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Car reviews - Ford - Falcon - XT sedan


19 Dec 2002

AT THE heart of the Barra Falcon lies a radically updated version of Ford's faithful straight six for the 21st century. The new engine still cranks into life slowly and has a familiar gravelly sound under load, but that's where the similarities with its 32-year-old predecessor end.

Now featuring a twin-camshaft alloy cylinder-head with four valves per cylinder, the freer breathing powerplant also benefits from variable camshaft timing over a range of 60 degrees (previously only two-stage) for both the inlet and exhaust camshafts.

The result is a higher revving engine - the rev limiter has been raised from 5700rpm to 6000rpm - and more power and torque than the two-valve six it replaces, right across the range.

Producing a class-leading 182kW of power at 5000rpm - some 30kW more than Commodore's V6 - and an impressive 380Nm of torque at 3250rpm, Falcon's new 24-valve engine sets new benchmarks for an Australian six-cylinder engine.

Standard in XT, Futura, Fairmont and Fairmont Ghia, the hot new six retains its 4.0-litre displacement and long-stroke 92.26 x 99.31mm cylinder dimensions, and also forms the basis of the giant-killing XR6 Turbo engine.

Revised from top to bottom, the new six also features new combustion chamber and port designs, an electronic throttle, coil-on-plug ignition, a single chain drive for the camshafts, coil-on-plug ignition, a crank-mounted oil pump, sump refinements and three new hydraulic engine mounts. Failsafe Cooling protection and the Smart Start ignition lock-out systems continue.

In combination with a sophisticated and unobtrusive new traction control system, the reponsive new engine raises basic Falcon performance to new heights safely and with impressive refinement.

Of course, in concert with a significant weight increase, the more powerful new engine does use more fuel than Commodore (a claimed 11.5 litres per 100km versus 10 on the city cycle), but we'd gladly pay the difference to experience the substantial benefits Falcon's new engine delivers in terms of performance, driveability, emissions and noise, vibration and harshness.

Did you know?

Some 305 Ford dealers were linked to the Blue Oval's satellite-based Fordstar training service at the BA launch

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