You can read the details here: http://www.drive.com.au/Editorial/ArticleDetail.aspx?ArticleID=51383, but it seems that Ford Australia's V8 could once more be on the endangered species list. The last time Ford dropped the bent eight - waaay back in the XE Falcon days - it must have seemed like a good idea. Ford were coming into their best-ever years in the Australian market, with the large, tough Falcon braining the smaller Commodore in the sales race. Who needed a V8 anyway? The Blue Oval paid the price for this kind of thinking a decade later, after a whole generation grew up thinking that the Falcons were the kind of cars your old blokes and taxi drivers liked. The Holden Commodore on the other hand, was associated with high performance, touring car racing and a bloke named Brock. Ford has been playing catch-up ever since.
The boffins at Ford aren't in an easy position. In terms of pure performance, the baby brother FG XR6 turbo has it all over the XR8. Not only does it use less fuel (a consideration few new car buyers can afford to ignore), but it goes harder. How does mid 13-second quarters out of the box sound? Then there is the millions of dollars that would need to be spent engineering the next-generation Falcon to suit a suitable successor to the Boss V8. With manufacturers struggling to sell big cars as fast as they'd like, does it make sense to focus on a niche market?
Of course, a big part of Ford's problem is that they bet on the wrong horse when they went for the 5.4-litre Boss 260 powerplant in the first place. Sure it had the right number of cylinders, had the cachet of multi-valve heads and sounded right, but it never had the shove-in-the back excitement to match Holden's LS-series V8s or their own turbo six. As Ford Australia President Bill Osborne notes in the above article, if there is a V8 in the Falcon's future, it may well be a Mustang V8, aided and abetted by some form of forced induction. We always thought the 4.6-litre Mustang V8 was a sweet donk - perhaps if Ford had opted for a blown version of that motor for the BA XR8, we wouldn't be having this discussion...
In any case, we do think the V8-loving niche market is worth pursuing. For every XR8 sold, there is at least one little kid - a child or a neighbor - who never forgets the impact that being around a brand-new muscle car can have and grows up thinking Fords are cool. If you don't think this has a significant positive impact on the number of garden-variety Falcons are sold, you've got rocks in your head.
Of course, if you wanna argue, we'd love to hear your thoughts.
Famous lisper 50 Cent unveiled the some new additions to Pontiac's VE Commodore-based G8 line up at the New York Auto Show this week. The differences betweem the new Ponchos and their Aussie cousins are not simply cosmetic - the GXP sedan packs at 6.2-litre LS3 V8 that puts out a handy 300kW. It also offers a six-speed manual gearbox option that got plenty of punters excited. The ute doesn't actually have a name yet - Pontiac are holding a competition to come up with the right alias. Pity it 'aint a Chev, 'cos it does look a hell of a lot like a new age El Camino.
Holden's Coupe 60 concept, unveiled at today's Melbourne Motorshow. The pillarless coupe is 60mm shorter than a VE sedan, rolls on 21 centre-lock rims and has a very trick interior. Just don't upset anyone and call it a Monaro.