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Ford's powerful wind


Ford's performance arm copped a bit of flak when it announced plans for the Typhoon, with claims that it was "bastardising" the hallowed Aussie performance car genre.

Much of the criticism funnily enough seemed to emanate from the Holden camp which does not have a turbocharged power plant of its own.

But really, what's all the fuss about?

After all, HSV happily produced and marketed the supercharged XU-6 VT Commodore in 1996, didn't it?

The future is all about smaller, more powerful engines and five minutes behind the wheel of the Typhoon is enough to convince the most vocal critic that this car deserves to wear the FPV badge.

Heck! On paper and on the road, the Typhoon in our estimation has got the wood on V8 stablemate the Falcon GT.

The only bit that they haven't managed to engineer into the turbo is that wonderful V8 exhaust note.

Available in manual form only, the Typhoon is priced from $58,950, in line with the company's policy of producing uncompromising performance at an affordable price.

That's $2400 less than the manual GT – and apart from the GT badge you're not missing out on much.

The Typhoon's exterior styling with smallish badges and lack of striping is somewhat understated and we believe could be more overt.

The kind of people that drive these cars are not what you'd call shrinking violets.

Inside, there's also room for something fancier, particularly with the ordinary dash treatment.

Metal starter and gear shift knobs look the goods but get extremely hot if left sitting in the summer sun.

And, while on the subject of sun, tall drivers will find the lowered sun visor obstructs vision, even with the driver's seat set to its lowest point.

On the road the Typhoon feels lighter and more agile than the V8, although in reality there is only about 50kg difference.

The force-fed 4.0-litre DOHC straight six cylinder engine cranks out an impressive 270kW of power and whopping 550Nm of torque from a low 2000rpm, compared to the V8's 290kW and 520Nm from 4500rpm.

That's more torque and from much lower in the rev range, which as we all know is the stuff that performance is made of.

The Typhoon with a shorter first gear has incredible get up and go, punching through the gears to what surely must be a mid-five second time for the 0-100km/h dash.

Think WR-X and then some...

In fact, if you do the sums, the power to weight ratio of the Typhoon is 6.6kg per kW, compared to say the top of the line STi Rex which comes in at a 7.5kg.

In theory at least, it makes the Typhoon a quicker car, but of course other factors come into play.

Apart from the lift in power, most of FPV's tweaking is reflected in the superior handling of the car.

It's this rather than straight line performance that makes it so much more desirable than a standard XR6 Turbo.

The car sits low and flat with big sticky tyres that hang on for dear life.

Traction control is provided and can be switched off if desired but we found it much less intrusive than the standard system and assume this has been the subject of some refinement too.

Twin centre mounted, driver orientated dash top gauges show turbo boost and oil pressure.

The close ratio six-speed Tremec manual transmission has been specially engineered for the car and is light and easy to use, with an electronic lockout for reverse.

The twin plate AP Racing clutch also has a light action, but a couple of the motor magazines have managed to fry a clutch (we're not surprised).

Blue caliper performance 325/303mm brakes are standard while red caliper 355/330mm Brembos are optional.

Standard equipment includes FPV badged sports with a "suede feel" bolsters, dual climate airconditioning and a 150 watt six stack CD sound system.

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