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New Falcon: Ford on a power trip

Power of six: Ford's 4.0-litre six-cylinder engine has been boosted to 182kW in normally-aspirated form and a massive 240kW as a turbo.

Redesigned twin cam six-cylinder, fire-breathing turbocharged six and alloy 5.4-litre V8 headline BA Falcon's all-new engine line-up

6 Sep 2002

FORD'S BA Falcon will feature the most advanced straight six in the Ford world, while a high-tech homegrown turbocharged six and world-first all-alloy 5.4-litre V8 will lift Falcon performance to lofty new heights.

Released to the media last week at Ford's engine plant in Geelong to underline the fact the 4.0-litre six is designed, developed and manufactured locally, five new engines are the headline acts of an all-new powertrain line-up for Ford's $500 million Barra Falcon.

The new 24-valve straight six will give Falcon an even bigger performance edge over Commodore in the six-cylinder market, while a 240kW turbo version will see the BA XR6 out-power Holden's supercharged Commodore S and even the V8-powered SS.

Of course there's also a dedicated LPG version, known as E-Gas, while even bigger news awaits Falcon V8 customers. A SOHC, 24-valve version of the 5.4-litre V8 producing 220kW will be optional across the range and standard in the likes of LTD, while a DOHC, 32-valve version producing a massive 260kW will propel XR8.

Each engine in the new range, known as Barra, comprises multi valves, overhead cams, an electronic throttle, coil-on-plug ignition and variable valve timing (except for the XR8 engine, which is known as the Boss 260). And there's more Ford firsts in the Barra 240T's turbocharging and intercooling.

"It's important to do this (engine reveal) down here (the engine plant) because this is where the guys who designed the engines are and the guys who are going to make it are," said Ford president Geoff Polites.

"So it's pretty symbolic for us and it's actually the easiest way for you to get at the real experts on their home ground.

"What I want to stress is the kilowatts that we're going to come out with - and they're not bad - are not our end game. Our end game was how do we get the best possible car we can, how do we get the best possible engine we can, and the kilowatts will be what the kilowatts will be.

"Having said that, the headline numbers will be impressive. They'll also be really genuine numbers. We have a very strict test process that the engineers go through that results in the fallout kilowatt number. This is not some marketing number, this is a genuine outcome rather than a preferred result.

"We sometimes get maligned because we've got an I6 and V seems to be the in word. What we've got is a really great I6 engine and it's an I6 engine we're really proud of'. We're proud of what we started with, we are even prouder of what we're going to talk to you about today.

"We're also going to show you the V8s - we've done significant input into the V8sand the base V8 engine is an all new engine - and this will be the first application of this engine anywhere in the world.

"So not only are we showing you quite clearly the most advanced inline six engine in the Ford world, since we've done it, we're also going to show you the most advanced V8 engine in the Ford world.

"We've been involved in the V8 engine quite clearly since we're the lead user. Our people have been intimately involved with the US engineers on the development trail, and so what we've got is a combination of really hard work by a really dedicated team."

Barra 182:

FIRST up is the Barra 182, a fully revised four-valve/DOHC incarnation of Ford's faithful 4.0-litre iron-block inline six-cylinder. It delivers more power and torque, better fuel economy, lower emissions, reduced noise and greater reliability.

It produces an astonishing 182kW of peak power at 5000rpm in base form - more than Falcon's current base V8, an increase of 25kW on the outgoing standard six and 30kW, or 20 per cent, more power than the VX II Commodore - plus a healthy 380Nm of torque at 3250rpm. That's up 23Nm on the AU's six and a massive 75Nm more than Holden's V6.

Starting life as Ford's trusty iron-block 4.0-litre six, the new engine features a twin cam, 24-valve alloy cylinder-head, a dual resonance inlet manifold, dual-VCT infinitely variable camshaft timing from Japan, coil-on-plug ignition, failsafe cooling, drive-by-wire throttle, a next generation powertrain control module, a new crank-mounted oil pump and a roller finger follower valvetrain from Ford's Duratec engine.

Together, they allow the revitalised six to breathe better, rev harder and deliver more power. The Duratec's roller finger valvetrain was selected for its low friction, high durability attributes, while coil-on-plug ignition negates the need for high-tension leads and the two-stage intake manifold provides a more direct intake charge above 3800rpm.

The new generation Dual VCT system, which replaces the current helical system with a vein-type system for more instant response and operates over a range from 10 degrees advance to 48 degrees retard, delivers performance as well as fuel economy at part throttle. The Barra 182 complies with next year's Euro II emissions laws.

The result of the most extensive engine development program in 40 years is a weight gain of 1.5 to 2kg, about six per cent better fuel economy and substantially more power and torque across the entire rev-range, which has been increased from 5700 to 6000rpm.

Meantime, the electronic throttle improves driveability and NVH, plus allows torque control management for various applications like rev limiting, failsafe cooling, cruise control and traction control.

A super-stiff new cylinder-head extends reliability, the modified sump delivers better oil pick up for the dual VCT camshaft phasers and three new hydraulic engine mounts improve NVH transmission.

"Performance, refinement, economy and reliability were the four things we focussed on," engine design supervisor Dave Mitchell said of the new base six.

"In terms of performance, the two fundamental things we targeted for delivering customer benefit were to lift the power output and to extend the useable range of the engine.

"That's been delivered through four-valve technology, offering better breathing through the cylinder head, the Dual VCT optimising the cam position throughout the speed range, the two-length intake manifold and many other aspects."


LIKE the dedicated LPG engine that appeared with the AU Falcon in 1999, Ford's new E-Gas engine, wearing a green rocker cover instead of the Barra 182's grey, employs all of the new base six-cylinder's technology in a fully integrated dedicated-LPG package.

Featuring hardened valves and valve seats, new engine calibration, a compression ratio of 10.7:1 (up from the AU engine's 9.65) and upgraded installation via new tanks and hosing, the E-Gas engine produces 156kW at 4750rpm and 372Nm of torque at just 3000rpm.

Dispensing with all petrol system components, E-Gas vehicles feature a dedicated LPG fuel gauge and distance-to-empty read-out, and are said to be less complex, lighter and cheaper. New tank sizes measure 93 litres for sedan, 116 litres in wagon and 92 litres for ute.

Barra 240T:

BARRA 182 provided the perfect base upon which Ford could build the ultimate forced-induction six-pack and provide XR with turbocharged power for the first time.

Known as the Barra 240T, the turbocharged and intercooled six employs a Garrett GT40(!) water-cooled ball-bearing turbo with a maximum of 6psi or 0.4bar boost, air-to-air intercooler, 8.7:1 compression, Inconel exhaust valves, a stainless steel exhaust manifold, dished piston, higher fuel pressure and different Dual VCT calibration.

Revealed exclusively by GoAuto back in April, 2001, the turbo six produces a big 240kW at 5250rpm and a storming 450Nm of torque from just 2000rpm - enough to gazump both Holden's supercharged Commodore S and the V8 Commodore SS. At this stage 240T is slated for exclusive use in the XR6, which is likely to have a similar power-to-weight ratio to XR8.

Ford says responsiveness was paramount in developing the 240T, and that the result is an extremely flat torque curve with very little lag.

Ford has also paid attention to anti-tampering devices to prevent modification of the turbo, while reliability testing of all new engines is said to have included a 600-hour high-speed cycle test and exceeded the equivalent of 10 years or 150,000km.

Barra 220:

FORD engineers admit the Mustang's 4.6-litre DOHC V8 was the most obvious choice when it came to replacing the retired cast-iron Windsor V8 for duty in the BA Falcon.

But it didn't meet their power and torque requirements as well as the new 5.4-litre V8, an engine built in Ford's Windsor plant in Canada that will make its international production debut in Falcon.

In base 220kW form - available optionally across the Falcon range - the Barra 220 features a SOHC/three-valve cylinder head and intake and exhaust manifold developed and specified by Ford Australia.

Like the six, the base 250kg V8 employs Dual VCT, a roller finger follower valvetrain, electronic throttle, coil-on-plug ignition and, for the first time on a Falcon V8, failsafe cooling.

The result is 220kW at 4750rpm and 470Nm of torque at 3250rpm - figures that make Ford's new base V8 as powerful as the outgoing range-topper and likely to be about 15kW short of the VY Commodore's base V8.

Boss 260:

FORD's top-rung V8, for now, is the Boss 260. At this stage exclusive to XR8, the 260kW engine has undergone considerably more changes than the Barra 220, all aimed at continuing the previous Windsor V8's low-speed torque.

Featuring a high-rise Tickford intake manifold - so high it necessitates a bonnet bulge - the Boss 260 gets a derivative of the Cobra R's manifold, with 13 per cent bigger inlet valves and 16 per cent bigger exhaust valves than Tickford's current 220kW range-topping Windsor. In all, the top-end, manifold and cooling changes are said to represent 20 per cent local input.

There's also 9.5:1 compression, an electronic throttle, stainless steel exhaust extractors, coil-on-plug ignition and Cobra's inlet cams. Like the Barra 220, Boss 260 will run on standard unleaded fuel, although claimed figures were recorded using PULP.

Wider and taller than the Barra 220, the Boss produces no less than 400Nm of torque from 2000rpm, plus a peak of 260kW at 5250rpm and a stump-puling 500Nm of torque at 42500rpm - figures that should see the XR8 accelerate to 100km/h in less than 14 seconds.


FORD also used the opportunity to reveal a new transmission line-up for BA Falcon, including the Sequential Sports Shifter that will become standard on all automatic Falcons.

Developed in conjunction with Albury-based transmission supplier BTR, Ford's proven adaptive four-speed automatic transmission now comes standard with a manual shift gate with three modes.

In Drive mode, the transmission behaves as before, using five shift programs to adapt to the driver's needs based on part-throttle inputs. In the BMW-like Performance mode, selected by pushing the shift lever to the left from Drive, the transmission automatically disables fourth gear to give more responsive acceleration.

Finally, in manual mode, selected by pushing the shift lever forward or backward, the transmission can be manually operated by pushing forward to downchange or pulling backward to upchange.

Meanwhile, all manual V8 Barra models will employ the Tremec 3650 five-speed as seen in the 250kW T3, while all six-cylinder engines - including the 240T - will be mated to Falcon's current T5 five-speed manual.

"This program was all about delivering the total definition of what performance means," said vice-president of product development Trevor Worthington.

"So in order to make it an 'and' program rather than an 'or' program, we've really stretched the boundaries in terms of the tools the global Ford has to offer and the technology that the global Ford has to offer.

"The work for the six-cylinder powertrain was all led here, but significant involvement around the Ford world using analytical tools, physical testing and technical experts from around the Ford world, have helped us enormously with the powertrains and it's something that we're obviously proud of.

"A major key focus for the BA program was to make it more of a driver's car, that is you get into the car and drive it and say that is a fun car there's lots for me in it the driver," he said.


Power: 156kW @ 4750rpm
Torque: 372Nm @ 3000rpm
Application: optional in XT and Futura onlyBarra 182:
Power: 182kW @ 5000rpm
Torque: 380Nm @ 3250rpm
Application: standard in XT through Fairlane Barra 220:
Power: 220kW @ 4750rpm
Torque: 470Nm @ 3250rpm
Application: optional for all six-cylinder FalconsBarra 240T:
Power: 240kW @ 4750rpm
Torque: 450Nm @ 2000rpm
Application: XR6 onlyBoss 260:
Power: 260kW @ 5250rpm
Torque: 500Nm @ 4250rpm
Application: XR8 only

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