2000-2002 Ford Falcon AU-BFII XR8 - Buyer's Guide

By: Cliff Chambers

ford falcon au ford falcon au

Buyer resistance to the AU Falcon's charms was about looks, not fundamental issues - its styling is now viewed more kindly


Ford Falcon AU-BFII XR8

For a long time it seemed that the AU XR8 would remain a pariah and even cars that were carefully preserved would have their lives abruptly ended by a crusher.

Then a few years back, people suddenly took an interest in later versions of the AU. While you wouldn’t say the weirdly-shaped Ford had become a cult car there were buyers willing to spend better than BA money to get themselves into something a little older but more distinctive.

| 2019 Market Review - Ford Falcon/Fairmont/XR6 AU-BF


The AU II that launched in April 2000 fixed pretty much everything that was wrong with the original AU and even had a bash at diffusing criticism of the styling. The original shape was memorably described to me by a former Ford salesman some years ago as "looking like a turd with teeth".

Changes to the AU II’s body structure, suspension and brakes improved the range and produced a more viable platform for performance models. Most significant were new engine mounts and a laminated fire-wall that dramatically reduced vibration.


The distinctive four-light front remained but with the AU II came a neat two-bar grille and scalloped bonnet. The bumper/air-dam was modified to include additional air-ducts, while a single-deck spoiler and reshaped tail-lights helped disguise a rear-end that had originally caused much controversy.

Inside were upgraded seats and standard dual air-bags, a six-stack CD player and optional satellite navigation. SmartShield security replaced the often-unreliable Smart Lock central locking/security system.

| Ford Falcon history: AU, BA, BF series 


Immediate good news for AUII buyers was a boost in power. Initially the XR8 sedan was upped from 185kW to 200kw, rising by a further 20kW from mid-2001. Utilities stuck with the 185kW motor until March 2001 when they  also received a 15kW power increase. The AU III ute would also find space for a touring-friendly 82-litre fuel tank.

The AU III XR8 ran from November 2001 until replaced by the BA. It continued with the 220kW engine and cast-aluminium heads that were matched to balanced engine internals. A new throttle body delivered improved throttle response.


Scarcity and performance have  encouraged Ford enthusiasts to seek and out and pay increasing prices for five-speed manual cars. The disadvantage they then suffer is with lower overall gearing that has the engine revving around 2400rpm when doing a constant 110km/h and the consequent affect on fuel consumption.

Manual sedans and utilities can get into the 10L/100km region but traffic or being pushed along with frequent use of the gears see them slurping at 15-18L/100km.

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AU II XR8 automatic sedans showing more than 200,000 kilometres and in average condition can cost less than $5000. They provide interesting transport but virtually no prospect of value growth.

Look harder – because these are not easy to find – for a five-speed manual car that has travelled 100-125,000 kilometres and the price quickly soars towards $20,000.

Checking the log-books and service history is essential. You may not want to be paying top money for a vehicle that copped a commercial flogging when new or began life with flashing lights on the roof and a radar unit hooked to the driver’s pillar.













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