• Aug 26th 2008 at 10:28AM
  • 29
"You guys are obsessed with rear wheel drive," Alan Mulally mused to the Australian press after a browbeating about which pair of wheels might propel the Falcon into the future. Try as they might, the Ford Chief would not be pinned down about the chassis architecture of future Falcons, saying only that the choice would be customer driven, and plugging front and all-wheel drive vehicles as "pretty spectacular."

Mulally is right that Ford's global push to put exceptional small cars in showrooms is what the automaker's focus is and should be. The Falcon has long fallen off its sales peak from the halcyon days of two decades ago, and while Mulally agrees that it's "an absolutely dynamite vehicle," small cars in the future will prop up the more niche-y vehicles like the FG Falcon. Mulally went on to say that Australia will serve as an engineering and product development outpost for Ford, and the big-vehicle prowess in Oz will be useful regardless of layout. As Ford pulls its global platforms together, the Ranger and Focus will come at us from Australia, too.

While we all wish we could fill our driveways with an FPV GT sporting Paul Stanley eye makeup and Boss V8 motivation, we're not holding our breath. Ford doesn't appear to be following GMs lead bringing its Australian cars stateside, and the V8s days may be numbered. Mulally acknowledged that fuel efficiency and carbon dioxide emissions are going to be tremendously important going forward, which will likely spur a shift to smaller four- and six-cylinder powerplants with forced induction serving as the performance option. An FG FPV with an Ecoboost four underhood? Heck, we'd still take it - it's bound to be better than the mush-tastic fleet-only Crown Victoria.

[Source: drive.com.au]


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  • 29 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      The rear wheel drive Falcon would be a great car to bring to the US as a Mercury -- PLEASE!
      • 7 Years Ago
      The Falcon is intended to be the platform for the next Ford Mustang, which means that if the Falcon goes FWD, the Mustang would probably go FWD.

      Therefore, I don't believe it. Somehow I don't think Mulally is stupid enough to try the Ford Probe idea again. It didn't work the first time and it won't work this time.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I'd take one with a 4 or 6 cylinder and a turbo/twin turbo. But I guess us enthusiasts are the minority...
      • 7 Years Ago
      ..."six-cylinder powerplants with forced induction serving as the performance option"

      FPV F6 anyone? All the auto mags over here rate it better than its V8 stablemates...
      • 7 Years Ago
      If ford ever switch the falcon to FWD they're as good as gone in Australia
      • 7 Years Ago
      cry....
      • 7 Years Ago
      Ford believe that they have technically "solved" the problem of torque steer. Thus when looking at new cars FWD isn't off the table any more, even for quite powerful 300HP engines. Hence M is absolutely right in hedging on making ALL new cars RWD. Other technical and efficiency decisions will matter more than trying to say emulate BMW in having RWD throughtout the range.
      Let's not forget that if torque steer is errqdicated it makes a lot of sense to have the power deliveredto an axle with the weight of the engine right overhead. Rather than being less sporting it could be MORE sporty.
        • 7 Years Ago
        "Yeah, FWD is the ideal choice for small car performance. Wait, why are the Elise, S2000, Miata, and 1-series all RWD, again?"

        If you only have to worry about two seats, then RWD is fine, but have you compared the interior volume of a 1-Series to, say, a B200, VW GTI, Civic Si or even a Fit, it makes sense. Front-engine/rear-drive eats space, power and efficiency.

        In a niche car, that's ok, because only gearheads are buying it. In a mainstream product like Ford's Falcon, you can't sacrifice what most people want (space, power, economy) for the 9/10s track ability that only matters to a few die-hard gearheads. The sales of the Camry/Aurion should be proof enough of this.

        Besides, have you ever driven a Mondeo? If that's the Falcon (and Fusion's) replacement, then sign me up, because in every way that matters to most people it's a superior car.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Very highly unlikely that having FWD will inherently make a car 'more sporting'.

        It takes tremendous effort just to get them to be 'as sporting'.

        Its nearly impossible to create a 50/50 weight distribution, common on BMWs, when all the drivetrain is up front. That makes an equivalent handler to said Bimmer much more difficult to create from FWD.

        Rear-biased AWD can rectify the situation some. Pushing and pulling simultaneously keeps 100% of the weight on 100% of the rubber.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Yeah, FWD is the ideal choice for small car performance. Wait, why are the Elise, S2000, Miata, and 1-series all RWD, again?
        • 7 Years Ago
        That makes no sense at all. I drive a "sporty" FWD car (07 Civic Si), and even with its superb chassis setup and limited slip, I'd rather have the same package in RWD just for more control. In fact, my next car will more than likely be RWD.
        • 7 Years Ago
        In a car the size and power of the Civic, FWD is actually the better performing option. And Honda already knows how to maximize FWD peformance.

        If you went RWD, the extra mass and packaging issues would likely lower the overall performance.
        • 7 Years Ago
        "Let's not forget that if torque steer is errqdicated it makes a lot of sense to have the power deliveredto an axle with the weight of the engine right overhead. Rather than being less sporting it could be MORE sporty."

        First point: this is exactly why mid engined cars kick a$$.

        Secondly, let's not forget that torque steer is not the biggest problem in a powerful FWD car. Nose heavy weight distribution and demanding the majority of all lateral and longitudinal acceleration are the two biggest problems for a powerful front driver. The result is those tires are over worked and cannot keep up. As tankd0g points out, it really doesn't matter when driving half-fast on the street.

        For a given class of car, any class of car, RWD will generally outperform FWD in outright performance. Yes, even small cars.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I guess if sporting just means a spirited drive on public roads then I guess it really doesn't matter if it's FWD or RWD, however if you ever go to a track:

        There's nothing you can do to FWD to make it launch off the line the way RWD does. In FWD there is no throttle induced oversteer, only understeer. If you want oversteer, you have to be thinking about it 3 seconds ago, because lift off oversteer is all you have. That's actually plenty fun in a small FWD car, if it's even possible in something as big as a Falcon, it's probably like swinging a sledge hammer.
      • 7 Years Ago
      The only reason Falcons & Commodores exist is RWD. If it becomes FWD, everyone might as well get a Maxima or Accord V6. More reliable, better quality fittings and plastics. An AWD version might still appease towies, but the extra weight of the drivetrain and transfer case will negate the advantages of going FWD to start with. Plus the extra complication. RWD is still simpler and cheaper.

      If Nissan and Honda on the other hand marketed the Maxima/Teana and Accord V6 with RWD, then Holden and Ford should watch their backs.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Being unfamiliar with the Australia/NZ market, you all miss precisely why the comparably-sized Nissan Maxima, Honda Accord V6 and the Mitsubishi V3000/380, with similar price and power, and better reliability, simply cannot match the Ford Falcon and Holden Commodore: TOWING.

      Where in North America, you don't fit towbars on cars, downunder, we use them for towing boats. And we have lots of them. As pointed out by my boatie friend, a FWD large car's front wheels will lose traction on a boat ramp when the boat trailer is loaded onto the towbar. With RWD, it improves traction.

      Use SUVs instead? Why? They guzzle far more in everyday driving when you aren't towing. People with Falcons or Commodores don't complain about fuel consumption as badly as those with Jeeps, Land Cruisers, Ford Explorers, Range Rovers, or Suburbans, regardless of how carefully they drive unloaded. Heck, even someone I know with a Mazda Tribute V6 ends up driving his 6-cylinder BMW 323i more because it uses far less fuel.
      • 7 Years Ago
      ...And no Autoblog...a V6, FWD Falcon is NOT BETTER than a V8, RWD Crown Vic.

      Do you guys remember testing the G8 GT??
        • 7 Years Ago
        Go back and re-read the statement, that's not what I was saying.
      • 7 Years Ago
      It will be -- but only as an importer. Like Nissan.
      • 7 Years Ago
      So they will rebadge the Taurus and sell it as a Falcon? Mitsubishi went out business in Oz with the Magna/380 because it was FWD so why on earth would you want to follow intheir footsteps?
        • 7 Years Ago
        Ford tried selling US-built RHD Tauruses (Tauri?) down under in the late 90's. The press went apopolectic because they were smart enough to know that Ford was essentially testing the waters to see if Australia and New Zealand would accept a FWD US import instead of a domestically sourced RWD sedan (although they denied that this was the intent of course). In part because of that, the Taurus was a total failure in Aussie land.
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