Fewer Falcons for farewell edition

FORD will shrink its Falcon sedan line-up as it prepares to wind down more than half a century of Australian manufacturing, the car maker has revealed.

A detailed list of the changes that the FGX Falcon range will introduce as the car maker counts down to its late 2016 exit from building cars tailored for the Australian market – but excluding details for the V8-engined model – show that while the XT badge makes way for an entry-level fleet-buyer special named simply “Falcon”, the G6-badged car tailored as an entry point for mum and dad buyers has gone.

Of note, Ford has finally confirmed that the entire Falcon range will update its eight-inch multimedia touchscreen to include SYNC2, a voice-controlled system that can adjust everything from the air conditioning to a linked smartphone, as well as phone emergency services after a serious crash.

It even can function as a wireless hotspot, sharing a smartphone’s internet connection with up to four separate devices.

While “Falcon” will replace the XT badge, and G6 is consigned to history, the richer FGX range will keep the G6E and G6E Turbo badges for more refined models, as well as the more sports-honed XR6 and XR6 Turbo badges shared with the Falcon Ute range.

However, the Falcon range will also resurrect the XR8 badge for one final run, coinciding with the cull of the Ford Performance Vehicles division either late this month or early in October after the last GT-F model rolls off the car maker’s Broadmeadows-based production line.

The richer, but smaller, Falcon range will include front and rear parking sensors that bend around the front and rear bumpers as standard, with the front ones triggered using a “park aid” button mounted on the dash.

The entire range also adds a reversing camera for the first time, with active guides that show where the car would move according to the steering angle of the front wheels, making backing into a shopping centre car park much easier. It includes a zooming function that shows a close-up of the area directly behind the car.

The Falcon will also become the first Australian-made car to feature digital radio as part of its standard fit-out.

Under the bonnet, buyers will be able to tick the box for carryover drivetrains that include the 195kW/391Nm 4.0-litre four-speed, a 176kW/340Nm turbo 2.0-litre four-cylinder, or an LPG-burning 198kW/409Nm version of the six, as well as the as-yet unrevealed V8, which is expected to produce about 335kW.

The base Falcon, sitting on 16-inch alloys, will add projector beam headlights and LED tail-lights, while the G6E sits on either 18- or 19-inch alloys and adds L-shaped LED daytime running lights, new-look fog-lamps, and rain-sensing wipers for the first time.

All are paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.

In contrast to the G6E-badged cars, the sportier XR6 will use W-shaped LED daytime running lights.

Ford’s updated Falcon range is expected to go on sale later this year, with details of the V8-engined XR8 and pricing across the range expected to be revealed soon.

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