Take a dash of Aussie ingenuity, add a dash of luxury and a healthy serve of supercharged horsepower and you’ll get the Ford Performance Vehicles RSpec Pursuit ute. Clad in an eyecatching mix of metallic black bodywork and blood orange striping / rolling stock harkening back to the Mustang look of 1969, it certainly gained plenty of eyeballing in the week A Wheel Thing had it in the garage.
Regrettably, the ute had spent time with a magazine in the week prior and had suffered at the hands of the team, with some dents in the bonnet testament to a impact of sorts. The tyres, too, felt out of round and contributed to a lot of road noise. With under 9000 kilometres on the clock, it was also a little disappointing to hear some chassis and driver’s window squeaks….whether as a result of the possible thrashing it’s dealt with or not was unclear.
Apart from the contrasting colours there’s not much else to visually identify the Pursuit RSpec as having something with the power of an exploding volcano hiding in its guts. A fuel injected V8 of around five litres capacity is generally pretty grunty…an all alloy 5.0L “Coyote” with a Aussie/American Harrop/Eaton supercharger is Tim “The Toolman” Taylor like in that too much power is never enough, mollified by a pretty smart traction control system. The orange striping is a little interrupted by the important bit…”Boss 315″…clearly indicates that with 315,000 watts on board you can boss around small countries. It torques the talk also, with a huge 545 of Mr Newton’s metres available from almost nothing (2000rpm, really…) to a peak of 5500rpm, a flat torque figure that allows immense tractability in almost every driving situation. Flex the big toe at any speed and the horizon contracts and blurs into a warp speed star field in a blink with the optional six speed auto as fitted. A needle at the bottom left of the dash give an indication of how much extra air is being forcefed into the engine whilst the bark of demons at the rear and the banshee in the front combine for a ear rattling soundtrack via the dual pipe high flow exhaust. There’s a momentary hesitation as the computer crunches numbers, juggling throttle versus torque versus grip before releasing the hounds when the go pedal is given a solid prod, allowing the 275/35/19 tyres a fraction of a second’s peace as they scrabble for grip prior to hooking up like velcro. With the traction nanny disengaged on wet roads…. the earth’s rotation spits the car sideways as the massive rubber becomes ice hockey puck gripless. In Park and given the command, there’s snarl and crackle underlying the basso profundo note.
For all of that grunt, it’s a good steer otherwise. The wider tyres add to the ride, providing communication to the driver through a revised steering ratio, spreading the love to a leaf sprung rear and the proven double wishbone front. It’s tight, taut, yet deliciously compliant, although the lower front sees the chin scraping on dips and driveways. On uneven surfaces it’s flat and devoid of float, tracking straight and true, with a muffled growl from the rear and only the hint of blown whine at the front. Point it to a corner and it treats them with an indifferent shrug. There is some road noise, unsurprisingly, but that’s mitigated by the wonderfully comfortable leather seats. It’s an unusual pattern in the print, however settling down into the seat is like pulling on a pair of well worn boots. There’s support, padding, that “just right” feel as the driver looks into a simple and clear, electric blue backlit dash. The tacho and and speedo are flanked by and host four smaller gauges, including fuel and boost pressure. The centre dash houses a piano black console, with the touchscreen/entertainment/nav system riding high above a clean and logical layout, including, somewhat strangely, dual zone climate control…. What isn’t logical is the need to “insert key, turn, press start, turn key to off” when a simple wireless key and start/stop button would make sense. Much. More. Sense. As would auto lights off, rather than a chime…as would a different tone to the indicator as the tenor noted tock tock for the indicator just doesn’t match the more masculine overall appeal. Having no footrest and the brake lever pressing into the leg doesn’t do any favours either. Naturally there’s airbags, connections for an iThingy and traction control button…it’s recommended to leave that on.
The interior, naturally, betrays its working man origins, with just a couple of strips of dark grey velour on the door kick panels attempting to add a semblance of luxury to a $58000 two door working man’s car. There’s room behind the seats for a sixpack holding Esky; for real room there’s the plastic lined tray…well, it IS a ute after all. Vision is fine to the front but over the right shoulder is virtually useless. The driver’s side wing mirror gets a eyeball hammering as a result.
The exterior, with the FG headlight and XR style bumper at the front, relies on the striping for variation as the black paint is the only colour option available with the RSpec ute. With that in mind, on other FPV vehicles, there’s a black lower eyebrow under the lights…at the rear there’s an embossed red Pursuit on the tailgate and FPV on the black, soft tonneau cover bracketing the orange Boss 315 on the front left leading edge of the bonnet. Behind the orange and black wheels however, lurks impotency; there’s little feel, little grab and hard stopping consistently provokes fade from the 322mm vented fronts…
It’s a potent weapon, the FPV RSpec Pursuit, with some big numbers under the bonnet and correspondingly, from the chequebook. Take away the striping on the sides and it becomes a “Kormoran”, hiding the big guns under a shy exterior. It’ll growl when prodded, bite when provoked and rumble along happily otherwise, carrying you along in a measure of cowhide comfort. For sixty large and against the figures produced by the engine bay mounted volcano, it’s immensely useable when needed; which, when driven, is every time. Flexible, attractive enough and packing a punch Tyson would be proud to own, the RSpec ute is a spectacle worth seeing and having.