Did Dirty Harry ever wear a police uniform when following leads and cracking heads? No, he wore brown sports jackets. And did James Bond ever wear a fully camouflaged jump suit when attending a cocktail party? No he didn’t. We all knew Bond had the firepower to shoot up the place, and he often did, but why signal leery intent too early. Ford Performance Vehicles isn’t usually known for styling restraint, but has followed this low-key image concept with its new F6 E model. FPV’s regular F6 turbocharged six-cylinder machine has become a success and accounts for more than 40% of all FPV sales, but the conspicuous styling hasn’t been sweet to all tastes. Enter the F6 E that offers the same thundering performance albeit wrapped up in a bespoke suit rather than a wife-beater singlet and black jeans. Car and SUV went undercover with the F6 E to investigate further.
From the outside less is more for this sleeper-styled sedan but there are still styling clues that distance it from lesser Falcon-based models. It has the same burly front and rear bumpers as its flashy F6 brother but the ‘racoon eye’ light surrounds and black rear diffuser are now colour coded. The rear wing from the F6 has been dropped in favour of a boot lip spoiler and the 5-spoke 19-inch alloys are finished in shadow chrome. The front grille is blacked out and there are classy chrome touches on the bonnet’s front edge, boot grab bar and framing the windows. At a glance it’s a smooth looking sedan but a closer look reveals a massive intercooler hiding behind the front air dam and huge brake rotors with bright red Brembo callipers. Like a heavyweight boxer in a tuxedo, it’s impossible to completely hide the power within.
In the cabin the F6 E takes a targeted shot at the luxury market with lashings of walnut wood grain trim and dark soft plastics with silver highlights. Sumptuous wide seats, centre console lid and door inserts are all finished in soft charcoal leather. It’s easy to get comfortable, with multiple adjustments on the front seats, the steering wheel has reach and rake movement and even the pedal box can be positioned. Subtle F6 E logos feature on the seat headrests and in a numbered plaque beside the push button starter.
The instrument cluster is very functional but looks thin and slightly cluttered considering the generous size of the cabin. Other F6 E switchgear is easy to use and the high-mounted seven-inch colour control screen looks great and although it isn’t touch screen capable it utilises command buttons well.
The six-CD stacker stereo has an aux port in the centre console for an iPod, once plugged in it can be controlled entirely by the central interface. While the sound quality is good, it may not be to the level many luxury buyers expect and FPV may need to align with a hi-fi company to better achieve this.
There’s plenty of leg and headroom all round with rear occupants receiving a wide fold-down armrest and air-conditioning outlets.
Interior fit and finish is very good as it is across the entire Falcon range. While cabin quality is an area FPV has HSV well beaten on, the F6 E interior still falls slightly short of European rivals in terms of materials quality and advancing technology. That’s not to say it’s not well equipped with cruise control, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, dual-zone climate control, three-position memory driver’s seat and Bluetooth all standard kit.
Powering the F6 E is Ford’s turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine as shared with the F6 and F6 Ute. The menacing six pot produces 310kW of power and a bowel moving 565Nm of torque from just 1950rpm. To describe it as quick is an understatement, if North Korea had an F6 E it would spell the onset of nuclear war because this thing moves like a ballistic missile. It sprints to 100kph in around 5.3 seconds and has the raw pace to leave the V8s in the FPV range red-faced. It’s a high-tech powerplant that has grunt at any speed but relishes in open road cruising where it can make the most of prodigious amounts of mid-range torque.
The engine sings a distinctive soundtrack with turbocharger induction noise blending with the exhaust note and upshifts sing out like a war cry. There’s enough power and excitement to get hearts racing but if you keep the F6 E off heavy boost it can also be a fairly timid drive.
In terms of transmissions a manual isn’t offered on the F6 E with the six-speed ZF Sachs automatic gearbox the only option. It’s a capable and clever unit that has a sports mode that will hold gears to the redline if required and shifts with intensity when it notes spirited driving input. Manual shifts are available sequentially through the gearstick, but steering wheel paddles are absent. The official combined fuel consumption figure is 12.1l/100km but during our testing we could only achieve around 14l/100km.
For suspension set-up the F6 E rolls on independent double wishbone front with performance controlled independent rear. It makes for a sporty and firm ride but compliance is also very good. Body roll can be felt on tight cornering but it isn’t a major issue and mid-corner grip is excellent with the thumping engine and clever auto box prepared to accelerate hard on exit. That said, with so much power if you feed it too much throttle too early, it’s still all about the oversteer.
Getting traction is the only real issue when driving the F6 E, if you accelerate hard from standing the traction control keeps the rear tyres from smoking up, but there is still wheelspin. On wet rods this intensifies and to turn off the traction control is inviting trouble. The F6 simply struggles to transfer all its available torque to the road and this really needs to be respected even with the traction control standing guard.
When it comes to safety the F6 E is well covered with driver and front passenger airbags, curtains and front seat side bags, ABS brakes, stability control program and reversing camera all standard fare.
Although the F6 E is defined within the range by its elegant attire inside and out, it’s the powerhouse engine that still defines it as a vehicle. The luxury sports sedan segment is fairly niche and the F6 E makes a distinctive entry within it. It’s an ideal machine for those who want fire-breathing performance without sacrificing creature comforts and don’t feel the need to visually shout out how badass their car really is. While the power delivery should probably be smoother and more refined for an executive sedan there is no doubt it will leave drivers with a grin as wide as it’s rear tyres.
What we like:
- Classy exterior styling
- Powerhouse engine
- Clever auto transmission
What we don’t like:
- Struggles with traction
- Unrefined for market segmen
- Stereo should sound nicer
Words and Photos: Adam Mamo
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