In 1797, John Hetherington caused a riot in the streets of London. Dogs barked, women fainted, and the crowd panicked, breaking the arm of an errand boy as they ran past, so reports stated. A court found Hetherington guilt of wearing “a tall structure having a shiny lustre calculated to frighten timid people” — a top hat. He was fined £50 — an enormous amount in those days.
FPV has a metaphorical ‘top hat’ of its own: the front of its FG Falcon-derived vehicles and their ‘eyes’. These days people aren’t shocked at anything, though, so there’s unlikely to be unconscious women and broken ulnas, just plenty of turning heads.
Fashion moved very slowly until the rise of TV and the internet. It took 53 years for the top hat to become fashionable; Prince Albert started wearing one and everyone wanted to be ‘like Al’. In the FPV GT’s case, Paul Stanley — vocalist for KISS — painted his trademark eye makeup in 1973. 35 years later it’s on the front of a car. Coincidence? I think not.
The styling of the front also displays a bulge in the bonnet (which strangely reminded me of the Alien trying to escape from John Hurt’s chest). It comes plastered with the Boss logo to let you know who the boss is. What resides within? It’s a 315kW quad-cam 5.4-litre V8 with enough torque to pull the teeth from a T-Rex. The dinosaur juice pedal gives an instant facelift as the back tyres scrabble for traction and the forward surge smooths away fine lines and wrinkles with a satisfying injection of g-force. Who needs botox?
The V8 tone of the GT is muted — like a slumbering bear; an HSV’s tone is aggressive, like the bear has woken up, ambled along to its favourite fishing spot and found you there in a pair of waders. For me, the HSV’s tone has the edge, but the HSV’s handling isn’t as sharp as the FPV’s.
It is significantly better than the previous GT — a result of 29,000 hours of work by the FPV team — and this is reflected in a more refined ride, better fuel economy, better sounding stereo, and a more intuitive user interface for the trip computer/audio system.
The increased fuel economy comes from a variety of factors including better volumetric efficiency and less friction. Drive it sensibly, and the six-speed auto ‘box will stay in a high gear as much as possible. We achieved around 14.5l/100km combined. But you can run the six-speed gearbox in sequential mode where it displays reasonably quick changes at your command.
FPV is demonstrably far more proud of this FG range of Falcons than previous versions. The only Ford badge you’ll find is on the steering wheel. On the outside an embossed chrome FPV badge sits just behind the wheel arch, there’s one cut out of the grille just above the front splitter, as well as in the centre of main grille, and at the back it sits centrally just above the boot release.
When you step inside the car, you’ll also be reminded by the Ford Performance Vehicles scuff plate on the door sill and the build plate on the dashboard. Brand overload? Not really.
The overload comes from the colours available to melt the retinas of those unfortunate to cast a glance in bright sunlight. The naval orange and lime green options are there to encourage you to squeeze every last drop of tangy goodness out of it while driving, assisted by livery that accentuates the aggressive stance, and a wing large enough to be used as a picnic table.
FPV chose well in the brakes department. The standard stoppers are large – 355 x 32mm cross-drilled ventilated front rotors with Brembo four-piston callipers and 328 x 26mm cross-drilled ventilated rear rotors with single piston calliper — and if you want more decelerative prowess, this can be upgraded to the premium package with Brembo six-piston callipers at the front and slightly larger 330 x 28mm cross drilled ventilated rear rotors with Brembo four-piston callipers.
Modifications to the suspension sees the FPV remain fairly flat and composed under heavy braking, though it does have the tendency to want to scrape that low front splitter if you try taking speed humps too quickly.
I quite like the GT — it grew on me during the week, and I didn’t want to give it back. I would definitely take FPV’s six-cylinder turbo F6 instead of it, but as a V8 option it turns heads, and challenges your own neck muscles.
It doesn’t have the brutal instant torque of the F6, which in some ways makes it slightly more driveable. Whereas the F6 would break traction at 80kph in the wet with its torque plateau, the GT swells up to a tsunami of torque as the revs build.
Hetherington may have caused a riot 200 years ago, but this FPV GT is a riot — a riot of fun.
Price: from $69,990
What we like
- Styling — it’s bold and it works
- Much improved screen for air conditioning and audio functions
What we don’t like
- George Bush for causing high fuel prices
- Starter button is annoying
- V8 doesn’t sound grunty enough
FPV GT Specifications
Boss 315 – high performance
5.4 litre quad-cam 32 valve V8
Maximum power (DIN) – 315kW @ 6500rpm
Maximum torque (DIN) – 551Nm @ 4750rpm^
Fuel management system – sequential multipoint electronic fuel injection
FPV high-flow dual exhaust system
FPV blue rocker cover
FPV stainless steel fabricated exhaust manifolds
ADR81-01 (L/100km) – manual/automatic 14.2/14
Comparative CO2 emissions (grams/km) – manual/automatic 340/334 334 352/344
TRANSMISION & DRIVELINE
ZF 6-speed high-torque automatic transmission with Sequential Sports Shift: No-cost option
TR6060 6-speed Manual with leather and satin chrome gear knob
RIDE & HANDLING
FPV Performance independent double wishbone front suspension
Performance Control Blade Independent Rear Suspension (IRS)
FPV 19″ x 8.0 Alloy wheel fitted with 245/35ZR19 Dunlop Sport Maxx tyre
Matching alloy spare wheel
Locking wheel nut
Limited Slip Differential
355 x 32mm cross drilled ventilated front rotors with Brembo 4 piston calipers & 328 x 26mm cross drilled & ventilated rear rotors with single red piston caliper
PREMIUM BRAKES (optional)
355 x 32mm cross drilled ventilated front rotors with Brembo 6 piston calipers & 330 x 28mm cross drilled ventilated rear rotors with Brembo 4 piston calipers
FPV build number badge with unique model identifier
Unique FPV Starter Button
Human Machine Interface (HMI) with Internal Command Centre (IC)
High series mixed mode colour screen
Blue dial illumination with white LCD and FPV welcome message on start up
Audible shift alert indicator – man only
CFC-free Air conditioning – dual zone
FPV floor mats (OPTION)
FPV scuff plates (front only)
Sports leather steering wheel with cruise control and audio switches
Memory adjustable pedals with alloy pedal covers
Adjustable pedals (automatic only) (OPTION)
Alloy pedal covers
FPV sports seats
Silverstone cloth with Ebony Lux suede bolsters with GT logo embroidery
Nudo Leather with Miller suede bolsters with GT/Pursuit logo embroidery (OPTION)
4 way power driver’s seat
Adjustable driver’s and passenger’s seat lumbar support
Premium audio system with 7″ colour display and 6-disc in-dash CD with iPod® integration
Bluetooth® mobile phone integration
Auxilliary Audio plug-in (MP3 capability)
Satellite Navigation system
FPV oval badge on front grille & rear
FPV fender feature badge
Boss power bulge on hood
FPV stripe package (incl hood decal) (OPTION)
Boss hood decal (stand alone) (OPTION)
Side mirror turn indicators
Unique FPV dual exhaust
FPV high-wing rear spoiler with centre strut with LED stop light
Alpine Silver alloy wheels
Bumper accent detail – Dark or Mid Argent
SAFETY & SECURITY
Driver and front passenger airbags
Curtain airbags plus front seat side thorax airbags
Front seat side head/thorax airbags
Beltminderâ„¢ (front driver’s side only)
Dynamic Stability Control (DSC)
Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD)
Traction Control System (TCS)
Reverse sensing system
Reverse parking camera (OPTION)
FPV ID Datadot identification
^ Torque figure derived using 98 RON Premium Unleaded. # Figure obtained from tests conducted to ADR 81/01, provided to compare the fuel consumption of FPV vehicles with others. Actual fuel consumption may vary.
Words and photos Darren Cottingham