Ford’s Australian outpost has built its most powerful car ever: the Ford Performance Vehicles Boss 335 GT. That’s 335 kilowatts, by the way: 450bhp to you and me, from a supercharged five-litre V8 engine shoe-horned into the bodyshell of Ford’s standard, rear-wheel drive Falcon saloon. With a bonnet bulge the size of Uluru and that power output stencilled into its black racing stripes, the Boss ain’t subtle: it looks and sounds every bit as fast as it is. But can the Boss 335 GT transcend its family saloon roots to deliver a world-class performance car experience? We test the FPV Boss 335 GT to find out...
FPV Boss 335 GT: A product of the downunder musclecar sanctuary
Australia’s devotion to the muscle car easily exceeds America’s. It builds them far better, and has continued to do so despite conditions which ought to have killed Aussies’ appetite for big, powerful, thirsty cars stone dead. The heyday of US muscle cars ended abruptly with the oil crisis of 1971: they died overnight in an automotive mass-extinction event on a par with the demise of the dinosaurs. But Australian muscle-car culture was just hitting its stride. That year it produced the Ford Falcon GTHO Phase III, the new Boss’s spiritual forebear and now the most valuable Australian-made car, with genuine examples changing hands for €750,000. And it kept on making them through the seventies.
The heart of the FPV Boss 335 GT: V8 muscle with a helping hand from Prodrive
Times ought to be tough now too. Australian fuel prices are closer to Europe’s than America’s, and it suffers some of the most stringent speed-limit enforcement in the world. But Aussies’ enthusiasm for thunderous, thirsty V8s seems undimmed, and they seem to build them better with British help. Just as Tom Walkinshaw helped found Holden Special Vehicles, David Richards’ Prodrive is a partner in Ford Performance Vehicles and the ‘Miami’ engine in the Boss is Prodrive’s first engine project. This is significant: Richards has a stake in Aston Martin, and while the Miami engine won’t end up in next-gen Astons, don’t bet against Prodrive engineering whatever does power them.
Driving the FPV Boss 335 GT
Like many other Aussie cars the GT is pleasingly Spartan, doing away with the fripperies to keep the price down. So the glovebox falls open with a clunk, the silver cabin trim looks sprayed-on and the boot is barely trimmed and has no grab handles to pull it shut.
But the stuff Aussie drivers actually need is prioritized, such as long gearing and some of the world’s best seats to cope with long, long distances.
And those distances will feel a lot shorter in the GT, if you’re prepared to brave the speed cameras. Based on an American Ford V8 block used in the current Mustang 5.0 GT and Boss 302 the Boss 335 engine develops huge linear thrust and the acceleration feels quicker than the claimed 4.9sec 0-60 time. From inside the whine of the supercharger dominates but from outside there’s a terrific rip from the exhausts accompanied, usually, by the sound of the rear tyres ripping at the tarmac.
The Boss 335 GT has traction control, but the system’s main contribution seems to be to blink at you from the instrument binnacle to tell you you’ve lost traction. This can be provoked at will; fortunately the Ford’s natural chassis balance allows you to keep the car pointing where it’s meant to go. It has quick, accurate steering and a fine ride; not up to the standards of the best European sports saloons, but streets ahead of most US muscle cars.
So is it any good? It certainly comes at an attainable price. At AUD$71, 290 or £47,500 the basic GT is less than half the price of the similarly powered Audi RS5, which costs £115,000 after local import duties, though the recent strength of the Aussie dollar makes both look more expensive. Ford currently has no plans to bring its rowdy Aussie cousins here; they would need to be cheaper, so the exchange rates alone rule it out. It’s a shame; the Aussie muscle car is just what we could do with right now; simple, exuberant, distinctive and fun.