On borrowed time: Falcon XR8 is a fine final effort before the badge is retired for good.
On borrowed time: Falcon XR8 is a fine final effort before the badge is retired for good.

2015 Ford Falcon XR8 is a fine finish

FORD, it seems, has left the best for last.

With their manufacturing departure inked in for October next year, the company will be wanting to leave its mark.

And this Falcon XR8 has just about hit the spot. The tourquey powerhouse is largely a metamorphosis of the performance GT-RSPEC, and brings with it a history of track prowess and muscle capability.

Comfort

The interior of the XR8 is quite austere, not unpleasant mind you, but certainly without the spark you would expect from what is essentially a performance car.

Yet the fit and finish is without complaint and the seats supportive and comfortable even on the twistier roads. There is plenty of headroom and leg space, even for those in the back, and a deep wide boot that is more than handy.

No door pockets in the rear though which can be annoying, while the fixed headrests can make it difficult to manoeuvre a baby seat.

2015 Falcon XR8 cabin is subtle, but it's here you control the V8 beast
2015 Falcon XR8 cabin is subtle, but it's here you control the V8 beast

On the road

The raised bonnet may hint at the power of the unit within but nothing can prepare you for the beauty of the 5.0-litre supercharged V8 engine that does duty in this XR8.

It is instantly responsive requiring not even a hint of urging with throaty growls showing its intent. Turn-in is excellent, balance perfect and you can really sling it out of the corners never feeling like you might lose control.

The steering offers great feedback, perhaps too much on bumpier roads, and the suspension - a six-speed auto in our test car - rarely puts a foot wrong.

Front Brembo four piston caliper brakes and single piston calipers in the rear ensure braking is smooth and efficient.

This is a muscle car and it feels like one. Days on the track would be a must for buyers who really want to put the XR8's prowess to the test.

What do you get?

Ford's SYNC2 connectivity system is the highlight here enabling the use of voice commands for the control of everything, from the radio station and phone to sat-nav, stored music and even the air-con.

It is delightfully easy to use as is the intuitive 20cm colour touchscreen with four colour-coded quadrants allowing easy, painless access to features.

Dual-zone climate control, auto headlights and wipers, cruise control, steering wheel mounted controls, reverse camera and parking sensors are standard.

Five-star safety includes traction and stability control with emergency brake assist, six airbags, ABS with EBD and driver fatigue warning system.

Falcon XR8 good for 335kW and 570Nm of torque from its 5.0-litre V8.
Falcon XR8 good for 335kW and 570Nm of torque from its 5.0-litre V8.

Running costs

Well, with that much power on tap, the XR8 was never going to be frugal.

Official figures hover around the 13l/100km but expect at least 21l/100km around town.

Ford offers a three-year/100,000km warranty with a seven-year/135,000km capped price servicing schedule.

Competition

The only real contender here is the Holden Commodore SS-V Redline (from $52,490).

Practicality

This is a certainly a car for the driving enthusiast, especially those mad for a V8 and, while it can be used as a family car, it is hardly at its best on the school run. Storage options are frugal and we also struggled a bit to see over the bonnet while parking in tighter supermarket spots. It misses out on advanced features too like blind-spot monitoring and a head-up display.

Last of its kind: The 2015 Ford Falcon XR8.
Last of its kind: The 2015 Ford Falcon XR8.

Funky factor

The signature trapezoidal grille, 19-inch alloys, bonnet bulge and quad-tipped exhaust system offer a subtle indication of the XR8's power. The wraparound LEDs, low stance and red Brembos add substance to the sporting tag but it isn't until you engage the ignition that people really sit up and take notice.

The lowdown

The XR8 is an exciting drive with the poise and power that will have you dreaming of long open roads when you're stuck in city traffic. The interior is a tad dated and there are a few features missing but the lusty engine and beautiful soundtrack more than make up for that. The price, too, is good for a performance car. If this is Ford's swansong, it is a memorable one indeed.

 

What matters most

What we liked: Powerful engine with beautiful roar, superb handling

What we'd like to see: Brighter interior, heads-up display

Warranty and servicing: 3 year/100,000km warranty with capped-price servicing for 135,000km

 

Vital statistics

Model: Ford F GX Falcon XR8

Details: Five-door rear-wheel drive performance sedan.

Engines: 5.0-litre V8 petrol generating maximum power of 335kW@5750rpm and peak torque of 570Nm @ 2200 - 5500rpm.

Transmissions: Six-speed automatic or six-speed manual

Consumption: 13.7 litres/100km combined (13.6l for the manual)

CO2 emissions: 324g/km

Bottom line: From $54,490 (manual from $52,690)


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