It’s got a thumping big V8 under the bonnet with an iconic number attached to it. It’s got a tailored launch control function, stiffer suspension and wider rear tyres to harness it all to the ground and make it quicker than any other locally made Falcon, and a unique look thanks to a set of retro-inspired body stripes.
It also has an element of exclusivity that will make it a genuine collectible in years to come.
Final GT Falcon
The final locally-produced 351kW FPV GTF.
But, after a brief taste test at Ford's You Yangs proving ground today that involved a passenger lap on the freshly surfaced ride and handling loop and a short time behind the wheel on the constant speed track, the FPV GT F doesn't feel that different to a regular GT, or special enough to be a true celebration of Ford Australia's most iconic nameplate.
Sure, the supercharged 5.0-litre V8 that's been retuned to produce 351kW - but can generate as much as 404kW in ideal conditions thanks to a transient overboost function within the engine management system - packs a mighty wallop right throughout the rev range. What it lacks, however, is a unique character beyond the 335kW engine in the standard GT.ll
It is a great motor, with a muscular V8 exhaust note overlaid with a definitive supercharger whine, and revs smoothly and quickly to its 6250rpm redline. But it doesn't sound any angrier, or louder, it doesn't rev any higher and the extra grunt is only produced in the upper reaches of the rev range, so it's rarely accessed in everyday driving.
Ford doesn't release official acceleration claims for its vehicles, but sources claim to have consistently recorded 0-100km/h times of 4.7 seconds, making it the quickest Falcon ever.
While we didn't get a chance to officially test its straight line ability at You Yangs with our data logging equipment, it certainly feels like a sub five second car when you plant the right foot. That is mostly due to the new launch control which you can feel working proactively to deliver the optimum torque to the rear wheels for maximum traction rather than reactively cutting power after the tyres have turned to smoke.
The six-speed ZF automatic transmission is the pick of the gearboxes, as it shifts smoothly both when cruising and under heavy acceleration and the revised calibration accesses the V8's surge of torque earlier for quicker overtaking. It'd be even better with steering wheel paddle shifters, something that would have made the GT F a little more special.
The six-speed manual isn't too bad for those that prefer to interact more the machine, but it still carries all the hallmarks of a traditional muscle car 'box with a heavy clutch action and it doesn't like to be rushed through the gears.
From the passenger seat, the GT F's R-Spec suspension settings, with thicker anti-roll bars, stiffer spring rates and wider 275/35 rear tyres, seems to provide it with a better overall balance with sharper steering, more traction and higher lateral handling, yet without deteriorating its sublime level of comfort for everyday use.
The exclusive cabin tweaks are also nice touches, such as the digital boost gauge in the colour centre screen and the orange GT stripes in the instruments, but the overall ambience is more one of familiarity than celebratory.
It's the same with the exterior. The 351 badges are a nod to the past, and a status symbol of the GT F's unique position as the most powerful Falcon ever, as are the over body stripes, but, without any exclusive body modifications or different alloy wheels, it doesn't scream loudly enough it's place in history as the closing chapter of an automotive icon.
There's no doubt the limited edition swansong model is a better car than the standard GT; it is faster, sharper, more powerful and, by virtue of it being the end of an era, it holds a special place in Ford Australia's history.
But it isn't a giant leap better, which makes the GT F more symbolic as a sign of the times within the blue oval as it prepares to pull the shutters on its local manufacturing operations rather than the ultimate expression of its most iconic badge.
All of which is a moot point anyway, as Ford claims to have sold each of the 500 it plans to build for Aussie enthusiasts.
FPV GT F price and specifications
Price: $77,900 plus on-road costs
Engine: 5.0-litre supercharged V8
Power: 351kW at 6000rpm
Torque: 570Nm at 2500-5500rpm
Transmission: 6-spd manual or automatic, RWD