$55,990 – $64,890
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.
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.