Western Suburbs Weekly - - Drive Way - Chris Ri­ley

LET’S get some­thing straight from the start; there is no way this car can match HSV’s GTS off the line, not with 570Nm of torque ver­sus the Holden’s 740Nm.

But don’t get the wrong idea be­cause the GT F (that’s F for fi­nal edi­tion) is still a force to be reck­oned with and per­haps more im­por­tantly, fun to drive – with a cap­i­tal F.

The GT F 351 sedan is priced from $77,990, while the com­pan­ion FPV V8 Pur­suit Ute goes for $52,990.

They are pro­duc­ing only 500 of the cars and 120 of the utes, with an ex­tra 50 cars bound for the Ki­wis, all of which makes them highly col­lectable.

Each of the cars is in­di­vid­u­ally num­bered but some num­bers like 351 and very likely 500 have been snapped up al­ready by the en­thu­si­asts.

If you want one – and we thought they'd have trou­ble off-load­ing 500 – you'd bet­ter be quick be­cause we’re told al­most all of the cars have names on them.

De­vel­oped to cel­e­brate Ford’s per­for­mance brand, the new FPV GT F is a nod to the leg­endary Fal­con GTs of the late ’60s and early 1970s when the car had a big 351 cu­bic inch V8 (5.8 litres in the new money).

But re­ally, why make 500 of them... 351 would have been a bet­ter num­ber?

The GT F fea­tures a re­turned ver­sion of the supercharged Coy­ote 5.0-litre V8 that puts out a de­cent 351kW of power and 570Nm of torque, 16kW more than the stan­dard GT.

They say it is ca­pa­ble of pro­duc­ing 15 per cent more power and torque for brief pe­ri­ods on over­boost - push­ing the fig­ures to 404kW and 650Nm mo­men­tar­ily - but we haven’t been able to find ev­i­dence of this in writ­ing.

Ford does not pro­vide any of­fi­cial per­for­mance fig­ures, but the dash from 0100km/h takes about 4.7 seconds.

A large com­puter screen oc­cu­pies pride of place in the cabin, a re­place­ment for the set of three phys­i­cal gauges that were in ear­lier mod­els, with graph­ics that in our man­ual show tem­per­a­ture, su­per­charger boost and volt­age, as well as a G-Force in­di­ca­tor. Call us old fash­ioned, but we'd pre­fer the old ones.

The car sits on the R-Spec chas­sis with Brembo brakes front and back, and 19-inch wheels that are fit­ted with 245/35 front and 275/30 rears.

De­sign- wise, the whole thing is a lit­tle un­der­done in our opin­ion, both vis­ually and me­chan­i­cally.

Our test car, badged num­ber one, was fin­ished in dark blue with black strip­ing and fea­tured GT F 351 badges on the back and ei­ther side at the front.

In­side, GT F badges also adorn the com­bi­na­tion suede and leather sports seats.

This car should have the num­bers 351 em­bla­zoned across the bonnet in race car size let­ter­ing that shouts “look at me”.

The ex­haust note needs to be louder too – much, much louder.

This is the last Fal­con GT for God’s sake – let's not go qui­etly into the night!

Five star safety, the same as any Fal­con, with six airbags, trac­tion and sta­bil­ity con­trol and other elec­tronic driver aids.

They didn’t tell me un­til I picked up the car Fri­day af­ter­noon that I had to have it back by Mon­day.

Usu­ally we get to keep test cars a week, which gives us time to get ac­quainted.

With the clock tick­ing, there was only one only thing for it – a peck on the cheek and “seeya” in a cou­ple of hours that turned into twice that fig­ure and about three quar­ters of a tank of fuel as we speared away.

The GT-F comes as an auto or man­ual, but we had the six-speed man­ual, the ver­sion that will ap­peal to the purists.

Both come with launch con­trol but the rear wheels strug­gle to put power to ground, es­pe­cially off the line where the trac­tion light works over­time.

Come to think of it, the light spent plenty of time on that af­ter­noon, re­gard­less.

Roll-on ac­cel­er­a­tion is im­pres­sive and the whine from the su­per­charger is rem­i­nis­cent of Max Rock­atan­sky's Pur­suit Spe­cial as it bar­relled down the high­way.

De­spite the big rub­ber and tied down Rspec sus­pen­sion, the rear re­mains lively and we be­came con­cerned at times whether it would stay tied to the road, par­tic­u­larly un­der hard brak­ing.

To get the most out of the car you need 98 RON and if you find your­self get­ting car­ried away, that can trans­late into fuel con­sump­tion in the or­der of 16.7 litres/100km.

Driven se­dately, the car doesn’t feel any dif­fer­ent from the stan­dard GT.

We could wax lyrical about the GT F’s per­for­mance but at the end of the day, it is a car that is more than the sum of its parts.

It's about an at­ti­tude, about a place in time and au­to­mo­tive his­tory that is fad­ing fast and will soon dis­ap­pear com­pletely, only re­mem­bered dimly by the old fellers. God speed old friend.

Verdict: What a tragedy that it has come to this. The last GT with a vague prom­ise that it will be re­placed by a Mus­tang, an iconic car in its own right yes, but not an Aussie one and cer­tainly not a rear drive, four-door V8 sedan.

End of an era... the Fi­nal Fal­con GT.

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