The big-hearted Ford gets the run­ning gear to han­dle its awe­some out­puts

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News - CRAIG DUFF craig.duff@cars­

FPV’s back on track with re­vised mod­els that can han­dle the eye-widen­ing out­put of its su­per­charged V8

AT LAST, the su­per­charged V8 in Ford Per­for­mance Ve­hi­cle’s flag­ship GT has wheels and sus­pen­sion ca­pa­ble of putting its awe­some power to the road.

The $76,900 GT RSpec— in­ter­nally known as Pan­ther— is also the first FPV with launch con­trol, which chief en­gi­neer Bernie Quinn says is equally ef­fec­tive with the man­ual or au­to­matic trans­mis­sions.

The heart of the ma­chine— the ‘‘ Miami’’ 5-litre V8 is un­changed. The engine was hailed at its launch in late 2010 as the most pow­er­ful V8 de­vel­oped for an Aus­tralian­made mus­cle car.

It rapidly be­came ap­par­ent that its out­puts of 335kW/ 570Nm were too much for the rear rub­ber to cope with.

The han­dling lacked the expected pre­ci­sion.

The re­lease of 350 ex­am­ples of the GT RSpec, fit­ted with 275mm-wide Dun­lop MaxxS­port rub­ber on 19-inch wheels (plus a strut-load of sus­pen­sion up­grades and re­in­forced engine mount­ing points), is in­tended to ad­dress those is­sues.

FPV tested the US-built Ford Mus­tang, BMW’s M3 and the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG to es­tab­lish han­dling bench­marks.

‘‘ We re­alised we had to get the power to the ground more ef­fec­tively and we also wanted more trac­tion mid-cor­ner and pow­er­ing out of the cor­ner,’’ Quinn says. ‘‘ We’ve achieved that. This car is more ag­ile, more re­spon­sive to steer­ing in­puts and puts its power down bet­ter in all sit­u­a­tions.’’

The GT RSpec comes at a $5700 pre­mium over the reg­u­lar GT.

FPV boss Bryan Mears says the GT won’t be built while RSpec ver­sions are go­ing down the pro­duc­tion line – and he won’t say whether up­grades will be­come a stan­dard fit on fu­ture GT mod­els.

Be­yond the badg­ing, the RSpec is iden­ti­fied by a C-stripe along the side pan­els and the unique rims.

Later this month, the 350 sedans will be joined by 75 Pur­suit utes. The $57,990 utes will share the al­loy wheels and C-stripe de­cals but will be sold only in black ‘‘ Sil­hou­ette’’ paint with red ‘‘ Vixen’’ ac­cents. Half the sedans will have this colour scheme, with the rest split be­tween red, white and blue, with black high­lights.

NSW Po­lice has a deal to buy the 150th car off the line, to co­in­cide with its 150th an­niver­sary. The car for the boys in blue will be . . . white.

Power dress­ing: RSpec

mod­els have unique de­cals and wheels; utes will be sold in black Sil­hou­ette paint with red ac­cents

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