While the FG Falcon may be facing an uncertain future - what with flagging sales, the axing of its evergreen 4-litre six and the prospect that it may become a front-driver - for now, at least, it's still proving its worth as one of Australia's best-built cars.
At the recent Automotive Engineering Excellence Awards conducted by the Australasian branch of the Society of Automotive Engineers, Ford picked up the Silver Automotive Engineering Excellence award for the latest iteration of the 4.0-litre inline turbocharged six found in the XR6 Turbo and FPV F6.
The SAE said of the FG's six: "With its advanced new technologies and high levels of refinement, this latest generation I6 Turbo engine has set new performance benchmarks and enabled the FG Falcon XR6 Turbo to assume performance leadership for its class in the Australian market,"
"At the same time, the engine's refinement and responsiveness has enabled it to supplant the V8 engine as the powerplant for Ford's premium sports luxury model, the G6E Turbo."
A pity, then, that it won't live past 2010, when the venerable straight-six will be replaced by the US-sourced Duratec V6.
Ford also nabbed a Special Commendation Award for the FG Falcon's safety equipment and crash test performance, a veritable tip of the hat toward's the FG's recent 5-star ANCAP rating.
FG Falcon Wins Engineering Excellence Awards
Ford Australia's new FG Falcon has won two of the five awards on offer for innovation in automotive engineering at this year's Automotive Engineering Excellence Awards, announced by the Society of Automotive Engineers â€“ Australasia (SAE-A).
Ford was awarded the Silver Automotive Engineering Excellence Award for its design and development of the I6 Turbo engine in the FG Falcon, as well as a Special Commendation Award for the engineering development and implementation of the FG Falcon's safety systems.
In accepting both awards on behalf of Ford Australia, Falcon Chief Engineer David Wilkinson said recognition by the SAE-A was a fantastic endorsement of the new FG Falcon, as well as of the design and engineering capabilities and expertise within the Ford Australia organisation.
"The I6 Turbo engine underwent a complete design and engineering redevelopment for the FG Falcon, leading to a raft of major improvements that delivered outstanding performance along with benchmark levels of refinement and efficiency.
"With power and torque outputs, engine response, refinement and fuel efficiency all at new levels, the new I6 Turbo engine represents the most technologically advanced six cylinder engine ever produced by Ford Australia," Wilkinson said.
The SAE-A praised Ford's comprehensive redevelopment of its already highly acclaimed in-line six-cylinder turbocharged engine, not only for its stunning high performance, but also for its real world driveability and marked improvements in fuel economy.
"With its advanced new technologies and high levels of refinement, this latest generation I6 Turbo engine has set new performance benchmarks and enabled the FG Falcon XR6 Turbo to assume performance leadership for its class in the Australian market," the Society said.
The Special Commendation Award for the FG Falcon's safety systems was further recognition of the new model's world-class safety credentials, coming just two weeks after it was the first Australian-built car to be awarded a five-star safety rating by the ANCAP."The FG Falcon is the safest vehicle ever developed by Ford in Australia, containing a comprehensive suite of active and passive safety features that deliver real-world safety benefits for our customers," Wilkinson added.
"Developed with cutting edge technologies and utilising world-class crash test facilities at Ford in Detroit and at Volvo in Sweden, the FG Falcon builds on Ford's long held reputation for safety leadership in Australia and brings a new level of safety to a locally-developed vehicle."
The awards recognise excellence in automotive engineering, manufacturing, design and quality, to encourage higher industry standards and to increase public awareness of the Australian automotive industry.
The conferring of an SAE-A award signifies that the recipient organisation is a leader in its field.