After months of speculation Ford Performance Vehicles has finally unveiled its fastest Falcon GT to date: the limited edition R-Spec.
Its supercharged 5.0-litre V8 has no more power or torque than the previous model released in October 2010 (335kW and 570Nm) - and is no more fuel-efficient than before (13.6L/100km) - but launch control, overhauled suspension and wider rear tyres equate to quicker acceleration times, the car maker says.
FPV does not make a 0 to 100km/h claim for its new model because it fears being in breach of the Australian advertising standards code.
But internal testing has found the new GT can reach the speed limit in 4.5 seconds, marginally quicker than the previous model's time of 4.9 seconds.
Despite its blistering performance, better brakes are still optional on the fastest Ford ever made in Australia.
"It is the most advanced GT we're ever produced," FPV Managing Director, Bryan Mears says. "The most hard-core GT yet. This is the GT we wanted to launch [in October 2010]."
"We have put 18 months into the development ... and we are extremely proud of the results; anyone who drives it ... will be blown away by just how complete and capable this car is."
The rear wheels are 9-inch-wide versions of the original 8-inch rims and run a 275/35 R19 Dunlop Sports Maxx tyre (3cm wider than the current tyre).
To avoid a production delay, FPV is air freighting the specially-made tyres from the factory in Germany.
FPV says 20-inch wheels and tyres - now standard across the HSV range - are still not available on the FPV line-up because they wouldn't have enough clearance in the wheel houses according to Ford's global standards.
"From the outset ... we wanted more agile handling with better traction, and so the suspension had to be considered holistically, unlike the aftermarket, where you might bolt on a set of wider tyres and hope for the best," Chief Engineer for Prodrive Australia, Bernie Quinn says.
"The new car thus received a significant number of component changes to develop this totally integrated package."
For the tech heads, the rear suspension has higher spring rates, re-tuned dampers, a larger anti-roll bar, and reinforced rear lower control arms, while the front suspension has stiffer upper control arm bushes, stiffer front upper suspension strut mounts, and re-tuned dampers.
A revised toe setting on the rear wheel alignment also gives improved turn-in response.
FPV says stiffer transmission mounts reduce powertrain and driveline movement under load to improve ride quality, and the toe setting of the rear suspension has changed slightly for better turn-in.
All R-Spec models get the C-shaped graphics inspired by the 1969 Boss Mustang.
Just 350 sedans will be made, along with 75 utes - two fewer than the 77-dealer FPV network.
The ute doesn't get any more power and misses out on the wider rear rubber and suspension overhaul. It does not get an R-Spec badge, but gets leather seats, new alloy wheels, a premium sound system, dual-zone climate control and the styling changes.
Mears defended the lack of changes to the ute.
"We have never built so few utes, they will be a collectors' item," says Mears.
- Sydney Morning Herald