Review Ford Falcon XR8
The final chapter in the Ford Australia muscle car story is a supercharged, race-focused V8 engine. Explosion.
This is what you call going out with a bang. The XR8 was eventually reinstated into the struggling Falcon lineup last year after it was scrapped in 2010.
The supercharged V8 hero has come too late to save the Falcon, with Ford’s domestic production ending next October, but at least it should give Ford fans something to smile about.
The XR8 is essentially the reborn FPV GT-RSPEC, a track-focused muscle car, which has been updated with a new look and some new technologies.
The XR8 is actually an FG Falcon with Ford’s latest designed nose and tail.
It looks like Mondeo is coming soon (sold as Fusion in the US), with a bit of Mustang mixed in.
It has a subtle raised bonnet, instead of the strong bulge of the FG model, and the W-shaped LED lights give the car a more aggressive look.
The interior is slightly updated, with a new display, instrument cluster and new leather trim (with new seats).
It looks neat and clean and everything is within reach, but it also looks very old.
The eight-inch touchscreen looks good and has the latest Sync 2 system, among other things, which means the car can automatically call for help in the event of a crash. There are two USB charging points in the center console.
There’s plenty of room in the cabin and the leather seats are very comfortable. The driver’s seat is still too high despite reclining the cushion to lower the seating position.
Back to town
The XR8 has satnav and a reversing camera as standard. Unlike the SS-V Redline Commodore, it doesn’t have self-parking capabilities, but that’s not likely to disturb the target market.
XR8 is a muscle car
This is a muscle car, for those who love to drive. More importantly, the XR8 misses out on the head-up display, which is a noticeable omission on a car that needs a lot of attention to speed. There is also no option of automatic emergency braking.
The XR8 is a muscular car with a snorkel, but is actually quite refined when going around town, when running smoothly. The automatic option is the best option for anyone who wants to spend a majority of their time in traffic, as the manuals are quite a hassle.
On the road
The XR8 has a stiffer suspension package; Old cars will rush into a corner and float around bumps.
This car is fastened and feels sharper and more responsive through corners, thanks to a precise, well-weighted steering system. The punishment, on bumpy roads, is a messy ride, bordered with harshness.
The wider rear tire now means the XR8 is less usable and can dive out of corners fast, rather than slip.
The gearbox also helps to provide a driving experience, visually adaptive for more ardent driving and make the most of a large V8 engine.
This motive is an absolute gem.
Unhappy with the 5.0-liter V8, the FPV also threw a supercharger into the mix.
It has an evil soundtrack, a mix of a turbocharger whine and a thunderclap
Officially, it has 335kW, but it actually produces 375kW thanks to the supercharger’s overboost function that works almost all the time at all gears, except first. That makes the SS Commodore’s 270kW (260kW when automatic) look and feel bland. It’s thrilling to accelerate and there’s more torque than you need in any gearbox.
Buyers should keep track of the odd date to freely explore this beast.
It has a wicked soundtrack, a mix of the turbocharger whine and a thunderous discharge, with some cracking and crashing noises.
It’s an avid beast and hopes it will far exceed the official fuel economy figure of 13.6L / 100km, but hey hey, this is a hot bar that probably won’t be used for commuting.
A fitting final chapter in Ford Australia’s muscle car history.
The ballistic engine and responsive handling easily make up for the aging interior, the bumpy car, and the lack of some technology.