The XR8 V8 is a Ford endangered species, writesGRAHAMSMITH
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.