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Car reviews - Ford - Falcon - Fairmont Ghia V8 sedan


22 Nov 2002

A KEY component of the BA Falcon upgrade is the new Control Blade independent rear suspension, which has been adopted across the range.

On paper, the move finally sees the Blue Oval's pride and joy on a level pegging with Commodore, which has had standard IRS since the introduction of VT in 1997.

But Falcon's multi-link Control Blade system is significantly more sophisticated than Commodore's trailing arm arrangement, which scored an additional toe control arm with the VXII upgrade in 2001.

Control Blade's name refers to the suspension system's dominant feature - a longitudinal trailing arm with a large plush bush at one end - whose key function is to improve ride comfort and reduce road noise transmission, while allowing the lateral links to define toe and camber.

The arrangement effectively isolates the handling components of the suspension from the road noise and impact harshness components.

The Control Blade IRS is lighter than the previous double wishbone set-up featured in the XR6 VCT, XR8 and high-series variants, but heavier than the live axle system previously employed in the lower level cars - which explains the greater weight increase experienced by the XT, Futura and XR6 against the other variants.

Fairmont Ghia comes standard with its own exclusive suspension specification, Sports IRS - just one of four levels of Control Blade suspension tune. Comprising a slightly lower ride height, revised shock absorber valving, stiffer springs, larger anti-roll bars and larger 17-inch wheels than the 16-inch wheel/Standard IRS found on XT, Futura and Fairmont.

Sports IRS is optional on XT, Futura and Fairmont, though Tickford IRS is esclusive to XR sedans and Heavy Duty Suspension is a limited XT sedan option.

Did you know?

Barra Falcon road tests were carried out on three continents - Australia, North America and Europe - with suspension tuning conducted at the famous Nurburgring racetrack in Germany

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