2011 FPV F6 REVIEW
Vehicle Style: Large performance sedan
Fuel Economy (claimed): 12.6 l/100km
Fuel Economy (tested): 14.6 l/100km
The FPV F6 is a refreshing alternative to its logical competitors: sub-$80k V8-powered performance sedans.
Its electrifying turbocharged inline six proves that, yes, there is a replacement for displacement. But there is more to the F6 than sheer performance: it is also easy to live with once you come to grips with that electrifying turbo-six.
Quality: Aside from some premium trim highlights and unique seats, the interior is essentially standard Falcon fare.
That’s both good and bad - good because the Falcon’s interior is the most solidly constructed of all Aus-built large cars, but bad because you expect something a little more special for your $68k spend.
Comfort: The F6’s deeply-bolstered seats give great support across the shoulders, lower back and under the thighs. During hard cornering, they grip nicely. Only the driver’s squab is electrically adjustable, but the pedals adjust for reach for longer-legged drivers.
Equipment: Standard equipment includes cruise-control, dusk-sensing headlamps, dual-zone climate control, a six-disc CD audio system with 3.5mm auxilliary input, Bluetooth phone integration, rear parking sensors, foglamps and 19-inch alloy wheels
Storage: The boot measures in at 535 litres, with the 60/40 split rear seatbacks folding forward to create more space.
ON THE ROAD
Driveability: With 310kW and 565Nm waiting under the toe, the F6’s engine is the ultimate incarnation of Ford’s long-lived inline six.
Boost builds strongly from 2400rpm. With an immensely wide torque band, the F6 matches low-end tractability with mountainous top-end power. It’s that liquid flexibility that makes it as much at home around town as it is on the racetrack.
One downside to the F6’s motor though is its throttle lag. There’s a pronounced pause between flooring the throttle and the turbo delivering boost, and when that boost arrives it does so with Herculean force.
Our tester was equipped with the ZF-sourced adaptive six-speed automatic. It’s a stout proven transmission with two fully-automatic modes (Normal and Performance). While upshifts are rapid, downshifts in manual mode are a little slow and aren’t rev-matched.
While it otherwise works well, paddle shifters would be a welcome addition. We also think that first gear feels too short.
Refinement: The 19-inch wheels and low-profile Dunlop SP Sport Maxx tyres transmit a fair amount of tyre roar into the cabin, and the turbocharger emits all kinds of raucous whistles, chirps and flutters.
We didn’t find such noises grating, mind you. It’s a performance car after all.
Suspension: Spring and damper rates are unique to the F6, and it feels more agile than its cousin the XR6 Turbo. There’s a small trade-off in ride comfort, but the F6 is still quite compliant.
Steering response and feedback are great (although there’s occasional rack rattle). When cornering, a little care is needed with the throttle - the abrupt onset of boost can kick the tail out when you least want it to.
The stability control system does an okay job of keeping the F6 on the road, but the power curve is capable of outfoxing the electronic nannies. We think that wider rear tyres would help tame the back-end.
Braking: The big Brembo brakes - six-piston front calipers and cross-drilled 355mm rotors, and four-piston rear calipers with cross-drilled 330mm rotors - give a solid pedal feel and fade-free performance.
ANCAP rating: 5 Stars (Ford Falcon sedan tested)
Safety features: Driver/passenger front, front side and curtain airbags. Driver’s seatbelt reminder. ESC, switchable traction control, ABS, EBD and Brake Assist.
WARRANTY AND SERVICING
Warranty: Three year/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
HSV Clubsport R8 automatic ($69,990) - For those on the other side of the Ford/Holden fence, the R8’s main point of difference from the F6 is its use of a naturally-aspirated 6.2 litre V8, rather than a turbocharged 4.0 litre inline six.
Power delivery is more progressive and the R8 is thus easier to control, but while it has 7kW more than the F6, it’s also got 15Nm less torque. (see HSV reviews)
Chrysler 300C SRT8 sedan ($65,000) - More power, more torque, and for less money than the F6. That just about sums up the 300C SRT8, which is the perfect alternative for those looking outside the Ford/Holden rivalry. (see 300C reviews)
FPV GT automatic ($71,290) - FPV’s new 5.0 litre supercharged V8 is a magnificent engine, and enjoys the highest outputs of this group (335kW, 570Nm). Power delivery is incredibly linear, but like the F6, it could use more rubber at the rear.
Worth the extra outlay over the F6? We think so. (see FPV reviews)
Note: all prices are Manufacturer’s List Price and do not include dealer delivery or on-road costs.
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
Okay, so its power delivery may be more manic than it is desirable, but that’s part of the F6’s appeal. It feels raw and alive, like a horse that hasn’t completely broken in.
Off boost it’s docile and friendly, but on boost it’ll slingshot you to the legal limit (and beyond) in just five seconds. Tame that prodigious power though and the F6 is a very rewarding car.