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First drive: FPV’s new supercharged GT unleashed

Earning its stripes: The main advances for Ford Performance Vehicle's new supercharged GT are under the bonnet.

335kW FPV GT said to be good for sub-five second 0-100km/h sprint

6 Oct 2010

FORD Performance Vehicles has unleashed its fastest and most powerful GT which it claims can storm from 0-100km/h in just 4.9 seconds.

The 335kW GT, with more power and torque than the 6.2-litre V8 GTS from rival Holden Special Vehicles, tops the new supercharged range from the tuning arm of Ford Australia.

It has also introduced the entry level GS as a permanent member of the line-up.

FPV says it expects the arrival of the strong new engine to more than double sales of its V8 models from just 766 last year to more than 2000 a year.

An all-new Boss V8, developed by Ford’s FPV partner Prodrive for a total investment of $35 million, is the centre piece of the new models and provides 335kW in the GT.

FPV will pass on some of that investment cost to customers, with prices rising by between $2040 and $3400 across the V8 range.

The new GS Ute kicks off the line-up at $51,990, while the sedan version costs $56,990.

Stepping up to the GT sedan means a $71,290 pricetag (manual and auto), the luxury GT-P is $80,990 (manual and auto) and the more discreet auto-only GT-E is now $81,450.

The Super Pursuit Ute, which ran the same engine as the GT, has been dropped from the line-up.

19 center imageFrom top: FPV GT, FPV 'Miami' V8 engine, FPV GT interior, FPV GS.

FPV general manager Rod Barrett defended the price rises when discussing the GT’s new price tag.

“What we are giving you is a six per cent increase in power and a four per cent increase in price, and we think that is a pretty good equation,” Barrett said.

Most of the work for the new FPV V8 range has gone into the development of the V8 engine, codenamed Miami, but there are new-look wheels, a fresh stripe kit reminiscent of the 1970 Boss Mustang and FPV badges for the key fob and steering wheel, replacing the Ford blue oval.

Prodrive Asia Pacific managing director Bryan Mears is unapologetic about the minimal visual difference between this model and the last, saying that FPV owners were less interested in “bells, whistles and flashing lights” than improved performance.

“We’ve done what we can visually, but $35 million is a lot to spend and most of the money has gone on the engine,” he said.

The engine is available in two kinds. For the GS sedan and Ute, it produces 315kW at 5750rpm and 545Nm of torque from 2000rpm to 5500rpm.

More boost pressure means the GT version generates 335kW at 6000rpm and 570Nm from 2200rpm to 5500rpm.

The more potent of the two engines delivers so much torque that engineers struggled to get the ute to put it to the road. Consequently, FPV decided to offer only the 315kW engine in the GS Ute.

Fuel consumption has also been improved by four per cent, running from 13.6 litres per 100km through to 14.2L/100km, depending on the model.

Like the 5.4-litre Boss it replaces, the new 5.0-litre engine is assembled at FPV’s Campbellfield headquarters from local and imported ingredients.

It uses many components from the new Ford Mustang Coyote V8, including the all-alloy block that delivers a huge weight advantage of the old engine’s cast iron block, and its four-valve heads.

While Ford Racing in the US sells a supercharged version of the 5.0-litre Coyote, which is a basic bolt-on system, FPV has re-engineered several key parts of the engine to ensure optimum performance, economy and durability. These include unique conrods, pistons and pins, a custom alloy winged oil pan, high flow metal matrix catalysts, special camshafts and a massive air intake system with a funnel that takes up a fair chunk of the engine bay.

The supercharger uses the latest generation Eaton TVS components (as used by Audi and Jaguar) fitted in a custom housing produced by Preston (Melbourne) performance engineering outfit Harrop.

It pumps 1.9 litres of air per revolution using a new four lobe system that has been designed for greater thermal efficiency, preventing the air from warming up and spoiling the effect of the supercharging.

The maximum boost pressure varies, but FPV says runs as little as 6psi. It is pleased to point out it has plenty of room to increase the boost when it looks for more performance in the future.

There is also a bypass valve which means the supercharger is using as little fuel as possible when its assistance is not required.

FPV was stung by criticism of the previous V8 engine which was deemed too quiet by many of its owners. It has introduced a new electronically controlled active exhaust system that opens valves in response to certain throttle applications to increase the sound quality.

This also helps counter the supercharger whine, which was an issue during the development process. Engineers were ordered to allow the supercharger whine to be heard, but not too much.

“You know it is a supercharger, but it can’t be intrusive and has to be acceptable to the public,” Mr Barrett said.

The smaller, light lighter alloy block contributed to a 33kg weight saving across new FPV models, most it saved over the nose for improved steering turn-in.

None of the FPVs are lightweight though, with the GT manual tipping the scales at a considerable 1855kg.

Transmission options for the new models include a revised six-speed Tremec manual and an upgraded six-speed ZF automatic transmission. The automatic is available as a no cost option on all models except the GT-E, on which it is standard.

The entry-level GS is based on the XR8 (which is currently out of production) with a premium centre display and FPV instrument cluster and special black seat trim. It runs 18-inch five-spoke alloy wheels, and is available in 11 colours (10 for the Ute).

The stripes available in three colours, and are mandatory on the GS.

GT models come with a unique front and rear bumper and grille, differentiating them from the Ford XR and GS models.

They ride on 19-inch alloys wheels (in different styles depending on the model) and are available in 11 colours, while three stripe kits are available – and optional.

FPV continues to offer turbocharged six-cylinder models including the F6 and F6E sedan and F6 Ute which produce 310kW and 565Nm.

These models were recently upgraded to pass the mid-year Euro 4 emissions standard, but otherwise remain unchanged.
2010 FPV V8 range pricing:
GS ute $51,990
GS ute (a) $51,990
GS sedan $56,990
GS sedan (a) $56,990
GT sedan $71,290
GT sedan (a) $71,290
GT-P sedan $80,990
GT-P sedan (a) $80,990
GT-E sedan (a) $81,450

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