FPV GS REVIEW
Vehicle Style: Large performance sedan
Engine: 5.0 litre supercharged ‘Miami’ V8 petrol
Outputs: 315kW @ 5750rpm / 545Nm @ 2200-5500rpm
Transmission: six-speed automatic
Official fuel efficiency: 13.6 l/100km
On test fuel efficiency: 12.8 l/100km
CO2 emissions: 325g/km
The supercharged ‘Miami’ V8-powered 2011 GS enters the FPV line-up as a permanent member of the Ford sporting family; it follows the limited-edition and less-powerful GS of last year.
The new model is an impressive stand-in for the Falcon XR8, its 5.4 litre 'Boss' V8 a casualty of tightening emissions laws.
Priced to compete with the Holden SS V Redline, FPV’s slick GS has genuine muscle and is a strong-value entry into the performance segment.
- Quality: The GS’s interior - its leather (fitted to our car as an option), plastics and metal garnishes - are of high quality and fit and finish is commendably good. Highlights include a boost gauge, carbon fibre-like pattern and a build number plate.
- Comfort: The squabs and backrests up front are comfortable, although slimmer drivers may find the wide seats and low bolsters lacking in lateral support.
Driver's seat gets power adjustment for height, with manual controls for slide and backrest. Passenger’s seat is entirely manual.
There is also tilt/reach adjustment for the steering wheel, and leg, shoulder and head room is excellent throughout.
- Equipment: CD/iPod/Bluetooth, climate control, push-button starter and 19-inch alloys. Premium audio package with six-CD stacker available as an option, along with dual-zone climate control.
- Storage: 60/40 split-fold rear seat. The boot is huge at 535 litres.
ON THE ROAD
- Driveability: The GS’s supercharged engine ensures plenty of torque on demand, with maximum twist available from about 2000rpm in a smooth, linear delivery.
The auto features the familiar sport mode, and while ‘D’ is adequate, it’s the sport mode that sets the GS alight. Throttle response is instant, gears are held longer and - in manual mode - there’s a welcome throttle blip on downshifts.
- Refinement: Inside, the GS is relatively quiet, although its large wheels and low-profile tyres see some road noise. In highway driving, there’s noticeable wind noise from the base of the A-pillars.
- Suspension: FPV has re-tuned the suspension to match the 40kg lighter engine, resulting in excellent poise and composure both when cornering and on uneven surfaces. Ride is firm, but it offers enough compliance to be a comfortable commuter and family car.
- Braking: With the same brakes as the XR8 (322mm and 302mm discs, sliding calipers), the 315kW GS is under-braked in our view, even as an entry model.
Feel through the pedal is soft, making it poorly matched to the ability of the engine. A shame, then, that the GT's four-piston Brembos are no longer an option on the GS.
- ANCAP rating: 5-Star
- Safety features: driver/passenger front, side head/thorax and curtain airbags. Driver’s seatbelt reminder. ESC, traction control, ABS, EBD and Brake Assist.
WARRANTY AND SERVICING
- Warranty: 3year/100,000km warranty.
- Service costs: First service at 3000km, subsequent services every 15,000km. For costs, check with your FPV dealer before buying.
HOW IT COMPARES | VALUE FOR MONEY
- Holden SS V Redline automatic ($59,790) - 45kW and 15Nm down on the GS, the Redline however gets Brembo brakes and the special FE3 ‘super sports’ suspension.
The Redline is slightly more controllable, but the FPV has the better interior. (see SS V reviews)
- Chrysler 300C 5.7 V8 sedan ($60,990) - Visually polarising, and not as powerful as the GS or SS V Redline.
However if you want an affordable V8 RWD sedan and don't want a Holden or Ford, the 300C is your sole remaining option.
Note: all prices are Manufacturer’s List Price and do not include dealer delivery or on-road costs.
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
For a while now, FPV has played second fiddle in the power wars - but with its new supercharged V8, even HSV’s top-shelf GTS can rightly be wary of the GS.
With its sharp price, that world-class locally-modified engine, and FPV’s always admirable build quality inside and out, the GS is a genuinely good buy.