Ford hails its latest LPG unit
A HOT BMW ute, debuted by BMW on April 1, has become one of the best April Fool’s Day jokes of 2011. Because the joke is on you.
That white ute, built on a 3-Series platform, is real. Yes, it’s a concept but it’s also a fully functional car.
It’s also not the only BMW ute. Yes, Australian golfer Stuart Appleby has one – a 2000 E39 M5 beheaded and bedded in 2008 by Deniliquin-based custom shop Southern Rod – but BMW has done the deed before.
It chopped a sad E30 M3 of 1986 to become a work car that could haul parts around the factory. It’s now even sadder and sits in a corner of a BMWwarehouse.
BMW last week put its tongue in its cheek with the announcement the M3 ute would become the fourth body variant of the M3 family.
‘‘Under the strictest secrecy, the world’s first high-performance pickup (really?) has been created at the BMW M GmbH development centre,’’ BMW’s April 1 release proclaims.
‘‘The sportiest example by far in this vehicle category (really? HSV anyone?), the BMW M3 Pickup will fire the imaginations of all motorists with a deep appreciation of top performance matched by a keen practical bent.
‘‘309kW/420hp under the bonnet and a rear-axle load capacity of up to 450kg take the hallmark BMW M relationship between race-oriented driving pleasure and everyday utility to an entirely new level.’’
It adds that the BMW M3 Pickup is ‘‘the first BMW M3 variant in the 25-year-plus history of this model range to come with a trailer tow hitch’’.
‘‘Notwithstanding these unquestionable stand-out qualities, the BMW M3 Pickup will not be heading for the golf course or series development, but will retain its status as an exclusive one-off,’’ the press release says as reality sets in.
‘‘It is earmarked for use as a workshop transport vehicle for BMWMGmbH.
‘‘With this in mind, the BMW M3 Pickup – unlike a similar predecessor built back in the 1980s – has gone through the requisite procedures to earn its road certification. Which makes it officially a truck – but one that puts a whole new spin on the meaning of the word.’’ TAXI drivers across Australia can expect something special in July when Ford puts a hi-tech LPG system on the road.
The dedicated gas Falcon is also good news for anyone hit by the rising price of petrol.
The EcoLPi liquid phase injection promises zero compromises for the Falcon’s sixcylinder engine, right up to the XR6, with 27 per cent more power and 10 per cent more torque than the previous E-Gas LPG system. Fuel consumption cut by 12-15 per cent.
The new-age LPG system is coming a little late, a delay put down to the engineering load at Broadmeadows for the global T6 pick-up development program, but nothing like the sixmonth overrun on the EcoBoost four-cylinder Falcon that won’t hit showrooms until January next year.
Ford says it is using the most up-to-date LPG technology available, with much-improved operation and driveability than the previous vapour system fitted to its E-Gas Falcons.
The heart of the system is an injection system that is similar to a conventional petrol engine, using a high-pressure fuel rail that delivers liquid LPG directly to the intake port.
So there is no gas conversion before the liquid is fired into the cylinder for combustion.
The system is also more controlled and efficient, which provides the boost to performance while also cutting consumption and CO emissions.
‘‘Falcon EcoLPi offers customers the power, torque and overall engine performance they expect from a traditional Aussie six.
‘‘While at the same time it will deliver the fuel costs of a smaller car,’’ says the president of Ford Australia, Bob Graziano.
Ford has yet to reveal the exact economy of the LPG system or the pricing.