FPV Force 6 offers more enjoyable driving

The FPV Force 6 is a thinking person's car.

While petrol-heads will hanker after the Boss V8 in the Force 8, the turbo-charged six-cylinder Force 6 offers the more enjoyable driving experience of the dynamic duo.

There is also the price - $74,790 compared with the V8's $79,290.

The Force 6 is a powerful six-cylinder sports sedan with European influences and enough changes to set it apart from your normal Ford Falcon.

Hunkered down on 19-inch alloy rims, polished chrome highlights the styling with a wire-mesh grille and lower intake identifying its FPV influence.

It is subdued enough not to attract too much attention from law enforcement officers and the side profile has a clean look with a small duck's tail on the boot rather than a huge spoiler.

Bright red Brembo brake calipers, standard on the Force, and huge, drilled discs peep out from the five-spoked rims.

The only letdown is the driver's view over the large, flat bonnet - the Force 8's bonnet bulge with discreet air intakes would add a real sense of occasion to the driving experience.

The Force 6 uses Ford's straight six 4-litre, double overhead camshaft engine running an intercooled turbocharger.

That engine is not far short of the V8 in power - 270kW compared with 290kW - but pumps out 550Nm of torque compared to the V8's 520Nm.

You can chip up the six-cylinder engine without putting too much stress on it to easily produce the V8 output.

The Force 6 shares the six-speed automatic gearbox, beefed up to take the extra torque.

Performance is shattering, with a 0-100kmh sprint time of around 5.3sec. But it is the tremendous overtaking urge that adds to the safety of this car if outright performance is not your thing.

Overtaking is a breeze, no matter the size of the vehicle being dispatched. The major downside is the Force 6 can get away very quickly and overtaking velocities can reach well beyond the 100kmh open road limit.

While V8 owners may dismiss the Force 6 because of no instant power, there is very little delay as the turbocharger spools up and it can be readied for when the power is needed.

With maximum torque spread between 2000 and 4250rpm and an automatic that matches the needs of the engine, turbo lag is practically non-existent and only noticeable if you really concentrate.

There is potential for major drama with that much power and torque, but a stability control system keeps everything under control - although it can be switched off for spectacular sprint times.

The huge drilled and slotted discs also carry the usual electronic aids to stop the 1.7-tonne car with ease and lack of fade.

The six-speed automatic, with a manual sequential change, is the real bonus and makes the best use of the engine's capabilities with a spread of ratios and "sixth sense" that has the Force 6 in the right gear at the right time.

It also adds to the long-distance cruising capabilities.

What is impressive, despite the outright performance aspects of the Force 6, is its ride.

Low-profile 35 tyres, big rims and a lowered sports suspension usually hint at a nervous or harsh ride, but the Force 6 is liveable on an everyday basis, even at slow speeds around town.

When it comes to handling, the Force 6 is a better-balanced car and feels more nimble without the major weight of the Force 8's V8 over the front axle.

This is a large car in anyone's terms but, combined with quick steering, it feels compact through the corners - so much so that you have to be aware of the width rather than thinking this is a small car.

Inside, perforated leather trims, sports seating, two extra gauges above the centre console, white-faced instruments and a high specification level lift it above your standard Falcon.

But switches and controls are the same as you get in your base Falcon and the mixture of fake dark walnut and chrome fail to excite.

In terms of interior space, the Force 6, like any of the two big Australian marques' offerings, caters for five full-sized adults with a large boot as well.

Of all the Australian performance cars - FPV or HSV - this is the one I would have, although possibly my Scottish name would lead me to the $7500-cheaper F6 Typhoon.

 

FPV Force 6 offers more enjoyable driving
At a Glance

FORD FPV FORCE 6

Price: $74,790

Test Rating: 4 star

For: Performance, technology, looks.

Against: Bonnet, wood-chrome interior mix.

Verdict: The pick of Aussie muscle cars.

Engine:
3984cc, straight 6-cylinder, intercooled turbo, Power: 270kW@3250rpm
Torque: 550Nm@2000-4250rpm.

Transmissions:
Six-speed auto, rear-wheel drive.

Brakes and Stability Systems:
Ventilated Brembo brakes fron and rear, ABS, EBD and traction control.

Wheels, tyres:
19 inch alloy rims, 245/35ZR 19 tyres.

Fuel and Economy:
Premium unleaded, 13L/100km, 68 lites.

Warranty:
3 years, roadside assist.

Main Rivals:

Other FPV models from: $67,490

HSV from: $77,990

European sports sedans.

RATING (4/5)