Ford Australia’s latest engineering and styling project, that of the Falcon XR6 and XR8 Sprint will go down in the minds of all concerned as one of their all time favourites. The car industry is full of enthusiasts, and their eyes light up in delight when asked to significantly improve performance and add new shapes..

Let’s start at the hearts of the latest hot Australian Fords: Falcon XR8 Sprint is powered by an uprated version of Ford’s 5.0-litre supercharged V8 that develops 400 kW and 650 Nm when on overboost; something that’s on offer in every gear where conditions and the engine sensors permit. In other word you can have overboost for a full minute if having fun in the Northern Territory or during a track day. Even the standard engine max outputs are impressive; 345 kW at 5750 rpm and 575 Nm between 2220 and 6250 revs.

The XR6 Sprint unit is based on the much loved standard straight-six 4.0-litre turbo and puts out 325 kW at 6000 rpm and 576 Nm at a relatively high 2750 rpm, though the graph is nice and shallow so there’s plenty of grunt well before then. The six also has overboost on offer for up to ten seconds in each gear, lifting it to 370 kW and 650 Nm. Interestingly that 650 on the six is the same as on the eight, pretty impressive.

The six-cylinder comes only with an automatic transmission. As befits the serious buyers it will attract, the V8 is available with either a six-speed manual and or six-speed automatic. The automatic in the XR8 Sprint uses the Falcon GT-F transmission calibration. In the XR6 Sprint, the automatic transmission calibration was revised to take advantage of the big power and torque.


Handling is just as important with a high-performance car as straight line grunt. The suspension engineers began with excellent Pirelli P-Zero tyres and worked from there to using the already good XR6 and XR8 setups. Fitted to 19-inch wheels that are eight inches wide at the front and nine inches at the rear, they have a 35 per cent profile and are 235 / 265 millimetres wide front / rear.

Visually, the changes to the Sprints are relatively subtle, all get 19-inch black painted alloy wheels with gold coloured Brembo brake calipers, black headlamp bezels, revised front foglamp surrounds with cut out vents in the bumpers, and a small black painted rear spoiler. The XR8 Sprint also gets a Silhouette black painted roof and black door mirrors.

Inside, are Sprint seats in leather/Lux suede, dual zone climate-control, high-series audio, a revised shifter assembly and surround and unique gauge cluster with a Sprint logo.


Each Sprint will be individually numbered by way of a plate on the engine and are genuine limited editions. Ford will build just 550 XR6 Sprints, 500 for Australia and 50 for New Zealand. As the XR8 is sure to be more popular 850 will leave the line. Australia gets 750, the Kiwis are the winners here, getting twice as many 8s than 6s, that is 100 cars.

Our initial driving was done on a winding route from Hobart, with a long stop at Baskerville to really push the big Falcons to their limit.

Steering feel is excellent and the Fords need minimum input to get them around bends. Levels of grip are extremely high and really should only be explored during track days.

This is a superb car and challenges big name Euro machine that cost four to five times the price. HSV’s best had better look out as well, we will leave the specialist car magazines to do comparison tests Ford vs Holden, but feel they will be very close dynamically – but when you compare prices the new Fords are runaway winners.

These hot Falcons are high-performance bargains that sell for tens of thousands of dollars less than any competitors. The Falcon XR6 Sprint has a recommended price of just $54,990, the XR8 Sprint is priced at $59,990 for the manual and $62,190 if you go for the automatic. These are manufacturer’s list prices (MLPs) and on road charges have to be added.

Want to own one of the new Falcon Sprints? Sorry, you are too late, they have all be spoken for. Deliveries will begin on May 17. There are already rumours of cars being on-sold at higher prices, but far from us to get involved in that difficult topic.

Did you notice the words “latest engineering and styling” in the opening sentence of this review? And perhaps wondered why we didn’t talk about the “last Falcon”, or “Ford Australia’s final fling” or suchlike?

The answer is simple. The Sprint twins are just the “latest” Ford models designed and engineered in Australia – they are most certainly not the last. The engineers and stylists at Ford Australia are highly regarded in the global Ford automotive business. Australians are working in local state-of-the-art facilities on dozens of projects, large and small, as you read this.

Keep reading our motoring stories and we can all but guarantee that the Aussie Ford engineering folks will get a major mention.

About Ewan Kennedy

Ewan Kennedy, a long-time car enthusiast, was Technical Research Librarian with the NRMA from 1970 until 1985. He worked part-time as a freelance motoring journalist from 1977 until 1985, when he took a full-time position as Technical Editor with Modern Motor magazine. Late in 1987 he left to set up a full-time business as a freelance motoring journalist. Ewan is an associate member of the Society of Automotive Engineers - International. An economy driving expert, he set the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance travelled in a standard road vehicle on a single fuel fill. He lists his hobbies as stage acting, travelling, boating and reading.
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