Official information on Ford’s new for 2008 Falcon is here. Designated the FG, it ushers in a range of vastly improved engines and sharp clean styling that maybe not quite the wholesale change some were hoping for, but is attractive non-the-less.
Ford enthusiasts may lament the dropping of the Futura and Fairmont nameplates which are no-longer a part of the Falcon range with the move to FG. Fairmont has made way for the somewhat more simply named 'G' series. The Falcon range will now comprise of the Falcon XT, the G series (G6, G6E and G6E Turbo) and the XR series (XR6, XR6 Turbo and XR8).
Yet to be fully revealed are the new FG Falcon ute and wagon range. What we do know is that the FG Ute range will be more trade orientated than the equivalent Holden range (has been the case for a while now) and the wagon will be available but it will essentially be a slightly altered BF III that like the ute will be aimed at the tradesman. It will feature a leaf-spring rear end and the engine choice will be limited to one version of the I6.
The FG Falcon will be the last of the Australian Falcon series to use the in-line six-cylinder that Aussies have come to know and love. Due to be replaced by a V6 in 2010, this is the I6’s last hurrah and its going out with a bang.
Power for the I6 in naturally aspirated form has been increased to 195kW, less than what many were expecting (210 kW was rumoured). Torque is also up to a hefty 391Nm at 3,250rpm.
Both the I6 and the turbo version of the same engine feature a new intake manifold and ‘fast burn’ cylinder head, with revised intake port profiles and combustion chamber geometry. Technical guff aside, the revisions have been made to bring improvements not only to power output but also to fuel efficiency – an area touted to be of major concern to Ford engineers.
The I6 turbo benefits from a new ‘high-efficiency’ Garrett turbo, developed specifically for the Falcon – efficiency again being the buzz word here. The freer spinning turbo allows boost to build more quickly and from lower in the rev range, which results in more power/torque being developed lower down and less turbo lag.
Ford have also fitted a larger intercooler to FG I6 turbo models and the result of the above changes is an impressive 270 kW at 5250rpm and a V8 like 533Nm said to be available from 2000rpm onwards – making this the performance junkies pick of the FG engine range. Sealing the deal for the performance inclined is the introduction of an over-boost feature that provides an immediate 10 percent increase in boost to enable safer overtaking.
For those who like their V8’s there is welcome news here as well, unless of course you have already shelled out the readies on the previous model FPV GT, as the FG range now gets the 290kW V8 found in the BF FPV GT as standard. Aside from detail changes to fit the BOSS engine into the FG architecture, there is a new exhaust system that sees the introduction of a semi-active muffler, said to provide more of that sonorous Ford V8 rumble at higher revs.
Both the I6 Turbo and the V8 benefit from a new 290mm clutch to handle the extra horses. It’s a single plate, self-adjusting unit that is said to provide improved pedal feel.
E-Gas LPG fuelled FG Falcons have also come in for some mechanical upgrading with new inlet and exhaust systems and revised engine calibration. Durability has been improved with revised valves and seals that are more wear resistant. The E-Gas unit is down on power compared to its petrol fueled brethren but still manages 156kW at 4750rpm and 371Nm at 2750rpm.
The excellent ZF six-speed automatic transmission (thankfully) continues in the FG range and is available on all models with the exception of the E-Gas. A new 5R55S sequential five-speed automatic (built by Ford in Bordeaux France) is added to the gearbox line-up and is available with the NA I6 engine.
For those preferring to swap cogs manually, there is a new six-speed Tremec box. An upgrade of the previous cars T56, the new Tremec is dubbed the TR6060 and is the only manual gearbox used in the FG Falcon range. It will be available in three versions to suit the three engine types. The TR6060 benefits from triple syncros on first and second and double syncros on the remaining gears, resulting in improved shift feel.
Although the FG Falcon is largely based on the architecture of the BF Falcon, the suspension has come in for a serious update. Up front, the FG gets Virtual Pivot Control Link technology (like Terrritory) along with increased use of aluminium suspension componentry with a view to decreasing weight and providing improved steering feel. Monotube dampers are used for the first time in a Falcon and on their own should make a significant improvement to the ride and handling of the FG.
Out back, the FG retains the already proven and excellent Control Blade IRS set-up used in the BF. Like the front, revised spring rates, anti-roll bar links, dampers and ride height combine to bring improvements.
While the exterior styling is going to be considered by some to be too generic, the new FG Falcon appears to have what it takes (on paper) to be a class leader in this country. The FG Falcon range, including the Ute and wagon will go on sale in May.
FG FPV Line-up
The FPV line-up will now consist of seven models. Commendably, each will feature stability control as standard. You will no longer find a Ford badge on an FPV vehicle as FPV (like HSV before them) seek to reposition their brand.
The new ‘GT’ range features the FPV V8 models which includes the GT, GT-P, Pursuit and Super Pursuit Utes as well as a new luxury GT-E variant that will line up against the HSV Senator. The GT-E features unique 19-inch alloy wheels that are matched by a premium brake package, with six-piston Brembo brakes now featured as standard.
“The GT-E is a sophisticated luxury performance car that will cater for those buyers that don’t want the stripes, wings, and seats offered in the GT-P; however want to retain all the performance attributes of that car,” said Ford Performance Vehicles General Manager Rod Barrett.
The new ‘F6’ range features I6 Turbo power and bids adieu to the Typhoon and Tornado name plates - instead there is simply the F6 sedan and F6 ute.
Auto and manual transmission versions will cost the same, as FPV says it does not wish to penalise the different types of buyers to the brand.
FPV are staying tight lipped on drivetrain specifications, preferring to keep something up their sleeve until closer to the Melbourne Motor Show. Official FPV images are not yet available.
For the technical minded, the official Ford press releases follow the image galleries.
FG FALCON XR SERIES
FG FALCON 'G' SERIES
FG FALCON UTE
FORD PRESS RELEASES
2008 FALCON FG MODEL RANGE
With a focus on interior appointments and safety features, the Falcon XT raises the bar for entry-level vehicle private customers and fleet buyers. For the first time on Falcon, it will have its own appearance and be distinctly different from the rest of the range.
The XT comes with the choice of either an I6 petrol engine producing 195kW of power and 391Nm of torque matched to a new five-speed automatic transmission with Sequential Sports Shift (SSS), or an optional 156kW E-Gas dedicated LPG engine with a four-speed SSS auto. The ZF six-speed automatic transmission is available as an option on the I6 petrol engine.
Standard interior appointments include automatic climate control, four-way power driver's seat, four-speaker single CD audio system, a new, larger Interior Command Centre (ICC) LCD screen, cruise control and 60/40 split fold rear seats.
Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) is standard on all petrol models, while the XT also features driver and front passenger airbags, front side head/thorax airbags, and a driver and front passenger Beltminder® system.
The entry G Series model, the G6 raises the bar for the discerning luxury buyer with a range of standard features in addition to those on the Falcon XT. These include a unique G Series front bumper and grille, front fog lamps and 17-inch alloy wheels, along with luxury interior appointments, including suede seat bolsters and a rear centre armrest with cup holders. The G6 also incorporates luxury sports suspension and, on the safety front, a reverse sensing system as standard equipment.
The G6E builds upon the luxury G Series story even further, adding to the standard G6 specification with a range of features to deliver a highly-specified luxury G Series variant. Standard G6E features include the acclaimed ZF six-speed automatic transmission, along with a side indicator integrated into the exterior mirror housing, a front fender badge, unique 17-inch alloy wheels and a unique G6E front grille.
The interior adds a Bluetooth® mobile phone integration module, a premium audio system with seven-inch TFT colour ICC screen, six-disc in-dash CD player and subwoofer, an electrochromatic rear vision mirror, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather seats and an eight-way power driver's seat with three-position memory. On the safety front, the G6E adds a reverse camera and side curtain airbags as standard equipment.
The new hero of the sports luxury Falcon line-up, the G6E Turbo is differentiated from the G6E by a range of performance-oriented features, including the I6 Turbo engine that produces 270kW of power and 533Nm of torque, matched to the ZF six-speed automatic transmission. New 18-inch alloy wheels, a rear lip spoiler and bright headlamp bezels complete the unique exterior elements, while 19-inch alloy wheels are available as an option.
Interior differentiation includes fabric-wrapped lower door trims and an iPod Integration feature, which provides a fully integrated interface between a customer's iPod unit and the vehicle's audio system.
The FG Falcon XR range continues to build on the powerful and distinctive design cues that have contributed to the cult status enjoyed by XR vehicles. The XR6 incorporates a host of features over and above the Falcon XT, including a new Tremec six-speed manual transmission as standard – with the option of either the five-speed automatic or the ZF six-speed automatic transmissions – and sports suspension.
The exterior is differentiated by the signature XR double-drop lens headlight treatment, XR front bumper, grille and rockers, front fog lamps and unique 17-inch alloy wheels. Inside, the XR6 features a sports instrument cluster, sports seats, alloy pedal covers and an aluminium gear shifter on manual transmission models, with reverse camera and reverse sensing systems available as options.
Falcon XR6 Turbo
In recognition of its overt sports status, the XR6 Turbo will – for the first time – be specified to the same level as the XR8, with the main difference between the two models being the engines.
The FG Falcon XR6 Turbo builds on the equipment levels of the XR6 with a range of performance and comfort-oriented features, including a 270 kW / 533 Nm I6 Turbo engine, limited slip differential, upgraded front brakes and 18-inch alloy wheels. The world-class ZF six-speed automatic transmission is available as an option.
The XR8 shares its major equipment specifications with the XR6 Turbo and is differentiated by its engine and signature bonnet power bulge. The exciting Boss 290 5.4-litre four-valve V8 engine moves to the XR8 with the introduction of the FG Falcon and is complemented by a new exhaust system with a Semi Active Muffler (SAM). The new exhaust system produces an unsurpassed, sporty V8 exhaust note, while also delivering a more refined interior environment.
A bold 19-inch five-spoke alloy wheel design is available as an option on all XR models.
Each model in the new Falcon Ute range represents a unique mix of workhorse and recreational elements, which ensures the job gets done during the workday week, as well as on weekends when its time to getaway. Falcon Ute
The entry level model, Falcon Ute is available in either Cab Chassis or Styleside Box bodystyles with a choice of engines and transmissions.
Standard powertrain specification is the I6 petrol engine, producing 195kW of power and 391Nm of torque, matched to a new six-speed manual transmission, while the new five-speed automatic transmission with Sequential Sports Shift (SSS) is available as an option. Also optional is the E-Gas dedicated LPG engine, which is matched with the proven four-speed automatic transmission with SSS.
Other features include cloth trim, a single CD audio system with a new, larger Interior Command Centre (ICC) LCD screen, cruise control, four-way power driver's seat, power mirrors and windows, and steering wheel mounted controls for the audio and cruise control systems.
Safety items include driver and passenger airbags, driver and passenger Beltminder® system, and ABS with EBD, while side head/thorax airbags are available as part of an optional Safety Pack that also includes a perimeter alarm system.
The new R6 model introduces an all-new model name to the FG Falcon Ute range, with a host of key sports features that deliver an altogether sportier look, feel and drive, as well as close links to the overt sports XR line-up.
With sports suspension, front fog lamps, 16-inch alloy wheels, XR rockers and rear bumper, and a new, flush-fitting tonneau cover (on the Styleside Box model), the new R6 offers a fresh combination of sports ute dynamism with renowned workhorse capabilities.
On the inside, the R6 features sports bucket seats with unique seat trim, passenger seat lumbar adjustment and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
The XR6 builds on the specification and equipment of the new R6 model while still offering a wide choice of bodystyles – Cab Chassis and Styleside Box – and powertrains – I6 petrol with six-speed manual or five speed automatic transmissions, or I6 E-Gas with four speed automatic transmission.
The exterior is differentiated by the signature XR double-drop lens headlight treatment, XR front bumper and grille, front fog lamps and unique 17-inch alloy wheels, while Traction Control (TC) adds to the list of standard equipment.
Inside, the XR6 features a sports instrument cluster, sports seats, alloy pedal covers and an aluminium gear shifter on manual transmission models, along with automatic climate control and a sports leather steering wheel. Bluetooth mobile phone integration, iPod Integration and 18-inch alloy wheels are available as part of an optional XR Sports Pack.
Like its sedan cousin, the XR6 Turbo Ute will – for the first time – be specified to the same level as the XR8, with the main difference between the two models being the engines.
The FG Falcon XR6 Turbo Ute builds on the equipment levels of the XR6 with a range of performance and comfort-oriented features, including a 270 kW / 533 Nm I6 Turbo engine, limited slip differential, upgraded front brakes and 18-inch alloy wheels. The world-class ZF six-speed automatic transmission is available as an option.
The XR8 shares its major equipment specifications with the XR6 Turbo and is differentiated by its engine, the exciting Boss 290 5.4-litre four-valve V8, and signature bonnet power bulge.
A bold 19-inch five-spoke alloy wheel design is available as a stand alone option on all XR Ute models or as part of the XR Luxury Pack, which also includes premium sports interior, leather seat trim, premium audio system and dual zone climate control.
F6 Sedan & Ute
2008 FG FALCON POWERTRAIN
Ford Australia has developed a series of comprehensive upgrades for the engine line-up that will power the all-new FG Falcon range, including significant revisions to the six-cylinder engine family, along with a new V8 engine for the Falcon XR8.
The 2008 FG Falcon range also introduces two new transmissions – a new six-speed manual for all manual transmission variants and a new five-speed automatic, in lieu of the previous four-speed unit, on petrol sedans and utes.
"The latest generation of six-cylinder and V8 Falcon engines deliver the ideal combination of real world performance, driveability and fuel efficiency, while continuing to provide customers with a host of advanced features and technologies," Ford Australia Falcon & Territory Vehicle Line Director, Russell Christophers said.
"The comprehensive package of upgrades delivered with the all-new FG Falcon program has broadened the technological reach of the I6 and V8 engine families, building on the extensive engineering and development undertaken for BA and BF series Falcons.
"Power and torque have increased across all petrol engines, while improvements to engine refinement and fuel efficiency are also key components of the eighth generation FG Falcon range."
The new FG Falcon engine range encompasses 4.0-litre I6, 4.0-litre I6 Turbo, 4.0-litre I6 E-Gas and 5.4-litre Boss V8 powerplants.
4.0-litre I6 engine The advanced design features of Ford's naturally aspirated 4.0-litre I6 engine have been expanded upon with the development of the latest generation powerplant, to again deliver more power, more torque and improved engine efficiency.
A new cylinder head, new intake manifold and revised engine calibration add to the list of existing high-tech features, such as double overhead cams, four valves per cylinder and dual independent variable camshaft timing (DIVCT), to produce Ford Australia's best in-line six-cylinder engine package yet.
Maximum power has increased by 5 kW to 195 kW at 6000 rpm, while the I6 engine continues to have the most torque in its class – and of any locally built, naturally aspirated six-cylinder engine – with peak torque up 8 Nm to 391 Nm at 3250 rpm, an advantage of more than 18 per cent compared to its direct competitor. "The latest generation I6 engine has tremendous torque and driveability, with a flat torque curve and wide powerband at the top end as a result of all the new engine hardware and calibration developments that have been engineered for the FG Falcon program," Ford Australia Powertrain Engineering Manager, Lee Kernich said.
Additional performance and efficiency benefits can be obtained from using a higher octane, 95 RON unleaded fuel, liberating even more power and torque from the I6 engine, with peak power and torque outputs rising to 198 kW and 409 Nm respectively.
Courtesy of the engine's dual knock sensors and individual spark control, customers can obtain even further performance benefits from using 98 RON premium unleaded fuel.
Dual mode split plenum composite intake manifold
One of the key features of the engine is an all-new dual mode, split plenum composite intake manifold, incorporating a new electronic throttle body and fuel rail assembly.
The new manifold design increases peak power over the previous Barra 190 engine, as well as improving power delivery and driveability through enhanced responsiveness to throttle inputs. Other benefits include improved fuel efficiency and sound quality, and a 4kg weight reduction by virtue of using composite materials in lieu of an aluminium casting.
Using composite materials – the intake manifold utilises 30 per cent grade glass-filled nylon in its construction – also delivers driveability benefits over aluminium under heat soak conditions, due to its more efficient thermal qualities.
"The new design incorporates a manifold tuning valve in the main plenum, with a new configuration for the manifold runners," Kernich said.
"This dual mode, equal runner-length, system geometry has been tuned to achieve good low end torque and peak power characteristics, with smooth transitions at the valve switch points to achieve a high level of performance feel."
One of the core design challenges for this part of the project was to meet noise quality targets by focussing on sound quality rather than just absolute sound pressure levels in isolation.
"We were able to achieve this by tuning the intake manifold's geometry to produce a customer-preferred sound quality without compromising the desired power and torque characteristics," Kernich added.
"In fact, we were actually able to increase power and torque at the same time."
As a result of Ford's significant expertise in engine modelling and powertrain design, the core manifold design was performed by Ford, while expertise in plastic manifold design and manufacturing was provided by the component supplier.
Fast burn cylinder head
The latest generation, FG series six-cylinder petrol engines – I6 and I6 Turbo – feature a new 'fast burn' cylinder head that delivers improvements in fuel efficiency on both engine variants. The redesigned cylinder head has revised intake port profiling and new combustion chamber geometry, which results in additional swirl within the combustion chamber for a faster burn rate.
"The higher turbulence enables additional camshaft retard at part throttle due to an improved lean limit, which further reduces pumping losses and improves fuel efficiency," Kernich said.
As a result, Brake Specific Fuel Consumption (BSFC) – which is a measure of an engine's efficiency – at part throttle cruise conditions has improved by approximately 1.5 per cent.
4.0-litre I6 Turbo
Ford's highly acclaimed 4.0-litre I6 Turbo engine gains the same cylinder head upgrade as the naturally aspirated I6 powerplant, however, it also benefits from a multitude of turbo system improvements that deliver more power and torque, as well as improved responsiveness and fuel economy.
A new, higher efficiency Garrett turbocharger – developed specifically for Falcon – heads the list of engine developments, along with a host of other hardware and calibration upgrades that combine to produce the new I6 Turbo engine.
"The BA- or BF-spec I6 Turbo engines could never be accused of exhibiting significant turbo lag characteristics, however, the new turbocharger responds 30 per cent faster again compared to the previous generation system," Kernich said.
"It has been optimised to operate in a higher efficiency range, which allows boost to come on quicker and therefore minimises turbo lag even further.
"Increased turbocharger boost pressure and a new, bigger intercooler with low restriction ducting also play a key role in delivering more power, more torque and improved performance feel."
Maximum turbocharger boost pressure has increased from 0.4 bar to 0.7 bar, or from 6 psi to 10 psi.
The new intercooler features a bar and plate construction for maximum heat rejection and minimum flow restriction. It improves the air charge cooling efficiency and effectiveness by increasing the density of the air charge, in turn enabling an increase in engine power.
With more boost pressure increasing the air charge being forced into the cylinders by the turbocharger, the new intercooler and ducting also deliver substantial gains by way of:
• a 50 per cent increase in intercooler core volume and size
• a 40 per cent improvement in heat rejection
• a 34 per cent reduction in flow restriction
The complete air induction system has been redesigned to reduce system flow restrictions and system volume, which results in increases to power and torque, as well as improving both engine responsiveness and overall fuel economy.
A new single runner intake manifold contributes to the improved torque delivery and engine responsiveness through the entire operating range, as well as a 36 per cent reduction in throttled volume and a 44 per cent reduction in component weight.
Tuned to complement the new, higher efficiency turbocharger in achieving an overall improvement in both low and high speed torque, the new intake manifold has also been designed to achieve the desired acoustic quality – just like the new dual mode, split plenum composite intake manifold on the naturally aspirated I6 engine.
The compression ratio has increased from 8.7:1 to 8.8:1, in line with the new fast burn cylinder head and combustion chamber geometry, which improves overall engine efficiency by increasing power and reducing fuel consumption, as well as part throttle driveability.
An all-new exhaust manifold has been tuned to minimise exhaust gas flow restriction into the turbocharger and optimise the flow balance from cylinder to cylinder.
More turbine power has been extracted out of the exhaust gas, resulting in enhanced turbo responsiveness and further minimisation of turbo lag.
The reduced internal surface area of the new exhaust manifold maximises heat transfer to the catalyst, improving engine emissions by heating the catalytic converter faster after cold start-up.
Overall, the new exhaust manifold has delivered:
• a 14 per cent reduction in flow restriction
• a 10 per cent improvement in flow balance
• a 42 per cent reduction in internal surface area
• a 36 per cent reduction in weight
The net result of all the turbo system improvements is a significant increase to peak power and torque outputs on the new I6 Turbo engine, along with new levels of engine responsiveness and considerable gains in terms of fuel economy and efficiency.
Maximum power is up by 25 kW to 270 kW at 5250 rpm, while peak torque has increased by 53 Nm – or more than 11 per cent – to 533 Nm, which is available across a wide rev range from 2000 rpm – 4750 rpm.
"With 80 per cent of the peak torque available all the way from 1250 rpm to 5750 rpm, the new I6 Turbo engine transforms the performance feel of our turbo models, delivering seamless power and fantastic responsiveness across all driving conditions," Kernich concluded.
Over boost & launch assist technology
The I6 Turbo engine features a number of new and unique performance features, which serve to expand the envelope of useable performance at both ends of the spectrum – maximising both standing start and in-gear performance.
While the calibration of the I6 Turbo engine has been optimised to improve fuel economy, it also incorporates a transient over boost feature, as well as launch assist and adaptive variable camshaft timing (VCT) anti-lag technologies.
"The transient over boost feature allows the engine to over boost by up to 10 per cent for several seconds, increasing available engine torque for improved performance during driving events such as overtaking manoeuvres," Ford Australia Powertrain Development Manager, David Mitchell said.
"Manual transmission turbo models are also equipped with a launch assist anti-lag feature, which increases available engine torque for more consistent maximum launch acceleration, as well as reducing turbo and exhaust temperatures, and minimising turbo lag and clutch wear."
During wide open throttle launches, positive boost pressures were previously not achievable to enable an optimum launch scenario.
The launch assist feature is activated when the vehicle is stationary – with clutch fully disengaged and requisite accelerator applied, engine speed is limited to a maximum of 3500 rpm by actively cutting fuel.
After a small delay of approximately 2-3 seconds, the turbo spools up with 80 per cent cool fresh air, which is pumped by the cylinders that have been deactivated. When the clutch is released and the vehicle starts to move away, all cylinders are reactivated and access to full torque is returned.
"The net result of the launch assist anti-lag feature is a more easily repeatable execution of a rapid and smooth launch, while at the same time increasing drivetrain protection during such events," Mitchell said.
Adaptive Variable Camshaft Timing
The Dual Independent Variable Camshaft Timing (DIVCT) system on the I6 Turbo engine has been updated to improve turbo responsiveness, by employing adaptive characteristics via two separate cam timing strategies.
The primary VCT strategy has been optimised to balance maximum power and torque with overall fuel efficiency, while the secondary strategy has been optimised to deliver maximum engine and turbocharger response.
In normal driving and cruise scenarios the engine uses the base VCT strategy to maximise fuel efficiency while still providing maximum power and torque.
"During wide open throttle acceleration events, the engine switches to the secondary VCT strategy and adjusts cam angles in real time to minimise turbo lag and maximise engine response," Mitchell said.
"Once target turbo boost and engine performance levels have been achieved, the engine switches back to the primary VCT schedule."
The I6 Turbo engine also employs cylinder cut on gearshifts in automatic transmission vehicles, for improved shift timing and overall shift refinement.
The cylinder cut shift is performed in the following sequence:
• The transmission controller requests a torque reduction during the shift
• The engine controller decides how it will deliver this reduction via injector cut and spark retard
• The injectors are cut and the shift is completed
• The injectors are reactivated and normal engine operation resumes
The cylinder cut shift sequence is completed in approximately 0.25 of a second.
Shift times are reduced by more than 50 per cent on some gearshifts, such as wide open throttle on the I6 Turbo, giving a sportier shift feel via the shorter, sharper gearshifts.
The cylinder cut feature also enables better control of turbo boost pressure and smoother application of engine torque, which minimises any surge during gearshifts.
Boss 290 A new V8 engine marks the transition from BF to FG for the Falcon XR8, with the introduction of the quad-cam Boss 290 powerplant to Ford's sports-performance XR range.
Supplied by Ford Australia's performance vehicle partner, Ford Performance Vehicles, each engine is hand-built from bare blocks and heads, with FPV adding a wide range of local upgrades and internal components.
Assembled on the only V8 production line in Australia, the Boss 290 engine features a number of unique FPV engine components:
• High performance, high compression pistons with domed tops lift the compression ratio to 10.5:1 for the Boss 290 (up from 9.5:1 for the Boss 260) for a major improvement in engine response and overall engine efficiency, particularly under light throttle loads.
• These high strength pistons feature a larger gudgeon pin, larger internal pillars to support the gudgeon pin and a special ring pack to match the high compression, extra power and torque loads.
• Sintered conrods for uniform weight and high strength, tailored to accommodate the larger gudgeon pin and to clear the larger gudgeon support pillars inside each piston – for significant gains in strength and durability.
• Forged steel crankshaft for exceptional refinement and strength under high power and torque loads – each Boss 290 crankshaft undergoes a special balancing process prior to assembly to match the new piston and conrod combination for reduced stress on engine components at all engine speeds.
• Cylinder heads are cast in aluminium alloy to minimise weight and to reach optimum operating temperature faster – they feature an improved Cobra R design with a straighter, better breathing inlet port for better performance.
• High-lift inlet camshaft that increases valve lift to 13 mm (10 mm in Boss 260) for improved inlet flow, fast response and easy-revving high performance feel.
• High-lift exhaust camshaft that increases exhaust valve lift to 12 mm (10 mm in Boss 260) for more efficient exhaust gas clearance.
• Longer valve stems and springs to match the high-lift camshafts for longer reach and improved gas flow in and out of the combustion chamber.
• Longer finger followers to match the higher cam profile and ensure accurate valve control through the extremities of valve lift.
• Locally-manufactured inlet manifold with tuned length trumpets to match the head design, delivering strong torque at lower engine speeds and power at high rpm.
• A larger-entry, free flowing airbox that provides more efficient airflow into the induction system, aiding performance and significantly reducing induction noise.
• A 75mm throttle body with drive-by-wire linkage, which eliminates the noise and vibration path that a mechanical linkage can generate as it enters the cabin. It reduces maintenance, allows more accurate throttle control and optional pedal adjustment on automatic models.
• Locally-manufactured, fabricated stainless steel exhaust headers for a total breathing package to match the performance inlet manifold, high-lift cam profiles and 32-valve heads.
• Engine blueprinting – a highly accurate three-grade engine tolerance system, measured in microns, matches crankshafts, pistons, blocks, conrods and bearings for a perfect fit. Accurate component matching by tolerances and weight delivers improved performance, refinement, durability and fuel efficiency.
The Boss 290 engine has also been equipped with a new oil pan, which has been designed to suit the new front structure design in the FG Falcon, along with new exhaust manifolds to suit the new body structure.
It also employs cylinder cut on gearshifts in automatic transmission vehicles, for improved shift timing and overall shift refinement.
"Producing maximum power of 290 kW at 5750 rpm and 520 Nm peak torque at 4750 rpm, the Boss 290 takes the Falcon XR8 to the next level for V8 performance," said Ford Australia Powertrain Engineering Manager, Lee Kernich.
"With an abundance of power and torque throughout the entire rev range, the Boss 290 also takes another step forward in terms of refinement and sophistication, integrating seamlessly with the FG Falcon program to transform the XR8 experience for customers."
Semi Active Muffler The introduction of the Boss 290 engine to the XR8 is complemented by a revised exhaust system with an all-new Semi Active Muffler (SAM).
The SAM comprises a cylindrical valve that is mounted on the muffler end-plate protruding inside the intermediate muffler, which opens and closes to change the vehicle's exhaust sound characteristics.
At low engine speeds (low rpm), the spring loaded valve remains closed, forcing the exhaust gasses to pass through a series of baffles in the intermediate muffler.
At higher engine speeds (above 2800 rpm) the exhaust gas back pressure opens the valve, offering an alternate path for the exhaust gasses to pass through the muffler.
As a result the SAM provides a quiet internal cabin environment at idle and low engine speeds, while allowing a full, throaty V8 sound quality to be appreciated at higher engine speeds.
Typically, SAM valves have been the exclusive domain of high-priced, sports cars such as the Aston Martin V8 Vantage and Jaguar XK8, which both employ similar systems.
The semi-active muffler system on the XR8 is a first for the Australian auto industry in a locally-manufactured vehicle and delivers a best-in-class sound quality with an unsurpassed, sporty V8 exhaust note.
4.0-litre I6 E-Gas
Ford continues to offer an alternative fuel option on Falcon in the new FG range with the dedicated LPG six-cylinder E-Gas engine.
The E-Gas engine is carried over to the new model, following the extensive upgrade it received for the BF Falcon program, and is matched to the proven four-speed automatic transmission with Sequential Sports Shift (SSS).
For installation into the new FG Falcon architecture, new inlet and exhaust systems, a re-tuned throttle map and optimised engine calibrations have further refined the overall engine package and improved performance feel.
With dual independent variable camshaft timing (DIVCT), stronger conrods, and harder valves and seats for greater durability, the E-Gas engine produces 156 kW of power at 4750 rpm and 371 Nm of torque at 2750 rpm.
NEW MANUAL & AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSIONS
Two new transmissions have been introduced with the FG Falcon program, a new five-speed automatic in lieu of the previous four-speed unit on petrol sedans and Utes, and a new six-speed manual for all manual transmission variants.
"Both new transmissions deliver significant improvements to overall vehicle refinement, along with performance and driveability enhancements in a number of key areas," Ford Australia Powertrain Engineering Manager, Lee Kernich said.
"The five-speed auto has a wider spread of ratios than the outgoing four-speed design, which improves vehicle performance and offers a greater dynamic range.
"The new six-speed manual is a major upgrade of the previous T56 six-speed manual transmission and delivers improved shift feel and refinement, along with a number of clutch upgrades and enhancements for reduced pedal efforts and increased clutch durability."
New five-speed automatic
The 5R55S five-speed is a new rear-wheel drive (RWD) automatic transmission, which has been designed in conjunction with Ford engineers in the USA and is produced in Bordeaux, France, for use in the new FG Falcon.
It employs the Sequential Sports Shift (SSS) feature that has been a key design element on Falcon since the BA series was introduced in 2002, enabling the driver to choose an enhanced 'Performance mode' or have complete control of the transmission, for occasions when manual selection of gear ratios is preferred.
"The new transmission incorporates a unique main case and extension housing, a damper on the input shaft and the latest closed-shift loop controls," Kernich said.
"Numerous design features have also been incorporated in the five-speed automatic transmission, which enhance the outstanding engine characteristics of the 195 kW I6 powerplant."
The entire transmission housing has been thoroughly analysed using advanced computer aided engineering (CAE) modelling techniques and designed to minimise radiated noise through structural optimisation.
Selected rotating components have controlled dynamic balance characteristics for smooth operation at any speed.
A high output trochocentric oil pump with flow control capability, directed lubrication system, dedicated oil to water transmission cooler and Mercon V super-premium synthetic blend fluid all contribute to outstanding durability through increased pump flow and lower operating temperatures.
The torque converter contains a high capacity dual friction plate bypass clutch, while the impeller and turbine blading are brazed for high speed shift stability and improved efficiency.
Gearing & software
With an additional gear and wider ratio spread – a 2.51 spread between first and top gears compared with 1.716 ratio spread on the four-speed auto – the new transmission delivers improved performance and more relaxed cruising, as well as a lower first gear ratio for enhanced launch feel.
Closed loop adaptive shift control on the five-speed auto ensures shift quality is both refined and consistent. During every gearshift, three speed sensors monitor shift duration and profile to achieve more consistent shift timing, while hydraulic pressure can be adjusted to optimise shift feel.
New shift strategy features on the five-speed auto include:
• Hunting prevention – this feature prevents unwanted upshifts based on torque and acceleration assessments.
• Grade lock in all gears - torque converter lock-up can be engaged in all gears, not just the top two gears, when high load conditions or a steep grade are detected, improving vehicle driveability as well as aiding transmission cooling and reducing fuel consumption.
An enhanced warm-up mode ensures the transmission will warm-up to its most efficient temperature operating range quickly, to provide optimum fuel efficiency. The transmission oil temperature is monitored at start-up and the shift schedule is adjusted to improve the transmission warm-up rate.
An increased capacity transmission oil cooler, in conjunction with an intelligent shift strategy, improves transmission oil temperature control, particularly during heavy towing, for greater durability and reliability.
As the oil temperature within the transmission increases, the shift strategy will use the optimum gears and a higher level of torque converter lock to minimise additional increases in oil temperature.
Performance mode features on the five-speed auto include:
• Back-out up-shift inhibit – when the throttle is released quickly (e.g. change of mind), instead of upshifting, the current gear is held for a certain period or until the throttle is re-applied. This prevents shift busyness, especially when cornering, and provides improved responsiveness when exiting the corner.
• Engine braking – engine braking is applied when the coast clutch is engaged, which improves vehicle control during descents.
• Downhill brake assist – when vehicle acceleration is present during braking, the transmission will invoke a downshift to provide increased engine braking, which also ensures the transmission is in the right gear for tip-in when the throttle is re-applied.
Specific transmission calibrations for the sedan and Ute allow for the sedan to be more performance-oriented, while the Ute has been optimised for its workhorse duties, such as carrying heavy loads and towing.
At the heart of the transmission's electronic control system is Ford's new 32-bit Powertrain Control Module (PCM), which integrates engine, transmission, cruise control and many other powertrain control functions to provide smooth and responsive powertrain performance.
New six-speed manual
The new Tremec TR6060 six-speed manual transmission is a major upgrade of the previous T56 six-speed manual transmission and is now fitted to all manual transmission variants in the FG Falcon range – replacing both the T5 five-speed manual on previous XL and XLS Ute models, as well as the T56 six-speed manual on XR sedans and Utes.
There a three variants of the TR6060 transmission – I6 engine (Falcon Ute/Falcon XR6), I6 Turbo engine (XR6 Turbo) and V8 (XR8). The XR6 Turbo and XR8 have a different set of ratios to the Ute/XR6 models, for improved performance and a more defined sports feel.
"With all manual transmission Falcon models now equipped with six forward gears, driving range improvements, and the reduced engine speed that comes from the additional overdrive gear, are now key benefits that apply across the range," Kernich said.
"Revised fifth and sixth gear ratios on all manual transmissions has improved NVH and highway-cruise efficiency via the reduced engine speed for a given road speed in those gears.
"Also included in the range of developments on the new manual transmission is a new synchroniser package, which provides improved shift precision and shift feel, and reduced shift effort and travel."
The new synchroniser package features triple synchromesh on first and second gears, and double synchromesh on all other gears, including reverse, which has significantly reduced gear shift efforts and shift travel.
The reduced shift travel provided by the synchroniser package has also allowed increased space for the use of larger gears, which are stronger to deliver improved torque capacity and gearbox durability.
A new single-piece countershaft also contributes to the greater torque capacity and durability advancements.
The XR6 Turbo has a larger clutch housing to accommodate an increase in clutch size, as well as a revised first gear ratio – a shorter 2.98:1 ratio replaces the 2.66:1 ratio in the T56 gearbox – for improved acceleration, launch feel and gradeability.
Other features of the new TR6060 transmission include:
• Reduced friction in the shifter system courtesy of a new cam and anti-friction plunger to control the side load shift detents.
• Forward and rearward shift detent grooves are broached on the front of the mainshaft with a spring-loaded anti-friction roller, for more precise control of the shift detents and a more positive shift feel.
• Anti-friction ball struts, sintered hubs and fine-pitch splines on all synchronisers for reduced friction between components – delivering improved shift feel and reduced shift efforts.
• Wider, two-piece gears with machined clutch teeth for more precise gear engagement and reduced potential for gear block-outs.
A new, larger 290mm diameter single plate, self-adjusting type clutch has been developed for FG Falcon XR6 Turbo and XR8 applications – the XR6 Turbo previously employed a conventional 267mm diameter clutch unit, while the XR8 was fitted with a 280mm diameter clutch.
The new clutch provides a significant increase in thermal and torque capacities on both models, for improved wear life and durability.
The clamp load of the new clutch has been increased for improved clutch torque capacity, while the addition of a clutch pedal assist spring on both XR6 Turbo and XR8 acts to reduce clutch operating efforts for increased driving comfort.
The over-centre spring on the clutch pedal provides assistance as the clutch pedal is operated, as well as the effort required to hold the clutch pedal in a depressed position.
All manual transmission Falcon models are now fitted with a self-adjusting clutch (SAC), as the new unit ensures consistent pedal efforts over the life of the clutch.
While conventional clutches change as the disc wears, resulting in increased clutch pedal efforts, with a self-adjusting type unit, the clutch self-compensates for disc wear and ensures release efforts do not increase over time.
Powertrain Control Module
A comprehensively updated Powertrain Control Module (PCM) has been introduced across the FG Falcon engine program, to match the host of new powertrain features now available on the various Falcon models, including:
• New five-speed automatic transmission
• New intake manifold tuning valve
• New pedal box
• New, high-powered ignition coils
• One-touch start
• New cluster display
• Set-Point cruise
• Run on fans
• Modified software features to improve driveability
A one-touch start feature has been introduced on all petrol models fitted with an automatic transmission, which improves the consistency of start-up.
If the driver lets go of the ignition key before the engine has fully started, the PCM ensures the start operation is completed. In previous models, releasing the key before the engine had a chance to catch could lead to a start-run-stall scenario – the one-touch start feature alleviates this condition.
Additional information messages are available in the new instrument cluster display, including cruise control set speed, which provide more information to the driver about vehicle operation.
The cruise control system on FG Falcon has a new set speed indexing feature to suit the new cruise set speed display in the instrument cluster, which gives the driver the ability to know what cruise set speed has been selected both prior to and during cruise control operation.
The new cruise control system uses classical control algorithms and new model-based calculations to improve the accuracy and speed of its torque calculations under all conditions, allowing the driver to quickly change the cruise set speed to a new speed.
The new cruise control system provides:
• Improved speed regulation across all terrains
• Unobtrusive, smooth and progressive torque changes in varying terrains, and between all cruise control operating modes
A new engine cooling fan 'run-on' strategy allows the PCM to determine if it needs to run the engine fans for a short time after the engine is shutdown – under extreme temperature conditions – to reduce the risk of coolant loss and extend the life of engine bay components.
The feature offers heat soak protection by reducing susceptibility for coolant to boil on shutdown after sustained high load towing or high speed operation, combined with high ambient temperatures.
Modifications to software features have delivered driveability improvements on manual and automatic transmission vehicles, along with more advanced failsafe operations to improve useability in the event of a malfunction.
Neutral / drive detection is improved on manual transmission vehicles through modelling of transmission gear ratios, resulting in greater engine stability on coast downs, as well as smoother torque transitions during slow speed events such as car park manoeuvres.
Driveability is also improved via reduced shunts and shuffles through the driveline, while on automatic transmission vehicles, idle stability improvements have contributed to smoother gearshifts.
Upgrades to the fuel system on FG Falcon have resulted in a number of key developments, including the introduction of redesigned fuel tanks on all Falcon models, a new and larger fuel tank on Falcon Ute models, a contactless fuel sender and revised software calibration.
The fuel tank redesign accommodates a blow moulding process for the tank construction, instead of the thermo forming process used previously.
The overall tank package has been optimised at the same time to maximise useable tank volume, while the Falcon Ute fuel tank has increased in total volume to 81 litres, up from 75 litres in the previous model.
A new, non-contact fuel sender has been introduced with the upgraded fuel system, with the electrical contacts packaged in a sealed unit to prevent contamination by sulphur compounds typically found in Australian fuel.
As the sender signals are now more consistent – and more consistent over time – the interpretive software controlling fuel gauge and trip computer functions provides a more accurate assessment of remaining fuel, so customers can confidently drive to the full range of the fuel tank.
The trip computer uses information directly from the new PCM to calculate fuel usage, which improves the accuracy of 'distance to empty' calculations.
MORE PERFORMANCE & IMPROVED FUEL ECONOMY
In addition to the widespread performance gains achieved on six-cylinder and V8 petrol engines with the all-new FG Falcon range, Ford Australia has also delivered further improvements to fuel economy on a number of key sedan powertrains.
The introduction of new manual and automatic transmissions, along with a host of new engine hardware and calibration developments, has resulted in fuel economy improvements on select Falcon models of more than six per cent.
"Fuel economy and engine performance are traditionally divergent areas, where you wouldn't expect to be able to improve one without it being at the expense of the other," Ford Australia Falcon & Territory Vehicle Line Director, Russell Christophers said.
"But our customers have told us they wanted improvements in both performance and fuel economy, and they were not willing to trade.
"With the new FG Falcon range we have delivered exactly that – more performance and better fuel economy on the I6 engine, and more performance and better fuel economy on the I6 Turbo engine.
"The introduction of the Boss 290 V8 engine to the XR8 has also delivered more performance, as well as better fuel economy compared to the BF MkII FPV GT from which it is derived."
Fuel economy on the new 195 kW I6 engine with the new five-speed auto transmission has improved by 0.2 L/100km, or almost two per cent, compared to its predecessor – the Barra 190 I6 engine with four-speed automatic transmission – with an official Australia Design Rule (ADR) ADR 81/01 industry standard fuel consumption figure of 10.5 L/100km.
The I6 engine matched to the ZF six-speed automatic transmission remains the fuel economy leader within the Falcon range, with a further one per cent improvement – or a reduction of 0.1 L/100km – on FG Falcon to 10.1 L/100km.
Fuel economy on the new I6 Turbo engine has improved significantly as a result of the extensive engine development program undertaken for the FG Falcon, which has delivered 10 per cent more power and 11 per cent more torque, with a 4.9 per cent improvement in overall fuel economy.
The new 270 kW I6 Turbo engine, coupled with the ZF six-speed automatic transmission, produces an ADR 81/01 fuel figure of 11.7 L/100km, a reduction of 0.6 L/100km on the equivalent BF-spec powertrain.
The introduction of the 5.4-litre Boss 290 V8 engine to the FG Falcon XR8, in conjunction with optimised calibrations on the high-performance powerplant, has delivered a 6.7 per cent improvement in fuel economy.
The official ADR 81/01 fuel figure for the new V8 engine, matched to the ZF six-speed automatic transmission, is down 1.0 L/100km to 14.0 L/100km.
FG FALCON DYNAMICS
The all-new FG Falcon builds on Ford's global reputation for vehicle dynamics excellence and reasserts the company's dominance of this important attribute in Australia's large car sector. Building on Australian-firsts that were introduced with the BA Falcon, BF Falcon and Territory, the FG Falcon provides drivers with precision, agility, certainty and confidence in every aspect of their vehicle's handling performance.
"The 2008 Falcon rightly takes its place on the global list of Ford vehicles that achieve excellence in vehicle dynamics," said Ford Australia Vice President of Product Development Trevor Worthington.
"Mondeo, Focus, Fiesta, Territory and Falcon all have deserved reputations for providing drivers with fun-to-drive vehicles that deliver exactly what they expect at all times, and the new Falcon takes the best of all that's come before it and improves it even further."
Major dynamics enhancements for the FG Falcon include:
* An all-new lightweight Virtual Pivot Control Link front suspension;
* All-new forward mounted steering gear with variable ratio and Y-shaped rack;
* Significant modifications to the Control Blade Independent Rear Suspension across all sedans;
* Monotube shock absorbers across all sedans and most Ute variants;
* Specifically developed tyres with appropriate suspension tunes for each model in the range;
* A retuned Dynamic Stability Control system for all petrol sedans and expanded availability of Traction Control on Utes; and
* The first Australian-manufactured application of a self adjusting park brake.
Importantly, all these elements work together to provide a seamless dynamics experience for both driver and passengers. Vehicle Dynamics Manager Alex de Vlugt stressed the importance of a systems engineering approach to each individual element so that the overall package delivers the ultimate driving car.
"Each individual element has been precisely engineered to ensure an optimum result," he said.
"Those results are then combined and engineered from a total vehicle perspective to ensure that the front and rear suspension work in harmony with the monotube shock absorbers and tyres. No part of the car works in isolation. "This approach is ultimately responsible for developing a vehicle that delivers on Ford's global vehicle dynamics DNA of being precise and agile, without being nervous. The steering has a level of control and responsiveness that also enhances the perception of the new Falcon being a fun-to-drive vehicle, while also inspiring confidence."
Virtual Pivot Control Link front suspension The all-new Virtual Pivot Control Link front suspension is a key component of the Falcon chassis system and introduces a set-up similar to that which has already proved so effective and popular on the Ford Territory.
The width of both the front and rear suspension tracks has been increased, along with a corresponding increase in wheelbase, for improved stability.
Although similar to the Territory front suspension, the springs, dampers, anti-roll bars, suspension bushes and suspension geometry have all been optimised for Falcon to deliver the perfect balance of ride, handling and steering best suited to a sedan on Australian roads.
Incorporating a highly sophisticated double wishbone design with two lower ball joints that is usually seen on far more expensive vehicles, the new front suspension provides a weight saving of 22 kilograms over the BF Falcon through the use of aluminium and high strength steel.
It also provides for reduced King Pin offset packaging and allows the introduction of a forward mounted steering rack.
In comparison to other locally-built rear-wheel-drive sedans that use a virtual pivot control link with a McPherson strut, the FG Falcon system uses a virtual pivot control lower link and an upper A-arm, which results in better camber when cornering, leading to improved tyre contact with the road and increased assurance for the driver.
The new suspension system incorporates two ball joints that connect the separate lower arms to the suspension knuckle. These two separate lower links define a virtual pivot of the lower arm, which allows the suspension to behave as though the lower pivot point is at the intersection of the two arms.
The virtual pivot point is further outboard than can be achieved by a conventional suspension system, leading to a reduction in the King Pin Axis offset, which thereby reduces the ability for wheel disturbances from wheel balance and tyre non-uniformities to disturb the driver through the steering wheel.
Similarly, the negative scrub radius that is generated by the new front suspension allows the wheel to generate some self-correcting steering torque while braking, which improves braking stability on mixed surfaces and provides better control under adverse conditions.
Steering "One of the greatest benefits of Falcon's new front suspension system is that it has allowed us to package a forward mounted steering rack," said de Vlugt.
"In order to achieve the optimum balance of steering precision, handling stability and high speed controllability, we needed to deliver an increased level of front axle compliance understeer, and this can be best achieved with a forward mounted steering rack.
"For drivers of the new FG Falcon, this will translate to very confident control of their vehicle in busy traffic and through narrow roadways and road works. In addition to excellent manoeuvrability, the new virtual pivot control link front suspension, in combination with the new steering gear geometry, also contributes to reduced tyre wear."
The new steering gear introduces variable ratio technology, which provides the optimum sensitivity at low speeds and a relaxing drive at higher speeds. This results in a reduction in the number of turns lock-to-lock, without being too sensitive during straight ahead driving.
FG Falcon combines an 11.0 metre turning circle with 2.6 turns lock-to-lock steering.
This direct steering is mostly felt at low speeds where significant steering wheel angles are used, however, the variable ratio steering allows for a less direct steering ratio when the steering is "on centre" or near the straight ahead position.
The FG Falcon is also the first Australian-built vehicle to incorporate a Y-shaped steering rack, which was invented by Bishop Steering Technology in Australia.
The Y-shaped steering rack significantly improves stiffness and smoothness of motion and operation, eliminating the knobbly, discontinuous feel that is normally prevalent in vehicles with a variable ratio steering gear, which is generated by rolling torque around the steering gear axis whenever the steering wheel is turned.
Enhancements to steering for the FG Falcon also include two new power-assisted steering calibrations to optimise steering feel across all models.
A new ergonomically designed steering wheel for base and luxury models also contributes to a more relaxed driving experience, while a sports steering wheel for the performance models provides for a more confident grip on the steering wheel during enthusiastic driving.
"The combination of steering advances we have introduced with the FG Falcon ensures we have rebalanced the level of vehicle response to steering inputs over the speed range," said de Vlugt.
"At low speeds the new Falcon offers high levels of response thanks to the variable ratio steering rack, while at higher speeds it responds less, making it less 'nervous' during highway driving."
Control Blade IRS
The FG Falcon continues with the acclaimed Control Blade IRS architecture that was first introduced on the BA Falcon in 2002. However, all suspension springs, dampers and the anti-roll bar links have been significantly revised to match the introduction of the new front suspension.
One important change is an increased roll centre height to match the new front suspension, which reduces in-corner roll and improves straight line stability, along with a revised toe-angle that provides improved steering feel and vehicle stability.
Other rear suspension advances include new "point three" bushings, which improve NVH and deliver a quieter drive without loss of steering or handling performance, along with a small increase in track width.
Revised roll steer and the introduction of a new rear anti-roll bar connection link both also combine to deliver greater steering efficiency and precision.
"Since 2002, Falcon's IRS has been recognised as one of the best in its class, particularly compared to other Australian-made vehicles," said de Vlugt.
"We've been able to continue developing and enhancing that system and match it to the new Virtual Pivot Control Link front suspension without losing any of the technical advantages that have led to an enjoyable and confident driving experience for Falcon customers.
"The core system was engineered to stand the test of time and the engineering changes we've made now enhance that."
Monotube shock absorbers The introduction of monotube shock absorbers front and rear on all Falcon sedans and most Utes will further enhance the dynamics capability of the FG Falcon through better body control and handling. Improved plushness and vibration absorption will also contribute to a more comfortable ride without any perceived 'floatiness'.
Monotube shock absorbers have one tube with a gas cup to separate the gas and oil, and accommodate the oil displaced by the rod entering the working area. In contrast, traditional twin tube shocks have no physical separation of the oil and gas in the damper and operate by transferring the oil from the pressure chamber via a base valve as the shock rod displaces.
The larger piston area of the monotube shock reduces hydraulic pressure, which improves sensitivity and control, especially on short strokes and reversals.
Significantly higher internal gas pressure of 18 bar, in lieu of 4 bar with twin tubes, allows the damper to build controlling forces faster and nearly eliminates cavitation or foaming during normal operation. This guarantees consistent ride feel and control as well as markedly improving performance.
In addition, the higher operating temperature capability (160◦C) of monotube shock absorbers ensures control in strenuous duty cycles such as over corrugated and gravel roads.
Monotubes also dissipate heat more quickly and can absorb more energy for longer periods of time than twin tubes in equivalent conditions, which delivers increased robustness under all driving conditions.
"By introducing monotube shock absorbers into Falcon we are able to improve its road holding capability even further," said de Vlugt.
"Drivers will notice appreciably enhanced handling and steering without any loss of ride performance."
A range of new tyres was specifically developed for the FG Falcon range, bringing improvements in road noise, wet grip, dry grip and handling, steering compliance, ride, rolling resistance and steering linearity. The new tyres include:
* Goodyear Eagle Excellence 215/60R16 for use on the XT – this tyre provides excellent grip, comfort and NVH, offering a smoother, quieter ride.
* Goodyear Eagle Excellence 235/50R17 for use on vehicles higher in the Falcon range – as with the 16-inch tyre, this variant provides excellent grip, comfort and NVH, as well as an improved vehicle stance when combined with the accompanying 17-inch alloy wheel.
* Dunlop SP Sport 01A 245/45R17 for the XR6 sedan and Ute – this tyre offers excellent grip and handling characteristics while maintaining a high level of comfort and NVH.
* Dunlop SP Sport Maxx 245/40R18 for the high-series sports and sports luxury vehicles in the Falcon range – this tyre utilises Dunlop's ultimate ultra-high performance Sport Maxx tyre, which offers a high level of ride, steering and handling along with accompanying improvements in NVH.
* Dunlop SP Sport Maxx 245/45R17 as a no cost option on select XR sedans and Utes – this tyre has been especially developed with Turbo customers in mind for superior handling and steering. It is also the first time the XR6 Turbo has its own tyre available to distinguish it from the XR6.
* Dunlop SP Sport Maxx 245/35R19 – this tyre is now available in conjunction with optional 19-inch alloy wheels on all sports and sports luxury vehicles in the Falcon range.
Specific tyres were also developed for Falcon Ute models. Information on these new tyres will be included in the Falcon Ute press kit at launch.
A range of suspension tunes has also been developed for the Falcon sedan range, including standard, luxury sports, luxury performance, XR sports and heavy duty, depending on the vehicle.
Information on suspension tunes available for Falcon Ute and FPV models will be included in the appropriate press kit at launch.
Chassis controls systems
Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) with Traction Control (TCS) will be standard equipment on all petrol Falcon sedans, along with Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) and Emergency Brake Assist (EBA).
Falcon's proven DSC system has been retuned to suit the combination of new engine, transmissions and suspension designs and calibrations to continue providing enhanced vehicle stability under all driving conditions. It also continues to offer tailored control strategies for expected different driver preferences across the vehicle range.
All Falcon Ute models will be fitted as standard with ABS and EBD, while TCS will continue as standard equipment on XR Utes. The availability of TCS has been expanded to include the rest of the petrol Falcon Ute range.
Self adjusting park brake The FG Falcon will be the first locally-produced vehicle to incorporate a self-adjusting park brake on all sedan and utility vehicles, with the exception of column auto Falcon Ute models with a seat mounted park brake.
Fully integrated within the styled console mounted cabin lever, the self adjusting park brake automatically removes any slackness that develops over time, providing short, predictable and consistent lever travel while also ensuring secure park brake operation.
This reduces the risk of the vehicle being parked with a poorly applied hand brake and also avoids the potential re-adjustment cost for the customer at regular service intervals.
Whenever the driver returns the park brake to rest or the fully off position, an internal feature within the self adjuster automatically activates, applying tension to the front cable of the system. The appropriate level of tension has been incorporated into the vehicle's design to ensure adequate pretensioning while preventing any risk of the driver over adjusting and resulting in unwanted drag within the system.
When the park brake is again applied, the self adjusting action is automatically locked out within the first click of operation and normal manual function is returned to the lever.
In effect, the full self adjusting action occurs without any additional input or special action on the part of the driver.
Vehicle dynamics summary
The combination of an all-new front suspension, significantly modified rear suspension, new steering gear, the introduction of monotube shock absorbers and a range of other advancements over the prior model ensures that the 2008 FG Falcon delivers on Ford's global vehicle dynamics DNA.
It provides improved steering precision and feel; optimised high speed responsiveness for a more relaxed drive; improved manoeuvrability; enhanced body control, ride performance and plushness; an increased choice of suspension tunes; and improved handling in both wet and dry conditions. "The new Ford Falcon fully meets our goal of developing a vehicle that offers drivers an enjoyable, relaxed and confident driving experience," said de Vlugt.
FG FALCON ELECTRONIC FEATURES
The FG Falcon's HMI incorporates the Interior Command Centre (ICC), Multi-function Display (MFD), instrument cluster and steering wheel controls, as well as integrating a host of new customer-oriented features where fitted, including a reverse camera, a Bluetooth® mobile phone integration module and full iPod integration with the audio system.
"The HMI allows the user to control key aspects of the vehicle, from climate control and audio settings to cruise control and lighting settings, through a user-friendly and intuitive interface," Ford Australia Electrical Engineering Manager, Stuart Taylor said.
"Navigating through the system is possible from three different points, depending on the function being accessed, with the ICC, instrument cluster and steering wheel buttons all providing various levels of sub-system control."
The appearance, form and function of the new ICC compliments the overall interior design of the FG Falcon, delivering a clean, stylish and prestigious interior environment for the driver and vehicle occupants.
Interior Command Centre
The Interior Command Centre encompasses a wide range of vehicle functions, including audio system controls and climate control, as well as providing the interface for features such as the Bluetooth mobile phone module, reverse sensing system, reverse camera and satellite navigation, where fitted.
It also provides the access point for vehicle personalisation information, such as locking, alarm/security settings and interior illumination.
"The Interior Command Centre serves as the primary source of information for vehicle comfort and convenience systems for the user," Taylor said.
"On FG Falcon, the ICC screen has been raised high within the interior environment to a level similar to the instrument cluster, which provides the driver with the ability to view the ICC screen without having to divert their eyes downward from the road level view.
"Repositioning the new ICC screen has also enabled the air vents to be in the optimum position for heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) performance."
There are two levels of ICC, a low series version with an LED backlit monochromatic LCD screen on XT, G6, XR6, XR6 Turbo and XR8 models and a high series version with a seven-inch colour TFT screen on G6E and G6E Turbo models, which utilises colours and layers to enable simple navigation of menus and functions.
LCD for low series:
· High power white LED backlit
· LCD comprises of a fixed segment and dot matrix area
· Employs the same menu layout as the high series
· Employs symbols, graphics and dynamic text to display information
· Reconfigurable screen settings
TFT for high series:
· Seven-inch colour TFT screen – supports high resolution graphics
· Video input for reverse camera and satellite navigation, where fitted
· All-new, high resolution graphics and an all-new menu layout
· Reconfigurable screen settings
The high series ICC is also available as an option on select models, either in conjunction with the premium audio system or as part of the XR Luxury Pack.
ICC operation is via four key controls – the "ICC Control Dial", "OK" button (located within the ICC Control Dial), "Menu" button and "Back" button – which provide a clear, concise and easy to use operating system for Falcon customers.
The FG Falcon is available with two levels of audio systems, which form an integral part of the Interior Command Centre – a standard audio system that is fitted as on XT, G6, XR6, XR6 Turbo and XR8 models, and a premium audio system on G6E and G6E Turbo models.
The standard single CD/MP3 player audio system delivers through a new four-speaker set-up, with the rear speakers positioned on the rear doors rather than on the parcel shelf behind the rear seat passengers, allowing rear passengers to engage in conversation more easily.
Both front and rear speaker sets are angled to optimise the listening experience for all passengers.
New features on the latest generation audio systems include:
* More powerful, 112-watt power output
* MP3 CD compatibility
o MP3 CDs can store more information than traditional CDs, so the user is able to play more tracks from a single CD
o MP3 CDs can be categorised using folders – the new ICC supports folder navigation within an MP3 CD
* Radio Data System (RDS)
o Allows radio text, emergency broadcast and traffic announcement information, where broadcast by the radio station, to be displayed on the ICC screen
(not all radio stations broadcast RDS information)
* Auxiliary audio input
o The Aux1 input (3.5mm) is located in the centre console – for connecting portable audio devices and MP3 players to the audio system, the auxiliary input is easily accessible and is standard in all models
* CD precautionary warnings
o When loading CDs, the user is reminded not to insert any CDs with adhesive labels
o When loading CDs, the user is reminded to only insert one disc at a time
* CD compression and power limiting
o Standard on all audio systems
* Media volume
o Within the ICC Audio Menu, the user can adjust the volume level of sonar, navigation and Aux1 to their liking
* Adjustable speed dependent volume setting
o Volume can be set to automatically adjust according to vehicle speed to compensate for peripheral noise – eight levels of adjustment are available
* Mid range
o Within the ICC Audio Menu, the user can now adjust mid range in addition to bass and treble
* Improved antenna systems
o Improved on-glass antenna on Falcon sedan
o New, adjustable angle, pole antenna on Falcon Ute
The premium, six-disc in-dash CD/MP3 player audio system delivers its sound through eight speakers and features a 150-watt amplifier and 150-watt subwoofer. Unique, premium audio system features for the sedan range include:
* More powerful with a total power output of 262-watt
* Six-disc in-dash CD/MP3 player
* 150-watt amplifier / 150-watt subwoofer
* Seven-inch TFT colour ICC screen
* Graphic equaliser
iPod Integration In addition to the new audio systems developed for FG Falcon, a new iPod Integration feature enables Falcon customers to fully integrate an iPod to the vehicle.
Standard on G6E Turbo and optional on G6E, iPod Integration is also available on the rest of the Falcon range as part of a Technology Pack that includes the Bluetooth mobile phone integration module.
iPod Integration is a fully integrated interface between the customer's iPod unit and the audio system, allowing the iPod to be controlled via the existing controls on the ICC and steering wheel.
"Full iPod integration means the user has access to not just songs, but other features such as playlists, albums, audiobooks and podcasts, in a similar layout to the iPod unit itself," Taylor said.
Bluetooth® mobile phone module
A fully integrated Bluetooth mobile phone module will be standard equipment on G6E and G6E Turbo models, as well as being offered as an option on the rest of the FG Falcon range as part of a Technology Pack, which also includes iPod Integration.
The module allows eight mobile phones to be paired with the system for the purpose of 'hands-free' in-vehicle communication – with an inbuilt microphone in the overhead console, the user does not need to touch the handset to interact with the phone.
A multi-function phone button on the steering wheel allows the user to make outgoing calls and accept or reject incoming calls. It also acts as a mute button to allow the user to mute the microphone during a call. A short press of the phone button, when not in a call, provides a shortcut to the most recently dialled number.
The voice tags feature allows users to dial any number in their phone book – providing voice tags have been set-up on the phone – without needing to pick up their mobile phone, while a "Change Connected Phone" function in the phone menu allows the user to easily change between paired phones.
Users are notified of an incoming call via their ring tone through the audio system speakers, as well as via a message prompt on the MFD.
Reverse Sensing System
A new reverse sensing system has been engineered for FG Falcon, which is standard equipment on all G Series models and optional on the rest of the sedan range.
The reverse sensing system detection functionality has been expanded to include more accurate object location, with the distance information now communicated to the driver via the ICC screen on high series models, in addition to the audio system speakers.
"The primary purpose of the visual reverse sensing information is to provide an additional interpretation of an obstacles location behind the vehicle, to complement the audible warnings," Taylor said.
The new reverse sensing system offers four lateral region coloured display information – on the high series ICC – which is equivalent to the systems offered by premium European manufacturers.
Monitoring of the vehicle's surroundings is performed by four ultrasonic sensors integrated into the rear bumper, which transmit short sound pulses and register the sound echo. Based on the principle of echo-location, the electronic control unit (ECU) uses the echo to determine the distance to the obstacle.
The ECU reports this acoustically by emitting an audible impulse tone through the audio system speakers – the rate of the impulse tone is proportional to the distance the obstacle is from the vehicle. If the obstacle passes the predetermined threshold of approximately 450 mm, the ECU will emit a continuous tone.
When reverse gear is selected, the high series ICC screen displays a profile image of the vehicle and shows the location of obstacles being detected in the field of view – approximately 1800 mm to the rear of the vehicle and 200 mm beyond the width of the vehicle body.
The system is automatically deactivated when a Ford approved tow bar package is in use, with a trailer plug connected.
A new Reverse Camera has been introduced on FG Falcon sedan to improve visibility of the area behind the vehicle and eliminate blind spots, for safer vehicle operation.
Fitted as standard equipment on G6E and G6E Turbo models, the reverse camera system is also available as an option across the XR sedan range.
The reverse camera image display is integrated into the high series ICC screen and shows the ground behind the rear of the vehicle when reverse gear is selected, to a distance of approximately 10 metres.
The camera is mounted in the boot lid appliqué above the licence plate and utilises a fisheye lens to provide a very wide field of view – approximately 130 degrees – which enables obstacles that are beyond the width of the vehicle to be seen.
In addition to its primary purpose, the reverse camera feature can also be used as an aid when reversing to hook up a trailer, as it can provide assistance in aligning the tow ball with the trailer.
Satellite Navigation System
The FG Falcon is available with a new SD card-based navigation system in lieu of the DVD based system used in prior models. The new system is smaller, lighter, faster, and easier to use, with improved map software and new functionality that includes:
· All-new display and menu
· New "shut-down-delay" mode – the system does not need to recalculate guidance after a short stop/key off scenario (e.g. refuelling at petrol station)
· The ability to display critical journey information in the home screen – such as arrival time and distance to destination
· New V14 Sensis map data
· New 2D/2.5D perspective view map mode, for easy recognition and understanding
· Infrared remote control
There are three functional levels of cluster in the FG Falcon – low series, high series and FPV – of which there are a total of seven unique variants across the vehicle range.
Differentiation between the variants includes additional gauges, dial and bezel features, dial and bezel colours, illumination colours and series-level warning lights.
Content included in all instrument clusters regardless of variant is:
· Fuel gauge
· Temperature gauge
· Return to zero feature when ignition is off for all gauges
· Warning lights
· Multi-function Display (MFD) with full dot matrix LCD screen for set-ups, messages and warnings information
The MFD relays a range of function status information to the driver, including a large digital speed display, overspeed, odometer, tripmeter, system warnings, audio information and trip computer information.
Audio function information is integrated into the MFD to show items such as the active media source (AM, FM, CD, MP3, Aux), station identification (frequency or RDS), track number and song name.
The MFD is able to display audio information even when the satellite navigation screen is active (where satellite navigation is fitted) or the standard home ICC screen is off.
With the introduction of the new Set-Point cruise control system on FG Falcon, the MFD shows cruise control status including Cruise On, Set and set Speed, while there is now also a "one touch lane change indicator".
The trip computer function on the MFD provides information on:
· Range (distance to empty)
· Fuel used
· Average fuel economy
· Instant fuel economy
· Average Speed
· Distance to destination
· Travel time
The MFD is configurable via the instrument cluster menu switches, which allows the user to determine what driver information they want to view via the Menu options.
Cluster settings can also be personalised to the key fob, so your preferred settings are remembered upon unlocking the vehicle.
Personalised settings can include display content, settings, illumination dimming levels and overspeed setting.
Vehicle and vehicle system warnings are shown on the MFD with an easily recognisable symbol and corresponding text, which pops up on the screen to warn of a specific event, when necessary.
New warning functions include:
* Driver fatigue warning
o Appears in the cluster accompanied by a sound chime, to remind the driver to take sufficient breaks during long periods of travel – configurable for two, three and four hour intervals
* Transmission not in Park warning
o Displays a warning on opening of the driver's door if the automatic transmission has not been put into the Park position
Cluster illumination is determined by the ambient light level via an ambient light sensor, independent of the headlight status – it compensates for using headlights during the daytime or travelling through a tunnel.