Driving the XR8

Posted on September 11th, 2005 in Opinion by Julian Edgar

Drove a car the other day that’s a good example of a fundamentally excellent design ruined by some strange decisions. The car? A Mark II BA Falcon XR8 – that’s the one with the 6-speed trans.

So what is wrong with it? Well firstly – and probably most critically – the gearing is simply way too tall. The very sweet 260kW 5.4 litre DOHC-per-bank engine has peak torque (a massive 500 Nm!) up at 4250 rpm. That’s not a problem in itself, because the engine is also superbly mapped, being tractable and progressive at any rpm. However, with an engine like this, you can’t run ultra-tall gearing and expect a strong performer. Not unless you drive around always two or three gears lower than ideal.