Official information on Fordâ€™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 I6â€™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 â€˜fast burnâ€™ 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 â€“ an area touted to be of major concern to Ford engineers.
The I6 turbo benefits from a new â€˜high-efficiencyâ€™ Garrett turbo, developed specifically for the Falcon â€“ 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 â€“ 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 V8â€™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. Itâ€™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 â€˜GTâ€™ 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.
â€œThe GT-E is a sophisticated luxury performance car that will cater for those buyers that donâ€™t want the stripes, wings, and seats offered in the GT-P; however want to retain all the performance attributes of that car,â€ said Ford Performance Vehicles General Manager Rod Barrett.
The new â€˜F6â€™ 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 BeltminderÂ® 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 BluetoothÂ® 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 â€“ with the option of either the five-speed automatic or the ZF six-speed automatic transmissions â€“ 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 â€“ for the first time â€“ 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 BeltminderÂ® 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 â€“ Cab Chassis and Styleside Box â€“ and powertrains â€“ 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 â€“ for the first time â€“ 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 â€“ 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 â€“ and of any locally built, naturally aspirated six-cylinder engine â€“ 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 â€“ the intake manifold utilises 30 per cent grade glass-filled nylon in its construction â€“ 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 â€“ I6 and I6 Turbo â€“ 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) â€“ which is a measure of an engine's efficiency â€“ 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 â€“ developed specifically for Falcon â€“ 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:
â€¢ a 50 per cent increase in intercooler core volume and size
â€¢ a 40 per cent improvement in heat rejection
â€¢ 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 â€“ 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