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FPV GT-P 2011 Review

Vicious. Not feral, but furious, potent and unrelenting.

It might have been called a Coyote when it first arrived, but the supercharged V8 now rumbling beneath the bulging hood of the FPV GT-P is more panther or lion - sorry, Holden and Peugeot.

It is, says Ford, the most powerful GT in the history of the company's most famous Australian-made model and it sounds like it.

VALUE

The GT-P is second to the GT-E for price by $1000, starting from $81,540 - some say it's a lot of money for a Falcon, others look at the performance and think its a decent features list.

It includes dual zone climate control, full iPod integration for the 6CD subwoofer-equipped sound system, Bluetooth phone link, parking sensors, rear camera, power-adjustable driver's seat, carpet floor mats, alloy-covered pedals, power windows, power mirrors and anti-dazzle mirrors - but satellite navigation is on the options list - a bit rich on an $80,000 car.

TECHNOLOGY

The already-potent V8 makes the trip from the US but once here gets plenty of extra treatment - it's worth every cent of the $40-million spend on the development program.

The Coyote Ford V8 - first seen in the new Mustang - is an all-aluminium double overhead cams 32-valve unit, which meets Euro IV emissions regulations and is 47kg lighter than the outgoing 5.4 litre V8.

The Eaton supercharger bumps the outputs up to 335kW and 570Nm - increases of 20kW and 19Nm over the outgoing GT-P powerplant - braying through an active quad-pipe exhaust.

The test car had the muscular but clean-shifting six-speed manual, but there's a six-speed automatic on offer as a no-cost option.

DESIGN

New stickers boasting the upgraded power output are the main styling change (although I think it would have looked better if they joined up with the bonnet stripes) for the updated FPV - reminiscent of Ford Boss Mustang musclecars of yesteryear.

The power bulge - perhaps more required now than ever with the supercharger - and the overt sports bodykit remain unchanged, leaving other road users in no doubt about the GT-P's intentions and potential.

The interior is dark and brooding, with sports leather seats with GT-P embroidery and suede-covered bolsters, a sports leather-wrapped steering wheel and gearshift.

SAFETY

The Falcon donor is a five-star ANCAP car and the GT-P gets the full compliment of safety bits - airbags (dual front, side and full-length curtain), stability and traction control and anti-lock brakes - as well as rear parking sensors and a rear camera.

DRIVING

Following our first spin in the supercharged FPV, a drive on local roads was much anticipated and the GT-P has not disappointed.

The big muscly sedan is planted on the road as if the low-profile Dunlops are woven into the road, but the ride is pretty good given the 35-profile of the tyres and the bias towards handling.

Burble through an underground carpark and the bass from the V8 is quiet; wind it up towards 6000rpm and the V8 bellow and supercharger whine becomes more obvious but never intrusive.

The six-speed manual needs to be shifted with purpose - on more than a couple of occasions the first-second shifts were crunched as the action wasn't completed with conviction.

Day to day dawdling is a short-shifting affair - first gear is largely redundant unless you're pointed up hill, fourth and fifth can be selected quite early and just above idle is all that's required to maintain forward momentum.

A blast along a favoured piece of tarmac soon shows a glimpse of what the GT-P is capable of doing - dispatching with straights at a rapid rate, wiping off speed in short order using the solid Brembo stoppers and turning confidently into corners.

Sometimes the GT-P chooses to remind you it's a two-tonne machine, pushing the nose a little wide if you've really overdone it, but it's coming out of a bend where some judicious use of the right foot is required.

The feel from behind the wheel suggests the claimed 0-100km/h time under five seconds is achievable.

The launch would need to be perfect, as the considerable outputs will turn the rear tyres into scrap without delay, but the GT-P leaps forward with menace.

Leaving the stability control on is the better option for public roads, as a break in traction that would be considered "hoon" behaviour is very easy to achieve; however, a track day could easily chew out a set of rear tyres.

VERDICT

The dollars laid out of supercharging the engine is money well-spent and FPV has the firepower to take HSV on head-to-head, even if the (more-expensive) GTS has more gizmos and gadgets. The appeal of the supercharged V8 offsets some of the cabin quirks and if you're looking for an extroverted V8 muscle car then this absolutely should be on your shopping list ... near the top.

SCORE: 84/100

WE LIKE

Supercharged V8 outputs and soundtrack, ride/handling balance, Brembo brakes.

WE DON'T LIKE

Low-set wheel & high-set seat, no satnav, fiddly trip computer switches, small fuel tank, supercharger boost gauge.

FPV GT-P sedan

Price: from $81,540.
Engine: five-litre 32-valve supercharged all-alloy V8.
Transmission: six-speed manual, limited slip diff, rear-wheel drive.
Power: 335kW @ 5750rpm.
Torque: 570Nm between 2200 & 5500rpm.
Performance: 0-100km/h 4.9 seconds.
Fuel consumption: 13.6litres/100km, on test XX.X, tank 68litres.
Emissions: 324g/km.
Suspension: double wishbones (front); Control blade (rear).
Brakes: four-wheel ventilated and cross-drilled discs, six-piston front and four-piston rear calipers.
Dimensions: length 4970mm, width 1868mm, height 1453mm, wheelbase 2838mm, track fr/rr 1583/1598mm
Cargo Volume: 535litres
Weight: 1855kg.
Wheels: 19in alloys, 245/35 Dunlop tyres

In its class:

HSV GTS, from $84,900.

Pricing Guides

$44,990
Based on 3 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$41,888
Highest Price
$52,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
(base) 5.0L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $41,888 – 46,990 2011 FPV GT-P 2011 (base) Pricing and Specs
Stuart Martin
Contributing Journalist

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