Arguably, the XR6 Turbo is one of the most affordable sports sedans going and the most desirable Falcon model in this era.
It should definitively blow away any lingering notions that true Australian performance cars must have eight cylinders a-rumbling.
The BA series launched in 2002 with the turbo XR offering a four-speed sequential shift auto or a five-speed manual gearbox mated to its inline 4.0-litre ‘six’. Sports suspension, limited slip diff and traction control were amongst the standard offerings. A new Tremec six-speed manual box was amongst series II revisions in late 2004.
The new BF model from October 2005 delivered important upgrades including, on turbo XR6, increased power and torque, a brilliant new ZF six-speed auto, standard dynamic stability control and performance brakes. The all-new FG series arrived from May 2008.
The XR6 Turbo can be had as a Ute also.
At heart it’s a Falcon with its traditional virtues of space, practicality, comfort and towing ability. Performance from the lag-free turbo Barra ‘six’, widely regarded as the best locally developed production engine ever, is exhilarating, pulling like a train from low revs. Driven hard, economy can go out the window though. Auto versions are preferable, with the six-speed the better option. A firm but comfortable ride and nicely balanced dynamics round out the package.
A comprehensive mechanical inspection is a must to weed out cars with major faults or showing distress from hard driving. Manual and auto box operation should be quiet and smooth. Five-speed manual durability can be problematic when worked hard. Autos, especially the ZF can be expensive to overhaul. Listen for diff noise, a common issue.
Check for cooling system leaks and any signs of cross contamination of coolant and auto fluid as transmission oil-cooler problems are common, resulting in major auto damage. Brake shudder, brake hoses and handbrake adjustment are other checkpoints, along with a proven service history. Avoid modified or ‘chipped’ cars as reliability could be compromised.
Also watch for cars that show evidence of having had major crash repairs, especially those that have been repaired poorly. A professional pre-purchase inspection is highly recommended.
Under the pump
XR6 Turbo will use between 10.5 litres and 15.0 litres of fuel every 100km, depending on model and driving conditions.
What will it cost?
For an indication of what you would pay for this vehicle please go to CD's online car price guide or our Car review Advice Service on 07 3666 9148 or 623 456 outside the Brisbane area.
Toyota Aurion TRD 2007 - 2009
Locally built front drive model featuring 3.5-litre V6 with Eaton supercharger. Refined, strong performer but nasty torque steer. Street cred doubtful. Limited edition, possibly hard to find.
FPV F6 Typhoon 2004 - 2008
Competitor from within Ford ranks, higher output version of turbo six plus other equipment and mechanical upgrades. Substantially more expensive though.
Holden Commodore SS 2002 – 2009
Year range straddles three series VY, VZ and current shape VE. 5.7 or 6.0-litre V8 depending on model. Thirstier. Electronic stability control standard on VE models.
Ford Falcon XR8 2003 – 2008
The other blue oval rival with 5.4-litre V8. Nice sound, but out performed and out handled by the turbo six.