groups right through to what you are seeing here today, we work very collaboratively.

“What’s changed is probably an attitude going forward, from both of us I think. It’s a partnership – a 51:49, so there’s only two per cent in it – and my attitude since I got here is that we have to work together to produce great cars. It’s no good arguing we’re only 800 metres away from one another.

“I think there’s a really good working relationship between the two companies and I’m driving that, and everyone behind me is coming with me on the same train.

“It was absolutely critical to have (the standard and FPV cars) here together. It’s a big launch and highly important for us to be here. This is a new FPV-Ford relationship.”

Read more:

First look: Ford's Orion Falcon breaks official cover

FG Falcon: Engineered to lead

FG Falcon: Inline Aussie six's final swansong

FG Falcon: A better packaged interior

FG Falcon: Ford goes to finishing school

FG Falcon: No FG wagon - yet

FG Falcon: No ute ESP

FG Falcon: safety

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