No more huff for Ford’s turbocharged XR6, but a new look and better value add to the appeal of the last of an Aussie legend.
WHAT IS IT?
The fastest six-cylinder Falcon in the updated FGX range (for now, at least; Ford has left the door open to fit the 310kW version of the same engine previously reserved for FPV models).
WHY WE’RE TESTING IT
The FGX has just gone on sale and brings a new look and some extra gear.
Holden Commodore SS
THE WHEELS VERDICT
Wonderfully flexible engine mated to dynamics best suited to touring and cruising. But gone are the days when the turbo is the fastest non-FPV Falcon.
THE WHEELS REVIEW
IT’S ALL about the look with the new XR6 Turbo. Engine, suspension, tyres and transmission are all unchanged, so the driving experience is as it was when the FG arrived in 2008.
The only mechanical difference is a slipperier profile brought about by the new shape and an undertray that smooths the airflow under the car, so the CD has shifted from 0.31 to 0.29.
But claimed fuel use is unchanged and still around V8 levels, at 12.0L/100km for the manual. It’s plenty of fun slurping through it, though.
The 4.0-litre turbo is a willing companion and pulls strongly once the turbo quickly spools up; there’s some lag, but it’s mild and more than made up for once it’s boosting. It’s that mid-range flexibility that makes it such a sweet engine and one that does a good job masking almost 1.8 tonnes of metal.
The same can’t be said for the suspension, which is comfortable and compliant, but too soft at higher speeds once you start winding the pace up. A quick left-right direction change can have the big sedan shifting on its springs and tending towards understeer as it scrabbles for grip.
The equation predictably changes once you feed on the power out of a bend and the full 533Nm makes its way rearward, with the rear end pushing the limits of the 19-inch 245 tyres.
The stability control system is intelligent enough to allow for some fun, though, and the XR6 is ultimately a brisk sedan. It’s just that our drive came straight after being strapped into the stiffer, more focused XR8, which amplifies the more cruisy nature of the Turbo.
Similarly, the brakes are OK for a long tour or a brief stint of bends, but repeated hard stops down a hill will have them smoking as they plead for relief; hardly surprising given the performance on offer and the heavy body.
While the Turbo gets the same interior as the regular XR6, it’s a decent step up on the bland and plasticky base Falcon layout. Unique graphics livene the instrument cluster while the 8-inch Sync screen is elegant and functional enough, albeit without the onboard apps that are becoming more commonplace.
The beauty of the XR6T still lies with its value. At $42,990 for the manual and $45,190 for the six-speed self-shifter, there’s a heap of well sorted performance for the money. And, as well as being the best, the FGX version is also the cheapest Falcon to have worn the Turbo badge, something that partially saves the underdone update.
Model: Ford Falcon XR6T
Engine: 3984cc, 6-cyl, dohc, 24v, turbo
Max power: 270kW @ 5250rpm
Max torque: 533Nm @ 2000-4750rpm
Transmission: 6-speed manual
On sale: Now
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