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Old 03-27-2004, 08:37   #1 (permalink)
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EU:Ford Transit Connect X-Press-an unlikely marriage of performance and practicality

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Ford Europe has issued the following press release:

What would result from the unlikely “marriage” of a low-roof, highly practical Ford Transit Connect van with the power unit and brakes from Ford’s high-performance, top-of-the-range, Focus RS? The answer is the 'vantastic' Transit Connect X-Press - the fastest and most dramatic version of Ford’s tough and highly versatile small commercial to hit the tarmac.

Lower (by up to 70 mm), meaner (with 18-inch OZ alloys) and emitting an exhaust note more akin to that of Ford’s Focus RS in World Rally Championship trim, X-Press is an undeniably special Transit Connect. Even if you fail to spot the integral, “race-spec” roll cage fitted inside this one-off vehicle, it would be almost impossible to ignore the pearlescent white paint job set off with tri-colour X-Press graphics. Extrovert? Most definitely – but not over the top!

Built Ford Tough
X-Press Lead Engineer, Paul Sluimer, explained: "Transit Connect is such a fantastically strong and dynamically capable vehicle to begin with, that we knew this project would be feasible from the outset. Certain drivetrain and suspension components are common with Ford Focus, so the transformation was relatively straightforward from an engineering point of view. We now have a unique commercial vehicle that performs like no other. We estimate a 0-60mph time of under 7 seconds and a 130mph top speed. As you might expect from a Ford, it handles, steers and stops like a sports car.”

Once having seen and heard Transit Connect X-Press, the casual observer would be entitled to wonder why a small and otherwise apparently sensible group of Ford engineers, based at Ford of Europe's Lommel Proving Ground in Belgium, would have devised a plan to build such an unlikely machine. The same observer may be surprised to learn that there are perfectly credible reasons behind the creation of Transit Connect X-Press!

Above all, the team of dedicated engineers who developed the Transit Connect range was eager to demonstrate, in a memorable way, the inherent strength and versatility of the base vehicle. Clearly, it would not be possible to contemplate fitting a high performance, turbocharged and intercooled 215PS engine into such a vehicle with just minimal changes required, unless it was constructed very robustly in the first place.

In short, X-Press provides a clear reminder that Transit Connect is not based on a modified passenger car platform; rather, it was developed, from the ground up, to cope with the tough, unremitting demands made of hard-working commercial vehicles everywhere.

It also underlines the fact that Ford's commitment to developing vehicles that offer a rewarding driving experience applies not just to passenger cars, but equally to Ford commercials. Given that the production Transit Connect has been much praised for its overall driving quality the X-press team had no problems leaving the original suspension system largely intact.

Performance Van Heritage
Transit Connect X-Press is the latest in a memorable line of dramatic, one-off Ford commercials created over the years both to entertain and to remind the general public, from time to time, of the roles these much-loved workhorses play in everyday commercial life throughout Europe, and in many other parts of the world.

These ranged from the original Transit Supervan of the late-1960s, with its mid-engined, Ford “big-block” V8, through the 1980s Cosworth-powered, Formula One-inspired Supervan 2 and 3 models. More recently, the rally-oriented Ford Transit WRT proved that Ford Transit is as tough as ever, even taking a key supporting role in a Playstation 2 rally computer game alongside the Ford Focus RS WRC.

Transit Connect X-Press may be physically smaller than its crowd-pleasing predecessors, but it packs a mean punch.

RS and LCV Connect Perfectly!

The base ingredients from the exciting Focus RS and the tough Transit Connect Light Commercial combine perfectly in the X-Press.

From the Focus RS comes the undiluted and mighty 215PS 2.0 litre turbocharged and intercooled 16-valve Duratec RS engine. Its 310Nm of maximum torque is fed to the front wheels through a heavy-duty AP racing clutch, a robust, five-speed gearbox with a short-throw shifter and a motorsport-inspired Quaife limited slip differential. Also recognisable from the Focus RS are the Brembo 325mm ventilated front disc brakes teamed with 280 mm solid discs at the rear.

In terms of its suspension the X-Press is almost pure Transit Connect with the McPherson strut front end matched to a classic light commercial vehicle beam axle at the rear.

It has to be said, though, that the front suspension is redesigned and lowered with up-rated offset coil springs and Sachs-provided racing dampers. There are revised lower A-arms with increased roll-centre height and 23 mm anti-roll bar incorporating unique roller bearing locating fixings. At the rear, along with the lowered ride height there are up-rated leaf springs from Olgun Celik and a 22 mm anti-roll bar incorporating roller bearing locating fixings.

Inside, the cabin is unmistakably Transit Connect, but obvious changes like the Sparco race-style leather/Alcantara trimmed bucket seats in black and white, plus a Ford Racing driver / co-driver intercom give the game away. There is a unique-to-the X-Press steering wheel and a flocked interior and centre console with the familiar RS start button, plus a revised instrument binnacle with new graphics and instrumentation incorporating a turbo boost gauge and change-up light.

The end result will undoubtedly thrill everybody who comes in close contact with the vehicle while perhaps still leaving them slightly puzzled. That puzzlement is perhaps something to do with the Transit Connect X-Press being a perfect marriage of such unlikely partners!

Labour of Love

The Transit Connect X-Press was created by a small team of Ford engineers at Ford's Lommel Proving Ground in Belgium during late 2003. Project Manager, Philippe Castro, used the art of persuasion in getting key specialists to give up their spare time to work on the vehicle.

"It wasn't difficult really," Castro admitted. "Once everyone understood what we were doing they all offered to help in their spare time to make special parts or work on the vehicle. It became a true labour of love and as we're basically all car nuts, we're very pleased with the end product."

The Lommel team also asked some key Ford supplier partners to help out with special and very important parts. Sachs willingly offered some racing dampers, Olgun Celik provided upgraded rear leaf springs and a tuned, low back-pressure, increased volume, sports exhaust system was supplied by Bosal. Without the support and enthusiasm of these specialist suppliers, the end result certainly would not have been possible!





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Old 03-28-2004, 06:43   #2 (permalink)
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Re: EU:Ford Transit Connect X-Press-an unlikely marriage of performance and practicality

The Auto Channel

New 135PS, 2.4-litre TDCi. Most powerful engine yet to appear in Ford
Transit.

New six-speed gearbox designed to eat up mile after mile of motorway.

New 115PS TDdi Transit engine ideal for 3500 tonne buyers with excellent residual values forecast.

Extremely competitive pricing to delight customers.

Both engines are built at Ford's Centre for Diesel Excellence, Dagenham.

BIRMINGHAM, 23 March, 2004 – In order to keep ahead of the UK's ever-changing commercial vehicle market, Ford is introducing two new diesel engines with extra torque. Our operators recognise that torque is a much more useable commodity than power alone, combined with outstanding cost-of-ownership benefits.

The 135PS, that actually has a peak power output of 137PS, is a second generation, common-rail, 2.4 litre DuraTorq engine developing 375Nm of torque. This is the most powerful and tractable engine Ford has produced yet for Transit. Coupled as standard with an all-new six speed gearbox, it will eat miles and miles of motorway. Priced at a very competitive £1,350 over existing 90PS models, it makes financial sense for every operator who needs to carry a high payload without compromising on economy.

The new 115PS 2.4-litre TDdi engine has been engineered to develop the same 285Nm torque as the 125PS TDdi engine it replaces. Again, it has an extremely competitive price, at £600 over existing models with the 90PS engine. The introduction of the 115PS engine is significant for operators of 3.5 tonne GVM vehicles as the market demand for higher power output engines is reflected in strong residual values. Put this alongside the Transit reputation for low cost of ownership and it's a winning package.

In addition to the standard ABS and EBD (Electronic Breakforce Distribution), these two new engines are also fitted as standard with Traction Assist, to minimise tyre scrub and ensure smooth acceleration in slippery conditions.

"The new 135PS engine delivers outstanding driveability under all payload and trailer towing conditions, while providing significant improvements in fuel economy at high speeds. This engine will give fleet operators a powerful tool for rapid parcel and goods delivery, wherever it is required," said Gary Whittam, commercial vehicles director, Ford of Britain.

Developing 137PS at 3500 rpm, the new power unit boasts a torque output of 375Nm at 2000 rpm and is outstandingly quiet in operation. It is available throughout the entire RWD Transit line-up, including models of up to 4.25 tonnes.

"Just as sensational is the new 115PS engine. For those operating 3.5 tonnes GVM it means they can get the extra torque they need for any payload plus the benefit from the higher residuals achieved. In my opinion, no other manufacturer can offer this level of torque and economy at our prices," he added.

The conundrum of creating a more powerful diesel unit that would also be more fuel-efficient than the outgoing 125PS DuraTorq 2.4 litre TDdi engine has been solved through the employment of the latest diesel engine technology developed at the Ford Centre for Diesel Excellence in Dagenham, as well as extensive Commercial Vehicle Research and Development at Dunton and key facilities throughout Europe.

The completely new six-speed transmission is geared to deliver excellent performance and fuel economy at all speeds. It also delivers low noise, and in heavy-duty usage, augments the low effort driving experience of Transit.

One of the keys to the reduced NVH (Noise Vibration and Harshness) levels of the new engine is the use of new engine Hydro-Mounts. These utilise hydraulic fluid to separate engine vibration from the vehicle body. They are 'tuneable' and enable engineers to deliver lower levels of NVH for improved refinement, as noise and vibration are prevented from being transmitted through the vehicle to the driver.

The servicing intervals for Transit diesel engines is 15,000 miles/one year. The design integrity of the 2.4 litre TDCi and 2.4TDdi DuraTorq engines means that, under normal driving conditions, no additional oil is needed between scheduled servicing.



FORD TRANSIT 137PS 2.4L DuraTorq TDCi
TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

Engine type 2.4 litre TDCi DuraTorq North / South Installed
Displacement – cc 2402
Fuel type Diesel (max. 5% RME content)
Bore mm 89.9
Stroke mm 94.6
Max power kW/PS at rpm 101/137 @ 3500
Torque ISO Nm at rpm 375 @ 2000

Construction
Cylinders 4
Cylinder head Aluminium
Cylinder block Cast Iron
Compression 18.5:1 (+/- 0.5)
Valve gear 4 valves per cyl / twin cam with hydraulic adjust
Camshaft drive Duplex chain
Engine management Delphi ECU

Fuel injection Common Rail with 1600 bar pressure
Forced Induction system Vacuum-controlled Mitsubishi VGT

Fuel Economy
(MPG)

Final Drive ratio 3.77 4.27
Urban 25.4 24.4
Extra Urban 39.8 38.7
Combined 32.8 32.5

GTM
(350 LWB Hi Roof) 5750KG 6000KG

Transmission
Gear ratios 1 st 5.44
2 nd 2.84
3 rd 1.72
4 th 1.22
5 th 1.00
6 th 0.79
Reverse 4.94

Final Drive 3.77 and 4.27
Flywheel Dual Mass Flywheel
Clutch Heavy-duty 258mm self-adjusting, single driven-plate clutch with low pedal-operating load.


Performance
Final drive ratio 3.77 4.27
Maximum speed, kph/mph 157/98 157/98
Acceleration - seconds
0-100kph/62mph 21 21
50-100kph/31-62mph 19 17

FORD TRANSIT 115PS 2.4L Duratorq TDdI
TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

Engine type 2.4 litre TDdi DuraTorq North / South Installed
Displacement – cc 2402
Fuel type Diesel (max. 5% RME content)
Bore mm 89.9
Stroke mm 94.6
Max power kW/PS at rpm 84.6/115 @ 3800
Torque ISO Nm at rpm 285 @ 2300

Construction
Cylinders 4
Cylinder head Aluminium
Cylinder block Cast Iron
Compression 18.5:1 (+/- 0.5)
Valve gear 4 valves per cyl / twin cam with hydraulic adjust
Camshaft drive Duplex chain
Engine management Visteon EEC

Fuel injection Bosch – Pump Line Nozzle VP44
Forced Induction system Mitsubishi FGT (Fixed Geometry Turbo)

Fuel Economy
(MPG)
Final Drive ratio 4.63 5.13 5.88
Urban 25.4 24.6 20.8
Extra Urban 42.8 37.7 35.8
Combined 34.0 31.7 28.2

GTM
(350 LWB Hi Roof) 5000KG 5750KG 6000KG

Transmission
Gear ratios 1 st 4.20
2 nd 2.24
3 rd 1.37
4 th 1.00
5 th 0.76
Reverse 3.60

Final Drive 4.63, 5.13 or 5.88
Flywheel Dual Mass Flywheel
Clutch 258mm self-adjusting single driven-plate clutch with low pedal-operating load.

Performance
Final drive ratio 4.63 5.13 5.88
Maximum speed, kph/mph 145/90 139/86 125/78
0-100kph/62mph 26 26 26
50-100kph/31-62mph 22 20 24
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Stacy94PGT
My first car was a 67 Mustang Coupe, 2nd one was a 67 Cougar XR-7, 3rd one was a 66 Mustang Coupe. Why did I get rid of these cars for ? I know why, because I'm stupid, stupid, stupid.

My next Ford.....
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