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Is This Ford's Next Rear-Drive Sedan?

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While Ford continues to plot its future vehicle plans, it seems increasingly likely that the company will add a new rear-drive sedan to its lineup. Our spies spotted two prototypes for the next Ford Falcon testing in the Detroit area--and we're hearing rumblings from inside Dearborn that an Aussie-derived four-door is indeed in the plan for the American market.

This is our closest, most detailed look yet at Ford's potential answer to the Pontiac G8. Whether Ford will actually follow through and offer the Falcon in the U.S. is an open question, according to some recent reports, but the prevalence of test mules in Dearborn seems to be growing. Several media outlets have reported that Ford plans to bring development of a new RWD platform from Australia, back to the U.S. due to currency exchange rate concerns.

With a newly minted RWD component set ready to drop in the guise of the new Falcon, it would seem to makes sense for Ford to adopt as much of this architecture as possible, to save costs--but Ford may have other plans in mind. The new platform could potentially underpin future Lincolns, the next-generation Mustang, and a new Crown Vic replacement inspired by the Ford Interceptor Concept.

Stay tuned for more on the rear-drive Fords. Meanwhile, you can see more of these Falcon shots in our high-resolution photo galleries.--KGP Photography
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Comments (13)
  1. SHO??? Have not been impressed with any production sedan from Ford since my '94 SHO, I've been waiting for them to put that 4.4L Yamaha built V8 from the Volvo's into something a little more rear-wheel drive, nascar style, manual shifting, everyday driver.
     
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  2. You're reading way too much into these pictures. Ford has always had a wide array of their products from all around the world driving around Dearborn. Hang around Dearborn long enough and you'll see any number of Fords that are not sold here and won't be. There are a number of parking lots where they can be seen and photographed at almost any time!
    Those two Falcons may be here for executive awareness, for help with emissions or crash testing (two things that Dearborn has done more extensively than Australia can), to test future developments of existing or new engines (we know the Aussies will get the Ecoboost twin-turbo V-6 for the Falcon in ~2 years, and a replacement for ye olde 5.4 is certainly coming up), or they may be here for benchmarking.
    As for the "new" Falcon that is currently being rolled out in Australia, it's not so much "new" as it is a "top-hat" refresh, to the same extent that next year’s F-150 is. This isn't a new chassis at all, and it's certainly not what would be ideal in a future world-wide and world-class rear wheel drive chassis. It's severely dated, it has issues, and it certainly won't match or exceed crash requirements here or in Europe. And look at that front overhang - indicative of a far-forward engine (compare and contrast that point to the G8, for example). So whatever the new platform is, it's not this platform and these shots aren't even of a mule of any new platform.
    Don't get me wrong - I admire what the Australians have done with this car. They have a great bunch of people, both in Ford and Holden. They've managed to keep a line of cars going against the odds, and even improved them dramatically and added sporting models to the lineup as well. I have some major reservations about Ford moving their rear wheel drive development to Dearborn. Dearborn has shown they can do it with the DEW-98, but they haven't shown that they can keep it moving forward - much less sustain what they had.
    IMHO, what's needed is a worldwide platform built to the same strategy as Nissan's "FM". World-class engineering, built to be used in different widths and lengths, able to accommodate the future engine lineup, and spreading costs of the expensive platform bits around several different product lines. The DEW was nearly that, most of the bits were right on, but they didn't tackle the cost issue and carrying Jaguar was just one reason for the end of it.
    So we all share the wishful thinking for Ford to get on with a new and world-class rear wheel drive platform, but what's shown in the pictures is not it.
    -Jeff
    www.DrivingEnthusiast.net
     
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  3. As Mr Fisher noted, with all that nose overhang and the rearward position of the front wheels, that picture is not a rear-drive vehicle. Of course, the Fox platform had a mile of nose overhang and well-set-back front wheels, but I can't imagine Ford making that mistake again.

    The Australian Falcon platform isn't perfect. Very true. But it's very good, over the road (especially in turbo-six form, not carrying 650lb of godawful 5.4 mod-motor over the front wheels) it works pretty much as well as the best of the Germans. And the Aussies- both Holden and Ford - make the best seats anywhere; the big Aussie sedans are probably the best thousand-mile-a-day cars in the world. Last trip to Australia I had a 385HP Falcon GT rental for a week or so around Melbourne, exchanged that for a Camry to drive up to Sydney - it was like going from an F-22 to a wheelbarrow.

    The DEW98 is a tragic story, the Lincoln LS is really the only good RWD design Ford's done in the US since, well...ever. But it was designed as Ford's Euro-market exec car, and was probably too good (and too expensive, with all its aluminum) for the US market. And will we ever find out who was responsible for the gross stupidity at Jaguar - they got the S-type out the door, but rather than the obvious and necessary steps of quickly and cheaply spinning larger and smaller DEW98 variants they went off and did the aluminum XJ (great idea, wrong time, too late to market, too much capital to develop and the resulting design is a bit, ahem, matronly) and the X-type (thereby tanking the Jag image in the marketplace for a decade, firing is too good for whoever thought this car was a good idea, physical battery is necessary.)
     
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  4. Well I'm hoping that this does mean something. I hope that Ford is testing the Aussie here in the states, thinking for our market. The "new" Falcon may not be all "new", but the new one sure is a hot car. I believe that this would be a fantastic move for Ford. Have the yanks do some of the engineering and help out the Aussies, then market the car here as well!
     
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  5. Which side was their steering wheels on? If they were LHD it might confirm FoA are planning exports, but if these cars are RHD we wouldn't know if FoA are going to export the Falcon or not yet.
     
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  6. JWFisher,
    How can you write in such an authorative manner yet be sooo wrong.
    The new Falcon is just that, over 90% new, with only minor componentry such as seat bases and ignition key bezels carried over.
    It is much more than a "top hat" - that speculation is way out of date. The underpinnings (chassis) is 80% new components, with most of the carry over being the superb IRS rear end.
    Your ascetion that the Falcon doesn't or won't meet USA or Europe crash standards, how about 5 stars? This is a safer car than the Commodore (G8), or Camry. BTW the old model, the basic structure of which dates back to 1998 was equal to the G8 & Camry for safety.

    Jem, sorry but yes that is the RWD Aussie Falcon. The large front overhang is as a result of the excelent crash protection and the large 4.0 L inline straight 6 cyl engine. Expect to see some inches shaved off the front end in 2012 when the V6 is dropped in.
     
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  7. You blokes don't know how good the Ford Falcon is that was designed here in Australia.
    The current model (not the one in the photo) is better than the Pontiac G8 (the Holden Commodore) and it is about to be replaced with the car in the photo. This car runs a 4 litre straight six with twin cams and variable timing and intake. It is hooked up to a 5 or 6 speed auto and will probbly do the standing 400m (quarter mile) in about 15.4 seconds. It has a Control blade independant rear suspension and an aluminium component slas front suspension with a forward mounted rack. These cars will corner as good as any european rwd sedan. There is a Turbo version which pumps out 270kw/530nm and has launch control in the 6 speed manual version. The 5.4litre v8 is a hybrid version of the mustang 4.6 and the Triton 5.4 and this motor is a quad cam v8 pumping out 290kw and will put out about 320kw in the FPV version (Like a Shelby version).
    This car will leave any sedan you yanks make for dead and the new boss of Ford said in a recent visit that this was the best car he had ever driven.
    There is also a SUV based on the components that are in the Falcon called the Territory that handles and rides better than the BMW X5, Mazda CX9 and Mercedes ML and is such an impressive design that it won the local Car of the year for its impressive design.
    Ford in the US wouldn't be in such trouble as it is and having to sell Jaguar and Land rover if they pulled their heads out of their proverbial if they opened their eyes and and looked at the opportunities to use such impressive designs in their local market.
     
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  8. JEM, I can confirm that the Falcon shown there is indeed a rear wheel drive. Reason for the long front overhang stems from the inline 4.0 litre six cylinder engine fitted - its quite a long motor and as such requires a lot of room. There's no way anyone in their right mind would design a car that big, with that much power with FWD... except for in the US perhaps...

    The model was recently launched in Australia to go on sale shortly. It has been majorly updated and is quoted by Ford as being 80% new, with only the chassis staying relatively untouched. It's far more than a "top-hat" according to Ford, with a fully new interior, improved safety, all new suspension, drivetrains and improvements in crash safety. Track and wheelbase is extended and the front suspension is an all-new all aluminium unit that saves 20kg per car. It's a double-pivot front setup, very similar to what's used in BMW's to virtually extend the front track and make the car handle like it has an even wider track.

    Safety wise, it's being touted as the safest Australian car ever built, which means safer than the Commodore (Pontiac G8). The G8 still only manged to score 4 stars in the ANCAP (Aussie version of NCAP) and it's heavily rumoured that Falcon will be a solid 5 star car, meaning it will more than match the international competition. Still, until the results are actually released, this remains unproven.

    The rear is a fully independet Control-Blade rear, just like in Focus and Jaguar XJ. Well proven and something Mustang sadly missed out on getting. Mustang didn't have the room to fit the IRS and unfortunately ran with a live rear to both minimse cost and maximise space.

    Just a couple of things to clarify!
     
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  9. Mr Fisher,

    You are obviously not Australian and have never driven even the outdated BF Falcon, otherwise you would realise your comments regarding the Falcon platform have little merit.
    As for 'Top-Hat' refresh similar to that of the F-150.. don't make me laugh mate, the car is basically all new, and when you see one in the metal, I think you will see that for yourself.
    Front overhang.. looks a lot worse in the pictures... extent of the overhang is not apparent or even a concern after seeing it in the motor show.

    JEM,
    That picture is of a Rear Drive car.. overhang is overstated by the camouflage.
     
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  10. The front over hang isn't really that bad. now that we've seen it uncovered, it's not as bad as the covered up "Orion's" are like (like this one).

    JW Fisher...
    Before this was unveiled to Australia, we all thought the FG Falcon would just be a sheet metal and interior update along with engine updates. When it was unveiled, it turned out to be 80-90% new. Not clean sheet, but still a much more significant update than we first thought. So where you got your info from was speculation from before it was unveiled.

    You say, "It’s severely dated, it has issues"

    As I said, it's newer than first thought. And what are the issues? The only issue with the platform I can think of is the weight.

    You also said, "it certainly won’t match or exceed crash requirements here or in Europe"

    Why not? The out-going model ("the severely dated one") has the SAME crash test rating as the Pontiac G8 you get, it can pass safety standards for US, so the Falcon could too. Not only can it match crash requirements in your country, this new model Falcon has now had significant safety upgrades to it.
     
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  11. WAY too cool... Ford'll never do it. But I guess I can still dream....
     
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  12. JWFisher, I too am from the US of A, but no-one can take you seriously as a car enthusiast if you don't know about the Aussie built Falcon from down under and how much of a more classy and refined drive it is compared to anything we get from Ford US!!

    If you had read about the new "FG" model, you would see that only a very small part is carried over - and what has been carried over obviously didn't need to be changed, (I.e. heater box, etc)

    A lot of your comments come across as ignorant - sorry.
     
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  13. I wish they would bring this car to the US - inline 6 and all. That's it, I'm moving to Australia!
     
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