UPDATE: Additional images added to high-resolution gallery

click on image for gallery of high resolution images

Though AutoWeek was chastised for claiming Ford was working on sedan and even wagon variants of the iconic Mustang coupe, the automaker is certainly considering using the Stang's underpinnings for other vehicles. The Interceptor, in Ford's defense, is not so much a four-door Mustang as it is a sedan that's based on the Mustang's chassis. In fact, Ford made an obvious effort to make the Interceptor not look like a four-door Mustang, instead grafting on the front end of the Super Chief truck concept that debuted in Detroit last year. The Interceptor also has a mighty engine to back up its beefy looks, a 5.0-liter version of Ford's 4.6-liter Cammer engine that produces 400 horsepower on E85 ethanol.

The Interceptor, ladies and gentlemen, is Ford's stunner concept for the 2007 North American International Auto Show. Think about it, the Interceptor combines qualities of the two things that Ford does best, the Mustang and trucks, in one tidy, mass-marketable, rear-wheel drive package. It's slab-sided hotness reminds us of the 427 Concept from 2003, but with some extra chunkiness tossed in for good measure. Seriously, though, this car should be built, if not for the fact it's a slick way to profit from the Mustang connection, but also because Ford is going to need a large, rear-wheel drive car that's competitive in the very near future. Sorry Vickie, you just can't hold a candle to the Chrysler 300 or GM's upcoming Zeta-based sedans. The Interceptor looks like it can.



Check out Ford's official press release on the Interceptor after the jump, and click on the pic above to see a high-resolution version for you desktop.

[Source: Ford]


PRESS RELEASE:

FORD INTERCEPTOR CONCEPT: CELEBRATING MODERN AMERICAN MUSCLE WITH 'BUILT FORD TOUGH' ATTITUDE
  • American Muscle: The Ford Interceptor concept celebrates the best of American muscle with a four-door that marries "Built Ford Tough" attitude with the sporty elegance of 1960s sedans.
  • Legendary performance: The Interceptor concept's Ford Racing 5.0-liter Cammer engine runs on E-85 ethanol and produces 400 horsepower. This engine powered the Mustang FR500C to the 2005 Grand-Am Cup Championship in its first year of competition.
  • Safety: Interceptor incorporates Ford's patented four-point "belt and suspenders" design in the front and rear seats. In addition, inflatable safety belts are included for rear seat passengers.
DEARBORN, Mich., Dec. 31, 2006 – Building on its legacy of bold muscle cars, Ford is introducing a modern, all-American sedan concept that combines "Built Ford Tough" attitude with the sporty elegance of its iconic 1960s sedans.

The Ford Interceptor concept comes equipped with a manual six-speed gearbox mated to a Ford Racing 5.0-liter V-8 Cammer engine that delivers 400 horsepower and runs on E-85 ethanol.

"This concept celebrates the best of American muscle, showing customers what 'modern muscle' is all about," said Peter Horbury, executive director – Design, The Americas. "The Interceptor concept is much like a Marine in dress uniform. He looks smart and elegant but you can see the raw power that lies beneath."

Flexing Modern Muscle
The Ford Interceptor concept's exterior design features substantial, sometimes brutish, surfaces and sections that give the concept its modern, powerful look.
The Mustang-based concept features a traditional rear-wheel drive proportion that includes a short front overhang, long rear overhang and extended dash-to-axle ratio.

The Ford Interceptor also has a low cabin and higher beltline, adding to the vehicle's attitude and sense of mystery.

"The Ford Interceptor concept is a pure sedan that speaks to performance car lovers everywhere," said Freeman Thomas, director, North American Strategic Design. "These people might need more space, but they still appreciate the power and attitude that cars like this represent,"

Painted a deep blue, the Ford Interceptor concept's strength exudes from its strong, high shoulders. And much like on last year's Ford F-250 Super Chief pickup concept, a single character line runs the length of the body side, slightly sloping downward as it reaches the back of the sedan.

This adds wedge to the car, making it dynamic, without detracting from its smooth, clean design.

Signature Ford touches include the horizontal three-bar grille, which has been structurally integrated into the bumper beam, as well as "squircles" – or professionally square circle-shaped graphics – inside and out.

As a nod to performance purists, the ultimate muscle lies under the powered clamshell "shaker" hood, which caps a thoroughly detailed engine compartment that houses a 5.0-liter V-8 Cammer engine.

This is an upgraded variant of the 4.6-liter engine under the hood of the current production Mustang GT. The Cammer modular engine powered Ford Racing's FR500C race car to the top of the Grand Am Cup's GS class, achieving five victories on its way to the Drivers, Manufacturers and Team Championships in its first season of competition.

The Interceptor concept's Cammer engine is mated to a manual six-speed transmission. The car, equipped with 22-inch wheels, also features a solid rear axle for more hard-core performance feel.

Attitude Within
Inside, the Ford Interceptor concept is sleek and thoroughly modern, completed in contrasting black leather and metal finishes.

The dash, headliner and thick steering wheel are leather-wrapped. Plus, the Interceptor concept's four low-back bucket seats are wrapped in thick black belt leather with exposed-edge seams and contrasting caramel stitching. The seats are accented with Ford GT-inspired squircle grommets finished with Titan Metal painted inserts.

Squircle accents are repeated in the concept's door trims, floor, console and instrument panel.

Designed within a pair of squircles, the speedometer and tachometer are eye-catching. The needles for both start at center and move opposite each other as the speed and RPM climb.

Other clever touches include retractable headrests that deploy from the roof when the car is parked. They adjust fore and aft, as well as up and down for each occupant. Audio control panel and climate controls also are stowable.

On the other hand, the gated six-speed shifter is exposed, just waiting to be thrown into gear.

"The Interceptor concept is a sedan – but with the heart and soul of a performance car," Thomas said. "This car is about restraint – and not clouding the driving experience with too much technology. There aren't a lot of layers between the driver and the road with this car."

Safer travels
For safety, the Interceptor concept incorporates Ford's patented four-point "belt and suspenders" safety belt design in all four seats and inflatable seat belts in the rear.

While current three-point safety belts are extremely effective in reducing the risk of injury in a crash, Ford Motor Company is researching these two potential safety belt technologies as possible ways to further reduce injury risk in vehicle crashes.

A number of technical challenges still need to be overcome before such restraint systems could ever be used, but these technologies might one day further enhance safety belt effectiveness.

The four-point belt showcases a possible next-generation safety belt that is more comfortable and easier to use than traditional three-point belts, according to consumer research. Additionally, inflatable belts have been included in the rear seat of the concept to help better protect occupants in a variety of crashes.

"Our customer target for this powerful masculine sedan was a man with a family," Horbury said. "He's essentially a good guy, but a bit mischevious. He loves power and performance. But ultimately, he's responsible. When he has his family on board, he values new safety technology as well as a powerful engine that runs on E-85 ethanol."


The Team
The Ford Interceptor concept was developed by the following team members, led by J Mays, group vice president – Design, and chief creative officer:

Peter Horbury, executive director – Design, The Americas
Freeman Thomas, director, Strategic Design, North America
David Woodhouse, chief designer
Kris Tomasson, chief designer
Andreas Nilsson, exterior design manager
Jeremy Leng, exterior design manager
Brian White, interior designer
Fairuz Arabo, Color and Materials designer
Greg Hutting, project manager


Powertrain
5.0-liter Cammer V-8

Chassis lengths
Overall length...........................................201.6 in.
Wheelbase.................................................120.8 in.
Overall width..............................................76.4 in.
Overall height at curb..................................54.8 in.

Track width
Front...........................................................66.5 in.
Rear............................................................67.8 in.

Suspension
Front....................... Double wishbone-independent
Rear.........................3-Link Design with Panhard Rod

Headroom
Front...........................................................37.5 in.
Second Row................................................35.9 in.

Legroom
Front...........................................................42.3 in.
Second Row................................................35.6 in.