Test: FPV F6 Typhoon
By Feann Torr - 22/Feb/2006
showdown between HSV and FPV - two of Australia's most popular home
grown performance car tuners - has reached another level as HSV dumps
an even chubbier V8 into its range.
despite the fact
that HSV (Holden Special Vehicles) now has a more powerful mechanical
heart driving its hero models, FPV (Ford Performance Vehicles)
still has an ace up its sleeve, and that's a blown 6-cylinder
HSV's last 6-cylinder model was the often-overlooked
supercharged XU6 of 1998, and since then it has concentrated on its
8-cylinder models. Which is where the fire-breathing, stump-pulling,
and generally mad F6 Typhoon comes in, giving fans of 6-cylinder large
performance sedans something to sing about.
because this bad boy is, um, very bad. In a good way. Even though it's
not the most expensive model in the FPV range, it's arguably the
fastest, with internal testing putting the 0-100km/h figure at under
5.5 seconds, and also making it the quickest Falcon in Ford's history.
this despite no changes to the engine since the hi-po turbo F6 arrived
in early 2004 - though it should be said that a new 6-speed ZF
automatic gearbox makes the cut, once the exclusive domain of
Jags and Aston Martins - as does a new suit and few
electronic aids under the new bodywork.
this be enough to keep HSV at bay?
detailed specs on the FPV F6.
Make: Ford Performance Vehicles
Model: F6 Typhoon
6-speed automatic w/sportshift
4.0-litre, inline 6-cylinder, turbo, petrol
Safety: 4 airbags (front
driver/passenger, front sides (thorax)), ABS, T/C
FPV's 6-cylinder sport sedan is a delight
to drive: it's quick, has great turn-in, good
grip levels and is easy to get in and drive
Speed is a measure that the 'Phoon is very
familiar with - and the big Brembo brakes
are the perfect salve for its power reserves
Typhoon, or 'Phoon as it's referred to by the FPV Illuminati, is quite
a sight at first glance, showing off smoky 18-inch mags and a
restyled-for-2006 bodykit that gives it a visual edge over its more
Step inside the car
and things are equally - but not completely - impressive. The leather
seats, for example, are very fine pews indeed with serious
lateral bolsters and nice supple leather with good cushioning. The instruments that
greet you upon buckling in are easy to read and suitably sporty with
FPV logos flying all over the place.
the key into the ignition barrel, push the glowing red starter button
and the F6 comes to life with very little fanfare - particularly
compared to its lumpy 8-cylinder brethren.
can be deceiving,
as the force-fed Ford Performance Vehicle hits its stride very rapidly,
as I quickly found out after leaving the top secret FPV headquarters on
Glenbarry Road in Campbellfield.
something that offers so much interior space, and for something so
practical (the whole family can join in on the high octane excitement)
the 'Phoon is blasphemously quick.
off the mark the F6 begins to
huff as the exhaust-driven turbocharger fulfills its computer-controlled
destiny. Interestingly, the reports of turbo lag in the
manual model seem to have been largely ironed out in the automatic
F6's straight line acceleration is best described as devastating. The
rear end squats
angrily as you stick the boot in, torque levels rising dangerously
quickly as the all-too-obvious front-mounted intercooler works in
tandem with the turbo to deliver an incredible 550Nm of torque @
At this point the traction control is
constantly chastised by the growing
forces being transmitted to the rear axle, trying (sometimes in
vain) to keep the rear wheels from screeching like a wounded
banshee, and the momentum builds like billyo as the tacho needle arcs
around its epicentre. It's addictive stuff, I
can tell you.
But beyond the short drive from FPV HQ
the Wombat offices in downtown Melbourne city, the 1805kg 'Phoon is
also a very
well behaved travelling companion, more than happy to just creep along
like a standard XR6T -- or even a standard Falcon for that matter.
clever suspension tune ensures good levels of ride on even some of
Australia's increasingly decrepit roadways; the F6 has the uncanny
ability to soak up bumps, despite its sporty intentions. And this becomes more and impressive when you consider
how nicely the big Aussie muscle car handles itself through fast
Even though this souped-up Falcon
gets uprated suspension,
brakes, bodykit, powertrain and interior, it feels just as friendly as
any other Falcon in everyday situations, with only a slightly firmer
ride that's felt when driving over train tracks and
such. Generally speaking however, the ride is quite supple,
please the entire family who may not always appreciate a
The seating position - as with all Falcons - is great, and the
tilt/reach adjustable steering wheel combines with the automatic's
adjustable pedals and comfy seats to ensure a comfy driving
position no matter what your build. Indeed, the F6 can do it all - long
distance cruising, short and sharp fangs through the forest and
brakes: 355mm x 32mm up front with 4-pot calipers, and 328mm x
26mm rear rotors single piston calipers)
provide for reassuring stopping power, yet won't intimidate
she decides to take the wheel, with good pedal modulation that feeds in
bite not aggressively, but rather progressively. If you plan on using
the 'Phoon on the race track then you may want to upgrade to the even
tougher Brembo premium package, which get similar sized discs but much
hardier 6-pot calipers and costs another $4,300.
so we know
the 'Phoon is almost as well-mannered as your entry-level XT Falcon in
everyday situations, but this is a $60,000 performance car, so
does it perform? In a slightly mangled word: fan-bloody-tastic.
light duels are a real laugh with the Typhoon. You can toy with
people's emotions with this puppy, as the throttle response and gear
choice are quite good for a turbocharged vehicle, giving it the ability
to charge ahead without searching for the correct gear or waiting for
revs to hit the sweet spot. The entire rev is pretty sweet in this
instance, but the 6-speed automatic gearbox is also a very clever piece
of kit, adapting your ever-changing driving style on the run.
of the first things that grabbed me by the gonads was how quickly you
can jump back on the throttle
exiting a corner in the F6. Much of this can be attributed to Ford's
heavy-but-very-clever control blade rear suspension rig,
whole car feels unnaturally balanced for something so long and
relatively chubby. The suspension engineers at FPV (with a bit
help from Prodrive) have done a magnificent job with the F6, as it
feels a whole lot lighter than it should when cornering,
which inspires the confidence to push deeper into
you know a certain section of road well, it's inspiring
how nicely the car behaves while cornering under increased throttle
inputs. It never feels flustered and though rear end grip can be
times thanks to 550Nm of torque, in general it gets a move on very
rapidly. In fact, very rapidly is probably not doing it justice - this
thing verges on supersonic.
steering is quite light, which generally I liked. Perhaps a
more weight would have made the car feel a little more
muscular when you're behind the wheel, but in terms of practicality,
it's probably better off this way.
straight ahead into a turn, the 'Phoon provides fairly
linear turn-in and is much more obliging than its V8 siblings
due to the lower weight hanging over the front axle. With the
FPV tuned suspension the F6 Typhoon is also able to hold its line
through a corner well, and doesn't mind being pushed hard through
radii corners - though it will sometimes protest with the squeals from
the outside front and both rear tyres, and sometimes the odd
mini fishtail as the traction control duels
with the massive torque flow.
relation to this, I reckon the standard 18-inch, 245/40
aspect ratio tyres at the rear could be increased in width somewhat, as
would help it achieve even greater rear end grip when
corners at full throttle, and possibly give the T/C a rest as well. You
can opt for larger 19-inch alloy wheels ($2,400), shod with 245/35 ZR19
rubber, which help in this respect.
into a corner, The 'Phoon's attitude is terrific - it corners with
minimal body roll, it tracks faithfully through bends and
a decent idea of how the road
beneath feels, though the light power steering does tend to mask
some of the feel and feedback via the front wheels. Rapid changes of
direction felt a little bit ponderous and the car's weight shifts
around on the suspension, and corrections mid-corner (particularly
aiming for a tighter line) can upset its balance a tad, but in general
the 'Phoon is a brilliantly capable performance sedan that is
surprisingly non-intimidating to drive hard, despite its manic power.
the car felt a little high off the ground from the drivers seat for a
car, but I must say that the
view of the road is very good. Would
I buy a Typhoon over an RX-8? Yeah, I reckon I probably would. Not that
I've driven the RX-8 as much as the F6, but being squished into the
rear of a Japanese coupe is not what I want to put my friends through.
the end of the day, especially a day that involved testing the
vehicle's road holding at the limit, I pity the poor traction control
programme that has to deal with the 'Phoon's prodigious amount of
torque that slams its way through the driveline so early in the rev
range. Kicking the tail out is easier done than said, while the
traction control fretfully tries to mollify the kinetic outburst that
hits the rear wheels. 550Nm @ 2000rpm? That's more than enough twist to
satisfy most rev heads, and for bragging rights it eclipses HSV's
6.0-litre V8 to boot.
In summary, I regard the F6
a terrific drivers car, but with the added bonus of having the kind of
practicality that will not only suit, but also impress the whole
family. This force-fed FPV is hard to fault on road, and very easy to
Ford F6 270T 4.0-litre turbo straight 6-cylinder
longitudinally mounted 3984cc turbocharged L6 engine has an aluminium
alloy cylinder head and a cast-iron engine block. The valvetrain
4-valves per cylinder actuated by chain-driven dual overhead camshafts (DOHC) that
feature variable valve timing for more flexibility.
The forced induction system is comprised of a Garret turbocharger and an air-to-air intercooler, and with
an 8.8:1 compression ratio the 6-cylinder engine accepts 95 RON and
higher octane fuels, and has a 68 litre fuel tank capacity.
consumption: 13.0L/100km (combined cycle)
Max Power: 270kW @ 5250rpm
Max Torque: 550Nm @ 2000rpm
recipe for improved performance on the F6 Typhoon - based on the
$46,405 Falcon XR6 Turbo - involves a bigger air-to-air intercooler (about twice
the size of the XR6T's) and some changes to the
Garret turbocharger, which increase boost to 9.3 psi, or 0.64
dual entry ram air intake reduces the pressure of the air flowing into the turbo system, while upgraded
valve springs and conrods have been added to improve the engine's
durability in the face of the intensified combustion process.
net result of these changes is a boost in power from 245kW to
270kW. Not massive, but the more important figure is torque, which
480Nm to 550Nm, giving the F6 Typhoon an incredible stride during take
offs, and a mountainous mid-range punch.
FPV rightly claims, it's force-fed engine has the "...highest torque
output of any production six ever built in Australia and one of the
most powerful in the world."
engine is one of
my favourite aspects of the car - and arguably the centrepiece around
which everything else is judged - and rightly so. The power kicks in
early if you want it to, but the 'Phoon will just as easily chirp up
the rear wheels at 50km/h after a slow take off followed by a
smooth-but-determined increase of throttle.
to 100km/h times have been claimed as low as 5.4 seconds, and
though our testing equipment is far from modern (a sundial and some
twine) we put the time at closer to 5.7 seconds, though I should
mention that the 'Phoon had about 7000km on the clock, and 7000 journo
kays puts quite a bit of wear on the on powertrain.
This engine is very
smooth. Coupled with the 6-speed gearbox it makes a mockery of standing
starts and though we didn't get a chance to test them, quarter mile
sprints would be around the low 14s, if not under, given perfect
conditions - and all the while the thing has a very refined feel to it.
roll-ons are exceptional; internal organs become slowly
(read: mashed) around ones spinal cord as overtaking maneouvres on the
highway become more of naughty pleasure than a gear-shifting
chore. The power band is simply phenomenal - 550Nm of peak torque joins
the party @ 2000rpm, remaining steady until 4250rpm, and then a scant
1000rpm later peak power of 270kW kicks in, increasing road
dramatically. This gives you a rich 3250rpm power band wherein
acceleration is astonishing, and a whopping 60% of this 3250rpm range
is providing peak torque all the while.
purchase a $46,000 XR6 Turbo and spend around $15,000 on it, which
would probably give it 'Phoon-besting performance. But the flip side of
this theoretical dalliance is that you'd probably void your factory
warranty, whereas the FPV Typhoon offers ludicrous performance,
with the backing of the factory. And a neat little turbo boost gauge, I
In the old money, the F6 cranks out 405
torque, which is more than what America's favourite sports car,
Chevy C6 Corvette coupe pumps out (powered by the same
V8 that HSV uses), and is enough beef to break traction at the
rear wheels without trying too hard.
The engine can get quite thirsty when pushed for prolonged periods of
time, but at the same token if you can manage to drive the 'Phoon with
a modicum of civility, it returns pretty good figures.
the engine ticks over at about 1600rpm in sixth gear, which isn't too
bad for an automatic transmission.
FPV has improved the image of its new 2006-model
(BF) FPV range, making for a bolder, brasher vehicle
new FPV bodykit gives the large sedan a more aerodynamic form than its
Ford Falcon siblings, and is much more pleasing to the eye as a result.
It's closer to the ground, rides on decent-looking 18-inch
and gives off a suitably muscular vibe, even if there's no bonnet bulge
to speak of.
The front apron gets a new grey
insert for the
BF model, giving the car a more serious performance look, while at the
same time framing the intercooler. New look fog lights also
the cut and small touches like red F6 badge on the sporty
mesh grille help add a certain mystique to the bawdy sports car. The
angular twin-element headlights still look rather good today, having
been unchanged since their inception earlier in the decade, providing
nice bookends for the sporty grille.
the profile of
the FPV F6 Typhoon is quite pleasing, (if a little Falcon-ish) as
the fluted side skirts give it a hunkered down appearance, and at
rear of the car grey inserts in the lower apron match the front, complete with the
same mesh finish from the grille, and a stylised exhaust tip
finishes the picture.
With its slinky bodykit, the F6
solid on the road at speed (surprisingly so) but on the flip side there's only 125mm of ground clearance, so the
bodywork can scrape heading down the driveway and over the gutter. When the original F6 launched in 2004, there was
initially a bit of consternation in the office about it not being
different enough from either Falcon or its V8-engined FPV stable mates,
but all this has been rectified with the new BF model 'Phoon, whose
road presence has been improved significantly.
are a number of aspects of the Typhoon's interior that cannot escape
their Falcon heritage - such as the dashboard, switchgear, door handles
and centre console - yet the FPV presents a
very sporty cabin
that aptly augments its emboldened exterior. The turbo and oil pressure
gauges are points of different, though they tend to
upset the otherwise smooth lines of the dashboard.
seats are what catch the eye initially; very large, deep and
welcoming bucket seats, with sports contours and big lateral supports
to hold bodies in place when cornering. Comfy and practical, I suppose
you could say.
The ergonomic interior offers up heaps
of room and is great over long distances
test model was given the leather
$2750 option) which ups the tactile and comfort levels on the seats,
and adds suede door inserts that lend the interior a touch more
elegance and tactile contrast. Faux carbon fibre accents here and there
don't look too bad, and fit and finish was quite good, all things
considered. We heard a slight creak from the boot region towards the
end of our test every now and then, but otherwise build quality seems
to be very good.
Just in case you forget what you're
driving, there are FPV logos emblazoned on the head rests,
speedo and tacho dials,
and also on the steering wheel, which again was the fancy
item, which is suitably chunky and fetches another $950. Blue
back-lit dials look great at night, as does the red starter button and drilled alloy pedal, and the general layout of the dash
instruments is pretty good. The only qualm I had was that the
tachometer (rev counter) doesn't have a redline area to show you when
you're getting close to the rev limit.
As far as
the F6 Typhoon is right on the money. Adjustable seats
and steering wheel (and pedals for $350) mean that drivers of
sizes, from the condensed to the expanded, can find a comfortable
compromise. And for anyone who has never ridden in a large Aussie car,
this thing's big - it's got heaps of interior space, enough room for
five adults to travel in comfort and boot space is not to be sniffed at
either, with 504 litres being enough to swallow a couple of bodyboards,
your cricket gear and maybe even a large sack of potatoes on
The rear bench is a nice place to
be as well, with
plenty of leg and shoulder room and a fold-out armrest when 2+2 touring
is the name of the game. Head room can become tight in the back with
taller passengers, but otherwise you'd be hard pressed to find
a roomier vehicle with this sort of performance for sixty
is the argument that says the FPV (and in fairness HSV models too) is
not different enough from its donor car, but then you could rebut this by
saying that the Falcon was a big, well-made and comfy car in
first place. And to be honest, when I finally got over some of the
visual similarities present in the interior, actually sitting in the
driving the thing is incredibly comfortable.
F6 Typhoon is a blast for a number of reasons, and
though sheer performance is one of them, the overriding factor for mine
was the vehicle's jack-of-all-trades nature.
through the twisties with nary a care in the world in the F6 - it's
surprising how easy it is to extract the FPV's performance potential - but
it has also got masses of interior room, comfy seats and a fairly
for when business takes you into town or through the 'burbs. And of
course it's a great hooligan mobile, but you didn't hear it from me...
plenty of gumption through corners and an attention-grabbing
powertrain, there's no denying this vehicle's performance capabilities.
But more than just a belter of a sports sedan, it's got good road
manners, it looks great and is so easy to live with on a day-to-day
basis. FPV's best vehicle? In my opinion - yep. Sure is. And good value for money too.
still doesn't have a 6-cylinder performance model, which is a shame,
because as the F6 Typhoon proves just how immensely
rewarding such a vehicle can be, while at the same time providing the kind
of performance that's more than up to the task of bruising the
more popular 8-cylinder sports sedans. If you're looking for a hot
6-cylinder sports sedan with the lot - and frankly, even if you're not
- you should take one of these bad boys for a test drive.
- Slamming turbo engine
- Ride and
- Versatile sports car
steering masks feedback slightly
the review? The Car? Your Car? Email us.