WE can all bang on about carbon emissions, economy and alternative greener fuel sources, but sometimes you have to say “to hell with it all” and revel in the glory of loud, obnoxious and gas-guzzling supercharged V8 heaven.
This is Ford Performance Vehicles' (FPV's) new 2011 GT-P, which along with the similar GT and GT-E variants, is the fastest Australian-built car you can buy today, and the quickest Ford ever sold on these shores. Which makes it very, very fast.
With talk of both a four-cylinder engine and front-wheel drive earmarked for future Ford Falcons – much to the chagrin of Falcon purists – it's reassuring to see a true hairy-chested offering such as the GT-P is still integral in the Blue Oval's FPV line-up.
At a shade over $80,000 it's a lot of coin for a Falcon, but with the performance on offer it rivals HSV's 6.2-litre GTS for the best kW for your dollar in Australia. A European equivalent in the power stakes – namely BMW's M5 and Mercedes-Benz's C63 AMG – is simply in a different stratosphere price-wise.
Boasting a Boss 335 five-litre supercharged V8, the GT-P is good for 335kW and 570Nm of torque, with FPV claiming a 0-100kmh time of 4.9 seconds. Having been comprehensively pinned to the GT-P's racing seat on the first squeeze of its throttle, I have no reason to doubt this impressive sub-five-seconds claim.
With a V8 Supercars-esque growl mixed in with a subtle supercharger whine this Boss 355 sounds as well as it performs.
A six-speed automatic gearbox is available as a no-cost option on the GT-P, but my test car featured FPV's impressive six-speed manual that shifted cleanly despite the huge power and torque figures.
The gear-shift throw is short and sporty, but as I discovered, it's advisable to shift up to the next cog before reaching the redline as the rev-limiter gives a brutal punch if your right foot stays planted.
On the road
Our local roads and their speed limits ensured I had no way of exploring this magnificent engine's full potential, and if I'm honest, I don't know how I'd be able to keep my licence for long as the GT-P always urges you to explore the fun end of the rev range.
Saying that, it is still a very tractable car around town, with the left-foot effort light thanks to a new twin-plate clutch. Cruising along in a high gear proved easy enough at low speed, but it's a constant battle to resist dropping down a few cogs and unleashing V8 hell.
Having recently driven HSV's excellent GTS with its technologically advanced Magnetic Ride Control suspension, the GT-P does lose ground to its principal rival here.
The FPV offering handles well in most situations, but at times it does like to remind you of its considerable weight and a desire to fling its rump out under power.
With traction control off it's definitely a track-only proposition if you have a heavy right foot, but with driver aids engaged, the fun police ensure you're lumbered with understeer and plenty of tyre noise on tighter turns.
Braking is superb thanks to a giant set of Brembo rotors, and ride comfort is impressive considering the GT-P wears very low-profile Dunlop rubber over its 19-inch alloys.
Interior and exterior
With a lot of the GT-P's development money being spent where FPV fans want it most, namely under the bonnet, the interior still reminds you it's a Falcon you're piloting and not an Audi or Lexus.
It feels very plasticky in places, but the sports leather seats with GT-P embroidery were cosseting and very supportive at speed, with the steering wheel pleasingly chunky.
The standard features list is impressive, with dual zone climate control, power-adjustable driver's seat, full iPod integration for the excellent sound system and Bluetooth phone link.
You get all the safety bits too with a full compliment of airbags, anti-lock brakes and stability and traction control, which you'll be very grateful for.
You get rear parking sensors and a rear camera, but no sat nav as standard.
Moving outside, the FPV's bonnet bulge and sport body kit are now complemented with new sweeping decals highlighting the GT-P's record power figure. It looks every inch the muscle car.
The GT-P is by no means perfect, but that's all forgotten with one quick squeeze of the accelerator pedal.
The supercharged V8 truly is a marvel with a brutal soundtrack to match, and is rightly the highlight of a car sure to fulfil the fantasies of patriotic V8 enthusiasts.
The GT-P car is our home-grown antidote to a relentless slide into more sensible and environmentally friendly, four-wheeled transport, so ignore the quoted 13.6 litres/100km (I returned just over 14 litres/100km on my drive) and be thankful we're still able to produce such monsters.
Model: 2011 FPV GT-P.
Details: Four-door rear-wheel drive sedan muscle car.
Engine: Boss 335 5.0-litre supercharged DOHC 32v all-aluminium V8 generating maximum power of 335kW @ 5750rpm and peak torque of 570Nm @ 2200-5500rpm.
Transmission: TR6060 six-speed manual.
Performance: 0-100kmh in 4.9 seconds.
Consumption: 13.6 litres/100km.
Bottom line: $80,990 (before compulsory charges).
Thanks to Greg Manchester at Pacific Ford Maroochydore and FPV for the loan of the GT-P.
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