FPV F6 Sedan

Price range

$55,990 – $64,890

Overall

Good: Barnstorming performance; excellent dynamics; comfy ride; roomy interior; great value sports car.

Not so Good: Polarising front end styling; non linear turbo boost = care must be taken in the wet; driver’s seat should go lower.

Design and Engineering

Good : The current generation FPV F6, the FG Series, arrived on the scene in June 2008 with almost all new sheetmetal over the previous BF Series F6 Typhoon. As with all Falcons, entry to the big cabin has improved thanks to changes to pillar angles and door openings. But the most important change (for a performance sedan anyway) has taken place under the bonnet. Whilst the previous BF Series F6 generated 270kW & 550Nm (even today these are impressive figures) the current F6 produces peak power of 310kW and a mighty 565Nm of maximum torque from the 4.0-litre in-line six-cylinder turbocharged engine.

From August 2010, the engine now meets Euro 4 emissions standards that came in force Down Under the previous month.

Not so good : Compared to the competitor from Clayton (that’s HSV for non car anoraks) the FG Series FPV’s don’t make quite as much of a visual statement. However, styling is subjective and in this day and age a muscle car that blends in a little more may be a positive. We’re only talking slight degrees, as the front end styling with the controversial grayed out panels under the headlights is still more lairy than 90% of new cars on the road.

Interior and Styling

Good : Usual Falcon pluses include the roomy interior space, power adjustable pedals to get close to an ideal driving position (as the driver’s seat should go lower), good levels of cabin storage, a quality seven-inch LCD screen that’s easy to navigate and positioned nice and high in the centre stack. The dual zone climate control handles Australian conditions with ease and the trip computer is better than a number of those fitted to higher priced vehicles. The rear seatback also split-folds down to create a super big cargo space.

FPV touches include the bold red starter button, a steering wheel that is thinner and easier to hold than in the competing HSV and instrument dials that light up a cool blue at night. August 2010 changes include the addition of FPV badges to the steering wheel, dashboard and key fob.

Impressively so, on the road the F6’s cabin remains nicely insulated and refined.

Not so good : Falcon negatives are relatively few. The front cupholders are positioned too close to the gear shifter resulting in a drink bottle getting in the way when changing gears. We also wished the driver’s seat would drop a little lower and whilst we’re on seating, it’s worth mentioning that the leather and suede material combo doesn’t come standard, it’ll cost you extra. However a number of our testers give the thumbs up to the grippy cloth with suede pews.

Performance

Good : We’ll put it straight out there – the F6’s 4.0L inline turbo six is one of our favourite EVER locally generated performance engines (and this includes a host of big, epic V8’s). The F6 might be 1,800kg plus kilos but that doesn’t affect acceleration one inch, this beast of a car will give a number of $200,000 plus supercars a serious run for their money. Press the throttle down hard and you’ll get a kick in the back of the seat – it’s that quick. From 80km/h to 120km/h (a useful real world performance indicator) the F6 is significantly faster than the quickest HSV (the 325kW GTS). The six-speed ZF automatic transmission (which costs no more than the six-speed manual) is the pick of the two transmissions – it’s a smooth shifting box whether you’re cruising in town or demolishing a twisty back road. And whilst the F6 will still accelerate hard over 6000rpm, it is also happy to pull from a high gear at low speeds. As well as embarrassing far more expensive automotive metal in the performance stakes the F6 can be driven happily as an urban commuter. But to only do so would be doing this brilliant powerplant a gross injustice. The engine’s soundtrack at high revs is also spine tingling brilliant.

Not so good : Be warned, the F6 is not an easy car to handle at its limit or in the wet if you’re brave (actually silly is a better word) enough to disengage the Electronic Stability Control. Even driving in a straight line at 80km/h an hour, if you plant the accelerator hard into the carpet, the F6 will wheel spin with ease! And it’s not as if the tyres are undersized – they are serious 245/35 19’s.

Ride and Handling

Good : The F6 is no one-trick performance pony. Ride and handling is nothing short of excellent, which comes as no surprise as the FPV F6 is based on the XR6 Turbo (Ford Falcon) and we’ve praised this car for its excellent chassis balance. The steering initially feels a little light, however it actually works very well with no shortage of road communication as the speed rapidly increases. FPV should also be congratulated on the suspension. It is tuned just right for our roads. Unlike too many Euro sports sedans the F6 never feels overly harsh, in fact the way it isolates out unwanted road noise and bumps from the cabin is damn impressive.

Not so good : The standard Brembo brakes are strong – big 355 x 32mm cross drilled and ventilated rotors with 4 piston calipers up front, however the extra cost performance brake option ups the ante to 6 pistons up front and is a wise move if you’re going to take the F6 to the track for some circuit work.

Buying and Owning

Good : Ticks the safety box with 6 airbags as standard (front, side and curtain), as well as stability control, anti-lock brakes with electronic brake distribution and brake assist. The cruise control system works well and the official fuel economy figure of 12.3L per 100kms (with either the manual or automatic transmissions) sounds about right after our week with the car. DataDots security should help you sleep easily at night (thieves hate this technology) and standard parking sensors will minimise the chance of scraping the big bumpers when reversing into a tight spot. For the supercar like performance on offer, the big and comfortable F6 is fantastic value for money.

Not so good : The optional 6 piston Brembo brake package is expensive (roughly $5,500) and a number of buyers will wish leather seating was standard. Likewise, for a number of big Aussie performance car fans, paying this much money and not getting a V8 under the bonnet is still hard to accept.

FPV F6 E Sedan

Price range

$76,940 – $76,940

Overall

Good: Super fast acceleration; smooth transmission; comfortable seats; lot of space inside; excellent long distance tourer.

Not so Good: Understated exterior styling too Falcon like; engine sound can’t match that of a big V8; interior doesn’t feel overly special for the asking price.

Design and Engineering

Good : The FPV F6 E, a luxury version of the F6 (the E stands for Executive), was released in August 2009, just over a year after the first FG Series FPV’s went on sale. Of all the big performance sedans ever sold in this land, the F6 E could be the most understated of the lot. Whilst under the bonnet sits the same brute of an engine as the F6, a 4.0L inline 6 cylinder turbo producing peak power of 310kW and a mighty 565Nm of maximum torque, the exterior is not nearly as aggressive as its rival from HSV or the ‘standard’ FPV F6.

From August 2010, the engine now meets Euro 4 emissions standards that came in force Down Under the previous month.

Not so good : Is the styling too tame? The F6 E’s small boot lip spoiler is so understated that from the rear it is difficult to notice this is an $80,000 luxury sports sedan and not a standard Ford Falcon (especially if you opt for a silver coloured F6 E as the differentiating rear diffuser insert is painted silver no matter what the exterior colour). The front bumper also misses out on the contrasting grey coloured panel below the headlights (it’s painted the same colour as the rest of the body unlike the F6).

Interior and Styling

Good : Over the F6, the F6 E executes a more luxurious feel thanks to more comfortable front seats with classy stitched leather (they’re also electric powered), suede finished door pockets (rather than plastic) and panels of dark walnut trim. The usual FPV touches also apply: the bold red starter button, embossed FPV logos in the seats, FPV badges on the dash and a plaque stating the build number.

Usual donor Falcon pluses apply. These include a generously sized cabin with adequate storage compartments and a large boot (the rear seatback also split folds for when you need to carry longer loads). The instruments in the centre console are logically arranged, the LCD screen is positioned nice and high and the heating and ventilation controls are tailor made for Australia’s diverse weather conditions.

Not so good : Unlike most cars fitted with a start button, in the F6 E you have to first insert and turn the key before the starter button can be pressed – keyless start is much more logical if a model is fitted with a start/stop button. For the considerable asking price and the positioning of this model as a sports luxury sedan the satellite navigation system looks outdated (having to use a remote-control unit is frustrating and the graphics are old-school), the shiny silver finish of the centre console looks far too plastic (which admittedly it is), the walnut trim panels don’t look like real wood and the carpet in the boot screams cheap.

Performance

Good : Don’t let the understated styling fool you as the F6 E really is one super quick sports sedan! Performance from the 4.0L 6 cylinder turbo power-plant is startling. Unlike the traditional V8 with its linear power curve, this engine can easily be spinning it’s tyres under 3,000 revs as the turbo boost kicks in (alarmingly at times!). 310kW of torque and a beasty 565Nm of torque are big figures but it’s the acceleration from 80km/h to 120km/h that had us most excited.

The engine is matched to a high quality six-speed ZF automatic transmission.

Not so good : For a car that’s part sports and part luxury we wish it sounded tougher at low revs. Converted muscle car fans will surely miss the big bass of a tuned V8 engine. And for a luxury sedan the power delivery can feel a bit extreme as it doesn’t take much of a push past half way of the accelerator pedal for the tyres to be chirping away which is not an understated way to travel. However we should admit the F6 E can easily be driven in a perfectly sensible manner, it just takes a little (or a lot) of self discipline with all that power so readily available.

Ride and Handling

Good : Feels at home on the highway – actually over most road surfaces the ride is very comfortable and far better than a couple of more expensive European luxury sports sedans. The steering is light but still accurate and communicative, helping to create the feeling that you in a size smaller vehicle than such a big car. As standard FPV has fitted the Premium Brembo brake package to the F6 E which is an expensive cost option for the ‘regular’ F6.

Not so good : Whilst the engine is much more sport than luxury orientated, the opposite could almost be said for the handling. When pushing through a high speed corner, bodyroll is a little more evident than ideal and the suspension can become unsettled over coarse and undulating terrain (again in relation to the very high amounts of power on offer).

Buying and Owning

Good : Ticks the safety box with a 5 star ANCAP crash rating. 6 airbags as standard (front, side and curtain) as well as stability control, anti-lock brakes with electronic brake distribution and brake assist. The cruise control system works well and the official fuel economy figure of 12.1 litres per 100kms is lower than the competing HSV Senator.

DataDots security should help you sleep easily at night (thieves hate this technology) and standard parking sensors will minimise the chance of scraping the big bumpers when reversing into a tight spot.

Not so good : The F6 E is almost $12,000 more than the F6 sedan and at almost $80,000 plus on road costs etc it’s also a lot, lot more expensive than the luxurious but far less quick Falcon G6 E. However, over an F6 the F6 E does come standard with the Premium Brembo brake package as well as electric front seats, leather trim and a couple of other goodies.

FPV GT Sedan

Price range

$57,990 – $81,450

Overall

Good: Good styling; Serious amounts power from the Supercharged V8 engine; Excellent interior space; Modern day muscle car.

Not so Good: Doesn’t look quite as aggressive the HSV range but this is subjective; Automatic gearbox could be a tad smoother but we’re really splitting hairs here as this is an excellent vehicle.

Design and Engineering

Good : Launching Australia wide in October 2010, the updated FPV GS, GT, GT-P and GT-E vehicles have not received any external changes from the panels department however the graphics team has been busy designing new decal for the most powerful FPV in history.

These cars feature a distinctive hockey stick stripe package and to identify the amount of grunt generated from the new Supercharged V8 engine the FPV have stamped ‘BOSS 315’ (GS) and ‘BOSS 355’ (GT range) decal above the front wheel arches paying homage to the 1970’s BOSS Mustang. The striped package is available as an option on the GT grade and a no-cost-option for the GT-P. Furthermore exterior changes include 19-inch five spoke alloys with dark argent accents for the GT, the GT-P also has 19-inch five-spoke alloys with silver accents and the GT-E has 19-inch five multi-spoke alloys finished in alpine silver.

The GS, GT and GT-P grades look like the go-fast-machines with the big wing and stripes package. The GT-E is more of a sleeping giant, it features understated styling with a rear lip spoiler, side skirts, and subtle FPV branding. The engine’s exhaust note is what attracts attention to this variant.

Not so good : FPV pumped approximately $40 million into the new FPV range however 99 per cent of the investment was spent under the hood on the 5.0-litre Supercharged V8 engine. The only changes to the exterior are graphics and the new set of wheels, which isn’t such a bad thing as the superseded vehicle was not an ugly car.

Interior and Styling

Good : Because the FPV GT range is built from Ford’s FG Falcon the interior cabin is a nice place to be in. All controls and switchgear are easy to see, reach and operate which can be rare in performance cars making these vehicles a practical choice if you’re after a performance car. The semi-sports seats are very comfortable and supportive; we’re told they’re extremely comfortable even after a full day of driving. You’ll find interior cabin space very roomy just like the Falcon, good storage compartments and a quality seven-inch LCD screen that’s easy to use. The climate control is very capable for an Australian summer and the luggage compartment has more than enough room with 535 litres.

The GT-E receives a reverse parking camera as standard. Standard safety features across the GT range include dual front and side airbags, full length curtain airbags, ABS, EBD, brake assist, traction control and dynamic stability control (ESP).

Not so good : A criticism of the FPV GS and GT range’s interior is the engine ignition button located on the dash. It still requires the driver to insert the key behind the steering wheel and give it a turn before pushing the engine start button. Satellite navigation is still an option.

Performance

Good : The highlight and the result of the $40 million investment by FPV is the new 5.0-litre V8 Supercharged engine. The superseded BOSS engine was slightly larger in displacement at 5.4-litres however the replacement powerplant has increased levels of power and torque thanks to the Eaton Supercharger. Specs of the blower include 1.9 litres per revolution displacement, a torsional decoupler, PCM controlled inlet bypass valve and a bypass operation for vacuum and boosted conditions.

The GS receives a detuned version of the same engine, pumping out 315kW of power and 550Nm of torque.

Meanwhile the FPV GT, GT-P and GT-E vehicles produce 335kW @ 5750-6000 rpm and 570Nm of torque from only 2200-5500rpm.

Thanks to the Superchargers instantaneous power delivery the FPV GS and GT’s accelerate extremely quick and smooth. The front grille provides the mouth for the high-flow cold air intake system. A great feature of the new FPV GS and GT range is the quad-pipe bi-modal exhaust system which enhances both performance and the all-important exhaust note of the new cars.

Not so good : Fuel consumption is very high but this is a modern day muscle car – just test drive one and try taking that grin off your face.

Ride and Handling

Good : Handling has improved when compared to the superseded model, the change to the smaller displacement all alloy engine results in 47kg of weight shed over the front axle, this allows you to dive the car into and out of corners faster. Acceleration and responsiveness has also been increased. The Brembro brakes are a very impressive package and can pull this large sedan up very fast.

Not so good : A bit of tyre noise as a result of the soft sticky rubber, but it’s mostly only noticeable on the rough back roads. The GS does without the awesome stopping power of the Brembro brakes but this might save you a few dollars come servicing time.

Buying and Owning

Good : With such a large investment by FPV into the new powerplant, the price tag has only had a very slight increase. We’d recommend the FPV range with this new engine to anyone in the market for a large performance car that requires the versatility of rear seats. With countless hours and kilometers of research and development on Australia’s back roads we’re assured the FPV GS and GT range has high levels of quality and reliability.

Not so good : The usual drawback with performance vehicles is the high levels of fuel consumption. But a fun car to drive none the less.