This is my third owner review. I’ve decided to go back in time to some of my former cars, starting with my 2004 BA XR6 Turbo.
I bought mine second hand from a private seller in Melbourne when I was living in Canberra in 2005. I had a friend who is a meticulous car enthusiast check it out for me before jumping on a plane with a bank cheque in hand. I had never actually driven one before, but I was game enough to trust the many favourable reviews I had read about them. My car had a few factory options including leather seats, sunroof, premium sound system, FPV steering wheel and adjustable pedals, which really enhanced it over a stock car.
I still remember the drive back home vividly, particularly the first time I sunk the boot into it to overtake on the highway. My other car at the time was a 2.0-litre Hyundai Elantra, so the comparative acceleration was out of this world. I was laughing in absolute disbelief.
The XR6 Turbo was obviously based on the humble Falcon, yet I never considered it to be inferior in quality. The dash and touch points were softly padded, the seats supremely comfortable, the switchgear felt good, the doors closed solidly and the shape and feel of the FPV steering wheel was a real highlight. The only nuance I recall was some wind rustle from the sunroof with the shade blind open. This was improved with a replaced seal, but it never went entirely.
Despite being exceptionally happy with the performance on tap, it wasn’t too long before I started to consider modifications. Hanging out on forums and doing club drives and track days will do that to you. The modifications I made were subtle. I installed the FPV F6 airbox intake and got it flash-tuned to about 300kW (up from the standard 240kW). This tune also firmed up the auto transmission gear shifts nicely.
I upgraded the standard brakes to the PBR premium kit, which was the base package on FPVs at the time. This cured the dreaded BA Falcon brake shudder. The centre muffler was replaced with two hot dogs to beef up the sound, the rear suspension lowered with King Springs coils, and the standard 17-inch wheels were upgraded to 19 inches. On the entertainment side, some of the speakers were upgraded and I fitted an auxiliary input kit to connect an MP3 player.
I owned the car for seven years (two of those in Sydney) and sold it with just over 100,000km on the clock. There was not one mechanical or electrical issue with the car that entire time. It was fast and comfortable, and easily handled city traffic and long country drives with the family, plus the occasional track day. It still drove like new up until the day I sold it. I averaged about 12.2L/100km, which I thought was pretty reasonable.
Some may wonder why I sold the car if I was so happy with it. The blame there lies with FPV and the FG F6. That’s a review for another day.