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Ford FG Falcon: First Look

By Feann Torr - 17/February/2008

2008 Ford FG Falcon
2008 Ford FG Falcon

2008 Ford FG Falcon
The new 2008 FG Falcon design gets
scalloped doors for more visual impact

2008 Ford FG Falcon
Ford has improved cabin ergonomics
and as you can see from this photo the

interior of the G6E is easy on the eye

2008 Ford FG Falcon
This upstanding Australian is the XR6 model,
which gets 17-inch alloys and sports body kit

2008 Ford FG Falcon
The XR8 model gets 18-inch alloy wheels
and a 5.4-litre V8 engine that packs more
punch than the SS Commodore's 6.0-litre V8

The Sales Pitch

Ford's new FG Falcon is all about refinement. Boasting a sophisticated new look, progressive new interiors and more advanced engineering than you can throw a spanner at, it's all about the refinement.

The 'FG' Name

While the Holden Commodore has been content to milk the letter V for its model designations - VX, VY, VE etc - the Ford Falcon has taken a less symmetric path.

From the mid 1990s to today, we've seen EF, EL, AU, BA and BF Falcons. Now you can add FG, which acknowledges the Fairmont and Ghia nameplates.

- Feann Torr, Editor

2008 Ford FG Falcon
Ford has scrapped the Futura and Fairmont models
for the new G Series - this is the G6E where the E
stands for 'European', reflected in the new styling

2008 Ford FG Falcon
And this is the leather interior of the G6E

2008 Ford FG Falcon
This is the G6 model, which gets less chrome
and no rear boot lid spoiler like the G6E models

2008 Ford FG Falcon
We've seen this primary green extensively on
Holden's VE Ute - and now the XR8 gets it

2008 Ford FG Falcon
These are the instruments from the Falcon
G6E Turbo. The FPV F6 versions get turbo
boost gauges underneath the tachometer

2008 Ford FG Falcon
The XR6 Ute gets the same front end as the sedan
and Ford says the 1 tonne capacity will be back

2008 Ford FG Falcon
This is the entry-level Ford FG Falcon XT

Melbourne, Australia The feeling of trepidation during any new car launch is significant, but the first all-new Ford Falcon in 10 years, the car the company's longterm Australian manufacturing future could hinge on, was immense.

It's been four years in the making, but the wait has been worth it.

Showing off an all-new look with a strong European influence, the eighth generation Falcon has finally spread its wings. 

Ladies and gents, meet the FG Falcon which will be on sale in May.

Together with an all-new look, the new Falcon has boosted every aspect of motoring - improved safety with stability control as standard on all models, reverse cameras are offered on all models, the engines are more efficient but more powerful at the same time, and new 5-speed automatics replace the 4-speed cog swappers.

It's bigger, with more interior room, there's more technology involved, new suspension, and even an iPod jack.

"The all-new FG Falcon range represents another step forward for automotive vehicle design in Australia," says Ford Australia's new president, Bill Osborne.

"It is an exceptional large car package that delivers outstanding performance, fuel efficiency, refinement and safety to meet the needs of a wide variety of customers. 

"For the first time in Falcon's history, the new model will come to market with three distinct faces on the vehicle, offering both private and fleet customers, and both sports and luxury customers, a new Falcon to suit their lifestyle," Mr Osborne revealed.

It's true that there's also been some interesting changes to the model line-up.

Gone are the Futura, Fairmont and Fairmont Ghia models, replaced with the new G-Series Falcons including the G6, G6E, and G6E Turbo. Ford took a gamble scrapping the historic Fairmont and Futura nameplates, but the new G-Series could provide a fresh boost.

The G-Series models has a similar look to the Ford Mondeo luxury models with lots of chrome subtle design cues while the sporty XR models get the overt styling, with spoilers, large wheels, and aggressive headlamps. Finally the entry-level XT models also get their own look which sits somewhere between the two.

The media had already been briefed on the technical aspects of the new FG Falcon a couple of weeks prior - with strict "we'll hunt you down and sacrifice you" embargoes - which meant it was difficult to keep a lid on things.

But now the embargo date has passed, let me start by giving you my initial impression upon seeing the first all-new Falcon in a decade: smart.

The new design is best described as conservative with strong European influences. It's not as wild looking as the new Commodore, instead providing the new Falcon with a more sophisticated look and feel.

A sleeker front end with thinner headlight clusters adheres to Ford 'kinetic' design ethos that was pioneered in Europe, giving the FG Falcon a more serious, upmarket design.

Ford says the car is about 90 per cent new, with a few carry over bits and bobs, but as far as the design and sheet metal goes it's completely new. 

With a new look that brings the Falcon close in line with the European 'kinetic' design philosophy, the new model is safer, more powerful, more frugal, and pretty much more everything (except lighter). 

Some of my favourite aspects of the new design are the new brake lights and the rear quarter panels, which add a contemporary twist to the rear, while I thought the horizontal motifs that along the bottom of the doors really attract the eye by creating light and shadow.

Sitting in the new models, the increased interior room makes itself felt, particularly in the rear. From the drivers seat, the Falcon feels far more advanced than previous models with a trendy and intuitive centre console. 

It also has a perceptibly upmarket feel that is helped by the repositioning of the main LCD screen to the top of the centre stack, and a more uniform HVAC setup.

The handbrake and gear shifter are also much higher than before which a good thing I think, improving ergonomics without making the cabin feel cramped. The new LCD screens are mounted higher and very large, while the steering wheel controls remain similar (audio, cruise control).

An area that Ford has been keen to improve with this new model is refinement. We'd love to say "it feels refined on the road" but we won't be able to test it just yet. Stay tuned for our first hands-on road test soon.

Ford claims it's a quieter car with new double door seals that keep external noises from intruding into the cabin, and everything from the suspension setup to the engine operation has been refined to be more responsive but also smoother.

Along with its chiselled new look, the range of engines have been given significant upgrades and of note for the performance brigade, the XR8 engines now have a neat little gadget called the 'SAM'. 

This semi active muffler is borrowed from the Jaguar and Aston Martin models, and is a pressure activated valve that basically improves the exhaust notewhen the engine revs beyond 2800rpm.

Ford will be marketing the new FG Falcon as much more sophisticated beast, something to rival the flood of European imports that buyers are increasingly turning to.

But will this focus on refinement work? Time will tell, but reducing the Falcon's fuel consumption to below that of the Holden Commodore and close to the 4-cylinder Toyota Camry is a significant win for the new Falcon.

The entry-level Falcon's use 10.1 litres of fuel for every 100km on the combined cycle when equipped with the 6-speed auto, which trumps Holden's 10.9L/100km and comes close to the 4-cylinder Camry's 9.9L/100km.

As well as improved fuel economy thanks to the re-engineered 6-cylinder engines, there's the new HMI to talk about - the human machine interface.

The FG Falcon gets has a new look interior featuring new LCD screens and new simplified input systems that help improve the car-driver symbiosis. In other words, more functionality, less confusion.

The new XR6 Turbo (manual) models also get a new two-stage launch system which engages the turbo without needing to abuse the clutch.But first, the new stuff.

Ford has increased power and torque for all Falcon engines while reducing fuel consumption:

  • 4.0-litre I6
     Power: 190 to 195kW
     Torque: 383 to 391Nm
     Economy: 10.2 to 10.1L/100km
     New Stuff: 5-speed auto replaces old 4-speeder

  • 4.0-litre Turbo I6
     Power: 245 to 270kW
     Torque: 480 to 533Nm
     Economy: 12.3 to 11.7L/100km
     New Stuff: Launch control, overboost

  • 5.4-litre V8 
     Power: 260 to 290kW
     Torque: 500 to 520Nm
     Economy: 15 to 14L/100km
     New Stuff: SAM (Semi Active Muffler)

There's been some big gains in power and torque especially for the performance models like the XR8 and XR6 Turbo, which essentially get the FPV engines from the BF MkII models.

While Ford did show off a couple of FPV models at the launch in Melbourne, it didn't provide power and torque numbers, saying it would release them closer to the FPV's launch in June.

Another major change to the Falcon has been the adoption of a new front end suspension assembly, which is some 22kg lighter than the previous system because it's made from aluminium. Called a virtual pivot control link, the front suspension is claimed to provide better handling while also improving ride quality.

It's a more refined suspension system that couples with new shock absorbers in a range of different stiffnesses - softer and more compliant for entry and luxury models, and stiffer and more sporty for performance models. 

In terms of its size, the FG Ford Falcon is 25mm longer than its predecessor and together with more intelligent packaging that means more interior space for all occupants. Boot space has improved from 501 to 535 litres, making it best in class.

Significant attention has been paid to improving ingress egress - getting in and out of the cars. During the launch it was noticeably easier to get into the back seats, and other aspects like visibility have also been considered, and the A-pillar has been moved forward to improve vision.

Ford's FG Falcon is wider than the BF model it replaces (track width has increased by 28mm at the front and 30mm at the rear) which also improves interior space, with more head, hip and shoulder room for front and rear passengers, and an extra 10mm leg room for rear seat passengers.

All told, the new Falcon represents a step forward for the vehicle with improvements in power, economy, safety and refinement. It'll be on the market by May with FPV models to follow in June, and should give the Holden VE Commodore a good run for its money thanks to the intriguing new front suspension system and new engines and gearboxes.

Over the coming weeks and months we'll bring you more reports on all the new Falcon models, including the iconic XR6 Turbo which gets a new Garret turbocharger, a bigger intercooler and some very interesting launch control systems. 

I'm personally very keen to try out the new systems on the XR6 Turbo, and the new exhaust valve on the XR8 should also provide enthusiasts with something new to check out.

We'll have the low down on the new G-Series models, and we'll also look at the new FPV too, with road tests of most models to follow.

Before we leave, here is the full list of Ford FG Falcons and utes and a brief descriptor. You can also check out this article which lists the full model range and their features including sedans and utes.

 Falcon XT: Base model
 Falcon G6: Entry-level Luxury
 Falcon G6E: High-level Luxury
 Falcon G6E Turbo: High-level Sports Luxuxy 
 Falcon XR6: Entry-level Sports
 Falcon XR6 Turbo: High-level Sports
 Falcon XR8: High-level V8 Sports

 Falcon Ute: Work horse
 Falcon Ute R6: Sports Workhorse
 Falcon Ute XR6: Sports
 Falcon Ute XR6 Turbo: High-level Sports
 Falcon Ute XR8: High-level V8 Sports

Related articles:
Ford Focus RS (2009)
Ford Mondeo (Road Test)
Holden Commodore vs Ford Falcon (Road Test)
- FPV F6 X (2008)
- Ford Fiesta XR4 (Road Test)
- Ford Kuga Concept (2007)
Ford Focus Diesel (Road Test)
- Ford Focus XR5 Turbo (Road Test)
Next-Gen Ford Falcon in Detroit (2008)
- Ford Fiesta Zetec (Road Test)
- Ford Mustang Giugiaro Concept (2006)
Ford Territory Turbo (Road Test)

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