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BF Falcon MkII – Evolution of An Icon

IMMEDIATE RELEASE

BF FALCON MkII – EVOLUTION OF AN ICON
AUCKLAND, New Zealand, 1 November 2006

- Wider availability across the range to Falcon's class-leading features and technologies including Dynamic Stability Control and six-speed automatic transmission.

- Expansion of the E-gas dedicated LPG range to include Fairmont.

- Exterior design and interior styling upgrades throughout the range.


Ford New Zealand Managing Director Richard Matheson today officially launched the new BF Falcon MkII range, which will go on sale on November 1.

"The introduction of the new BF Falcon MkII is the next step in the evolution of the iconic Falcon brand," Mr Matheson said.

"BF Falcon MkII builds on the strong engineering foundations laid by the BF Falcon program, while also delivering a host of fresh exterior and interior styling elements that further refine the Falcon's contemporary design.

"The depth of engineering and technological innovation in the Falcon range has been extended with BF MkII, with greater access across more models to some of the Falcon's class-leading features and technologies."

Mr Matheson also announced new model pricing for the BF Falcon MkII line-up, revealing a revised pricing structure that strategically realigns the sports and sports luxury models to maintain competitiveness in their highly important sectors, and introduces a Falcon XT Sports vehicle.

"We have taken the deliberate strategic action of repositioning some of our most popular vehicles, in order to ensure that the competitiveness of our price offering is as customer-focused as the design changes we have made to the vehicles," Mr Matheson said.

"The large car market is more competitive now than at any time in recent memory. These pricing actions will allow Ford to maintain our strong share of this segment, which has been the genesis of our success over many decades, while also increasing the attractiveness of the Falcon range to other customers."

The new BF Falcon MkII range represents outstanding value for money, delivering new styling and additional features including an optional Bluetooth®^ mobile phone kit, as well as continuing Ford's commitment to engineering innovation and world-class technology with wider availability of the six-speed automatic transmission, Dynamic Stability Control system and dedicated LPG engine.

"Recommended retail pricing of our premium Falcon XR models has been reduced by up to eleven per cent, while Fairmont Ghia has benefited from a reduction of 15 per cent compared to the previous model and gains the attractive XR styling bodykit," Mr Matheson said.

"Combined with new styling and finishes, we believe these actions make the Falcon BF MkII models a compelling value proposition."

The value continues across the range – the Falcon XT model has been reduced by four per cent and gains 16 inch alloy wheels as standard fitment.

"The pricing of Falcon XR6 at BF MkII has been reduced by almost three per cent to $49,990 while Fairmont petrol customers benefit from a price reduction of over six per cent and gain a ZF six-speed gearbox.

"Such has been the success of the ZF six-speed automatic gearbox that at BF MkII we have chosen to make it standard on all petrol Fairmonts," said Mr Matheson.

"Fairmont customers will be spoilt for choice – for $47,990, they can opt for either an E-gas dedicated LPG vehicle or a petrol version with a six-speed automatic gearbox."

"Ford New Zealand is the only company in the country to offer a dedicated LPG engine, and in this age of fluctuating fuel prices we are pleased to be able to expand the range of Falcon models that offer the E-Gas alternative," said Mr Matheson.

'Currently, the models available with the E-Gas engine are the Falcon XT sedan and wagon and the XL and XLS Falcon ute – at BF MkII, Fairmont drivers will also be able to choose the E-Gas engine.

Fairmont petrol customers can further enhance their driving experience by choosing a Dynamic Stability Control pack comprising Dynamic Stability Control, Sports Control Blade Independent Rear Suspension and 17 inch alloy wheels and tyres – available for only $2000.

"As part of our commitment to continue to provide our customers with exceptional family car packages, we are pleased to introduce a New Zealand-specific vehicle – the Falcon XT Sport," said Matheson.

"In addition to the many features of the Falcon base model, Falcon XT Sport customers will benefit from Dynamic Stability Control, the ZF six-speed automatic transmission, Sports Control Blade Independent Rear Suspension, 17 inch alloy wheels and tyres and a high arch rear spoiler.

"The Falcon XT Sport will effectively replace the Futura in our vehicle line-up."

"With the recent influx of new models sparking renewed interest in the Large car segment, the new BF Falcon MkII offers customers an exceptional family car package that delivers outstanding fuel economy, performance, refinement and safety," Mr Matheson said.

"BF Falcon MkII builds on Falcon's core strengths of world-class engineering, state-of-the-art technologies and superior driving dynamics, with a fresh and aspirational design that is sure to appeal to customers and keep the Falcon nameplate at the vanguard of the New Zealand car industry."

World class six-speed automatic

Where the BF Falcon introduced performance and luxury buyers to the benefits of a world-class six-speed automatic transmission and state-of-the-art Dynamic Stability Control system, BF Falcon MkII opens up this world of technological advances to even more Falcon sedan customers.

It will be the standard automatic transmission on Falcon XT Sport, Fairmont petrol sedan, Fairmont Ghia and all XR sedans and customers can delight in the real-world benefits it offers in terms of reduced fuel consumption, increased functionality, precision and refined performance.

"The six-speed automatic transmission has proven to be a standout feature of the BF Falcon, especially for its ability to deliver a tailored driving experience for customers," Mr Matheson said.

"Not only does it reward a sporty driving style with livelier performance and sharper responses,

but it also delivers significant benefits in terms of reduced fuel consumption and greater refinement, with smoother shift quality a notable feature during everyday use."

ZF 6HP26 six-speed automatic

The six-speed automatic is a compact and lightweight, high efficiency, high torque capacity transmission with a low first gear, higher top gear and smaller, more graduated steps between each gear.

With a larger spread of ratios, the six-speed transmission offers real-world benefits in the traditionally divergent areas of performance and fuel consumption.

A low first gear greatly improves launch feel, while the larger and tighter spread of ratios delivers livelier performance, especially at wide open throttle, along with the added benefits of smoother shift quality and reduced fuel consumption.

Gear shifts between the top few gears are often imperceptible, while the smaller steps between 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th also ensure less ‘busyness’ within the transmission as it determines the right gear.

The end result of the transmission being in the right gear at the right time is both an improvement in vehicle performance and a reduction in fuel consumption.

There are two versions of the six-speed automatic transmission – a standard version with a torque capacity of 450 Newton metres and a performance version with a torque capacity of 600Nm.

The performance version features upgraded clutches, with extra plates in the clutch packs, to increase the torque capacity for use with higher torque output engines.

Falcon models using the Barra 190 engine are fitted with the standard version, while Falcon models using either the Barra 230, Barra 245T or Boss 260 powerplants will be fitted with the higher torque capacity performance version.


Software and calibration

The ZF transmission is able to tailor its responses to individual driving styles courtesy of a number of software functions and Driver Recognition features, all designed to deliver increased transmission functionality and performance, and a refined shift quality.

The Sequential Sports Shift feature introduced on BA Falcon is a key element of the six-speed automatic transmission, offering the same style of adaptive and performance automatic modes as well as total manual control through sequential manual shifting.

Torque converter clutch lock-up is available in all six forward gears, not just in the top two overdrive gears.

When towing heavy loads at low speeds, such as in city driving or through hilly terrain, converter clutch lock-up in all gears assists with better transmission cooling and reduced fuel consumption.

Electronic control of all gearshifts in the six-speed automatic transmission is via clutches rather than bands, delivering a more direct and refined shift quality.

Calibration features of the six-speed automatic transmission include:

- Grade Control Logic (Automatic modes)

When driving downhill, with sufficient brake pedal pressure, the transmission will downshift to provide increased engine braking.

- Upshift prevention at zero throttle (Automatic modes)

When coasting downhill from rest, this feature inhibits upshifts beyond 2nd gear with zero throttle pedal input, to prevent a ‘running away’ feeling.

- Emergency downshift (Manual mode)

When in manual mode, if the throttle pedal is pushed through the detent to activate the kickdown switch, the transmission will downshift to a lower gear (depending on vehicle speed) to provide acceleration in an emergency situation. The transmission will then revert to full manual control, remaining in the kickdown gear and requiring the driver to input for upshift.

Driver Recognition

A host of advanced features are accessible to the driver as part of the Driver Recognition software with the six-speed automatic transmission.

Driver Recognition matches transmission performance to the current driving style by considering acceleration and deceleration rates, brake and throttle applications, and cornering speed, to ensure the vehicle is in the right gear at the right time without undesired gear shifts.

The transmission ‘learns’ the driver's style and assigns a theoretical point system to certain driving scenarios to determine the activation point of particular features.


The point system extends from a “base” fuel economy bias (0 points), through stages such as “sporty” driver (100 points), up to “enthusiast” (200 points).

The transmission software recognises various performance-based actions, such as rapid acceleration / pullaways, enthusiastic cornering, pushing the accelerator pedal through the detent and moving the shift lever into performance mode, and increases the number of points accordingly.

By moving the shift lever across from adaptive to performance mode, the driver recognition function increases by 100 points instantly, making the advanced features more accessible. If the transmission had already learnt to 40 points in adaptive mode, then when the shift lever is pushed across into the performance mode it would become 140 points.

In performance mode, driver recognition can learn from “sporty”, representing 100 points, up to “enthusiast” (200 points).

Points can be gathered quickly as increases occur in blocks, while a more graduated, single point decrease in the score occurs when you return to a less sporty driving style.

Advanced features

Advanced features accessible through the Driver Recognition software include:

- Brake support downshift (Automatic modes)

Driver Recognition will enable early downshifting during heavy braking, to provide engine braking and to optimise gear selection for tip-in (throttle reapplication) response.

- Gear hold around corners (Automatic modes)

This feature will enable the selected gear to be held when the vehicle is cornering enthusiastically, to avoid an unwanted upshift or downshift through the corner. Differential wheel speed and the ABS sensors on each wheel detect cornering.

- Gear hold going uphill / downhill (Automatic modes)

If the throttle pedal is released when travelling up or down hills, upshifts are prevented to reduce shift busyness on grades (on tip-in when going up hill) and to assist with vehicle speed control (reduce the need for repeated brake application).

- Gear hold, fast-off throttle (Automatic modes)

Upshifts are prevented when the throttle position sensor detects the driver has instigated a rapid lift off of the throttle pedal (fast off) and maintains the current gear until the driver tips-in (reapplies throttle pressure). It also helps prevents shift busyness in sporty driving and inhibits the ‘running away’ feeling when cresting hills.

The Driver Recognition features allow for a tailored driving experience, where the transmission rewards different styles of driving at both ends of the performance spectrum.

A lower point count and more normalised driving style will deliver significant benefits in terms of refinement and fuel economy, while a greater point count will reward sporty driving with sharper responses and a more defined sporty feel.

All the Driver Recognition features are available on all models fitted with the ZF six-speed transmission, although certain features are more accessible on the sports XR models through a more performance-biased calibration.

Transient rpm limit
The transient rpm limit allows the engine to momentarily exceed the prescribed rev limit during upshifting. This enables wide open throttle upshifting of gears to be scheduled at an engine speed closer to the rev limiter than would otherwise be possible.

The transient rpm feature allows the engine to exceed 6000 rpm – up to 6250 rpm – while the transmission is completing the gear change, thereby taking full advantage of the high rpm performance of Barra 190 and 245T engines.

Improved fuel economy

Customers opting for the Falcon XT Sport with six-speed automatic transmission will notice an improvement in fuel consumption of more than six per cent when compared to the BF Falcon with the four-speed automatic, with an accompanying Australian Design Rule (ADR) 81/01 fuel economy test figure of 10.2 l/100km.

Fuel economy on petrol BF Falcon MkII models with the four-speed automatic transmission has also improved. As a result of further drivetrain efficiencies that have been achieved on these Falcon models, fuel economy will improve by a further two per cent, dropping 0.2 l/100km to 10.7 l/100km.

Powered by the most technologically advanced six cylinder engine ever produced by Ford Australia, with its dual independent variable camshaft timing and dual knock sensors, four-speed automatic Falcon I6 models across the range have benefited from a program of continued refinement that has delivered:

- Improved transmission thermal management – faster warm-up and reduced friction losses allow it to reach optimum efficiency earlier, improving fuel consumption during cold starts and on short trips (a common usage pattern for many drivers)

- Revised Powertrain Control Module (PCM) calibrations in line with the optimised transmission thermal management

- Improved aerodynamic performance (reduced drag) of the new front bumper design

"The extensive engineering program undertaken at BF Falcon delivered significant gains in the areas of fuel efficiency and refinement, as well as more useable performance from our Barra 190 six-cylinder engine," Mr Matheson said.

"But the process of improvement is a continual one and our engineers have responded with further improvements on the top-selling four-speed auto Falcon I6 models, delivering greater real world benefits to Falcon owners.

"In the last two years we've delivered a seven per cent improvement in fuel efficiency on the Falcon XT. The availability of the six-speed automatic transmission on Falcon XT with the BF MkII program has taken the level of improvement even further, to more than 11 per cent."

E-Gas
Fuel economy on the E-Gas range of Falcons – which includes sedans, wagons and utes – has improved as well, benefiting from the same program of development and refinement applied to the petrol I6 engine, with the revised calibration contributing to the even greater percentage improvement.

BF Falcon MkII models powered by the E-Gas engine have gained a five per cent improvement in fuel consumption, with the official ADR figure dropping 0.8 l/100km to 15.1 l/100km.

Ford's dedicated LPG E-Gas engine, introduced in 1999, boasts all the technological benefits of the Falcon petrol engine with double overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder, dual variable camshaft timing and coil-on-plug ignition.

A unique induction system was developed to work with the advanced Electronic Throttle Control while a new balancer hose and new ductwork and piping improve under-bonnet layout and reliability.

The dedicated LPG Falcon dispenses with all petrol system components including fuel tank and pipes, reducing complexity while saving weight and cost.

E-Gas technology is available on five vehicles in the Falcon range, including the Falcon XT sedan and wagon, the Fairmont, and the XL and XLS Utes.

Dynamic Stability Control

Dynamic Stability Control will also be available across the wider Falcon sedan range as part of an optional "Dynamic Stability Control Package" on Fairmont. Falcon XT Sports customers will also benefit from it.

"The BF Falcon introduced traction control as standard on all petrol Falcon sedans, as well as on XR Falcon Utes, while also incorporating the very latest in chassis control systems as standard on premium Falcon sedans," Mr Matheson said.

"Now the BF Falcon MkII raises the bar even further with the availability of DSC as an option on Fairmont, adding to the high levels of active safety already built into each Falcon."

"DSC is currently standard on XR6, XR6 Turbo and XR8 sedan models and on Fairmont Ghia, and at BF MkII it will be available as standard on XR6 and as an option as part of the "Dynamic Stability Control" pack on Fairmont petrol sedan.

Ford has developed four distinct levels of DSC calibration, ranging from comfort to sports, to cover the variety of engine, transmission and body styles available across the Falcon vehicle families.

The calibration of the DSC system when fitted to a Falcon XT Sport, Fairmont or Falcon XR6 matches the system currently fitted to the Fairmont Ghia, with DSC interventions being tuned to the overall sportier nature of the package compared to Fairlane and LTD variants.

How does it work?

DSC combines the advantages of Ford's Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) and Traction Control System (TCS) and multiplies the benefits of both.

The best protection against accidents is to avoid them completely and stability control utilises the latest technology from Bosch to provide Falcon with a locally engineered vehicle stability control system.

DSC helps maintain stability when the vehicle approaches its physical limits, through programmed intervention in the braking system and powertrain or a combination of both.

DSC works in tandem with ABS – which prevents the wheels from locking when the brakes are applied – and TCS, which limits wheel spin during acceleration.

Traction control ensures the vehicle remains controllable under heavy acceleration that can occur taking off on slippery roads, negotiating a hill or accelerating out of a corner.

Traction control brakes the driven wheel, which shows a tendency to spin, and adapts the engine torque to obtain maximum traction. The brake control is known as ABD (Automatic Brake Differential) and avoids loss of forward momentum through spinning wheels while maintaining lateral grip.

Sensors located at each wheel calculate the slip of each driven wheel and initiate traction control if slip levels are deemed excessive. Consequently, traction control intervenes on the rear wheels of a Falcon.

The system continually monitors driver input via communication with the Electronic
Throttle Control. As soon as the Electronic Control Unit (ECU) detects a deviation from desired wheel speeds, the speed of the spinning wheel is automatically reduced by brake intervention, without any action on the part of the driver.

If the system calculates more intervention is required, the ECU firstly intervenes by retarding spark to reduce excess engine torque, then by limiting throttle angle via an electronic throttle control.

The final level of engine intervention occurs by cutting fuel flow.

DSC is part of the next generation of driving aids, employing the vehicle's braking and engine control system as a tool for 'controlling ' the vehicle by mitigating vehicle skid.

When DSC assumes operation it makes use of the existing braking system. The basic function of the brakes – to decelerate or stop the vehicle – is enhanced as stability control maintains the vehicle's stability and desired course.

DSC incorporates three vital elements in addition to the traction control system hardware – a steering wheel angle sensor, a lateral acceleration sensor and a rotational yaw rate sensor.

The steering wheel sensor constantly monitors steering wheel angle, or the driver's intended direction of travel. The yaw and lateral acceleration sensors track the vehicle's rotation around its vertical axis and its lateral motion.

DSC is constantly working in the background, monitoring all its sensors 25 times a second, to check the driver's steering wheel position, throttle pedal position, whether the driver is braking, and where the vehicle is actually going.

By comparing the actual measured yaw rate with a calculated desired yaw rate, the system is able to intervene early enough to reduce the risk of unwanted skids and potential loss of control.

Specific braking intervention is then directed at individual wheels – such as the inner rear to counter under steer, or the outer front during over steer.

DSC also modulates engine output to reduce wheel spin and vehicle speed when necessary.

All chassis control systems work constantly in the background, monitoring the need for intervention at astonishing speed. DSC monitors its sensors 25 times per second, TCS 50 times per second and ABS 200 times per second.

Driving conditions, which may activate DSC, include:

 Taking a turn too fast

 Moving quickly to avoid an accident, pedestrian or obstacle

 Hitting a patch of ice

 Changing lanes on a rutted road

 Entering a snow-free road from a snow-covered side street, or vice versa

 Entering a paved road from a gravel road, or vice versa

 Hitting a curb or bump while turning

 Driving on slick surfaces


For example, if the driver approaches a bend that tightens more sharply than expected, the driver will suddenly turn the wheel in the intended direction of turn, but may be carrying too much speed to safely negotiate the turn.

Or, if a driver swerves rapidly to avoid colliding with an object or another vehicle on the road, the vehicle may not respond quickly enough to following the desired path, or may over-respond, resulting in oversteer.

In both examples dynamic stability control will immediately notice the angle of steering wheel input and the direction of travel and brake the appropriate wheel to help keep the vehicle stable and under control.

Fresh new styling inside & out

In addition to the wider availability of DSC and the six-speed automatic transmission, BF Falcon MkII also introduces a host of exterior design and interior styling upgrades within the Falcon line-up.

Fairmont Ghia leads the way with a new European-inspired sports luxury exterior look, reflected in its new, dark accent headlamp treatment, tapered bonnet, chrome grille, bejewelled fog lights and front bumper finishes, and new seven-spoke 17-inch sports alloy wheels.

An exposed chrome exhaust, XR-style side skirts and rear bumper, and contemporary block font 'Ghia' badging complete the distinctive Fairmont Ghia package, resulting in a fresh, aspirational appeal and bold road presence.

Inside, the BF Fairmont Ghia MkII is a statement in refined elegance, from the black chrome instrument cluster, chrome air vent highlights and black onyx Interior Command Centre to the sumptuous China Beige leather seat trim, suede feel seat backs and door trims, and new front seat headrests.

Falcon XT and Fairmont receive notable upgrades to the exterior design, including a stylish new tapered bonnet, new grille, an aggressive new front bumper design, sporty new headlamp treatments and revised rear bumpers on sedan models.

Falcon Ute XL and XLS models also receive the same front end styling enhancements as the Falcon XT, including stylish new tapered bonnet, new grille, aggressive new front bumper and sporty new headlamps. These upgrades further enhance Falcon Ute's car-like positioning and combine to produce the most modern, stylish and sporty looking Falcon Ute ever.

A new interior environment sets the BF Falcon MkII range of XR sedan and ute models apart from their predecessors, with a new "Chicane" metallic yarn seat trim with silver stitching, new instrument cluster design and satin alloy inserts in the instrument panel.

Colour palette

Five new exterior paint colours herald the arrival of BF Falcon MkII, including three new hero colours and a new Chromaflair® colour for Fairmont Ghia and the XR range, while another two colours – Seduce and Ego – were released in the lead-up to the new model.

Neo – bright and youthful, Neo is a dynamic new blue loaded with energy. One of three new hero colours, Neo is only available on Falcon XR models.

Octane – an intense, retro orange designed to fuel the passion and ignite the senses of XR enthusiasts. One of three new hero colours, Octane is only available on Falcon XR models.

Breeze – a fresh, modern turquoise that creates a visual sensation. One of three new hero colours, Breeze is only available on Falcon XR models.

Obsession – a decadent, dramatic chameleon colour that moves from dark chocolate into cherry (Chromaflair®) Obsession is only available on Falcon XR and Fairmont Ghia models.

Flare – a blazing, earthy orange, Flare emulates the intensity of a sunset on a hot summer's day. Flare is available across the Falcon range.

Bluetooth® mobile phone kit

The release of BF Falcon MkII signals the introduction of a Bluetooth®^ mobile phone kit, available on all Falcon sedan and wagon, Falcon Ute, Fairlane and LTD, and Territory models, as a dealer fit accessory.

The Bluetooth® kit allows you to make phone calls from your vehicle with the convenience of a wireless system that is fully integrated into the vehicle's audio system and operated by a single push button control located beneath the Interior Command Centre.

The ICC screen switches to telephone mode automatically when you make or receive a call, while the audio levels can be adjusted by the control buttons on the steering wheel.

The Bluetooth® mobile phone kit allows you to answer a phone call at the touch of a button for the ultimate in hands free communication.

^ The Bluetooth® trademark is owned by Bluetooth SIG, Inc. and any use of the mark is under license. Bluetooth® mobile phone kit only suitable for Bluetooth® compatible phones

Summary:

Falcon XT sedan $43,290^
Falcon XT sedan (Dedicated LPG) $44,790^
Falcon XT Sport sedan $46,790^
Fairmont sedan $47,990^
Fairmont sedan (Dedicated LPG) $47,990^
Fairmont Ghia sedan (I6) $52,990^
Fairmont Ghia sedan V8 $58,990^
Falcon XR6 sedan $49,990^
Falcon XR6 Turbo manual/auto $55,490^
Falcon XR8 sedan manual/auto $57,390^

Falcon XL Ute C/C (auto) $34,490^
Falcon XL Ute (auto) $36,490^
Falcon XL Chassis Cab (Dedicated LPG) $35,990^
Falcon XL Ute (Dedicated LPG) $37,990^
Falcon XLS Pick-up $38,990^
Falcon XLS Ute (Dedicated LPG) $40,490^
Falcon XLS V8 Ute $44,990^
Falcon XR6 Ute $43,490^
Falcon XR6 Turbo Ute $50,490^
XR8 ute $53,990^

^Pricing excludes dealer delivery and statutory charges


ENDS

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