The Big Aussie V8 | Ford FPV GT-P – Drive Review

Ford FPV GT | Drive Review

Article and Images by - Peter Anderson

MyDrive | Ford Australia – The big Aussie V8 is an endangered species, with just a few examples left before their eventual extinction. It seems, though, that Ford Performance Racing’s swansong, the Ford FPV GT-P is destined to be remembered.

It’s got a five litre V8 with huge supercharger strapped to it, delivering 335kW and a marvellous, tyre-destroying 570Nm of torque.

Is this last hurrah for Ford’s performance brand a fitting exit or a meek walk into retirement?

VALUE

The $82,040 GT-P is the slightly more luxurious version of the FPV GT. The $12,000 price difference is accounted for with leather and suede covered seats, different alloy wheels, sat-nav with traffic warnings and a some various trim items.

The P also picks up 6-pot Brembo calipers up front (four on the GT) and four pot rear calipers (single pot on the GT). The discs are the same size, with 355mm on the front and 330mm at the rear.

Both cars share the 8-inch screen with reverse camera and reverse sensors, USB for iPods and Bluetooth connectivity.

DESIGN

It’s obviously a Ford Falcon, but it’s rather meaner looking. Our car was a fairly frightening shade of hi-vis vest orange, but even so, the styling mods are classy and fit the car and its character well, a mix of elegance and hooliganism.

The bonneet’s big power bulge is almost enough to obscure part of your view forward while the big wing splits the view back. That wing is so big you could park your second car underneath it in a hail storm.

The temptation to cram a set of 21-inch rollers in the wheel arches has, thankfully, been avoided, with the 19s looking just right in what has always been a handsome car. The quad exhausts and side skirts complete the package.

The cabin is dominated by the excellent front seats, with big, arrowhead shaped bolsters and GT-P logos embroidered on the headrest. The dash is pretty standard Falcon, with a big red starter button and a dodgy identifier disc low on the console, the two split by the FPV logo. The mix of leather and suede is grippy, comfortable and attractive.

The instrument panel is largely the same as any other Falcon, with the exception of the supercharger’s boost pressure gauge. Or the fun dial, if you like.

The rear seats get the excellent leather and suede combo, too, with more embroidery in the fixed headrests.

It’s not a lavish interior, but it certainly hides the few awful bits of a Falcon interior and reminds you that you’re in something special.

SAFETY

Five star safety is a given, with six airbags, ABS and traction and stability control.

Images by Peter Anderson

TECHNOLOGY

The V8 is referred to by Ford as the BOSS. It certainly sounds like a boss I once had, with the throaty bellow accompanied by a magnificent supercharger whine. The 5.0 litre Coyote V8 replaced the old 5.4 in 2010 due to emissions restrictions.

The Coyote produces a walloping 335kW and seismically detectable 570Nm of torque. Courtesy of the extra air from the Harrop supercharger, maximum torque is available from 2200 to 5500 rpm, providing ample opportunity for upshift wheelspin.

DRIVING

Despite the aggressive bolsters, which you have to contort around when you’re getting in, the seats are comfortable for even generously-proportioned folk. The driving position is still that weird too-high-wheel-in-your-lap position of the Falcon so you do have to shuffle around for a bit to get settled.

But it’s totally worth it. The GT-P is an absolute riot to drive. Anyone who buys one as a track car is insane, because this is about as intentionally loose as any car on the market today. The 245/35 tyres are deliberately narrower than what you might find on an HSV, delivering a wonderful, tail-happy, fun-loving experience.

That’s not to say it’s unsafe – keep the traction control switched on and it just hints at the available hilarity. In a straight-line you get a bit of a chirp before the brains calm it all down. With the traction off, you could easily paint a pair of straight or curly black lines, even in the dry. It’s down to you and your appetite for tyre shops.

In the wet, it’s a handful, but you’re not buying one of these cars for an easy drive.

Or are you? One of its greatest assets is a superb ride, and that comes without the qualification of “for a sporty car.” It has a terrific level of compliance. If you kidnapped, blindfolded and put ear defenders on a regular Falcon owner, they’d be hard pressed to tell it wasn’t a standard car on a run around the block.

There’s a tiny bit of body roll as a result, but it’s worth it for the everyday usability. It cruises beautifully, the V8 pounding out a muted, happy beat. The stereo will amuse you with its power and the comfortable seats save your back from the worst excesses of Australian road repairs.

Start chucking it around and it’s clear that FPV were out for maximum fun rather than maximum speed. The rear end is properly lively, the rear tyres shrieking in harmony with the supercharger’s operatic, soaring voice when traction cotrol is switched off.

The whole experience is extremely addictive and sets it apart from the more serious HSVs it is supposed to compete with.

The limited slip differential makes for excellent turn-in and fantastic power-out exploitability. One imagines powerslides (obviously unavailable on public roads)(ahem) are a simple flex of the ankle and flick of the wrists away.

It’s a real slow in, sideways out kind of car and is all the better for it. The only chink in its armour is a Boonie-like thirst of well over 15l/100km in mixed driving. A sobering 20l will surely hove into view during a spirited drive.

VERDICT

It’ll cheerfully paint black stripes on the road every time you ask it but also tow or carry whatever you want and not force you into a compromise. It’ll do everything a normal Falcon will do, just faster, noisier and in the case of the orange paint, far more loudly.

The FPV is a fantastic, joyous, unapologetic machine, devoted to grins rather than lap times. If you’re going to go extinct, you may as well go with a bang.

For further information on the Ford Fiesta ST including options and specifications, click > www.ford.com.au

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