The second GT of this century marked the end of Ford's combustion supercar era in suitably awesome style
By Tony Middlehurst / Sunday, 8 January 2023 / Loading comments
- Available for, um, £700,000
- 3.5-litre twin-turbo Ecoboost V6, rear-wheel drive
- Looks racy, and is, but it’s also very biddable
- Don’t expect five-star cabin quality or anywhere to put your knick-knacks
- Last 67 Mk IV special edition cars due out in 2023 at $1.7m each…
- …so maybe £700k for a used one isn’t so bad
Let’s kick off the Buying Guides for 2023 with something special, and maybe something you might have forgotten about: the series two new Ford GT, or the NFGT as owners like to call it.
It was launched in 2016 for the 2017 model year, ten years after the 4,000-car run of the first modern GT had come to a halt. That first GT of 2005-06 was built to honour Ford’s legendary Le Mans-winning GT40 of the 1960s. Understandably, Ford had wanted to call it the GT40, but a legal wrangle with Safir Engineering (the British builders of ‘continuation’ GT40s in the 1980s, and owners of the GT40 trademark) rained on that parade. This was perhaps just as well because the GT that Ford ended up building was 43in high so at least they saved themselves some grief there from the keyboard warriors.
The ten-year wait between the series-one GT and the series-two car that we’re looking at today wasn’t quite as long as the 36-year gap between the GT40 and the first GT, but it was still a long time. It had to be because the new GT was all new from top to bottom. Shown at Detroit and Geneva shows in early 2015 it was pitched at road cars like the Ferrari 488 GTB, the McLaren 675LT and the Lamborghini Aventador, but there was a lot more to it than that. It was devised to celebrate, in a very real way and not just as a visual pastiche, the 50th anniversary of Ford’s Le Mans 24 Hours win. As such, race car lightness and slipperiness were right at the top of the GT’s briefing document. These would be delivered by radical bodywork shapes, active aero and a three-stage rear wing/airbrake, and by the use of carbon fibre for the tub and bodywork.
There was an integrated roll cage and aluminium structures for the mounting of the engine and the suspension, which was a cunning setup of pushrod-actuated torsion bars with three-mode Multimatic DSSV adaptive dampers. In Track mode the springs were locked into a compressed position, lowering the ride height from 120mm to 70mm and doubling the spring rate over what it had been in Sport mode. The hydraulic pump responsible for this operation (and for the power steering and the angle of the rear wing) could achieve the 50mm ride height drop or rise in Track mode in an entertainingly short time.
The trademark doors that ate into the roof on both the original GT40s and the gen-one GT were binned on the NFGT in favour of more production-friendly butterfly doors. The owner’s needs were very much secondary to the demands of aerodynamic efficiency. You either fitted into a GT or you didn’t. The cabin was functional, not fancy. The Sparco seats were immovably moulded into the chassis, sometimes upholstered with a mix of leather for the bolsters and what looked like teacher’s corduroy trousers for the facings. You achieved your driving position by tweaking the steering column and the pedal set that was adjustable by 200mm, or just under eight inches, using a pull strap to bring it forward and your feet to push it back. Elbow space and luggage were both at a bare minimum. You sat very close to your passenger.
In return for their personal space sacrifice buyers received a technical masterpiece that would knock off the 0-62mph run in as little as 2.8sec and breeze on to 216mph, all the while riding with the composure that you would expect from a company with such well-regarded skills in this area, even on its most humble products. Controversially for a Dearborn-designed performance car, but in keeping with the general automotive trend towards downsizing and turbocharging not to mention the need for it to fit it into the GT’s very prescribed size and shape, the engine format switched from the gen-one’s traditional V8 (5.4 supercharged) to a 656hp/553lb ft twin-turbo 3.5 EcoBoost V6 that shared the cylinder heads and block of the unit used in the Raptor F-150 pickup. The transmission chosen for the new GT was a 7-speed dual-clutcher by Getrag integrated into the rear suspension, The whole thing was put together by Multimatic, the highly rated Ontario-HQ’ed engineering house that also has a UK-based race team.
In 2015, the year of its announcement, the GT’s projected price was £240,000. By the time it arrived in the UK that had gone up to £420,000. Even so, all 1,350 cars made were immediately spoken for. Would-be buyers had to earn their place on the order list by promising that they would act as brand ambassadors who would drive, show, rally, track, and post about their steeds. They also had to agree not to flip the car for a quick profit.
For the 2020MY the GT got a revised engine management system, pistons and coils, enhancing torque and lifting power to a new peak of 670hp. Cooling was improved at this time and the damping was firmed up. There was also a 15-off run of Carbon Series cars with carbon wheels and additional visual carbon. We’ll talk more about those a bit later.
In early 2022 the order books opened for suitably qualified customers interested in the GT ’64 Prototype Heritage Edition. The last GTs cars were supposed to be silver GT LMs (Le Mans) featuring different-colour Alcantara for the right and left seats and 3D-printed plaques fabricated from the crankshaft of one of the 2016 24 Hours works cars. As promised, the regular GT assembly line officially closed at the end of last year (2022), but it turns out that there is a final, final batch of 67 special GTs scheduled for delivery in spring 2023.
These ‘Mk IV’ cars are a hat-tip to the ’67 Le Mans-winning Gurney/Foyt Mk IV GT40 and will carry a price tag of $1.7 million each, making them by far the most expensive road-legal cars ever to wear the Blue Oval badge. 1.7 big ones might seem a lot until you realise that NFGTs are also the biggest appreciating Fords since the original GT40 road car, which your humble author remembers dribbling over in his Daily Express Motor Show guide back in the mid-1960s. Back then a road GT40 had a £6,000 sticker price. Now, a good one will cost you a minimum of £10 million.
If anyone offers you an NFGT at the 2017 price of £420,000, rip their arm off because as we write this in early 2023, you’ll do very well to find any GT on sale in the UK for under £700,000. More about that in the verdict at the end. You could ask Ford about a new one as the GT still appears on the Ford UK website, suggesting that there might be some cars left to buy. But when you go to ‘explore vehicle’ you’ll find zero info on either specification or price, suggesting that there isn’t.
As far as we know, based on US info at least, there has been no major hike of the base car’s £420k price. What we can tell you is that you’ll find it on ford.co.uk/cars just after the £31k Puma ST and just before the £28k Tourneo Connect. An interesting marketing angle.
SPECIFICATION | FORD GT (2017-on)
Engine: 3,497cc V6 24v twin-turbocharged
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch automatic, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): [email protected],250rpm
Torque (lb ft): [email protected],900rpm
0-62mph (secs): 2.8
Top speed (mph): 216
Weight (kg): 1,385 (dry)
MPG (official combined): 16.8
Wheels (in): 8.5 x 20 (f), 11.5 x 20 (r)
Tyres: 245/35 (f), 325/30 (r)
On sale: 2017 – 2023
Price new: £420,000
Price now: from £700,000
Note for reference: car weight and power data are hard to pin down with absolute certainty. For consistency, we use the same source for all our guides. We hope the data we use is right more often than it’s wrong. Our advice is to treat it as relative rather than definitive.
ENGINE & GEARBOX
The GT feels mechanically special. There was an appreciable hike in your rate of progress in the 5,500-7,000rpm zone but most of the torque peak was available from around 3,000 to 6,000rpm so it felt quick anywhere from the low midrange on. In Sport and Track modes it was practically impossible to fall into a torque trough thanks to an anti-lag system which kept the turbos spinning full-time. The Getrag double clutch trans played its part by shovelling in every new gear with real purpose, albeit with not quite the same immediacy as the best Ferrari or Porsche boxes.
As you might expect, not many NFGTs were used as dailies. Battery condition could therefore be an issue even if you were diligently using the supplied trickle charger. Unlocking or opening the doors could become impossible. We believe that the trickle charger was beefed up on later cars. Early ones (’17 and ’18 at least) didn’t have a charging port in the engine compartment so more than one owner has had one put in by a specialist.
Dying batteries apart, the NFGT’s reliability record so far has been excellent verging on faultless. Admittedly the parc is pretty small, as are the mileages, but you can be fairly sure that what problems there may have been will have been sorted out in a fuss-free manner by Ford. They’ve clearly learned their lesson from the gen-one GT which suffered from quite a few issues including wheel and suspension control arm breakages, the odd failed head gasket, and in the UK at least aftermarket immobiliser problems. The older car was also involved in the notorious Takata airbag recall, giving rise to complaints from some owners that their bags weren’t being fixed by dealerships. Ford knows that it’s in their interest to look after high-net-worth customers for any future hypercars that may be coming down the line.
We know of only one recall carried out on 2018MY cars to rectify a hydraulic fluid leak that had the potential to cause a fire. There has also been a report of a slight exhaust rattle at idle and on the overrun when dropping down into a lower gear. There’s a veil of secrecy around NFGT running costs. Oil change services carried out by a GT-approved dealer will cost around £500, which seems acceptable when you relate it to the cost of the vehicle. Fuel consumption under normal (i.e., fast) usage will make you smile every time you lift the engine cover and see the word ‘EcoBoost’. You get the Boost all right, but not so much of the Eco. The official combined figure of 16.8 is achievable but only if you dolly it around.
The story goes that the GT’s chassis was benchmarked against the Ferrari 458 Speciale until McLaren brought out the 675LT, at which point Ford reworked the GT until they could say that it was quicker than the 675 around any track that appeared on their testing schedule. They wanted the car to be regarded not as a ‘downforce car’ but as an aero-efficient one.
Despite – or perhaps because of – its track-focused suspension design, the GT couldn’t quite match the best road cars on the public highway in terms of the intensity and the overall level of driver communication it offered, but in Comfort mode the ride quality was usefully far away from the spine-pummelling experience of a pure endurance racer. The power steering was hydraulic. That plus the staggered mix of tyre sizes front and rear made drifting out of corners much less daunting than the car’s visual impact suggested it might be.
Braking force from the standard Brembo carbon ceramic discs (six-piston front, four rear) was predictably mighty, but if you wanted eyeball-popping stopping power you had to acclimatise to a small delay in its arrival. One well-known vlogger was charged over £5k for a replacement set of brake pads. Forum posters reckoned it should have been nearer to half that but then they probably weren’t factoring in the labour charge. Would you do your own maintenance on a GT?
OE tyres were Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s. Dropping the ride height didn’t drop your track times but it noticeably lifted your perception of how your steering wheel and brake pedal commands were being carried out, which a committed and engaged driver might prefer to a couple of tenths off their lap time.
All the GT’s body panels were made of carbon fibre and much of the metal used in its construction was aluminium. Eight exterior colours and stripes options were available along with various ‘series’ models: ’66 Heritage Edition Matte Black, ’66 Heritage Edition Shadow Black, ’67 Heritage Edition Race Red, Competition Series and so on. Carbon Series cars for 2019/20 had an unpainted central ‘stripe’ revealing the carbon weave exposed carbon on the rear panel, sills, A-pillars and front bumperettes.
There were also carbon wheels with titanium nuts and a polycarbonate engine cover in place of the normal glass one. If you’re unlucky enough to suffer windscreen damage, a new GT screen will be around £2,500, not as scary as you might have expected when glass for other cars of a similar nature from firms like McLaren can be easily four times that. The GT’s headlight internals looked like they’d come from outer space. Heaven knows how much one of those would cost to replace.
Something to bear in mind if you’re planning on doing some city shopping in your GT is that it’s a wide car that will only fit in a standard parking space if getting out of the car when you’re in that space isn’t a priority for you.
The GT’s design chief Moray Callum claimed that the choice of GT interior materials was inspired by the Space Shuttle. Cynical types unimpressed by the quality on display ventured the opinion that they were more likely to have been inspired by the early Honda Civic, but somehow it felt right for the race car vibe.
As noted earlier the GT didn’t accommodate you, you accommodated it. Six-footers could fit into one, but if they were wearing a crash helmet it would be rubbing against the roof unless they slumped down as far as they could in the driver’s seat, which by the way was always on the left. The luggage space behind the engine was both tiny and hot. We’re going to go out on a limb and say that it wouldn’t take a full-face helmet, even when the case for the battery charger and tyre sealant was removed. There was no cabin storage, literally none, apart from a small phone-sized tray ahead of the engine start button. The only air vents were in the doors.
Some higher-mileage cars seem to have suffered from a degree of premature wear on the lower corners of the Alcantara-wrapped square steering wheel, a very racy component with a multiplicity of buttons for just about every function including cruise control. The cramming-in made it quite easy to accidentally turn on the wipers when you were trying to indicate.
The driver had a very clever 10.1-inch colour display to admire and reconfigure and a 6.5-inch touchscreen for Ford’s Sync 3 system with navigation and voice recognition. Not sure what happened if you shouted ‘help!’ in the middle of a challenging corner though. You also got a GT-exclusive Performance racing companion app that recorded video plus speed, gear, and GPS data that could then be dumped into a Facebook-friendly video. A rear-view camera was standard on the Ford, most definitely a good idea. Engine noise wasn’t massively inspiring even with the Akrapovic exhaust fitted. The Jaguar XJ220’s 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6 was a bit like that. You couldn’t argue about either car’s ability to chuck you up the road though.
‘Race car for the road’ is an often-used phrase but it doesn’t quite tell the whole story of the 2017-on Ford GT. ‘A race car that could be used on the road’ gives you a better flavour of what you’re getting. It’s incredible on track and not half bad on the public highway, all things considered – but you’ll need to accept that the noises it makes are more functional than funky and you’ll be breathing in a lot when negotiating narrow B-roads. Something like a Huracan Performante or a McLaren 720S will circulate most if not all tracks in less time than a GT, and at a considerably lower cost too, but there are a lot more of them about. The GT is, to use another phrase, in a class of its own.
Although the gen-one GT of 2005-06 will always outnumber the final number of gen-two NFGTs sold by a factor of around three to one, even when the final 67 Mk IVs are added to the tally to take the total of NFGTs up to around 1,400 units, the fact is that Ford always planned to sell more of those first GT40 homages. Once the initial excitement had died down they were a relatively tough sell, not helped by Clarkson’s well-publicised travails with his one (although to be fair they seem to have been mainly down to a clash between the GT’s brain and the aftermarket immobiliser).
The NFGT, on the other hand, never outstayed its welcome. It was given a much smaller run than the gen-one and was five times oversubscribed well before the first cars were delivered. Gen-one GT values have gone up. Today (early 2023), low-mile gen-ones are being advertised in the UK at between £350k and £450k, against the £180k they were valued at in 2015 and the £126k or so that they cost new in the UK in 2005. This reflects their scarcity in Europe where only 100 were sold, with just 28 of them coming to the UK.
Options take-up makes it hard to be quite so specific about NFGT values, but they have risen by at least £300k since 2017. One of the most respected US valuation tools puts the average price of an NFGT at $900,000, irrespective of year and mileage, accepting that the latter will always be low. Despite the promises that putative owners had to make about taking them hither and yon to get the GT message out there, very few of them will have done more than 10,000 miles in total. Given the small numbers of NFGTs out there and the fact that they will never be topped on Ford’s chart of internal combustion-engined roadgoing cars, it’s difficult to see anything other than a steepening upwards price curve.
So, if you want to get onto that curve now, here’s the most affordable offering on PH classifieds at the time of writing. It’s a powered-up 2020 car in white with a blue stripe and 280 miles on the clock, at £25 under £700k. Adding £50k to your budget will get you into this 2022 delivery miles car in Frozen White with black stripes. According to the PH classifieds bot some absolute bounder has put a 140hp 2.0 engine in there, but we’re fairly sure that’s a mistake.
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