2008 FPV F6 310 Ute Review & Road Test
Spend a week in the hot seat and you'll agree, this is one quick utility.
- 2008 FPV F6 310 Style Side Utility, 4.0-litre, turbocharged, six-speed automatic - $57,990 (RRP)
- Metallic Paint - standard; leather interior $1100; hard tonneau with spoiler $2900; premium audio system $700; FPV floor mats $110; 1600kg tow kit $495; 19-inch Dark Argent alloy wheels $795; premium brakes $3630; satellite navigation $2290
Strong performance, sweet induction note, personality Seat folding mechanism, exhaust note, steering wheel
- by Matt Brogan
When you glance through the Ford Performance Vehicles brochure, the inflated triple-digit power and torque figures seem little more than numbers. Sure some of us may be able to equate the relative performance characteristics from these little numerical hints into real life terms, but it's not until you've had a week in the hot seat that you can fully appreciate the amount of potential on offer - this is one quick utility.
The FPV F6 310 has a strong character and no-nonsense personality that defines it as instantly recognisable to those with a bit of nous about such things. The lowered stance, bold rims and FPV styling cues - especially the eye-patch front - all giving the impression that this utility means business.
Now sure, you may not be inclined to throw the cement-mixer in the back or load it full of timber, but those who think of this ute in that way have missed the point. This ute is all about performance and lifestyle. Sure you can still carry and tow with it, I'm not saying you can't, but it's best thought of as a sports coupe with a really big boot, something upon which most owners will agree with me.
It's not that the F6 isn't still a utility, with a 530kg payload and 1600kg towing capacity it certainly is. It's just that I can't see anyone in their right mind wanting to treat such an awesome (and let's face it expensive) utility as a mere commercial vehicle. No, this ute is about lifestyle, it's about embracing the ute culture and our love of a performance car in the one package - and what a package it is.
Not only does the F6 310 behold the FG's highly favoured good looks, it also offers an interior that sets it above, in fact well above, that of a standard Falcon ute and offers performance credentials to shame most rivals, even those offering Australia's much loved bent eight.
Inside, and probably most obviously, are the four-way electrically operated (driver's side only) embossed leather sport seats (optional - ebony suede sport seats standard). These are a delight to sit in, really comfortable, and very supportive once you get stuck in to it.
The only bother with the seats is the mechanism to fold them forward, which seemingly operates in reverse of what one would consider logical. You have to push the lever to the rear of the car to pull the seat forward, thus requiring two hands. It's a small thing, but is rather annoying when your hands are full of shopping and it's pouring rain.
Leather, alloy and carbon fibre abounds throughout, joining standard features that include power windows and mirrors, cruise control, single-zone climate control, alloy pedals and scuff plates, FPV build number and starter button panel, turbo boost pressure gauge in addition to the standard offering, and Ford's rather large leather-clad sports steering wheel with audio and cruise control buttons.
The Prestige six-CD tuner with iPod integration and Bluetooth connectivity offer clarity and a bit of punch and the roof mounted bee-sting type antenna offers far better reception than the in-glass type fitted to the sedan.
Staying outside for a moment, and in addition to dropping the 'Typhoon' moniker, F6 sports large 19-inch diameter alloy wheels, fog lights, side skirts and sports front and rear bars to round out the differences above that of the standard Falcon utility.
Thrust comes compliments of a modified Ford 4.0-litre, in-line, six-cylinder engine that has been boosted, intercooled and fitted with a high-flow exhaust to maximise respiration. The results equate to 310kW of brisk, punch-in-the-back power at 5500rpm and a very strong 565Nm of Dunlop-smoking torque available from 1950rpm all the way to 5200rpm, a 40kW and 15Nm improvement over the BF Mark II respectively.
Boost is strong, linear and very predictable being able to be balanced under your right toe for the perfect amount of drive each time. The calibration here is a credit to Ford as is remains uniform despite engine temperature or atmospheric conditions - something that can catch you out in similarly high performance turbocharged cars.
Sub five-second 0-to-100km/h times (4.99 seconds) are manageable if you can get traction to the rear wheels but most of our timed runs scored the F6 around 5.30 seconds due to wheelspin. Mid-tacho performance too is very strong, a big improvement over the BF series, with 80-100km/h times coming in under three seconds (2.90 seconds).
Unlike the XR6 and G6E turbocharged vehicles though, the F6 doesn't offer a strong exhaust note, in fact it's almost disappointing, at least from inside the cabin. What is on offer in terms of a sweet soundtrack is a symphonic induction note, pitched turbo spool whine from the Garret GT3540 and even a little intercooler flutter on release, which is somewhat exaggerated by the front mount air-to-air unit's aluminium construction.
The ZF (6HP26) six-speed automatic transmission is a work of art and offers quick up shifts, rapid response to throttle input and will even down shift for you by tapping the throttle under brakes. If you're a three pedal fan, the Tremec TR6060 six-speed manual is available as a no cost option. Best of all, a week in the F6 saw a return of 11.8 litres per 100km (combined city and highway use) - that's 1.2 litres under the ADR claim! Impressive stuff.
The four-pot Brembo brakes offered little in the way of brake fade under repeated application, and stand out as something special with the callipers painted bright red. The pedal feel is brilliant for big brakes, which normally bite hard on initial application almost sending you through the windscreen. Thankfully, these have a much more progressive action and the F6 can be optioned with larger 355x32mm front and 328x26mm rear discs, both crossed drilled rears with six-piston callipers, for some extra coin.
New to FG series Falcons, the independent double wishbone coil front suspension makes for a pointier steering ute that will respond well to cornering at speed provided you remain balanced. The beam type leaf rear end is a little jittery under throttle and will see the limited-slip differential smoke both tyres if you're a little generous with the loud pedal.
Geometry is a carry over from the XR6 Turbo Ute, but FPV has revised the spring rates and shock absorber calibration to suit both road and track driving. It's noticeably stiffer than its poorer cousin, but offers surprising levels of control and grip too, provided the conditions are, um ... favourable.
To keep you safe and secure the F6 offers ABS with EBD, ESP with Traction Control, dual front and side (head/thorax) airbags, and a four star ANCAP rating along with DataDot protection and remote flip-key central locking with audible alarm - all as standard fit.
As sports utes go - and as a Holden man it pains me to say this - the F6 ute is by far the best option on the market. To any one considering such a vehicle, be you red lion, blue oval or umm, other, I say this; go and drive this thing and take your cheque book. I guarantee after five minutes behind the wheel you'll be signing on the dotted line.
CarAdvice Overall Rating: How does it Drive: How does it Look: How does it Go:
- Engine: 4.0-litre DOHC six cylinder (24 valve)
- Power: 310kW @ 5500rpm
- Torque: 565Nm @ 1950-5200rpm
- Induction: Turbocharged & multi-point
- Transmission: Six-speed automatic
- Driven Wheels: Rear (LSD)
- Brakes: Disc with ABS & EBD
- Top Speed: 250km/h (Electronically Limited)
- 0-100km/h: 4.99 seconds
- 0-400m: Not Tested
- CO2 Emissions: 311g/km
- Fuel Consumption: 13.0 litres/100km
- Fuel Tank Capacity: 80 litres
- Fuel Type: 98RON petrol
- ANCAP Rating: Four Star
- Safety: Front & side airbags, ABS, EBD, ESP & TCS
- Spare Wheel: Full-size (underbody mount) alloy
- Tow Capacity: 1600kg (Braked)
- Turning Circle: 11.5 metres
- Warranty: 3 year/100,000km
- Weight: 1825kg (tare)/530kg (payload)
- Wheels: Alloy 19 x 8.0-inch
Road Test the Rivals:
FPV will be hosting an open day on Sunday, March 1st 2009 at:
Ford Performance Vehicles
33 Glenbarry Road
Campbellfield VIC 3061
(Gates open 9am - 3pm)