Ford Falcon GT-F v HSV GTS 2014 Review
Australia's final performance car heroes pay their respects at the high temple of horsepower: Bathurst
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Let’s get something straight from the start. There is no way this car can match HSV’s GTS off the line, no way Jose - not with 570Nm of torque versus the Holden’s 740Nm.
But please don’t get the wrong idea because the GT F (that’s F for final edition) is still a force to be reckoned with and perhaps more importantly fun to drive - with a capital F.
The GT F 351 sedan is priced from $77,990 while the companion FPV V8 Pursuit Ute goes for $52,990.
They are producing only 500 of the cars and 120 of the utes, with an extra 50 cars bound for the Kiwis - all of which makes them highly collectable.
Each of the cars is individually numbered but some numbers like 351 and very likely 500 have been snapped up already by the enthusiasts.
If you want one - and we thought they’d have trouble off-loading 500 - you’d better be quick because we’re told almost all of the cars have names on them.
Developed to celebrate Ford’s performance brand, the new FPV GT F is a nod to the legendary Falcon GTs of the late 60s and early 1970s when the car had a big 351 cubic inch V8 (5.8 litres in the new money).
But really, why of why make 500 of them . . . 351 would have been a better number?
Sorry, but the whole thing is a little underdone in our opinion - both visually and mechanically.
Our test car, badged number one, was finished in dark blue with black striping and features GT F 351 badges on the back and either side at the front. Inside GT F badges also adorn the combination suede and leather sports seats.
This car should have the numbers 351 emblazoned across the bonnet in race car size lettering that shouts look at me.
The exhaust note needs to be louder too, much much louder.
This is the last Falcon GT for God’s sake - let’s not go quietly into the night!
The GT F features a returned version of the supercharged Coyote 5.0-litre V8 that puts out a decent 351kW of power and 570Nm of torque - 16kW more than the standard GT.
They say it is capable of producing 15 per cent more power and torque for brief periods on overboost - pushing the figures to 404kW and 650Nm momentarily - but we haven’t been able to find evidence of this in writing.
Ford does not provide any official performance figures, but the dash from 0-100km/h takes about 4.7 seconds.
A large computer screen occupies pride of place in the cabin, a replacement for the set of three physical gauges that were in earlier models, with graphics that in our manual show temperature, supercharger boost and voltage as well as a G-Force indicator.
Call us old fashioned but we’d prefer the old ones.
The car sits on the R-Spec chassis with Brembo brakes front and back, and 19 inch wheels that are fitted with 245/35 front and 275/30 rears.
Five stars the same as any Falcon, with six airbags, traction and stability control and other electronic driver aids.
They didn’t tell me until I picked up the car Friday afternoon that I had to have it back by Monday.
Usually we get to keep test cars a whole week which gives us plenty of time to get acquainted.
With the clock ticking there was only one only thing for it, a peck on the cheek and “seeya” in a couple of hours that turned into twice that figure and about three quarters of a tank of fuel as we speared north along the infamous Putty Road out of Sydney. Conditions were ideal, cool and dry with little traffic.
The GT-F comes as an auto or manual, but we had the six-speed manual - the version that will appeal to the purists.
Both come with launch control but the rear wheels struggle to put power to ground, especially off the line where the traction light works overtime. Come to think of it the light spent plenty of time on that afternoon - regardless.
Roll on acceleration is impressive and the whine from the supercharger is reminiscent of Max Rockatansky’s Pursuit Special as it barrelled down the highway.
Despite the big rubber and tied down R-spec suspension the rear remains lively and we became concerned at times whether it would stay tied to the road, particularly under hard braking.
To get the most out of the car you need 98 RON and if you find yourself getting carried away that can translate into fuel consumption in the order of 16.7 litres/100km.
Driven sedately the car doesn’t feel any different from the standard GT.
We could wax lyrical about the GT F’s performance but at the end of the day it is a car that is more than the sum of its parts.
It’s about an attitude, about a place in time and automotive history that is fading fast and will soon disappear completely, only remembered dimly by the old fellers.
God speed old friend.
What a tragedy that it has come to this. The last GT with a vague promise that it will be replaced by a Mustang - an iconic car in its own right yes, but not an Aussie one and certainly not a rear drive, four-door V8 sedan.
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