Australian First Drive: Ford FPV GS Boss 5.0 315 Ute

First Drive: Ford FPV GS Boss 5.0 315 Ute
By James Stanford for

On behalf of the Australian people, I’d like to send a big thank-you to America for the Coyote V-8.

The team at Ford Performance Vehicles, the official tuning division of Ford Australia, has just created an awesome Falcon Ute and sedan using the new 5.0-liter engine that’s already in the 2011 Ford Mustang and is going to be fitted to the 2011 F-150.

Well, to be more accurate, FPV used the Coyote engine as a base for a new high-performance supercharged V-8 that produces up to 456 horsepower and 421 pounds-feet of torque using very little boost pressure – just 7psi.

This is more than a dealer-installed supercharger kit, such as the Whipple blower and Roush intake setup bolted onto an otherwise standard eight-cylinder gas engine. The development of this engine alone cost FPV $32 million. It has a full range of upgraded parts and custom high-performance components, and it comes with the same warranty backing as any other factory Ford product.


Even better is the fact that this engine, called the Boss in Australia, has been put through all the internal testing hoops, which means it can easily be sold anywhere in the Ford world. FPV says it is about to start lobbying Ford Motor Co. in the U.S. to see if it wants to use the same engine in some of its cars and pickups.

I’d start crossing my fingers if I were in America because this engine is an absolute beauty. How do we know? We’ve driven it.

There are two versions of the supercharged 5.0 in Australia, each with different calibrations. The base engine makes 428 hp and 402 pounds-feet of torque. It’s used for both the GS sedan and Ute. The 456-hp version is currently available only in the GT sedan.

FPV engineers told me that the higher-spec engine produces so much torque at such low revs that it’s still having trouble getting the power down in the Ute, which uses a leaf spring rear suspension. Even so, FPV hasn’t ruled out releasing a higher-output Ute in the future.

After testing the GS Ute on roads near Melbourne in southern Australia, I’m pretty confident it doesn’t need any more grunt.


You get a pretty good idea the GS Ute means business when you first lay eyes on it. It hasn’t changed all that much from the now-discontinued XR8 Ute, which ran the old 5.4-liter quad-cam Boss V-8 that was unique to FPV. That engine wouldn’t fit under a regular hood, so Ford had to stamp a special cowl with a power bulge, which also gave the car a “don’t mess with me” look.

The Ute sits on 19-inch alloy wheels with super-low-profile tires (P245/35Rx19) and is identified by its loud GS graphics that hark back to the model of the same name in the 1970s. It’s based on the Falcon sedan, but with a longer wheelbase. It runs a double wishbone independent front suspension and leaf springs at the rear and uses mono-tube dampers at both ends.

It can tow up to 3,527 pounds, but the cargo capacity has been reduced to 1,190 pounds.

Turning the key in the GS doesn’t actually make it start; you also have to press the Engine Start button. The V-8 fires up and settles down to a relatively smooth idle. There is a bit of a hot-cam wobble, but the idle is relatively smooth. You get a good idea that this is something special when you dab the throttle and hear the supercharger spin up.

I drove a manual version of the GS with a Tremec six-speed shifter that has been rejigged with a new clutch. The last one was hard work in city traffic, but this is much lighter and easier on the calf.

There is also an optional six-speed ZF automatic, which has been used for Jaguar, Land Rover, BMW and Maserati. It isn’t a dual-clutch special; it has a regular torque converter but can shift quickly, and the best sprint times are achieved with this and not the manual.


I ease on some throttle and release the clutch, and we are away. The torque delivery is fast and brutal. Maximum torque is unleashed from 2,000 rpm all the way through to 5,500 rpm. It is breathtakingly quick. The official stopwatch says it does zero to 62 mph (0-100km/h) in 5.2 seconds.

When we drove, it had rained earlier in the day and the road was still a little greasy, so it was hard work getting the power onto the blacktop.

I’m glad traction and stability control is standard, and FPV has tuned it so the system doesn’t kill the power too often. It comes on only when it needs to. If you’re in the right place and in the mood for some fun, you can switch off the system completely.

The engine’s note is a beautiful combination of supercharger whine and exhaust howl. FPV went to great lengths to keep the supercharger relatively quiet so it doesn’t dominate the experience. It sounds more like a supercharged V-8 from Jaguar than a muscle car. There is aggression, but it is restrained.

FPV can tune the exhaust with an electronically controlled valve that makes the note louder at certain revs and when a certain amount of load is applied. It has also tuned the engine to crackle and pop when you back off the accelerator, especially at low speeds. It is so pleasing to the ear that you find yourself backing off just to hear it.

The best place to listen to the GS Ute is actually from outside. From there, it sounds glorious when someone gets stuck and accelerates hard. You can still hear the hard edge of the supercharger, but the exhaust is far louder, thunderous really. I’m just hoping my next-door neighbor gets one so I can wake up to that every morning instead of his V-6 Commodore (Pontiac G8).

The 5.0 engine is remarkably smooth and spins up very quickly. You could drive it around grandma if you feel like it, selecting a higher gear and just letting the engine do the work.


The problem is that the midrange acceleration is just so strong and addictive that you just want to wind it out all the way to 6,000 rpm. This is an issue unless you have access to a track because we have strict speeding laws in Australia, and police can even impound your vehicle if you’re caught going too fast.

One of the advantages of the new V-8 is the reduced weight at the front of the car. Even with the supercharger on top, the new Boss 5.0 engine is 103 pounds lighter than the old engine – largely because the new engine is smaller, and the block is aluminum rather than cast iron.

This doesn’t sound like a lot, but it does help the GS Ute turn-in better. The last V-8 Ute used to be a bit clumsy in the bends compared with the lighter turbocharged six-cylinder, but they now feel similar.

Ford and FPV have done a great job with the chassis, and the GS Ute handles almost as well as the sedan. The only time it struggles is over midcorner bumps, which unsettle the leaf springs.

We didn’t carry anything in the cargo box of the GS Ute on the launch. It’s not really the kind of car you’d use to lug much stuff around, and any dog would certainly have to hang on tight.

I know a few builders with the previous-generation XR8 Ute, and they like it but have trouble with the lack of ground clearance. Those who need a serious workhorse should buy the six-cylinder one-ton Falcon Ute or bigger utes like the Ford Ranger or Toyota Hilux.

The GS is really a two-door sports car with a really big trunk. It can be used to carry some work items and hobby gear like dirt bikes, but its main appeal is its incredible performance.

Even running the milder 428-hp tune, the new supercharged Boss is a simply stunning engine, and it transforms the GS Ute.

Australians are happy enough to keep it to ourselves, but it’s bewildering that Ford doesn’t want to sell this in the U.S. I reckon you’d like it a lot.



I'll take 2 to go...

LOL Love the Subaru front clip! All in all a great engine in a otherwise useless vehicle!

Pretty neat its a separate cab and bed .

If only they would bring the entire Falcon line to the US....

Friggin awesome!!!!

G'Day Mate !

I'll take one and a tall Foster's (Austrailian for beer)

You Yank's are missing out !

G'Day Mate !

@Crocodile Dundee (Paul Hogan)

We are sure missing out on the good stuff down there. I will trade you a Cobra Mustang for one of those.

wow no good news again....and again.......mike do you have a share in ford..

I want one. That vehicle isn't useless, but it's not a true workhorse. I don't need a workhorse (or a sports car), but I just want one.

Thank you Ford (and GM) for keeping these utes in Australia, I cringe then laugh every time I see one. I'll take the sedan version though, great engine.

I can agree with Tyler about the UTEs. It's a car on the pickup trucks news site... is that a unibody frame or body on frame?

That's it, I'm moving. We need that here. Just think of all the aftermarket stuff that might come out. Be great commuter truck.

In some respects it looks like the 1997 - 2004 trucks.

The main part of the story that caught my eye:
exerpt "Even better is the fact that this engine, called the Boss in Australia, has been put through all the internal testing hoops, which means it can easily be sold anywhere in the Ford world."
That means it could find it's way into any Ford product.
How about resurrecting the Lightning with this engine?

Its funny that the author refers to it as a car several times in the story. I think that automaker engineers are a atrange bunch. They get so many things right and something that should be simple they completly screw up. Take the starting procedure for example. Put the key in, turn it on, then move your hand to a separate button to start it. WHY????? Whats wrong withn using a key the way it was meant to be used, or just use the button, but both is just stupid. Its a car not a missle launcher. I know its nit picking and it wouldn't be a deal breaker for me but come guys.

Remember this is from FPV, a performance branch of Ford Australia, there are commercial versions of this vehicle. Besides if you want something MORE commercial, we still have Ranger's WITH a diesel engine, and full size Transit van, in no way related to the Transit Connect other than similar name.

I want one... yesterday...

They could bring that over here to the US and sell about 5-6,000 of them to the enthusaist and that would be about it. An ugly vehicle with what sounds like a great engine to go fast. We had 2 ugly vehicles that went slow, the PT Cruiser and the HHR Would think Ford could do better then this thing.

You americans dont know how good vehicles you have already got, apart from the small size economy, bed space compared to your pick-ups these falcon utes are pretty useless. Two seated cars with a large boot thats it

I will stick with a full size truck...

Looks too small inside of that cartruck..

Being over 6 feet tall many cars,even full size cars today are cramped inside,this looks to be very cramped..........the reason nobody wants small trucks,except small people..

The reason I drive a new Full size truck,fit with loads of room and comfort.

Though for short/smaller/height challenged people it may be a comfortable ride...its fast as all hell...but no room inside..

Put a boring little diesel in it, and I'll buy one here in Illinois!

this is the vehicle ford should use to replace the ranger. no, it isn't as capable for off roading, but you have an f-150 for that and this can haul a decent amount in non-FPV form. this is for people who don't do serious stuff with their trucks but still want one and it is a little sporty. it probably gets decent fuel mileage too (even with a V8).

wait a minute, this motor naturally aspirated in the mustang 412 hp, 390 lb-ft of torque. in the f-150 it's 360 hp (375 hp ethanol), 380 lb-ft of torque (390 lb-ft of torque ethanol). FPV SUPERCHARGED 5.0 (SAME MOTORS JUST WITH A SUPERCHARGER) 456 HP, 421 LB-FT OF TORQUE. THE NEW LIMITED EDITION BOSS MUSTANG THAT IS COMING OUT HAS 440 HORSEPOWER NATURALLY ASPIRATED. WHAT KIND OF SUPERCHARGER IS THAT? THE NEW SHELBY GT350 HAS A SUPERCHARGED 5.0 WITH 500 HORSEPOWER. i would rather have a regular 5.0 with better fuel mileage (because there is less on the accessory drive belt) and the same basic power with no supercharger wine as well. besides what happened to the road runner V8 a.k.a. ecoboost 5.0????????? Questions, Questions

One thing supprises Australians is how much room these things actually have in the cabin, 6ft 4" man fits in no problem, and very luxury aswell, wrap around very padded seats, electric adjused seats, pedals, stearing that goes up and down, also inwards and outwards, so no problem getting compfy no matter what your size, intergrated dvd, sat nav, ipod, mobile, exhaust system with opening valve, once over a certain rev, the valve opens (direct exhaust flow) so you can hear heavens sound of V8 noise, and you can shoot down the quarter mile in mid 13 seconds, try and do that in your sloppy slug F150 LOL! Not to mention this model is the baby, there will be a higher output version to match the GT SEDAN, which cracks the quarter mile in late 12 seconds, also they are 5 star world crash test rated, air bags everyware, ABS, TRACTION CONTROLLED, POWER DELIVERY CONTROLLED, MULTI CHANNEL BRAKE DITRIBUTION, AMAZING VEHICLE FOR THE PRICE! I want, I want, I want!

Lincoln Navigator L

Reborn Rancho!!! Awesome!!! LOL

Did you mean: RANCHERO

GM already have a truck that look alot like this one down under. look llike try to play catching up

Don't be hating this website or Mike just because Ford is the only one making any news right now... just my .02 cents! Keep up the good work Mike.

For those who forgot our coverage from a few years back:

FLASHBACK: Holden VE Ute First Drive:

@ mike levine why does the hood say 315 instead of 302

@bobsled80: The Ute's base engine makes 428 hp, or 315 kW, hence the Boss 315 name.

Frank, Thanks for my mistake Buddy..LOL Ranchero

We use one of those Ute Down under. Not the latest version though. They are just great, hope you enfoy FPV guys

@Jordan L any vehicle under 10,000lbs GVWR is a car, Pickup or Van. if it exceeds 10,000lbs GVWR you need a light truck license to drive it in Australia

can you still get in turbo 6?

The FPV version , yes you can.

My 1998-99 Chevrolet Extreme has 300,000 miles and still runs great thanks to the UAW 2166 workers. The 315 Boss needs a step side bed.

Just a little update on this, to whoever is interested.

Intensive R&D has been put into place for the 5ltr FPV V8.

Stock, these vehicles averaged 381RWHP, and with a SCT tune, moved to 460RWHP. 474RWHP with a full exhaust.

Keep in mind, thats still with the stock 7psi boost. Installing a new blower snout and smaller pulley launched the power figure to 582RWHP.

To complete the full Boost+Exhaust+Tune it cost me $4,565.

Well worth the 200RWHP gain.

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