FPV GT supercharged V8 (2011) Review

By: Nathan Ponchard

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FPV GT supercharged V8. Old school fun

FPV GT supercharged V8 (2011) Review
FPV supercharged V8

 

2011 FPV GT supercharged V8

John Bowe almost burst out of his skin when I told him I was set to sample FPV's long-awaited new supercharged V8 engine.

"Oh, mate!" he said during our time with the Brock Commodores (Unique Cars  Issue 317), "I had a go in it last week, it's a dead-set cracker!"

And after three days and almost 2000km in FPV's updated GT, GT-E and GS sedans, I know why JB was so excited. FPV's new supercharged 5.0-litre Boss engine, in both 315kW GS and 335kW GT guises, is a ripper from the moment you push its console-mounted start button.

The drive (with sister mag MOTOR) was from Philip Island to Mount Panorama and to put things in perspective, we also had two foes from Team Red - an HSV GTS and Clubsport R8 - for comparison.

And holy hell, was it fun! Lean into the throttle of FPV's new donk and the blower lets you know it's working. It's especially delicious in the GT, but even in the GT-in-a-suit luxo GT-E, the supercharger whine is the dominant (but not intrusive) aural flavour. Then get up it for the rent and the new active exhaust spits and snarls like muscle cars of old - especially the 335.

In fact, the new blown V8 reeks so much of proper old-school metal that it makes you crack the back window to let more noise in. And makes you grin like a fool.

With an alloy block, the new engine is around 45kg lighter than the previous Boss donk and even weighing in at nearly two tonnes - driver, passenger and full tank of 98 octane - Ford's latest big-and-brawny sedans marry their lighter noses with delicious throttle response (especially the manuals) to deliver a new-found nimbleness. The lead-tipped arrow feel of old is gone, with turn-in and feel now more in line with that of the turbo sixes.

According to FPV, the suspension is calibrated to be supple in true grand-tourer tradition and Falcons are sensational for covering bulk kays over Aussie back roads. But the competence of FPV's new engine highlights flaws in the FG's chassis and handling. Getting 335kW (that's a poofteenth under 450 horsepower!) and 570Nm of torque (from 2200rpm) to the ground was always going be a challenge... Acceleration testing was hampered by the FPV's reluctance to hook-up cleanly, but the real test for most drivers, and hence my disappointment, is on the road.

Punching the pedal - even at 80km/h on barely damp bitumen - resulted in all sorts of banging and crashing from the rear end. Even with the safety net of stability control, the GS and GT could be a handful on a wet road. In the tighter twisties, too, there's a loss of composure. That grand touring suspension and FPV's narrower tyre specification just doesn't provide the breadth of capability that HSV's firmer set-up does.

Clobbering rough pavement mid-corner rattles the steering rack, sending pulses up the column and the GS's brake pedal is a little longer than intuition leads you to expect, though it remains firm.

Thankfully, the GT gets bigger Brembos, as before, and continues to offer more than competent stopping performance.

You can bet FPV/Prodrive are already working on how to better harness the power fenced in by the chassis, but for now, this new engine is every bit as good as expected.

FPV reckons it'll change sales ratios from 60/40 percent (V8 to Turbo) to 70/30, but this engine will also make potential HSV owners scratch their chins. Aussie fast car fans have never had it so good.

 

SPECIFICATIONS

2011 FPV GT

 

ENGINE: 4951cc V8, dohc, 32v, s/c

POWER: 335kW @ 5750-6000rpm

TORQUE: 570Nm @ 2200-5500rpm

WEIGHT: 1855kg

TRANSMISSION: 6-speed manual

BRAKES: 335mm cross-drilled discs, four-piston Brembo calipers (f); 328mm cross-drilled discs, single-piston calipers (r)

0-100km/h: 4.9sec (claimed)

TOP SPEED: 250km/h (limited)

PRICE: $71,290

 

 

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