2017 Ford GT Preview

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2018
The Car Connection
2018
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Kirk Bell Kirk Bell Editor
April 24, 2017

The 2017 Ford GT promises to be a driver's car with the racing pedigree and racing technology to put it among the most elite of today's supercars. Only a lucky few will ever sit behind the wheel.

The 2017 Ford GT is the brand's limited-edition supercar and the most advanced car the Blue Oval has ever built. It's the second generation of the GT, following on the 2005-2007 original, and it is the spiritual successor to the Ford GT40 of the 1960s. Ford will only build 250 cars per year for up to four years.

Built by the Canadian firm Multimatic, the 2017 Ford GT features a mid-engine layout, a carbon fiber tub, carbon fiber body panels, and aluminum front and rear subframes. The suspension geometry is a race-inspired long-arm, short-arm setup with the springs and dampers located longitudinally in-board instead of horizontally at the corners.

The wheels are 20 inches in diameter and Ford offers them in either forged aluminum or carbon fiber; the tires are Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s. Carbon ceramic brakes provide the stopping power.

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The engine is a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 that spins up 647 horsepower and 550 pound-feet of torque. Power flows through a 7-speed dual-clutch transaxle to the rear wheels. The V-6 uses both port and direct injection, but it doesn't deliver the Eco that Ford's corporate name implies; fuel economy is a very thirsty 11 mpg city, 18 highway.

Ford offers five drive modes for the GT: Normal, Sport, Track, Wet, and V-Max. Each mode adjusts the settings for the throttle, traction control, electronic stability control, suspension damping, active aerodynamics, and ride height. V-Max is meant for going as fast as possible all the way up to the car's top speed of 217 mph.

The teardrop shape of the GT's body was inspired by an airplane fuselage, and the body is replete with ducts and vents to channel air to vital systems and around the car efficiently. In fact, air flows through portions of the body to increase stability and improve aerodynamics. These areas include the buttresses found on the rear quarter panel area and the duct-like portions on the hood, which provide a pathway for air from the front grille. The GT also uses active aerodynamics, with active grille shutters up front and a rear spoiler that raises and tilts. In addition, the GT's adjustable ride height affects its aerodynamics.

Inside, the 2017 Ford GT seats only two on carbon fiber-framed Sparco seats. It features a tilt/telescoping Formula 1-style steering wheel with shift paddles and no stalks to get in the way of performance driving. It does have a new digital display with custom screens for each of the car's five drive modes, as well as active noise cancellation. Ford's Sync 3 infotainment system with a 6.5-inch touchscreen and a navigation system are also included.

The 2017 Ford GT isn't offered in models, per se, but two special edition versions are available. A limited number of '66 Heritage Editions commemorate Ford's win at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans. These cars are painted Shadow Black with Silver Stripes and Frozen White #2 hood and door graphics. They have gold-colored aluminum wheels, and Ebony leather upholstery with blue seat-belt webbing.

Also available is the Competition Series, which is an especially track-focused version of an already track-bred car. The Competition Series makes several changes to cut weight. It comes without air conditioning, a radio, speakers, cupholders, or storage bins. It has a lighter, race-inspired Perspex acrylic engine hatch cover with a manual latch and a carbon fiber prop. The bulkhead behind the driver is Gorilla Glass, making it about half as thick as it is in other GTs. Equipment that saves weight and would otherwise be optional is standard. That includes the carbon fiber wheels, titanium lug nuts, and titanium exhaust system. Other changes are cosmetic. They include Ebony Alcantara suede on the seats, instrument panel, and headliner; exposed carbon fiber on the center console, registers, and door sills; and anodized red finishes on the paddle shifters and on an instrument panel badge. On the outside, it gets carbon fiber for the racing stripes, A-pillars, and side mirrors, plus exposed carbon fiber lower body trim in a matching gloss finish.

As for safety features, Ford hasn't mentioned them, though the car does have a rearview camera. As for other safety equipment, it will likely have only what's mandated by law and perhaps no more.

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