Four at the door
Four-cylinder Falcon engines are getting ready to hit the road, writes NEIL McDONALD
AUSTRALIA’S first locally built Falcon four-cylinder is being fast-tracked. Work has already started on sliding the hi-tech 2.0-litre four under the Falcon bonnet.
Prototypes will hit the road in as little as two weeks, though the car will not be in Ford showrooms until March-April 2011.
The arrival of the Falcon four does not mean the end of the venerable in-line Falcon six.
The six will also benefit from Ford Australia’s $230 million ‘‘EcoBoost’’ investment in three new engines to lift fuel economy and lower emissions.
Ford Australia president Marin Burela says the most difficult economic climate ever facing carmakers is driving the most economical Falcon ever.
But he says more can be done with the six-cylinder engine, adding: ‘‘We have a lot planned.’’
From next July 1, the big six becomes Euro IV-compliant, which will mean better economy and lower emissions.
In future, Ford could also add fuel deceleration cut-off technology and electronic throttle control.
Ford’s 2.0-litre four-cylinder is one of three powertrains being developed as part of the global ‘‘EcoBoost’’ engine strategy announced last week.
The others are a dedicated liquid-injection hi-tech LPG inline six for the Falcon sedan and ute and an economical 2.7-litre V6 turbo-diesel for the Territory.
The EcoBoost four will use twin-independent variable cam timing, turbo-charging and direct injection.
Based on US figures, it’s expected to deliver 205kW/380Nm compared with the local Falcon six, which develops 195kW/ 391Nm. Peak torque will be delivered low from 1500 revs right up to 5000 revs.
Ford Australia chief vehicle engineer Rob Connor says the EcoBoost four has real-world fuel economy benefits around town or on the highway.
He says performance will be competitive with other sixcylinder engines in large cars.
The cost payback on the EcoBoost four will be better than a diesel four-cylinder or a hybrid four-cylinder, he says.
Apart from better economy, the lighter four is expected to deliver better handling and driveability.
Burela says the EcoBoost four will deliver fuel economy gains of up to 20 per cent and 15 per cent fewer greenhouse gases than an equivalent six-cylinder engine.
‘‘Getting the first application of a rear-wheel-drive EcoBoost four in Australia in a Falcon sends an incredible message about the confidence Ford has in this car and this market,’’ Burela says.
He says the EcoBoost four will be available in the base Falcon XT, but Ford is expected to roll it out in other models.
‘‘It will create an opportunity we’ve not had before with governments and fleets,’’ Burela says.
He also expects the hi-tech liquid-injection LPG engine to be a firm fleet favourite.
The LPG engine will have more power and torque and deliver 12 per cent better economy than the current LPG EGas engine, as well as lower running costs and lower CO2s.
Economy drive: Falcon’s four-cylinder engine is expected to deliver better handling and driveability.