The XR8 is playing the hero car role in the new-look Falcon range, dubbed FG-X, which has launched this week in Australia.
The badge returns after a four-year hiatus, effectively compensating for the loss of the disbanded Ford Performance Vehicles (FPV) division.
The Ford Falcon XR8 adopts the suspension and 335kW 5.0-litre supercharged ‘Miami’ V8 from the FPV GT R Spec, yet costs from $52,490 plus on-road costs where the limited edition FPV cost $76,990.
FPV used to sell about 1500 vehicles a year, most recently comprising the V8-powered GT and turbocharged six-cylinder F6.
“It’s fair to say we need to build more than we originally planned because of that very strong demand,” said Ford Australia marketing boss David Katic. “We’re working through that to see how many extras we can build.
“We don’t go into exact figures but suffice to say we need to work out a way of building more.”
Ford Australia says there are no constraints on the engine, which was a $36 million project for FPV and is hand-built locally.
Ford Australia has said it couldn't make a business case for an XR8 ute, so the model is sedan only.
The company said it had also been taken by surprise by the local response to the new Ford Mustang, which is due in late 2015 and will become the brand’s halo performance model locally.
“We’ve underestimated both XR8 and Mustang demand,” said communications director Wes Sherwood. “We’ve had 15,000 enquiries for Mustang – we didn’t expect that.
“The question is where demand [for those cars] will be after that initial [interest] period.”
Ford says it is also trying to assess where XR8 demand will eventually settle, though the company has confirmed the V8-powered Falcon will overlap with the Mustang with both models being sold simultaneously in showrooms.
The Mustang is available with either a 231kW/433Nm 2.3-litre four-cylinder turbo or 324kW/542Nm 5.0-litre V8.
Rival Holden has continued to see a notable percentage of its overall Holden VF Commodore sales comprising V8 models.
Ford sent off the GT badge with a 351kW special – with the FPV GT F 351. Falcon vehicle line director David Wilkinson, however, has put paid to any hopes the XR8 might get a last hurrah before production ends entirely.
“Very consciously and purposely we said, ‘That is it’ [the biggest output for the GT],” he said. “So people who have bought the [GT F] 351 … made a commitment to the 351 … and we are not going to dribble it into something else.”
Wilkinson, however, wouldn’t comment on the possibility of the turbocharged 4.0-litre inline six-cylinder from the discontinued FPV F6 forming a special send off for the XR6 Turbo. The F6 produced 310kW and 565Nm compared to the 270kW/533Nm of the new-look XR6 Turbo.