Here’s a statement that should perk curiosity: The FPV F6 E is the best mass-produced car Australia’s ever produced...
Granted, that won’t mean an awful lot to those Audi, BMW or Merc drivers among you. Living with an Aussie car – even the best one going – is like living with a flatmate who sneaks into your room at night to watch you sleep. Generally OK, but intrinsically flawed by conventional reckoning.
The F6 E, a subtler version of the wildly-coloured and body-kitted F6 versions aimed at premium vehicle buyers, is no different. Unlike the other sporty-focussed models in FPV’s line up the ‘E’ versions lose the distinctive ‘Panda Eyes’ frontal treatment and the massive spoilers which appeals to those who like typical FPV performance, but not a car that resembles an Adidas Original.
Inside too it’s suitably upmarket, providing you shift your scale somewhat. The generous chairs and chunky steering wheel are tastefully leather-bound and there’s full iPod integration and a large colour screen to fiddle with audio and heater controls. Those are high points, but let’s face it, at $87,990 they’re bare essentials for executive types. And no, it doesn’t compete with European premium brands – even those at similar price points – for fit and finish quality or innovation.
Low points are the Satnav system, commendable that it’s in fact there at all I suppose, but it’s clearly a poorly adapted aftermarket application. Teletext is less annoying.
Then there’s the unconvincing wood grain that spans the dash and door trims, a further reminder you haven’t forked out for an 'insert German brand here'. On the bright side, it is comfortable and at the end of the day does makes comparable HSV interiors feel cheap. Plus, no actual trees were harmed in the making of it.
Just as well, we need as much greenery as possible to soak up the 310kW, 565Nm engine’s C0². To be fair, that’s a little harsh; truth is the effortless torque which peaks from as low as 1950rpm affords quite good economy.
OK, during my first couple of days of using the gas pedal as an on/off switch I was averaging 20 something litres per 100km; over the course of the week I managed to utilise the superb ZF six speeder more effectively and eventually reduced consumption to a, gulp, civil 16.6 L/100km. Relative to the size of the vehicle and level of performance, I actually consider this commendable.
But economy and interior spec is a distant thought when you’re driving the F6 E, stab the throttle and maintaining control of the car, and your bowels, quickly come to the fore.
The same poised double wishbone front and independent, control blade rear suspension shared on other FPV sedans keeps roll at bay, yet still surprises with a pillowy ride, well suited to the refined image the exterior styling and cabin appointments project.
The rear end is stiff enough to transmit vital feedback during quick corners and the steering is responsive and accurate, so dipping the front end in, just right, is pleasingly simple. Most impressively though is that torque delivery, which is seemingly endless and always available as required to sustain enormous, leery drifts that leave thick, S-shaped remnants at every corner. Ahem, apparently.
The F6 turbo models are more than the real heroes in FPV’s range, they’re the pinnacle of muscle cars in general. The F6 E adds a tasteful dimension with the added specification. The coolest thing though, is they’re not rarefied conversation pieces gathering dust in a collector’s garage – like HSV’s awesome, but doomed W427. Every bloke with $88k burning a hole can appreciate this car for what it is.
Pity the days of locally-assembled Falcons are numbered, this could also be the last of FPV’s proper Aussie muscle cars.
See the FPV F6 E for sale and other car reviews.