In 2008, potential buyers of Ford’s redesigned XR6 Turbo platform thought the blue oval engineers had gone mad strapping a baby turbo to the 4.0L in-line six.
After all, the preceding BA and BF models were highly regarded for their beefy Garrett GT3540 huffer which helped the engine produce 240kw and 245kw respectively.
Turns out they knew what they were doing. Well I thought so anyway. That’s why I bought one.
The FG actually increased power to a respectable 270kw and 533Nm of torque from its Garrett-sourced GT3582 by winding up the boost from 5psi to 9psi and upgrading the injectors and intercooler.
And here’s the best part – next to no turbo lag.
The sports sedan, mated with the optional (and better) German-sourced ZF six-speed auto, comes on peak power from just 2000rpm and launches its way to 100km/hr in 5.2 seconds (as tested by Wheels magazine May 2008) – a mean feat for a 1779kg four-door family car.
In my experience, fuel economy suffers a tad if you favour boost in urban driving, sitting around 14.6L per 100km, but as soon as that sixth gear is engaged during highway driving, the numbers drop to about 8.0L per 100km.
Inside the cabin there’s plenty of room for five adults and the headroom is ample. Even my 195cm tall father can manage quite easily without violating the roof with his shiny dome.
The pick of interior material is the fabric, as I have owned leather-bound Falcons before and they don’t remain clean and supple for very long.
Now to the seats – in particular, that driver’s seat. Motoring journos have cursed the seating position since the first bolt met the first chassis on the Geelong production line.
I must admit, for a tall person the seat does sit too high and the steering wheel too low, which makes you feel strangely elevated and has the keys clinking on your knee.
However, a few minutes of playing around with the seat adjustments will give you an adequate ride.
Tech-wise, Ford refreshed the interior to include optional extras such as a colour ICC, iPod connectivity, Bluetooth, climate control, reverse sensors and camera.
My car has the colour screen and reverse sensors, which are great, but it would’ve been nice to see the Bluetooth and camera included as standard so I don’t have to pull over every time I get a phone call, and so I can see the people ignoring my reversing intentions in the shopping centre car park.
The instrument panel, entertainment and climate controls are all more operator-friendly and the dash plastics have a more premium feel than the BF.
For the money, the FG XR6 turbo gives Aussie rivals and Euro hi-po cars a run for their money.
Ford was asking $46,990 for the auto model in 2008, which could get you into a SS Commodore or a deposit on a Mercedes AMG or BMW M Series.
I bought mine second-hand from a Brisbane gent for $24,000. With 29,000km on the clock, I was chuffed with that in 2014.
That money gets you driver and passenger front and side airbags, a five star ANCAP rating, 18 inch alloys, cruise control and a solid Aussie sports car that can lug five people around, or just one if you intend on taking it down the drag strip on the weekend.
On the bitumen, the force-fed Falcon behaves quite nicely, turning into corners with ease and feeling sure-footed over bumps. It strikes a sweet balance between comfort and handling.
It’s easily the nicest driving Falcon I’ve owned – and according to my girlfriend, I’ve owned a few.
But, buyers have to remember this is a rear-wheel drive Aussie family sedan, so if you’ve just come from an all-wheel-drive Subaru Impreza, you’ve got some adjusting to do.
Also, braking is pitiful. The small callipers and rotors aren’t up to the task of anchoring the Falcon. The upgraded Brembo package is well worth the extra money.
So to wrap things up, the reliability of the famous six cylinder hasn’t faltered despite being fed more compressed air, parts are still readily available despite Ford closing manufacturing in Australia and services are best done through your local mechanic if you want them done on the cheap.
For the price, the big, roomy, fast – and dare I say sexy – FG XR6 Turbo was and is well worth it, for they will soon be a blip on the Australian car industry radar.