The FPV GT-P is the top-of-the-line sedan on offer from Ford’s 2008 vehicle line-up. We took one for a drive to see if they are as good as the hype would lead you to believe.
With an impressive 315kW on tap, the new FG Falcon FPV GT and GT-Ps are the most powerful Ford sedans offered for sale locally. Torque-wise they are rated at just 1Nm more than the latest 317kW Holdens, at 551Nm. This is a welcome upgrade of 31Nm from the previous model GT-P and it’s certainly noticeable when driving.
With maximum power now produced at a high 6500rpm, and max torque at 4750rpm, there is no doubt the vehicles are extremely fast on the road. As with its predecessors, it’s once the GT-P gets moving (at 50kph and above) that you really notice the power; it keeps wanting to deliver you to the nearest police station.
One aspect of the vehicle you either love or hate is just how quiet it is. In my opinion, if you buy a V8 you want it to sound like a V8, and the GT-P really misses out on that low-down burble of the Chev-powered Holdens. Ford now offers an absolute torque-monster 310kW six-cylinder turbo, and if it’s speed you are after, that car is definitely the faster machine, so the noise should be part of the V8’s appeal. That said, with new exhaust laws now in place, drivers of the GT-P can rest assured their vehicles won’t fail the compulsory noise test.
Throttle response around town is sharper than the BA/BF models and the vehicle is effortless to drive, almost hiding the fact it is a powerful sports car. Though many people claim that the extra weight of the V8 (compared to the turbo six) makes it nose-heavy under cornering, the handling is without a doubt a highlight of the entire FG range. The GT-P will eat up the twisty bits and throw you into the next corner before you know it: the more you push it, the more the car seems to come alive.
In manual shifting mode you are able to keep the vehicle closer to its peak torque than in automatic mode, yet it’s still very capable in auto.
With such great suspension, six-pot Wilwood brakes and excellent road holding, it would be very easy for average drivers to become over confident. Luckily for them, the FG range has just been awarded a five-star safety certificate, the first ever Australian-assembled model to receive one. So if things go wrong, you’re in the best vehicle possible. Thanks to impressive dynamic stability control (DSC) and emergency brake assist, the chances of this are greatly reduced. Even if you switch DSC off, there is a big brother watching over you just in case it senses you are in trouble. More experienced or aggressive drivers tend to love the vehicle’s stability control tuning, which lets the tail end slide for a moment before stopping all the fun.
With 245/35ZR19 Dunlop Sport Maxx tyres all round, traction is fantastic in wet and dry conditions, although the trade-off for this is a small amount of road noise. With the new body structure of the FG, wind noise is reduced significantly; combine this with the quiet engine and exhaust, and you have a very comfortable and capable family tourer.
Visually the GT-P stands out from a seemingly endless sea of plain vehicles thanks to its graphics package and aggressive FPV body kit, although the opposing GTS Holden still appears more in your face.
With its dark headlight accents and complete lack of Ford badging, it’s easy to see the GT-P isn’t your average Falcon family sedan. My complaint about the GT-P’s ute equivalent (the Super Pursuit tested in issue 39) was that the rear track was too narrow for the FG’s wide body. I’m glad to say that’s not the case on the sedan, and the wheels do fill up the entire width of the guards. With the FG’s virtual pivot suspension it’s yet to be seen whether larger wheels can be fitted without clearance issues. But if that is the only downside of the fantastic handling setup, it’s a small price to pay.
Fuel consumption from the 5.4-litre Boss motor didn’t seem too bad, especially when considering the level of performance at the disposal of the driver’s right foot. Both the GT and GT-P in automatic guise are listed as having fuel economy figures of 14l/100km, which is a decrease in fuel consumption of 4.8 per cent over the previous model. After driving the GT-P for a week, I think dropping below the stated figures would be easily achievable.Inside, the GT-P is fantastic, the new HMI (‘Human Machine Interface’) is simple and intuitive to use, yet has more features than most other vehicles. The seats are supportive without being overbearing or awkward to enter or exit as many bucket-type seats can be. But with a price tag of $78,990 I would have thought the passenger seat would feature the same electronically adjustable controls as the driver’s side. Perhaps Ford decided electronically adjustable pedals (automatic only) were a more important fitment. As a total package the GT-P is very hard to beat, with great power and great handling yet enough comfort to please the whole family. Mix this with the five-star safety rating and six-pot Brembo brakes, and you have the best performance sedan package this side of a $226,000 M5 BMW.
Story: Todd Wylie Photos: Adam Croy