Lexus IS350 2010 Review
Well, it's about time. Five years since the launch of the second generation Lexus IS, it finally...
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Ford Performance Vehicles (FPV) is no longer a standalone operation, it’s now in the process of being incorporated into the mainstream part of Ford Australia’s business as part of the cost trimming necessary to keep Ford in operation locally. Our test GT Falcon came from FPV directly as we picked it up just before the announcement of the changes to the company’s structure.
When first launched last year, the new hot Falcon was the first supercharged V8-powered GT in its 43-year history. With 335 kW of peak power and 570 Nm of top torque, the 5.0-litre Boss V8 is fitted to four models – the GS, GT, GT-P and GT E – ranging in price from just under sixty-grand to $83k. The GT test car comes in at a tad over $71,000 – a stunning bargain when compared with similar cars from the like of Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
With minor changes on the outside, the main game inside has been upgraded with the latest in smart automotive technology, including a new command centre, the focus of which is an 8-inch full colour touch screen. Centrally placed on the dashboard, the screen lays out an array of important vehicle information from air-con, audio, phone to satellite navigation systems. Unfortunately the angle of the screen makes it particularly prone to reflection in bright sunlight making it difficult to read too often.
The luxury Falcon GT E, GT-P and F6 E models also feature a new integrated satellite navigation system with Traffic Message Channel as standard equipment. This includes 2D or 3D map modes; ‘junction view’ graphical representation of the road; ‘green routing’, which works out the most economical route, as well as the fastest and shortest routes available; advanced lane guidance and signpost information indicating which lane to use; street house numbers left and right; ‘Where Am I’ feature to show nearby points of interest and over-speed and speed camera warnings.
Already standard on the big Ford GT E and F6 E, a reversing camera is now part of the package on the GT, adding to the convenience of the reverse audio sensing system which now displays a graphic on the command centre screen to supplement audible warnings.
At 47 kg lighter than the all aluminium 5.4 litre Boss 315 kW engine it replaces, the new 335 kW engine is the result of a $40 million program put together by Aussie-based company Prodrive, a major operator of the FPV organisation at the time. Taking a lead from the Coyote V8 first introduced in the latest American Ford Mustang, the base of the new FPV engine is imported from the US in component form and hand assembled locally by FPV, using extensive Australian-made componentry.
The heart of the Australian engine is a Harrop Engineering-developed supercharger utilising Eaton TVS technology. Fuel consumption figures held no surprises, the test GT using 8.6 litres per 100 kilometres during a cruise on the motorway, while in town gulping 18-plus litres over the same distance.
On the outside the Falcon GT is fitted with new lighting complete with projector headlamps. Cabin comfort is good, with plenty of room all round, driver visibility to match and pretty good support during hard cornering.
Interior upgrades include the addition of FPV floor mats, while added exclusivity of the GT comes with each car individually numbered – in the case of the test vehicle ‘0601’. Collectors please note. We loved the triumphant power bulge rising above the bonnet; the figures ‘335’ on the flanks spruiking the power plant’s potential in kilowatts (450 horsepower in real money); and Boss announcing the engine’s station in life.
Safety is in the hands of driver and front passenger airbags, plus front seat side thorax and curtain airbags, anti-skid brakes with electronic brake force distribution and brake force assist, dynamic stability control and traction control.
Fitted with a six-speed automatic transmission with sequential sports shift, a no-cost option on the GT, the whole package produces handling which belies the car’s bulk – the balance of an Olympic gymnast and snappy turn-in of a 200m sprinter – four-piston Brembo brakes making light of pulling up.
Driving flexibility is way above that shown previously in a big V8.The Falcon GT will happily tootle around in town traffic. But plant the foot on the highway and the beast is unleashed, putting instant power to the road, while out the back, via a quad pipe bi-modal exhaust system, comes a deep engine note to match.
We loved every minute of our time in this great Aussie muscle car.
Ford FG Falcon GT Mk II
Price: from $71,290 (not including government or dealer delivery charges)
Warranty: 3 years / 100,000 km
Safety: 5 star ANCAP
Engine: 5.0-litre supercharged DOHC V8, 335kW/570Nm
Transmission: ZF 6-speed, RWD
Thirst: 13.7L/100km, 325g/km CO2
Lowest price, based on 4 car listings in the last 6 months