The XR8 V8 is a Ford en­dan­gered species, writesGRAHAMSMITH

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Carsguide -

THE XR6 Turbo might be the new per­for­mance hero in Ford’s fleet, but some­thing about the V8 XR8 still ap­peals. The sound, the smooth surge, the power bulge in the bon­net and the in-your-face looks still turn heads.

The XR8 is the only V8 model in Ford’s cur­rent range, so the sen­ti­men­tal favourite’s hold is get­ting pretty loose. Given the price of petrol and the di­rec­tion in which it’s head­ing, it would be no sur­prise if the next-gen­er­a­tion Fal­con had no V8 at all.

If you ap­pre­ci­ate the qual­i­ties of a V8, you’ll love the 5.4-litre ‘‘Boss 290’’ that pow­ers the XR8 ute. Lifted from the GT, the big ‘‘Boss’’ mo­tor de­liv­ers 290kW at 5750 revs and 520Nm at 4750 revs.

Up 30kW from the old model, the XR8’s new V8 is hand-built by Ford Per­for­mance Ve­hi­cles and has a host of in­ter­nal up­grades, among them a higher com­pres­sion ra­tio, stronger pis­tons, larger gud­geons, a forged steel crank­shaft and a higher lift cam.

It all adds up to a tougher en­gine that keeps the V8 up with its six-cylin­der chal­lengers.

On the road its power de­liv­ery is smooth and without the in­stant re­sponse of the turbo six, but it’s still ur­gent enough to let you know some­thing se­ri­ous is stir­ring un­der the bon­net bulge, which dom­i­nates the for­ward view from the driver’s seat.

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