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Ford Explores New Territory with Turbo

Motoring Channel Staff - 10/Feb/2006

Ford Territory Turbo
Ford Territory Turbo

Ford Territory Turbo
The interior of the range-topping Ford Territory Ghia Turbo

Ford Focus XR5 Turbo
The 166kW Ford Focus XR5
Turbo will be priced at $36,000

Ford Focus XR5 Turbo
The Focus XR5 Turbo's sporty Recaro seats

Ford XR6 Cab Chassis Ute
Only 300 of Ford's tough 190kW
XR6 Cab Chassis utes will be built

Ford had an impressively large presence at the 2006 Melbourne Motor Show (rivalled perhaps only by Toyota), showing off its new Focus XR5, special edition utes, a new Fiesta Zetec and plenty more. 

But the highlight of the Blue Oval's exhibit had to be the new Territory Turbo, benefiting from the marque's impressive 245kW (328hp) turbocharged 4.0-litre engine, and getting a few new touches inside and out.

Sporting a bold hood scoop and twin exhaust pipes, the new Territory Turbo is one of the worst-kept secrets in the Ford camp, yet is still an undeniably exciting development.

"The turbo Territory project provided us with many challenges, and the end result is a world class vehicle," said Trevor Worthington, the vice president of product development, who explained that it wasn't simply a case of bolting the XR6 Turbo's motor into a Territory engine compartment.

"It was an extensive engineering project that involved a lot more work than simply slotting an engine into a space under the bonnet. Our engineers undertook a full development program to ensure the total vehicle outcome based around the iconic turbo engine was optimised."

As Ford explains, the development program has resulted in unique engine and transmission calibrations, a unique DSC calibration, a new exhaust system plus new 18-inch alloy wheels and 235/55 R18 tyres on both models (Territory Turbo and Territory Ghia Turbo). Extensive thermal testing and subsequent engine modifications involving heating and cooling performance comprised a large proportion of the testing procedure.

"The DSC calibration has been optimised to work in conjunction with the 245kW turbo engine, and the all-wheel-drive system with the 18-inch wheels and tyres," added Mr Worthington.

"Ford's popular 4.0-litre DOHC DIVCT 6-cylinder turbo engine powers this new model, and it was vital we had the very best 6-speed automatic transmission available to ensure that it maintained a world class pedigree," said Mr Worthington. "With 245kW and 480Nm available, there was only one transmission we seriously considered – the proven ZF 6HP26."

The two turbo Territory models feature a unique version of the ZF 6HP26 transmission, which has been specially designed for the turbo all-wheel-drive application. A unique transmission calibration makes optimum use of the turbo engine's power and torque in both on and off road driving conditions. The transmission oil cooler has also been upgraded, maintaining a 2300kg maximum towing capacity.

Ford says that the turbo Territory also features upgraded front brakes, complete with a performance caliper and increased rotor size. This provides reliable and stable brake performance, and increased thermal capacity, while the revised caliper package offers improved pedal feel and modulation of pedal pressure under all braking events.

The new model will be offered in two all-wheel-drive specification levels – Territory Turbo, and the more luxuriously appointed Territory Ghia Turbo. "Territory Turbo and Territory Ghia Turbo build on the many fine attributes inherent in the original Territory and then adds additional performance," said Ford Australia President, Tom Gorman. The idea of a turbocharged, high performance SUV will no doubt be a boon for the company, as interest in performance-oriented SUVs continues to rise.

Territory Turbo offers much in the way of standard features, including:

 245kW Turbo engine
 Exterior visual enhancements including bonnet scoop and dual exhaust outlets
 ZF Six Speed Automatic transmission with Sequential Sports Shift (SSS)
 4-way power driver seat
 All-wheel-drive capability
 18-inch alloy wheels
 Cruise control
 Over thirty storage compartments
 Body colour bumpers
 Turbo badge

Territory Ghia Turbo offers the same features as found on the Territory Turbo model, but also adds the following as standard:

 Colour TFT screen
 Reverse Camera, operating in conjunction with a Reverse Sensing System
 6-way power driver seat
 Side curtain airbags
 Premium ICC & audio system
 Dual zone climate control
 Ghia Turbo badge

"The elegant refined appearance of turbo Territory belies the true potency of this impressive new vehicle," concluded Mr Gorman. Ford says that the turbo Territory range will go on sale in mid 2006, with pricing and further specification related details will be released closer to launch.

In addition to the hoo-ha surrounding the new force-fed Territory SUV, Ford came clean with pricing for its impressive-looking performance Focus, dubbed the XR5 Turbo. Featuring a 2.5-litre inline 5-cylinder engine developing 166kW of power and 320Nm of torque, the new Focus will give Golf GTI buyers an alternative, particularly when it's priced at $36,000, undercutting its rival by almost $4,000. Ford says it should be in Australian dealerships by May.

The Blue Oval's Australian President, Tom Gorman, announced the pricing yesterday at the Melbourne International Motor Show: "Value for money is a cornerstone of the Ford brand," stated Ford Australia president Tom Gorman, "and the new German-engineered and built Focus XR5 Turbo certainly lives up to that reputation, combining a high performance turbocharged engine, slick 6-speed manual transmission and razor sharp handling for under $36,000.

"This is a very exciting day for Ford Australia, with the red hot Focus XR5 Turbo adding more firepower to an already potent performance vehicle line-up. We all know Focus is a quality product, with superb dynamics borne out of an extensive sports programme via the gruelling World Rally Championship. Our engineers have drawn on that experience and focussed it into a vehicle destined to redefine the term hot hatch.

"Focus XR5 Turbo combines performance with practicality; offering usability and versatility just as its siblings do, with additional power and performance in tribute to its rally-bred origins," Mr Gorman said.

Ford explains that the Focus chassis has been modified and stiffened for the XR5 Turbo as well as being lowered by 25mm. Handling has been refined through stiffening of the front and rear springs and larger diameter anti-roll bars, and the brakes have been boosted to cope with the extra power.

Safety features include a rigid passenger cell, footwell protection, collapsible steering column and pedals, side impact protection door beams and Dynamic Stability Control (DSC). Passive safety highlights include driver and front passenger airbags, side curtain airbags and pyrotechnic belt pre-tensioners.

Inside, the new Focus XR5 Turbo boasts futuristic-looking Recaro sports seats and a unique additional instrument pod, displaying turbocharger boost pressure (up to 1.2 bar), oil temperature and oil pressure. It also features a Sony premium sound system with 6-stack in-dash CD player and eight speakers.

Outside, the front bumper has been emphasised to give the Focus XR5 Turbo a lowered look incorporating an aggressive inverted-trapezoid lower grille. Flanking the top of the lower grille, fog lamp openings are trimmed in brushed aluminium.

Other features on the Ford exhibit at the 2006 Melbourne Motor Show included a special edition ute, of which just 300 units will be sold - Falcon XR6 Cab Chassis. Due to go on sale in May, Ford says that the positive public reaction to the then concept at the 2005 Sydney Motor Show earmarked it for future production.

The special edition ute is designed to combine the practical capability of a cab chassis with the stylish good looks of the XR, meaning customers do not have to compromise looks for functionality. Ford explains that the ute will be available as standard with half tonne XR sports suspension and 17-inch XR alloy wheels. For those customers requiring a heavier load capacity, a one tonne suspension option with one tonne rated 16-inch alloy wheels is also available at no extra cost.

Power is supplied by Ford's Barra 4.0-litre 6-cylinder engine, which delivers 190kW of power @ 5250rpm and 383Nm of torque @ 2500rpm, and Ford says that pricing and further specification information will be revealed closer to the on sale date. 

And if turbocharged SUVs, red hot hatches and special edition utes don't whet your automotive appetite, Ford also unveiled the new-look Fiesta Zetec model, plus its refreshed Escape compact AWD, a new SR Falcon sedan that includes a whopping $7000 worth of extras, new E-gas options on Falcon and much more.

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