Ford reveals it hasn’t stopped at the engines when developing its send-off Falcons.
THE last models to ever wear the Ford Falcon badge in Australia – the Falcon XR6 Sprint and Falcon XR8 Sprint – will feature revised suspension, grippier tyres and unique styling tweaks.
The XR6 Sprint gets a potent 325kW/576Nm version of the XR6 Turbo’s 4.0-litre inline six-cylinder engine, making it the most powerful six-cylinder to ever emerge from Australia.
But it’s the carbon fibre air intake that engineers are most proud of, apparently creating a better performance feel.
The carbonfibre intake was developed in conjunction with Melbourne supplier Premcar and will be produced by Quickstep Automotive.
The XR6 Sprint’s output is 15kW more than the 310kW produced by the old FPV F6. Many (wrongly) believed Ford would simply slot the F6’s engine into the Sprint.
After 56 years of local production, the Falcon nameplate is getting a 345kW send-off in the form of the V8-powered XR8 Sprint.
The 5.0-litre supercharged engine was a “special project” that involved an extensive development program as part of Ford’s $300 million R&D spend in 2015.
The V8’s 345kW/575Nm output gives it a modest 10kW boost over regular XR8s but sits 6kW below the 351kW output of the GT-F, the last of the FPV Falcons that was launched in 2014. Ford always claimed that GT-F would be the most powerful locally produced Ford, although until now we didn’t know it would be the only car to get that 351kW tune.
However, there’s even more power available from the Sprints. Both engines have a transient overboost function for short higher-output bursts: in the XR6 it peaks at 380kW/660Nm and in the XR8 400kW/650Nm.
The Falcon Sprints will also get a unique suspension tune teamed with 19-inch Pirelli P-Zero tyres, sad to bring handling benefits and reduce stopping distances.
Complementing the new suspension, the XR6 Sprint also picks up the XR8’s wider rear tyres, helping tame its massive torque.
Visual changes to the Sprints are minimal, and surprisingly understated. The massive gold-painted Brembo calipers are the biggest give-away: they’re the same six-piston fronts and four-piston rears used on the FPV GT-F, the last of the Falcon GTs.
Bumpers and panels are unchanged – although the fog-light surrounds within have changed – leaving the new rear lip spoiler and black 19-inch wheels to do most of the talking.
The chrome strip across the boot has been painted body colour and the XR6 Sprint picks up the XR8’s wing mirrors with built-in indicators.
It also gets a hockey-stick graphic from the rear wheel arches to the tail-lights, while the XR8 gets a unique black sticker across all four doors, as well as a painted black roof and matching black lip spoiler.
The XR6 Sprint continues with a single large oval exhaust and the XR8 with its quad pipes and bulging bonnet.
Inside, there’s a smattering of Sprint badges, including on the scuff plates, and the seats are a mix of Alcantara and leather.
Just 1400 Sprints will be produced, with 150 going to New Zealand, leaving 500 XR6s and 750 XR8s for Australian Ford faithful to fight over.
The auto-only XR6 Sprint costs $54,990 – $9300 more than regular XR6s, which will continue only for police purchases – while the XR8 Sprint is $59,990 for a manual and $62,190 for an auto. That’s $6500 more than the regular XR8.
Both Sprint models will hit Ford showrooms in May.
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