Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Buried in a sand trap somewher
What Falcon can learn from Focus
Let me declare my hand here for a second. My daily driver is a BA XR6 182kW I6. I occasionally get to drive a BA XR8 Boss 260kW and i've also had goes in BA XR6T's and BA XT's. I also used to drive an AUII XR6 HP.
Today I had the joy of driving a Focus ST170. I was able to drive it around the city of Melbourne as well as some back streets that I regularly drive for work and highways as well. So it travelled a fair distance in about 4 hours (some 40-50km).
First up the engine and gearbox in the ST170 are nothing short of brillant. The combination of technologies is stunning. This little high-reving 2litre 4 cylinder had no trouble accelerating from 5th (out of a possible 6) gear at 60km/h. That was what first stunned me.
The shift quality was second. Oh my god does that 6 speeder make my manual XR6 feel like a flag pole in a rubber bucket of bolts. Effortlessly you can flick the gear stick from 5th into 3rd with the wrist and away you go with the right foot. Try the same in the BA and it really is a shoulder/elbow action (XR8 is better, but still not like the Focus).
Engine revs. All seven thousand four hundred of them. Yes I wrote out 7400 because thats what it feels like when you put the right hoof down. 2nd just keeps going and going and going. Just on 6000 rpm in the XR6 and 5800 in the XR8 means that i'm now bouncing off the limiter if i'm not careful.
Handling. Wow. Throw BA around a corner thats off camber and its quite prone to understeer. This Focus front wheeler was a perfectly neutral steering around the same corner and extremely accurate throughout.
Whatever Ford in Europe did with the ST170 engine is a sweet thing. Gearbox ratios and a good engine means that it pulls nicely from below 2000rpm which is a typical torque hole for smaller high reving engines. Combine that with shift quality that makes it real fun to change gears, suburb handling and balance its an excellent car.
I guess this is all easier in a car that weighs substancially less than the BA does, but geez, if they weren't so expensive (demos for $35k) i'd be selling the BA XR6 and getting a Focus ST170.
Falcon Killer (if you believe what Ford Service Departments have to say about me)
AU II XR6 - October 2001 ~ December 2002 - RIP
BA XR6 - December 2002 ~ Soon to disappear if Ford CRC can't fix it....
45,000km service coming up - and i'll be asking for a sizable list of fixes:
* Gearbox (3rd time)
* Steering click (5th time)
* Brake Shudder (2nd time, and has the applied "Fix")