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Ford FG Falcon- Designing the Ultimate Falcon

April 11th, 2008



The contemporary exterior design of the all-new FG Falcon combines excellent proportions and modern surfacing with tangible safety, packaging and engineering advancements to deliver a car that both is – and looks – more refined, composed and confident on road.

The clean surfacing conveys athletic, taut, responsive qualities that are in line with European design trends. By doing so, the new Falcon will align visually with European vehicles in Ford showrooms and respond to consumer demand for a car with more modern appeal.

In order to do so, the exterior design team favoured an assertive on-road stance over aggressive styling.

"Stance – or how a vehicle looks on the road – is critical to the design of any new car," said Ford Australia Design Manager Advanced Projects, Steve Park.

"We wanted to plant the new Falcon firmly on the road and embody the performance and dynamics that the car exhibits when moving. However, it was also important to achieve a balance between that desire and being overtly aggressive in the styling.

"We knew that once we delivered the right stance for the car that the rest of the design would flow naturally from that."

In order to achieve the optimum stance, Park took advantage of changes to the Falcon's proportions.

Increases in width to the front and rear tracks allowed the designers to move the wheel arches and place the wheels to the extreme outside of the vehicle, automatically giving the exterior a stronger stance.

The overall exterior design centres on the beltline and C-pillar. With world-class manufacturing to support the design, the rear windscreen angle was reduced through lifting the boot lid 10 mm and moving the glass area rearward. This had the dual effect of improving rear passenger headroom and improving the vehicle's overall proportion by reducing the rear overhang.

To accentuate the shortened boot lid, the trailing edge was pulled forward approximately 10 mm. The same proportional change was achieved at the front by moving the base of the A-pillar forward and outwards at the top of the vehicle – lifting the top of the windscreen and slightly raising the bonnet line.

Moving the A-pillar forward also had the benefit of significantly improving ingress and egress.

"The ability to design new doors and move the A-pillar forward was critical to allow us to achieve our goal of dramatically improving ingress and egress with this Falcon," said Park.

A range of other design changes were also effected in order to improve ingress and egress, including moving the B-pillar forward to allow for greater rear seat access and a wider rear door opening swing.

Larger rear doors, with windows extending further rearwards into the C-pillar also improve rear seat access as well as improving side visibility for rear passengers. Significantly, the swing-open angle of the doors has improved with an 8.5 degree increase in the rear door swing and a 5.5 degree increase in the front door swing.

Similar attention to detail was paid to achieving the optimum daylight opening (DLO) area.

"We aimed to achieve the perfect balance between the modern desire for a narrow DLO area while still providing the driver and passengers with good visibility," said Park.

"We worked very closely with the interior package team for more than eight months to get the beltline balanced between good visibility, correct proportion and our desired stance for the vehicle."

The 10 mm height movement of the boot lid flowed through to the beltline, which the design team then accentuated by using shape and shading to reduce visual weight from the body section.

"There isn't a flat exterior panel on the vehicle," said Park.

"Every exterior panel has shape whether it's from a positive form or a relieved surface. This interplay between positive and relieved forms has allowed us to provide definition and shape to every aspect of the vehicle, resulting in an overall design that is visually clean and contemporary.

"The accentuation of the belt line is the perfect example of this."

The engineering team's development of a hydroformed Reinforced Grille Opening Reinforcement (RGOR) for the nose of the new Falcon also allowed the design team to explore options that were not previously possible and push the front styling to greater extremes to achieve a more modern design.

Incorporating a significant amount of taper into the design, the FG Falcon front wraps quickly to form a very rounded front end design. Accentuating the shape are the headlights which extend, in effect, around each front corner.

Through effectively tying the headlights, fenders and bumper together, the RGOR also ensures tighter margins and improved flushness levels over prior models.

The new front end treatment is completed by a larger diameter Ford blue oval badge that retains balance with the enlarged, more expressive FG Falcon front design.

In addition to contributing to a contemporary front appearance for the new Falcon, the rounder nose is safer and contributes to better pedestrian impact protection.

The significant tapering involved in the design also has the effect of disguising the additional 25 mm of length in the vehicle overall.

"Despite the additional 25 mm in overall length, the new rounded nose, raised beltline and boot lid all combine to make the new Falcon look tauter, more athletic and less visually heavy than the previous model," said Park.

Falcon families

The significant realignment of models and specifications that occurs with the launch of the FG Falcon offered Park and his team the opportunity to design three distinct front end treatments for Falcon for the first time.

While all vehicles reflect the same core design principles and maintain an obvious place in the broader Falcon family, the XT, G Series and XR vehicles have their own unique design characteristics that set them apart from the other vehicles in the range.

Specifically, the large open area below the front bumper line not only draws the eye downward and accentuates the trapezoidal front, but also provides a point of difference between the families of vehicles. The targeted use of colour and chrome in this area is then used to provide further differentiation between each model within the G Series and XR
line-ups.

Falcon XT
The enhanced track width across the Falcon range gives the Falcon XT a stronger appearance and dramatically improves its visual appearance over prior models. Placement of the 16-inch wheels tightly out to the wheel arches combines with taut and tensioned surface development and strong aerodynamic influences to provide an overall feel of lightness, compactness, strength, stability and safety.

Falcon XT incorporates a unique front bumper facia which is enhanced with a top grille treatment that captures the latest European Ford three-bar design influences.
The higher deck at the rear of the car displays a contemporary and clean approach, which adds to the dynamic attitude evident in the side view.

Intricately shaped graphic tail lamps with a jewel-like inner lens and red tinted outer lens, along with bright appliqué over the licence plate add to the sophisticated rear end view.

Falcon XT comes standard with 16-inch steel wheels and seven-spoke wheel trims in a twin-spoke style, while Y-spoke style 16 x 6.5-inch alloy wheels, which are painted in burnished silver, are available as an option. An additional 17-inch five-spoke alloy wheel, in a twin-spoke design, is also available as an option.

G Series
With a unique front bumper and a rocker system that plants the vehicles firmly on the road, the G Series range of cars captures a very European performance/luxury feel.

The dramatic lower grille opening is deliberately designed to make a bold and assertive statement while the swept back headlights and purposeful upper and lower grilles within the bumper surface combine to visually differentiate the G Series line-up from other vehicles in the Falcon range.

Ornamentation is both deliberate and refined, with a full bright chrome surround on both the upper and lower grilles. The side glass is also embellished with full chrome bright work, which emphasises the flush and integrated door frame system.

Within the G Series line-up, the G6E and G6E Turbo both carry a prominent silver-coloured crosshatch mesh within the upper and lower grilles along with a dominant and larger lower graphic with a chrome surround.

Differentiation at the rear includes tail lamps with a red outer lens and black border for the G6, whereas the G6E and G6E Turbo both feature a clear outer lens with a red interior lens.

The G6 comes standard with 17-inch seven-spoke alloy wheels, which feature a broad spoke design and are painted in burnished silver, while the G6E is equipped with 17-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels featuring a machined front face.
The G6E Turbo has 18-inch seven-spoke alloy wheels as standard, which are also available as an option on G6 and G6E models. A 19-inch 10-spoke alloy, featuring a striking machined front face, is available as an option on the G6E Turbo and across the rest of the G Series line-up.

XR range
The FG Falcon XR range continues to build on the strong design cues that have contributed to the cult status enjoyed by the XR vehicles. For the first time however, the XR6 Turbo is specified to the same level as the XR8, including 18-inch alloy wheels as standard equipment.

With even more attitude and amplified front end characteristics, along with an emphasised lower rocker and rear bumper treatment, the XR vehicles deliver the most overtly sporty message within the Falcon line-up.

The XR open front end is differentiated from the G Series vehicles through a recessed grille treatment both top and bottom, along with well recessed black meshing which suggests that air is being sucked in to portray a race-bred inspired front end.

The XR headlight graphics continue with the very familiar double drop lens treatment that is so much a part of the XR heritage. Fog lamps are located outward and low to the ground with sporting details that echo the theme of the headlight graphics and add to the aggressive road-hugging stance.

The substantial aerodynamic rear spoiler integrates to the rear quarter with character line work that continues from the crisp side feature section – rising and integrating into the spoiler surface.

Tinted grey outer tail lamp lenses with red inner lenses add depth, character and sportiness to the rear, along with the deeper bumper facia. The large dark argent insert in the rear bumper makes a final strong and graphic statement which again plants the car firmly on the road.

New 17-inch five-spoke alloy wheels are standard on the XR6, while the XR6 Turbo and XR8 feature standard 18-inch alloys in an eye-catching, highly sculpted Y-spoke design. Optional 19-inch five-spoke alloys are also available across the XR model line-up.

Colours

In recent years, Ford's policy of continually updating its colour scheme has seen many exciting new colours added to the palette separate to new model launch activity, including Dash, Grace, Silk and Steel. However, for the launch of the FG Falcon, two new exterior colours will be added to the range.

Both entirely new colours are dynamic, yet very different, blues. Nitro is a new metallic interpretation of the former hero colour Bionic – created directly from trends emerging in the fashion industry, this revitalising new blue will be available on the performance hero models only.

Meanwhile, Sensation is a darker, more lapis type of blue that it is still totally full of life and will be available across the full Falcon range.

Nitro and Sensation join a complete colour line-up that offers something for everyone, including:

  • Winter White – clean, clear and crisp Winter White remains the simple white staple, which is invaluable to any palette
  • Lightening Strike – smooth and flawless, Lightening Strike optimises the contours of the new FG Series architecture
  • Kashmir – a warm golden based neutral, Kashmir exemplifies luxury in a highly contemporary style
  • Grace – inspired by nature, Grace is a calming green
  • Silk – intriguing and soft, this ice blue-tinted silver has the look and feel of pure silk
  • Steel – a dark, blackened denim blue, Steel has the look of your favourite jeans
  • Breeze – a fresh modern turquoise, Breeze creates a visual sensation of a cool breeze on a hot summer's day
  • Dash – is the new in your face lime green designed to turn heads
  • Octane – fuelled with intensity, this retro orange will ignite the senses
  • Vixen – an intense solid red, Vixen is a classic in the Ford range offering a timeless sporting colour to the palette
  • Seduce – a unique sports luxury colour, Seduce is the epitome of sensual metallic reds, rich and passionate
  • Ego – a deep mysterious charcoal, Ego has become an indispensable hue in the Ford palette offering a unique mutli-coloured highlight for added lustre and interest
  • Silhouette – an intensely saturated black, Silhouette shapes all Ford vehicles to perfect proportion


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