I used to be very shy. I could barely squeak in acknowledgement as our form teacher called out the names in class. Then I got a job at a garage/video store/petrol station a couple of nights a week and on Saturdays. That soon got rid of the shyness. After that I used my new found customer confidence and took a step up the career ladder to McDonalds where I contributed to the obesity of the locals (interestingly, the town I grew up in — Boston, Lincolnshire — is now the fattest town in the UK¦and it could have been because of me!)
What does this have to do with FPV’s GT? Well, it’s orange and sufficiently rare to attract attention. Park it in a crowded car park and people look. People ask questions. Kids point. It’s not for shrinking violets and people with inferiority complexes. But, if you did want to shun human contact it’s got enough grunt — 290kW and 520Nm of torque — to leave the seething masses behind.
The styling is bold, but not over-the-top. From the front, there’s a deep front tri-slot splitter with FPV mesh, spotlights, and optional black Boss 290 stickers on the bonnet bulge. At the back there’s an angular spoiler, rear skirt and twin exhausts (the view most people will see of you). On the side the optional black stripes are punctuated by the enormous 19-inch five-spoke mags wrapped in 245/35ZR19 Dunlop SP Sport Maxx tyres that keep the GT glued to the road. FPV’s suspension settings and choice of tyres means it’s quite tame in the dry, even with traction control turned off.
Turn the key, push the button to start and the 5.4-litre Boss 290 V8 Quadcam engine settles into a low hum. Blip the throttle and it never develops into a harsh roar; it’s a smooth and muted note. This translates well into driving comfort. Over long distances, it’s not intrusive, only reminding you when you have to get by something slow. For those occasions, you can either leave the automatic box to figure out what to do, put it in performance auto which kicks down earlier and changes up later, or go with the sequential shift — forwards for down and backwards for up (the proper way, like a racing car).
Having driven the Typhoon a few weeks earlier it was interesting to compare the handling dynamics of the GT. The Typhoon is obviously quicker, but it also seemed to push less on the front end when going hard into a corner. Perhaps the extra mass of the V8 over the straight-six is what caused this. The GT has less willing to pop its tail out of slow corners, and this also is reinforced by its 0-100kph times, which are a good 0.7 seconds slower than the Typhoon.
Braking, though, is like opening a parachute. Its stopping ability, for its weight, is incredible with the optional six-pot Brembos up front and four-pot at the rear. That’s a total of 20 pots — enough to start a catering firm. Even the standard car gets the same 355mm (front) and 328mm (rear) cross-drilled and slotted rotors, though it has four pots at the front and a single one at the rear.
Even without the discontinued Shockwave colour, FPV’s GT brochure shows 46 combinations of colours and stripes with names like Vixen, Silhouette, Ego, Breeze and Toxic. Yes, none of those names really tell you what the colours are, but they sound better than red, dark blue, black, turquoise and lime green.
If you can justify another $7,300 you could look at the GT-P — it has different mags, reversing sensors, upgraded seats (with more power adjustment) the aforementioned premium brake upgrade and some cosmetic detail changes.
I quite like the GT, though I like the straight-six turbo Typhoon better. But if you must have a V8 for the noise and/or the image, the GT’s price point is attractive against Holden’s offerings.
Price: from $71,990
What we like
- Easy to drive
- Looks great
- Any colour you like (even black)
What we don’t like
- Needs more power to justify the V8 over the Typhoon or Force 6 Turbo straight-six
Words and photos Darren Cottingham