UPDATED 5.55pm HAS Victoria’s road safety watchdog stuffed up? The state has given its P-plate drivers permission to drive Ford’s 335kW supercharged 5.0-litre V8-engined Falcon.
According to the VicRoads website, the state’s road safety authority will allow newly licensed drivers to jump behind the wheel of the last-ever Falcon XR8 sedan, despite other states banning them.
The VicRoads database of approved vehicles shows two green ticks alongside the versions of the 2014 Falcon XR8 fitted with either the six-speed manual gearbox or the six-speed automatic.
Yet Wheels can reveal that after confirmation that the XR8 is P-Plater legal, the approval was premature: VicRoads has corrected its statement, a spokesperson telling Wheels, "This vehicle is banned, however there has been a data error from the technical feed between Redbook and the VicRoads website."
VicRoads has corrected this, and the change should be reflected overnight.
Victoria recently streamlined its P-plate restrictions to a 130kW per tonne cap on engine performance. Blanket bans previously placed on turbocharged and V8 models locked newly licensed drivers out of safe and fuel-efficient vehicles with downsized engines, and rural drivers out of four-wheel-drive vehicles often needed for work purposes.
Having the new XR8 on the Victoria's approved P-plater list was particularly ironic, as young drivers would've been con-currenlty banned from driving the 290kW version last sold wearing the XR8 badge in 2010, and featuring an atmo 5.4-litre V8 under the bonnet.
Wheels took VicRoads to task as the intorduction in July of a blanket 130kW/tonne performance limit on vehicles for the state's most inexperienced drivers was easily exceed by the new XR8, which boasts 180kW/tonne.
Ford has resurrected the XR8 nameplate for one last hurrah before the brand switches off its Australian manufacturing business late in 2016.
The FGX Falcon is the only V8 in the entire Ford Australia line-up, and the most powerful to ever wear the XR8 badge.
Shoehorning the Ford Performance Vehicles-developed supercharged Miami V8 under the Falcon’s bulging bonnet also gives hope that a 310kW version of the locally made 4.0-litre in-line six-cylinder turbocharged engine will one day roll out of Ford’s Broadmeadows factory as a swansong for the XR6 badge.
Click here to read the full range review of the 2015 Ford Falcon
Wheels will publish a first drive of the XR6 Turbo on Friday.