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Ford’s most powerful XR8 goes all GT

It’s back: Ford’s new Falcon XR8 gets the GT’s 335kW blown V8 in a big send-off for the Aussie large sedan.

Swansong Falcon XR8 priced at $52K as local V8 hero goes out with a 335kW bang

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Ford logo2 Oct 2014

By RON HAMMERTON

FORD’S born-again V8 Falcon XR8 will be priced from $52,490 plus on-road costs when the most powerful car to wear the iconic badge rumbles into showrooms in late November to top the final Falcon range.

The price of the locally made supercharged 335kW 5.0-litre sports sedan represents an $8149 premium on the next most expensive six-cylinder model in the facelifted FG X line up, the $46,550 G6E Turbo.

It goes head-to-head with the top end of rival Holden’s more extensive 6.0-litre V8 Commodore SS range, roughly targeting the SS-V Redline flagship.

The latest XR8 is armed with 65kW more power than the 270kW manual Commodore SS, and 75kW more than the 260kW automatic variants.

Like the Commodore SS, the XR8 will be offered with a choice of manual and automatic transmissions, with the auto commanding a $2200 premium.

Loaded with goodies from the Falcon GT developed by defunct Blue Oval hot shop Ford Performance Vehicles (FPV), the new model restores both V8 power and the XR8 badge to the Falcon line-up for the first time since June 2010 when the previous 290kW 5.4-litre normally aspirated V8 was dumped because it could not make mandatory Euro 4 emissions restrictions.

Many Ford fans thought they had seen the last of the XR8, especially when Ford announced it was planning to quit Australian manufacturing in 2016.

However, strong customer interest prompted Ford to give V8 power one last hurrah in a new XR8, this time using the locally developed supercharged version of Ford’s American-made Boss engine.

While the new XR8 might cost $5500 more than the previous generation, it boasts a wide array of modern technologies and features, making it closer to GT than XR8.

Apart from the blown 32-valve V8 that generates 335kW of power at 5750rpm and 570Nm of torque from 2200rpm, the XR8 gets GT RSPEC suspension that Ford describes as “the best of the best”.

Announcing the pricing, Ford vehicle line director David Wilkinson said the engineering team had worked hard to ensure the Falcon XR8 delivered the ride, handling and stopping power expected of a performance touring sedan.

“Compared with the last FG Falcon XR8, the 2014 Falcon XR8 has better turn-in, more rear grip, noticeably less bodyroll and increased sense of control from the driver’s seat,” he said.

“Customers will also appreciate the levels of refinement in the new XR8.”

Even compared with the GT suspension, RSPEC gets retuned dampers and springs, a thicker 19mm rear stabiliser bar (up 1mm), retuned front dampers, stiffer front upper spring mounts, stiffer front upper control arm bushing and revised suspension geometry to suit the XR8’s 275-section rear tyres.

The XR8 gets 19-inch wheels all-round, but they are eight inches wide at the front and nine inches at the back.

Front brakes are four-piston Brembos, while single-piston Brembos stop the rear wheels.

Like the GT Falcons in the FG line, the new XR8 gets a power bulge on the bonnet, as well as a spoiler on the new-look bootlid.

The headlights are slim with a “laser-cut” appearance, while daytime running lights are in the shape of a W.

The tail-lights get LED lamps. Below, the new bumper is pierced by quad exhaust tips.

Inside, all XR8s get sports seats with perforated leather trim and inserts in a contrasting grey that extends to the headlining and other upper areas of the cabin.

Standard equipment includes dual-zone climate control, rain-sensing wipers, sat-nav with traffic messaging, sports shifter knob, sports steering wheel, sports pedals and reversing camera.

Like all Falcons in the new facelifted FG X range, the XR8 features Ford’s new Sync2 communications and connectivity system, complete with emergency assistance, digital radio and Wi-Fi hotspot.

The XR8 will come in eight colour choices, including a new hero colour Victory Gold.

The new XR8 gets its first public outing tonight at the 1000 Pound Gallery in Melbourne’s Little Lonsdale St where Ford will open its Outside the Oval fundraising exhibition in aid of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Ford Falcon sedan pricing*
Falcon (a)$35,900
Falcon EcoBoost (a)$35,900
XR6$35,590
XR6 (a)$37,790
XR6 Turbo$42,990
XR6 Turbo (a)$45,190
G6E (a)$40,110
G6E EcoBoost (a)$40,110
G6E Turbo (a)$46,550
XR8$52,490
XR8 (a)$54,690
*Excludes on-road costs.

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