Isn’t the Ford GT pretty tasty already?
Yes it is, but this model is even more special. Ford has actually stopped producing the GT so it decided to do something exceptional with the last handful of cars off the line. It handed the cars bound for this side of the Atlantic to Roush Europe, one of Ford’s official tuning partners, hence the RE suffix. The 600 alludes to the horsepower, although one of the engineers told us that when this car was put on the dyno it was actually kicking out 612bhp.
That’s not bad. So what exactly is under the engine cover?
There’s the same 5.4-litre aluminium block V8 with four valves per cylinder that the regular car has. Just like the standard model it’s supercharged but engineers have increased the boost. And more boost explains that power hike from an already fairly formidable 550bhp. The engine’s got an unmistakable V8 rumble to it – slightly disappointing in a car that looks as exotic as this - and it’s quite noisy in the cockpit, largely I suspect because there’s only a bit of Perspex separating the engine compartment from the cabin. It does of course mean you can look over your shoulder and see the engine. You can even watch the supercharger in action.
That all sounds pretty immense. How is it to drive?
Surprisingly it’s remarkably easy. The controls feel as light as those in a Focus. There’s no racing clutch that requires the thigh muscles of a body builder, no bicep-building heavy steering. You could be in a family car. Change gear and it’s got that typical Ford feel: positive without feeling notchy. But you do have to treat it with respect. This is a very powerful car with no traction control, something that's worth bearing in mind on a damp road. But once you’ve got used to its width – and seeing life from the same height as your average six-year-old – you can start to have fun in it.
How so? Details please.
Well simply flooring the throttle will bring a smile to your face. At just about any revs there’s instant response because the engine has got deep reserves of torque to mine. Accelerate up to the red line on the rev counter and you’ll be at the legal motorway maximum barely after you’ve hooked second gear. It’s a neck-snapping affair that takes your breath away and demands 110 per cent concentration. Your bottom gets a detailed feedback of the road’s surface and your hands get the same through beautifully direct steering. The whole package gives you the reassurance that it would take a complete clown to make it run out of grip.
Has Roush done anything to the looks?
It’d be insanity to tinker with them too much as this is one of the most beautiful supercars around. But it has added some new black rims and put a TUBI exhaust system on it. Don’t worry. On this black model they enhance its appearance no end. If they turned the Stealth bomber into a car, this would be it.
Tell us about the interior?
Too American cars are shockingly built inside and to be fair the GT has its weaknesses. The US hire car style electric window buttons and Focus control stalks are a bit of a let down. But elsewhere the cockpit is lovely. It’s got more aluminium on show than anything else this side of a concept car. And the seats have holes in them so you don’t get too sweaty which sounds like a great idea, except the flushing around them digs into you. Nice to look at them but not much good at being seats.
As supercars go, this version of the Ford GT is an impressive bit of kit. Roush has left the important bits alone and given it a bit of a cosmetic tweak. Of course the power boost is totally unnecessary, although torque has been improved slightly which will make it even more driveable. The bad news is only 10 are being built. If you want one, they’re only available through Avro Motor Cars in Brooklands, Surrey.