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AV: Ford's techno triumph

Impressionist: Graphic artist NORM ROBINSON's image of the AV Falcon.

A Euro look will grace the AV Falcon and there'll be no shortage of performance

9 Jul 2001

FORD'S AV Falcon will be Australia's most technologically advanced locally designed vehicle when it is released around September next year.

A heavily reworked version of the base 4.0-litre SOHC Intech six-cylinder, a turbocharged six and at least three tiered versions of an all-new 5.4-litre, quad cam V8 are expected to power the heavily re-designed, European-look Falcon for 2002.

As our computer generated image shows, the signed-off new-look design is expected to retain the AU's swooping roofline and passenger cell, but adds a higher, longer bonnet, front-end styling from the R5 concept ute, bulging Audi-style wheel arches, a deep shoulder crease and a squared-off, Audi A6-like rear-end.

Ford officials have also flagged AV's ability to be more than a performance match for Holden's VY Commodore, expected to appear around September, 2002.

"It's one thing to catch up, but we want to slap them around the ears a little," the Ford program manager - special vehicle operations, Gordon Barfield, said.

"We don't like being where we are and we're going to get a lot more aggressive by using the technology available to us to our best advantage." An integral part of that technology will be a new alloy V8 from Ford in the US which, like Holden's 5.7-litre pushrod Chevrolet V8, is expected to deliver three levels of performance.

Likely to produce as much as 240kW, the base version will power AV XR8s and will be optional across the range.

The tier two engine should deliver up to 275kW and will be reserved for T-Series sedans and utes, while a range-topping 300kW 5.4 is likely to power Tickford's GT sports sedan.

Tickford is also developing a turbocharged version of its trusty 4.0-litre six that will be able to produce in excess of 230kW to power its premium sedans and the XR6.

"The six-cylinder market is our bread and butter but we have to look after a second tier of performance, for Fairmont-type buyers," Mr Barfield said.

"Our aim here is driveability not output." The blown six will be more than a match for Holden's 171kW supercharged V6 but base versions of The General's venerable pushrod six-cylinder - which won't be replaced by an all-new, locally-built quad cam V6 for VY Commodore before 2004 - will also receive stiff competition from a new development of Ford's basic six-cylinder.

AV Falcons are undergoing durability and dyno testing at Ford's You Yangs proving ground and the existence of IRS-equipped wagons indicates the possibility of an IRS-equipped AV ute.

Meanwhile, the all-terrain recreational four-wheel drive Falcon codenamed Raptor and revealed in R5 concept twin-cab ute guise, is currently believed to be at clay modelling stage, and is said to resemble Volvo's Cross-Country.

Ford has HSV in its sights

FORD is two months away from releasing a fresh new T-Series range that will have the potential to out-perform every model in HSV's rival sports sedan line-up.

Last week's release of a 220kW XR8 puts Ford's flagship performance car on a similar footing to Holden's popular SS Commodore, but means Tickford's most powerful Windsor V8 is no longer exclusive to its FTE luxury sedan range.

Ford's answer lies in a facelifted T-Series range to be powered by a stroked 5.7-litre Windsor V8 packing around 260kW - enough to gazump HSV's current range of 255kW cars.

Sources indicate the new T-Series range is likely to include a 260kW Maloo-chasing Falcon ute, a 260kW limited edition 'Lowndes XR8' and even a 300kW-plus performance flagship, possibly badged a GT.

What's in store from Ford

September 2001 - Facelifted T-Series range:
260kW 5.7-litre TE/TS/TL50 sedans and utility
260kW 5.7-litre limited edition 'Lowndes XR8'
300kW GT September 2002 - New AV Falcon range:
160kW 4.0-litre SOHC 6cyl Forte/Futura/wagon
180kW 4.0-litre SOHC 6cyl LP turbo Fairmont/Ghia/Fairlane/XR6
230kW 4.0-litre DOHC 6cyl HP turbo XR6 (six-speed)
240kW 5.4-litre DOHC V8 Fairmont Ghia/Fairlane/XR8 and optional across range
275kW 5.4-litre DOHC V8 T-Series sedan/ute
300kW 5.4-litre GT

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