Sep 26


A couple of weeks ago, we had a World Car Reviews/Blacksands Racing drive day. The members of World Car Reviews that are from Victoria, Australia got together with Blacksands Racing to discuss driving techniques, to explore some fantastic roads together and in general have an enjoyable day. The theme for the day was “Aussie Built”. All of the cars assembled were Australian made.

This is the first article in a series that looks at the cars we drove that day. They are not full reviews, but more brief drive impressions. Enjoy.

The GT is the big hitter out of our assembled vehicles. It has the most power, the most torque and is (arguably) the most sport focused model. It’s also the priciest car on the day. With it’s $71,290 pricetag sitting just above the $69,990 Holden Caprice.

From the outside, the GT is all obvious aggression and muscular purpose. From the “squirrel cheek” headlight clusters, to the big bonnet lump, the gaping front radiator intake, the big wheel and tyre package and the race-inspired rear wing.

It’s the typical Aussie muscle car look. Fleetmobile sedan given lashings of anger.


Stepping into the GT reveals an interior with a good compromise between comfort and sporting intent. The dashboard and centre binacle are made of materials that make the XR8 and SS cabins seem especially cheap to the touch. Although, FPV could have done something about the kinetic impact of that centre bin and it’s lid.

Other GT interior complaints are a lack of lateral support from the front seats when the going gets twisty (especially compared to the other sporty Fords and Holdens we had along with us), plus as ever with Falcons, the poor amount of wheel height adjustability (they never go high enough) and the offset position of the pedals compared to the driver’s seat and door lining.

We just can’t understand why Ford Australia struggles so to amend these basic requirements for gaining an ideal driving position. The Toyota and Mitsubishi product we have on the day highlights just how easy it should be to do. And in much cheaper/older vehicles too.

Start up the GT’s Miami V8 and charge through the hills though, and all is forgiven (if not forgotten).

This 4951cc DOHC 32v Supercharged V8 is truly one of the world’s great engines. It produces an easy 335kW @ 5750rpm. But it’s the wave of delicious torque that both grabs your attention and keeps it. This thing shoves out 570 of Newton’s finest metres from just 2200rpm all the way through to 5500rpm.

Usually an engine producing this sort of snort down low would be rough, unwieldy, unpredictable or run out of breath up high. This is not the case in the GT. The 5.0L is very refined. Smooth with a capital S. It creamily delivers constant linear power all the way to redline. Shoving you into the backrest the whole way with it’s relentless onslaught of grunt.

Such is the performance of the Miami, that we believe the GT is producing more of everything than FPV claim it is. A suspicion that makes sense when we discover that the car has an automatic computer controlled overboost function. This overboost function,as you would guess from the name, delivers extra boost through the supercharger. It does this for up to 8 seconds at a time, given the right set of parameters being met by the car’s myriad sensors.

For those precious 8 seconds,  the GT is chucking out around 375kW and just over 600Nm.

It sounds good too. At idle and revving at a standstill, the supercharger’s whine dominates the proceedings. In town, it’s all a little muted. But wow, get it out on the open road and there’s a juicy thick, rich, loud exhaust tone that crackles magnificently on the over-run.

Helping the responsive feeling is a go pedal that delivers the vast majority of it’s accelerative effort in the first half of it’s downward movement. The 6-speed auto as fitted to our test car is a beauty. It shifts accurately and smoothly, whether it be manually persuaded or left to it’s own devices. Unlike a lot of autos, the one fitted to the GT will drop down a couple of cogs on corner entry. Which helps you decide on corner exit attitude with the massive amounts of power at hand.

The refined punchy nature of the engine and the smooth, progressive attitude from the transmission combine to give instant, twitch of the big toe, get-the-hell out of dodge in a hurry, overtaking.

We recorded 0-100kM/h in 5.02 Seconds, while the 400M make took 13.36.
80-120kM/h rolling acceleration was a dazzling 2.80 seconds.

Those standing start times frankly do the GT no justice. The problem is launching the thing. There’s so much tsunami like twist at the back tyres and so little tyre to translate it to the tarmac. 245mm width tyres are just not enough.

Obviously, FPV agree, because they’re currently selling the GT R-Spec fitted with the exact same engine and transmission with much wider tyres and a launch control function.

Out on the twisty, winding roads of The Upper Yarra Valley, the front-end of the GT shows it’s obvious talent. Turn-in is sharp and accurate, with consistent feel through the wheel. There’s nary a trace of understeer anywhere.

It turns easily too, with quick weight transfer from side to side through alternate corners. In contrast to the old 5.4, you don’t feel like you’re driving the car by the weight under the bonnet bulge. Where the 5.4L Boss variants felt like there was an elephant sitting on the front bumper, the 5.0L feels more like a 3 legged German Sheppard might be there.

Body control is excellent, with only the crashiest of potholes putting the car off it’s line. Braking too is excellent, with the car hauling up brilliantly time and again.

The achilles  heal of the cornering experience is the same one that reared it’s head when launching the car. The rear tyres are too narrow. You can never quite put down everything you’ve got in a given moment. By hugely increasing the amount of power and torque the vehicle has, as well as making it so easy to extract from the driver’s seat, without fitting wider rubber, FPV have lost some of the balance from this car. Start pushing hard and the GT goes mightily sideways in snap oversteer. It just causes some trust issues between driver and vehicle.

This is a fantastic sports sedan, with enormous heart, let down by tyres.

If you don’t want to drive a car to it’s limits, and don’t intend to take it to a racetrack, the GT fittingly makes a brilliant Grand Tourer and is one of the best examples of the Aussie sporting sedan there is. It’s refined, powerful, roomy, smooth and a good steer.

Michael Adams for Infinite-Garage.
Article orginally produced for www.worldcarreview.com