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Ford finally outs Falcon Sprint

Fast run: Ford's Falcon Sprint range includes the XR6 and XR8 with both gaining power and styling revisions over their regular siblings.

Just 1400 Ford Falcon Sprints will be built, with sales starting in May

Ford logo9 Feb 2016

By TIM NICHOLSON

FORD Australia has finally revealed details of its swansong Falcon Sprint range that will be headlined by a 345kW XR8 and sold in strictly limited numbers, when it arrives in showrooms this May.

Just 1400 Sprints will be produced before Ford winds up its Australian manufacturing operations in October this year, with 550 examples of the XR6 and 850 for the flagship XR8. New Zealand buyers won't miss out with 50 XR6s and 100 XR8s heading over the Tasman.

The auto only XR6 Turbo kicks off the Sprint range from $54,990 plus on-road costs and features a significant power and torque boost over its more sedate donor car of 55kW and 43Nm to 325kW at 6000rpm and 576Nm at 2750rpm.

Under the bulging bonnet of the $59,990 XR8 is an uprated version of the 5.0-litre Supercharged V8 producing 345kW at 5750rpm and 575Nm at 2220-6250rpm, which is an increase of 10kW/5Nm over the standard XR8.

Optioning the XR8 Sprint with a six-speed automatic transmission costs an extra $2200, pushing the price up to $62,190.

Ford Australia brand communications manager Neil McDonald highlighted the interest in the Sprint, but it remains unclear how many buyers have already put down a deposit with dealers.

“There has been an enormous amount of interest,” he said. “There has been a lot of speculation over the last 12 months, solidified in the last couple of months about the cars and their existence. We have been very happy with the response so far from our key enthusiasts.” Mr McDonald said the Sprint was an appropriate was to celebrate the Falcon and added that the variants have not been introduced to lift the long-standing model's flagging sales.

“I don't think that was even a consideration. What we wanted to do was to provide the best possible celebration and this is how the Sprint has eventuated.” Ford Australia says both versions include an overboost function that adds extra performance for up to 10 seconds, depending on variables, such as intake air temperature.

When activated in the XR6, power and torque lifts to 370kW/650Nm, while the XR8 can boost to 400kW/650Nm.

Mechanical changes to the XR6's 4.0-litre inline six-cylinder turbo include the addition of a larger intercooler, a unique transmission calibration, a new lower airbox, bespoke engine calibration and a new larger air intake system.

Ford engineers have also swapped in the turbo and injectors from the FPV F6 that was discontinued when the car-maker's Australian performance arm was shut down in 2014.

The XR6 is only available as a six-speed automatic, tweaked to cope with the extra power, while the auto in the XR8 uses the Falcon GT-F transmission calibration for “durable shift performance”. The XR8 is also available with a six-speed manual gearbox.

Pricing for the Sprint XR6 represents a $9300 lift over the regular version, while the XR8 is $6500 more than the less exclusive V8 falcon.

Unique exterior flourishes over the standard Falcons, starting with the XR6, include a new foglight surround with a cut-out vent in the bumper, Sprint badging on the rear and mudguards, a stripe decal on the side in signature hockey stick style to match the daytime running light design and Sprint scuff plates, while the indicator has moved to the exterior mirror.

It also gains black headlight bezels, a black rear spoiler, body coloured deck-lid Applique, black 19-inch alloy wheels, six-piston front and four-piston rear Brembo brakes in gold and a numbered build plate for each model located on the engine.

The XR8 also adds black door mirrors and a silhouette black painted roof for a more menacing look.

Inside, both variants feature a unique Sprint interior with special seat packaging of leather/lux suede trim, an auto-dimming mirror, a unique gear shifter assembly and surround, Sprint label on manual shifter, a gauge cluster with Sprint logo and an 'interior command centre' with dual-zone climate control and a 'high-series audio system on top of the Sync2 connectivity system.

Six colours are available for both variants, including Winter White, Smoke, Aero Blue, Silhouette, Kinetic and Victory Gold.

The Blue Oval says the Sprint development program was led by a team of Falcon Product Development specialists that are part of the Asia Pacific Product Development outfit based in Victoria. The development of the Sprint benefited from Ford's $300 million investment in research and development, according to the car-maker.

The Sprint name has been applied to special Falcons over the years, in both Australia and North America.

Ford Australia president and CEO Graeme Whickman praised the product development team for its efforts in bringing the Falcon Sprint to life and added that customers will appreciate the work that has gone into it.

“We’re excited to be able to offer our Falcon enthusiasts a car that truly represents the performance DNA of Ford,” he said.

“The Falcon chassis is recognised for its refined ride and fantastic balance but our dedicated product development engineers have taken the opportunity to further hone the Falcon’s dynamic package – ride, body control and performance of the six cylinder turbo and V8.

“We think customers will really appreciate the amount of dedication and work that’s gone into this limited-edition series.”2016 Ford Falcon Sprint pricing*
XR6 (a)$54,990
XR8$59,990
XR8 (a)$62,190
*Excludes on-road costs

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