Street Machine - - Wheeling & Dealing -

LAUNCHED in Septem­ber 2002, the BA Fal­con’s job was to wipe away all the bad memories of the unloved AU that pre­ceded it. Ford clev­erly main­tained the ba­sic struc­ture, but added new front and rear styling to emerge with a car that looked newer than it re­ally was. The AU’S so­phis­ti­cated but ex­pen­sive in­de­pen­dent rear end was ditched and re­placed by the sim­pler, cheaper Con­trol Blade set-up, and the V8 op­tion went from the old fivelitre pushrod Wind­sor that we knew and loved to the 5.4-litre over­head-camshaft V8, which got three valves per cylin­der in 220kw Fair­mont form, and four valves and DOHC for the XR8 ver­sion.

But Ford wasn’t done with the Au-apol­ogy stuff yet. The ba­sic fourl­itre six-banger got a world-class DOHC four-valve cylin­der head and, as part of that, the lo­cal en­gi­neers brewed up a boosted ver­sion. With a fairly sim­ple, sin­gle-tur­bocharger ap­pli­ca­tion, the new, smoother six-pot Ford en­gine sud­denly made 240kw and 450Nm, com­pletely trump­ing the three-valve V8’s 220kw (if not its 470Nm) and giv­ing even the four­valve XR8’S 260kw and 500Nm a big scare. And you know what else? There are plenty of peo­ple around who reckon Ford might have been fudg­ing those num­bers a tad so the V8 stayed in front of the XR6T on pa­per. Could be.

While you could or­der your new Fal­con with the three-valve V8 en­gine in any­thing from the base-model XT sedan and up (the four-valve ver­sion was Xr8-only) the turbo six was only avail­able with the XR6 pack­age. There was no sta­tion wagon vari­ant, but clev­erly, Ford did tradies ev­ery­where a huge favour by of­fer­ing the XR6T as a ute. Get­ting those pigs to mar­ket was never as much fun as this (well, maybe not for the pigs).

Oh yeah, you could have the XR6 Turbo with ei­ther a five-speed man­ual (the T5Z unit) or the equally fa­mil­iar four-speed auto. Frankly, the auto worked bet­ter with the turbo mo­tor, keep­ing it on the boil more ef­fec­tively and can­celling out the lag.

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