Ford has unveiled the last of its go-faster Falcon XR8 models, this one a mix of what’s been good about the Australian-made range in recent years and where the carmaker is headed with its new global family face.
The XR8 sedan shows off Ford Australia’s interpretation of Ford’s design DNA, with an obvious link at the front end to the new Mustang and new Mondeo, both due in New Zealand next year. The refreshed XR6 also shows a slightly softened take on the DNA.
Both the XR6 and XR8 are down to go on sale in NZ in January/February next year after going into production in Melbourne in November. “We would love it if we could get them before Christmas, but that’s unlikely,” said Ford NZ corporate communications manager Tom Clancy.
The XR8 badge last appeared on the Falcon in 2010. “We’re very excited by the return of the XR8,’ said Ford Australia president and CEO Bob Graziano. “Our enthusiasts have been asking for it, so we’ve purposely revealed the Falcon XR6 and XR8 first.
“Quite simply, we think this is the best Falcon ever. I just couldn’t be more pleased with what the local team’s been able to accomplish – I’m really proud of them,” he said. Graziano’s ‘best Falcon ever’ is also the last Australian Falcon ever, before Ford Australia closes down its Melbourne plant in 2016.
Both cars showcase a signature trapezoidal grille, chiseled head lamp treatment and smoother, wrap-around tail-lights with LED technology, features that will appear across the refreshed 2014 Falcon range.
The Falcon’s exterior design chief Nima Nourian said the existing XR series provided a perfect canvas for the 2014 Falcon. “The challenge was delivering a powerful, yet premium look,” he said. “I’m proud of the fact that the new Falcon XR builds on an already distinctive design and yet delivers a whole new personality.”
The XR8 shares a more obvious link with the Mustang – a power dome that runs almost the length of the bonnet. Says Nourian: “The power dome expresses the car’s intention and for our XR8 customers, will be an instantly recognisable difference. This look is also found on the Mustang, so it’s perfectly in keeping with Ford’s V8 performance vehicles.” Complimenting the power dome is a sporty V8 exhaust note.
Ford has yet to confirm engines for the XR8 and XR6. The ‘8’ will almost certainly get the 335kW 5.0-litre unit developed by Ford Performance Vehicles for the GT. The ‘6’ could get the 310kW motor used in the turbocharged FPV F6, or the current model’s 270kW unit.
Graziano says five engines will be available in the last Falcon range, including a turbocharged four-cylinder Ecoboost model and LPG or naturally aspirated versions of Ford’s own straight-six 4.0-litre engines.