The Ford Falcon XR8 is back from the dead — at least for a little while — and will retail for $52,490 plus on-road costs, making it the flagship of the Blue Oval brand’s final Australian-made sedan range.
As the final piece of the FG X puzzle following a long-running teaser campaign, the XR8 replaces the FPV line-up, which is now but a memory. It is also the first V8-powered member of the XR range since 2010, when it gave way to the XR6 and XR6 turbo.
The V8 engine in question also makes it far and away the brawniest factory XR8 yet, since it is the 335kW at 5750rpm and 570Nm between 2200 and 5500rpm supercharged all-aluminium 5.0-litre Boss unit from the limited-edition $76,990 FPV GT RSPEC launched in late 2012.
Power is, of course, sent to the rear wheels, via a standard six-speed manual gearbox or an optional six-speed automatic that adds $2200 to the list price, taking it out to $54,690.
This compares to the last XR8, which ran a 5.4-litre DOHC Boss V8 that delivered 290kW at 5750rpm and 520Nm of torque at 4750rpm. It also makes it $7000 more expensive than the last XR8, which was available for $45,490 at launch in 2008.
It is also $9500 more expensive than the equivalent six-speed manual 270kW/533Nm XR6 Turbo, reduced in FG X guise to $42,990 from $46,235. In manual guise, the XR8 in is fact almost $6000 more than the non-XR Falcon flagship, the $46,550 G6E Turbo 4.0L auto.
That said, this XR8 comes loaded to the gills with equipment and, according to Falcon vehicle line director David Wilkinson, been extensively re-configured to offer more dynamism than any XR-bearing model before it.
“Compared to the last FG Falcon XR8, the 2014 Falcon XR8 has better turn-in, more rear grip, noticeably less body roll and an increased sense of control from behind the driver’s seat,” he said.
This is down to the lifting of the RSPEC’s suspension package, which brings retuned rear dampers and springs, a larger rear stabiliser bar (albeit only up from 18 mm to 19 mm), retuned front dampers, stiffer front upper spring mounts, stiffer front upper control arm bushing and the front and rear suspension geometry adjusted to complement the bigger 275 rear tyres.
Considering the RSPEC cost nearly $25k more than the XR8 yet they share a common mechanical package, one could argue in favour of the new model’s value equation.
In addition to the ‘blown’ V8 donk and sports suspension, the XR8 features new front Brembo four-piston caliper and rear single-piston caliper brakes, a high-specification cooling fan to shake excess heat, a limited-slip diff, heavy duty battery and sports steering gear.
The exterior of the XR8 gets some visual differences over other XR Series models, with a performance ‘power’ bulge on the bonnet signifying the extra two-cylinders of muscle, quad-tipped exhaust pipes and unique ‘shadow-line’ five-spoke 19-inch x 8.0 (front) / 9.0 (rear) alloy wheels.
There are also the distinctive ‘laser-cut’ slim headlamps and W-shaped daytime running lights, complemented by the new rear bumper with split tail-lights with LEDs and new sculpted boot lid with rear spoiler. A new hero colour, Victory Gold, is also available.
Front and rear parking sensors are also standard, along with perforated leather seat trim with grey inserts, alloy scuff plates, rain-sensing wipers, dual-zone climate control, satellite-navigation with traffic alerts, an XR instrument cluster, reverse camera and sports seats, wheel and gear-shifter.
As with the entirety of the FG X range, the XR8 naturally gets SYNC2 multimedia with Australian-accented voice control, an eight-inch touchscreen with higher-resolution than before, SYNC Emergency Assist, DAB+ digital radio and a Wi-Fi hotspot.
Like the rest of the Falcon range, the Falcon XR8 will come with myFord capped-price servicing as standard, which also includes the addition of auto club membership and roadside assistance.
The XR8 will, along with the rest of the Falcon range, launch in late-November.
2015 FG X Ford Falcon price list (*plus on-road costs):