Several car magazines recently have hinted that Lincoln may be considering a rear wheel drive platform using the new 2015 Mustang IRS and updated S197 chassis. Do they have inside information, or is this just speculation? Given Lincoln’s lackluster lineup, and the tremendous success of Cadillac with the CTS and ATS, we would find it hard to believe that Lincoln isn’t looking more closely at this idea. Especially given the low-investment (given the Mustang chassis) and the superb line of current engines – especially the EcoBoost series. These engines match and exceed anything that Cadillac can offer in the ATS, as well as BMW with the current 3-series.
We do find this ironic since Lincoln had such a product for several years, but didn’t know how to sell it and didn’t invest any significant money in updating it. The Lincoln LS was built on a state-of-the-art platform internally dubbed “DEW98″ which was also shared with the Jaguar S-Type and the Thunderbird (and was originally intended to be the basis for an all-new Mustang in the 2003 timeframe, until the bean counters decided it was too expensive). It featured a heavily aluminum-intensive suspension and crossmembers with double-A-arm coilovers at all four corners and would still be state-of-the-art today (Jaguar continues to use a slightly updated version of it). And it would also be an even competitor against the Nissan/Infiniti ”FM” platform, another state-of-the-art architecture used for the 370Z, G, M, FX, and EX lines.
We’ve put in many thousands of miles in various iterations of the LS over the years and we’ve found it to be a very competent and inspiring drive. There are still enthusiast groups dedicated to the car, with one enthusiast even offering a well-designed and tested supercharger kit for the car. Lincoln had cancelled its own plans for a factory supercharged V-8, with Brembo brakes and 6-speeed manual option (to be shared with the Thunderbird).
The entire idea of a new Lincoln rear wheel drive product is doubly ironic, because once the bean counters focused their beady little eyes on the LS platform they dumbed it down considerably to create the 2005 Mustang, losing the entire suspension (de-volving back to struts and a solid axle that only matched what the Camaro gave to the market all the way back in 1982!) and keeping only the middle of the floorpan and the gas tank. Even the trunk-mounted battery (part of a significant effort in the design of the LS to achieve a balanced chassis) was lost in the transition.
So here we are with a 201x Lincoln, based on the 2015 Mustang. So many years have been lost and so much progress could have been made. The new Lincoln would use the Mustang’s front strut design (slightly improved over the 2005-2014 Mustang) and the new 2015 IRS. The good news is that Lincoln could use the entire range of EcoBoost engines in it, perhaps topping out with the 3.5 liter EcoBoost V-6 – which to date the Mustang planners have refused to use (at least until Obama’s CAFE standards finally catch up with the Coyote 5-liter V-8). We can only dream about such a Lincoln, but probably for naught. Open questions are an all-wheel drive option and another variant of the chassis for a new Falcon.
But let’s go back in time to the days of the Lincoln LS. Browse our section on the LS, and read the following review we wrote in 1999 on a performance LS concept which debuted at SEMA. Think about what could have been back then, and with continuous improvement how much could have been accomplished by now.
Special Vehicle Concept Lincoln LS
Introduced: SEMA 1999 Status: Concept
Ford brought its own concept Lincoln LS to the show, featuring several important upgrades and improvements which may point the way to future LS options. This is also Ford’s first showing of a supercharged LS V-8 engine, although Ford’s Jaguar Division already has a supercharged version of this engine in production. We’d almost call this the “SVT” version of the LS: it’s styling is very restrained, yet fully functional. This is again a concept car, built to gauge public reaction.
- 3.9 L 32V Supercharged – “Turbodyne Electronic”
- 5-speed automatic transmission with SelectShift
- Eibach suspension kit: suspension lowered 1″, performance sway bars
- Magna flow low-back pressure mufflers and chrome exhaust tips
- 3:58 axle ratio with limited slip and traction control
- Custom brake package including cross-drilled rotors
- Seat Crafters two-tone leather seating surfaces with perforated inserts and color-coordinated piping
- Distinctive wood shift level
- Superior Dash burled walnut wood trim accents
- Nokia hands-free phone system with automatic 911 call-up
- Clarion – Multimedia Windows-based system
- Voice Activated audio – 9 speakers and 400 watts
- Navigation System – GPS Satellite database communication system
- Monochromatic paint
- Razzi Lincoln LS ground effects kit (according to the literature. However, Razzi didn’t build this kit – I believe Ford did in-house)
- HRE Type 543 multi-spoke 3-piece allow wheels: front 18×8 and rear 18×9
- Pirelli P-Zero tires: front 245/40R18 and rear 275/35R18
- Custom mesh grill
- Tinted windows
Customization of the vehicle is achieved using components from a variety of equipment manufacturers:
|Exhaust||Magna Flow / Grand Prix|
|Powertrain development||SVC / Eaton Supercharger|
|Interior trim||Seat Crafters / Superior Dash|
|Electronic equipment||Clarion Nokia|
|Design execution||SVC / Razzi|
The SVE Mustang King Cobra (1994) and the SVE Super Stallion (1997) were two Ford engineering exercises built to explore modernization of the SN95 platform by the addition of state-of-the-art SLA (short-long arm) and IRS (independent rear) front and rear suspensions. Ford knew that the SN95 platform, with architecture originally designed in the mid-seventies for the 1978 Fairmont, couldn’t remain competitive or leading edge in the market for very much longer, much less meet upcoming Federal safety (gas tank location) or crash (structural integrity) standards. The SN95 platform itself was simply was an update of the original FOX platform (an all-new platform designed for the 1978 Fairmont and 1979 Mustang, later used for the Thunderbird, LTD 2, Lincoln Mark VII, and several other cars). The SN95 is so closely related to the FOX platform that most SN95 parts easily bolt onto earlier FOX Mustangs.
Why is the story of the King Cobra and Super Stallion story important? Because these two cars, along with the MN12 based Mustang production prototype, the FR500 showcar, and doubtless other lost engineering exercises, are an important part of the history of the Mustang. They show that Ford had a much greater vision for the Mustang than what we eventually received in production. They also show that Ford’s budget – as well as the vision and acceptance of the top Executives, was the constraining factor (with the exception of Jacques Nasser, who personally sponsored both the 1999 Cobra and the 2003 Cobra – and said at the time of the 1999 introduction “Isn’t it about time we offered an IRS on the Mustang…!”). Those constraining factors continue to this day, and in the case of the current Mustang originally cost it use of the full DEW platform and then before production an IRS suspension developed for the (dumbed-down DEW) S197 platform.
Ford’s Special Vehicles Engineering (SVE) organization was at the time the internal engineering arm of the Ford Special Vehicles Team (SVT). SVT was purely a marketing organization at the time, and as of this date is a shell of its former self with basic engineering and testing carried out by the platform teams rather than a separate organization such as SVE. This change was introduced (with some internal controversy) because of the severe engineering and quality issues introduced by SVE re-engineering the cars as they saw fit, with much less rigorous engineering and testing before production release. Warranty issues were first seen in the 1994 Cobra (magnesium seat brackets and front suspension bushings, differing from the standard parts) and (as the SVT products further differentiated their engineering from the base products) in the 1999 Cobra horsepower and cooling recall. Clearly a “post-engineering re-engineering” methodology had to stop and Ford eventually put an end to it. But before that, the two SVE cars shown here were examples of just that type of “band-aid” engineering. Only the supercharged 4.6 DOHC engine persevered, and it had more than its share of severe quality and warranty issues (perhaps the worst ever for SVT) as well (as this author personally suffered thru).
Let’s review the King Cobra and Super Stallion (from our Ford Motor Company concepts, prototypes,. and show cars section – with over 150 examples), along with images from the time:
SVE Mustang King Cobra
The SVE Mustang King Cobra came first, almost at the same time the production 1994 Mustang was being introduced. Due to cost constraints, the 1994 Mustang was introduced with ye olde iron pushrod 4.9 liter OHV engine. This was not what was originally intended when the SN95 platform was conceived (which itself was only a last-minute substitution for an MN12-based Mustang originally intended for the 1991 timeframe). Ford had planned to use the “modular” 4.6 liter engines from the start, including the 4.6 DOHC engine introduced 1993 Lincoln Mark VIIII. However cost constraints held Ford back, so the old engine would have to suffice for the time being. Meanwhile, the future of the Mustang was being examined internally with the King Cobra. Images of the King Cobra - and it’s very existence – have never been released or discussed by Ford. It was purely an internal prototype of the originally intended SVT Mustang Cobra – a plan that was considerably dumbed down (and delayed) before final production in 2003.
The supercharged 4.6 is related to that of the Mustang Mach III, with changes suitable for production use. You’ll note that the layout below is very close to that of the 2003-04 Cobra.
Elements of the 1996 Mustang 4.6 V-8 (SOHC U& DOHC) can be seen here including the use of the Hydroboost braking system, the pre-production air filter, and the placement of the fuse box and other underhood elements.
Many of the engineering elements of the future 2003 SVT Cobra can also be seen here – from the supercharger placement (although not the same supercharger), to the expansion tank for the intercooler, to the shape and location of the MAF, air filter, and air inlet. The battery, however, is located in the trunk – something that would prove impossible for the eventual production car. Note that the power steering reservoir is located where the battery would normally be found and that would also change by necessity.
There was also an emphasis on building in anti-lift geometry in the rear suspension. It was apparent that this car would have a very heavy engine up front, and this architecture was necessary for handling and braking ability. Anti-lift would be an important benefit of the final production 1999 SVT Mustang Cobra IRS suspension as well.
- IRS with special attention paid to achieving low unsprung weight and anti-lift geometry
- SLA front suspension
- PBR fr/rr brakes w/specifically-tuned ABS
- Torsen differential
- Unique body components – hood for clearance, and functional side scoop to cool rear suspension
- Unique interior trim
The Mustang King Cobra shows that SVE had in mind a demonstration of its suspension ngineering capabilities. As we know, none of these major engineering elements made it to production. Nor has Ford been able to actually offer such a front and rear suspension on a production Mustang. It’s a shame that SVE and Ford fell so far after showing what they were capable of here, and again later on with the FR500.
|0-60 mph||4.9 seconds||(estimated)|
|60-0 mph||130 ft.||(estimated)|
|1/4 mile||13.0 @ 105 mph|
|200 ft radial skidpad||0.87g||(estimated)|
|600 ft slalom||65 mph||(estimated)|
SVE program managers included Al Suydam and Steve Anderson. Team members included Ron Smith and Eric Tseng.
A number of issues were encountered in the development of this car (and the related show car Super Stallion – which perhaps was one and the same car underneath?). The chief problem was excessive heat in the shocks – pushrod operated, and located in a “tray” in the trunk. The side vents cooled those shocks, but only to a degree.
Also, of course, was the entire issue of cost: since the SN95 hadn’t been engineered for an SLA up front and an IRS in the rear, production costs would be excessively high – especially for a short run of 8-10,000 cars per year. As it turned out, as we now know for the 2003 Cobra, the SLA front suspension was dropped, the IRS was totally redesigned to make it considerably more production-friendly, and the supercharged engine would continue in development for a few more years before finally appearing in 2003.
SVE Mustang Super Stallion
While the SVE Mustang King Cobra was originally an exploration of intended things to come, the Super Stallion was nothing more than a show car (introduced at the 1997 SEMA show). However, it did reveal to the public for the first time the front SLA and rear IRS development work that had been done. Several magazine articles of the time showed detailed photos of the front and rear suspension. Unfortunately, none of these unique suspension pieces would ever be seen again, much less in production. However, the improved 4-valve cylinder heads, the T-56 (previously seen in the Mustang Mach III show car), and the use of front Brembo brakes were an early indication of things to come on future SN95-based Mustangs.
The bodywork of the Super Stallion takes a step forward from the King Cobra by providing proper room for much-needed larger wheels and tires. Custom front and rear fenders provide extra width and opening size. The King Cobra, given the standard early SN95 fender wells, was left at a strange angle in order to get the needed wheels and tires under the car.
Possibly this car was simply the King Cobra underneath, with the new engine added. In any case, when the car was revealed, the production 1999 SVT Mustang Cobra with it’s entirely different IRS suspension was already well in the pipeline and would be shown to the press 6 months later. The reworked 1999 Mustang was the result of a 750-million dollar (over-)budget project, led by Janine Bay, including the cost of the design and production prep of the IRS that was used in production.
This car, and the King Cobra, showed that Ford engineers were trying to give the Mustang a world-class suspension, despite the desperately outdated and unbalanced platform – and the intent to replace it with an entirely new platform after the turn of the century (delayed until 2005). A prior “last shot” at improving the FOX platform had been seen in the FR500, although that car was never (despite press releases to the contrary) intended as anything other than a show car.
- 5.4L “modular” V8 with improved 4V cylinder heads and 16 injectors
- Flex fuel compatible
- Dual MAF and throttle body assemblies
- Garrett (Allied Signal) Positive Displacement Supercharger w/Cockpit Controlled Disengagement Clutch
- Garrett Air to Water Intercooler
- Borg Warner T56 6-speed
- Front: SLA Front Suspension w/Koni DA shocks
- Rear: SLA IRS w/pushrod actuated Koni DA coil over shocks mounted in the truck
- Front: Brembo 4 Piston w / 13″ x 1.25″ cross drilled and slotted rotors
- Rear: stock Cobra rear calipers w / 12″ x 1.0″ cross drilled rotors
- Speedline 3 Piece Racing Wheels (18″ x 8.5″ Front / 18″ x 9.5″ Rear)
- Goodyear 265/40ZR18 Eagle F1-GS Fiorano Tires
|545 HP @ 6000 RPM (101 HP/Liter)||590 HP @ 6000|
|497 Lbs-Ft @ 4750 (84% of Max Torque at 2000 RPM)||536 Lbs-Ft @ 4750 RPM|
Development Team Members
- Steve Anderson – Program Manager
- Bill Lane, Kevin Lambert, Dave May, Primo Goffi, Al Oslapas, John Moore
Mustang Super Stallion – technology with attitude
LAS VEGAS, Nev., November 3, 1997 – Roaring down the Las Vegas strip, the Mustang Super Stallion technology concept makes its debut at the Specialty Equipment Market Association Show.
“The Super Stallion is a showcase of the innovative high-performance technology that Ford has up its sleeves,” said John Coletti, manager, Special Vehicle Engineering (SVE). “We’ve enhanced some of the already great Mustang features and added a few new twists to make this car every performance enthusiast’s dream.”
Leading the way in innovative powertrain and chassis technology while developing exciting, high-performance cars and trucks is the focus of Ford’s SVE group.
Super Stallion serves as a test bed for new engineering processes in addition to reinforcing Ford’s product passion. While Super Stallion is not intended for production, many of its technologies may be considered for mainstream application in the future.
Under The Hood
Powered by a 5.4-liter four-valve DOHC V-8 engine with a high capacity Garrett supercharger, Super Stallion is capable of 545 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 495 foot-pounds of torque at 4750 rpm. Super Stallion’s engine was built at Ford’s Windsor, Ont., engine plant and was modified by SVE in Allen Park, Mich. The engine modification was made possible by the flexibility of Ford’s modular engine family. The overhead cam engines are easily modified because they share basic architecture, tooling and components.
Out on the track, Super Stallion puts up some impressive numbers with a top speed estimated at 175 mph, a 0-60 mph time well under five seconds and a quarter-mile time of less than 13 seconds at 112 mph.
Specially modified aluminum cylinder heads provide better air flow, while 16 injectors keep fuel pumping through the performance hardware. The engine compression ratio is 8.2:1.
Air enters the engine through twin throttle bodies that are mounted to the high-capacity, clutch-activated, Garrett supercharger. This configuration relieves the engine of the parasitic losses incurred during the normal periods of “non-performance” operation. The end result is a significant improvement in fuel economy.
Shifting into gear is made possible by a multi-disk McLeod clutch system and a Borg-Warner T56 six-speed manual transmission.
Super Stallion’s engine is also equipped for flex-fuel operation. It is capable of running on gasoline, alcohol or any combination of the two. The system’s optical fuel sensor tells the computer the exact composition of the fuel allowing the EEC-V module to make necessary changes automatically. The benefits of having flex-fuel capabilities include cleaner emissions and improved performance, with the ability to achieve 50 more horsepower on E85 fuel.
Super Stallion’s suspension is tuned for optimal performance, ensuring the car will remain stable even under maximum handling conditions.
The front independent short/long arm suspension features an all new SVE design, replacing the standard McPherson strut system, and includes Koni double adjust shock absorbers. This configuration provides more negative camber during maximum turning, for improved cornering performance and anti-dive characteristics.
Another innovative design is the competition-style independent rear suspension. The springs and shocks are part of a unique module that is mounted in the trunk minimizing the unsprung mass while providing exceptional anti-squat during acceleration and anti-lift during hard braking.
The five-spoke, three-piece aluminum wheels from Speedline measure 18 x 8.5-inches in the front and 18 x 9.5-inches in the rear and feature 265/40ZR18 Eagle F1Fiorano Goodyear performance tires. Stopping power is provided by Brembo calipers and 13-inch vented discs on the front. The rear uses 12-inch vented Brembo discs. In addition, hard stops are controlled by electronic ABS. Stopping distance from 60 mph is 116 feet and from 100 mph is 310 feet with exceptional anti-fade characteristics.
The aggressive stance and sleek lines of the production Mustang are enhanced by unique graphics and carbon fiber accents to give the Super Stallion a distinct performance look.
An all-new hood design, with nostril-like openings, allows this beast to breathe a little easier. Improved air-flow into the engine compartment keeps the 5.4-liter V-8 cool under the most intense driving conditions.
The front fascia has been modified to include two large, round driving lights along with integral ducts that feed air to the engine, while the rear fascia features integrated dual exhausts. Both the front and rear treatments as well as the mirrors and scoops are made of carbon fiber to keep weight at a minimum.
The quarter window ducts and quarter panel scoops allow for rear shock and brake cooling, which ensures peak performance of these vital components. The rear decklid and spoiler have been modified to improve the aerodynamics of the car and provide outstanding high-speed stability.
A dramatic exterior graphics package completes Super Stallion’s “street racer” appearance. The car takes on two different personalities with radically different color configurations on each side. The passenger side is painted in a deep metallic blue base color giving the car an unassuming look, disguising its true power. In contrast, the driver’s side is white and stands out to give Super Stallion a menacing look, hinting at its true capabilities.
Super Stallion’s interior features four leather-wrapped ebony bucket seats. The front seats include integrated three-point safety restraints, which improve the rear seat ingress/egress, and dynamic seat bolsters. The seat bolsters are unique in that they articulate to hold the occupants in place during hard cornering. The bolsters retract to make entry and exit of the vehicle more comfortable.
Keeping track of all of Super Stallion’s systems is made possible by an on-board performance diagnostics system mounted in the headliner. In addition, two extra gauges are mounted on the A-pillar to monitor intake manifold vacuum/boost and fuel system pressure. The rest of the performance-oriented white faced gauges are housed in the instrument cluster.
The supercharger is activated with the flip of a switch that is mounted in the center stack area of the console. When the system is on, the “armed” light is illuminated and Super Stallion is performing at its ultimate. Also found in the center stack area is a digital readout that measures the amount of alcohol present in the vehicle’s fuel.
The center console runs the length of the car and houses the leather-wrapped shifter. It also provides extra storage space and cup holders for the rear passengers.
To complete the driving experience, Super Stallion is equipped with a Mach 630 watt sound system from Visteon Automotive Systems. The radio/CD unit is housed in the instrument panel and features two amplifiers, a center image speaker mounted in the dash, 2.5-inch speakers in the A-pillar sails, 5.5 X 7.5-inch woofers in the doors, three sub-woofers and two mid-range tweeters mounted in the package tray.
“We’ve taken high-performance technology to a new and exciting level with the Super Stallion,” said Coletti. “It’s the ultimate ride!”
It’s a terrific time we live in. A new era of Japanese supercars is almost upon us. We already have the fabulous Nissan GT-R (a Porsche buster at half the price and without the snootiness), the incredible Lexus LFA, a new 400+ HP NSX (three years off), and in the same timeframe this new Infiniti. If the first two don’t establish Japanese supercar invincibility, then the second two certainly will and will also take automotive technology into the next decade. The NSX is a hybrid, with a new gas engine powering the wheels supported by electric motor assist.
The Infiniti EMERG-E (a concept today, and without a doubt a production car inside of three years) is a pure electric that uses a very small gas engine solely for recharging the batteries. The exclusively electric drivetrain yields over 400 HP - and like all electrics maximum torque is produced from 1 RPM on up. The driving experience will be incredible.
Gallery of high-res images: Driving Enthusiast EMERG-E Gallery.
Infiniti EMERG-E website: www.infinitiemerg-e.com
Three Infiniti Press Releases follow.
REMARKS BERNARD LOIRE AND SHIRO NAKAMURA Geneva Motor Show 2012 – INFINITI PRESS CONFERENCE
Only the spoken word is valid
Good morning and welcome to the 82nd Geneva International Motor Show – the fifth time Infiniti has taken a stand here at Palexpo. And my first as part of the Infiniti team.
Yes, it was just five years ago, here in 2008 that we first told Europe what Infiniti means by Inspired Performance. And at every Geneva Show since, we have given you something special.
Last year, for example, we surprised you with our announcement of a partnership with Formula 1 champions, Red Bull Racing.
Can we top that today? Well, having seen what’s under here, I think we just might.
But first, allow me to update you on our business. Because it’s looking good.
We have just celebrated two milestones: the opening of our 20th European market and our 50th Infiniti Centre in Western Europe. Plus last year, our regions – that’s West and East Europe plus the Middle East – all enjoyed record sales.
Numbers that we want to increase further. Hence the strengthening of our sales teams across the region.
Our product offering continues to grow. Upwards with the confirmation that the FX Sebastian Vettel Version will go on sale this Spring in a strictly limited run of 200 units each enjoying 420PS of V8 muscle the most powerful and best sounding car we have yet brought to market.
Although Sebastian cannot be with us this year, we are very pleased to be joined by Red Bull Racing’s Team Principal, Christian Horner, with whom we will be working even more closely this year.
Welcome Christian back to Geneva. If you see Sebastian, you can tell him that Car Number 1 will be his.
One figure that we are reducing is our average emissions with the announcement today that, due to technical changes, the Infiniti M Hybrid now emits less than 160 grams of CO2 without changing its status as the world’s fastest accelerating full hybrid. Next year, the emissions of our fleet will further decrease with the addition of four cylinder petrol and diesel engines.
How high … and how fast can we go is a question our product planners have been thinking very seriously about.
In addition, can low emissions be exciting? And beautiful…?
We think it can. To tell you more, let me hand you over to Infiniti’s Senior Vice President and Chief Creative Office, Mr Shiro Nakamura. Shiro-san…
Good morning everyone.
At every Geneva Show so far, Infiniti has always brought you something special.
In 2009, we showcased the Essence concept car to commemorate the brand`s 20th anniversary as a producer of performance cars. This car on authentic rear wheel drive proportions showed many new design aspects and a signature that expressed the unique beauty and vigor of Infiniti.
In 2011, we again showcased Infiniti’s distinctive design through the compact but spacious proportions of the Etherea concept, Infiniti’s first front-wheel drive car.
And today, I am very pleased to introduce you a new exploration of Infiniti design language and advanced technology that reflects Infininti`s message of inspired performance: the INFINITI EMERG-E, the third part of the Infiniti Trilogy.
This third member of the Infiniti Trilogy is more sporty, more dynamic and even more expressive than the previous two with a midship motor layout.
And it shows how Infiniti design language works in a different package. Moreover it consolidates the future direction of Infiniti design.
Looking at the styling of the car, the flowing motion of the surface is led from a three-dimensional `Double Arch` front grille, with a new waved pattern, through to the kimono inspired air intakes on the rear fender giving elegance to this performance car.
Aside from its dynamic shape, Infiniti iconic signatures can be seen in the LED head lamp graphic inspired by a god’s forceful eye. The dynamic arc on the window graphic and crescent cut C-pillar are also adopted on EMERG-E embodying the unmistakable appearance of an Infiniti.
Looking inside the car, you can find subtle traces from Essence. Highly functional yet intimate spaces for both driver and passenger are formed by two different color and materials contrasting functional and comfortable zones.
We have designed a shape of real energy and elegance, and one with the emotional flow you know of Infiniti. But what you cannot see is that this silk dress of a body is super light made out of carbonfibre.
EMERG-E is also a symbol of performance and one that can be enjoyed without feeling guilty because we have explored technology new to Infiniti: an electric vehicle with a range extender.
The result is a sports car that can travel 30 miles with no emissions. It can accelerate to 60 miles per hour in four seconds thanks to three hundred kilo watts of power. And, with the assistance of a small three cylinder petrol engine, it is capable of a range of up to three hundred miles.
In addition to this show car, our engineering teams in the UK are building two more drivable prototypes this summer that will convey to you the real life experience of an electrically powered sports car.
And for me as a designer, there is no greater pleasure than seeing our work in a track environment.
So to conclude, the INFINITI EMERG-E is our new exploratory challenge, fitting the brand’s performance promise and expressing our new design direction.
Ladies and Gentleman, please enjoy our inspired performance: the INFINITI EMERG-E.
INFINITI NEWS SUMMARY: 2012 GENEVA MOTOR SHOW
• The brand’s first mid-engined, range extending electric sports concept car
• 0-60mph in 4.0 seconds; 300kW power output from twin motors
• Up to 300 mile range • Substantial UK involvement in its design and development
• 420PS FX Sebastian Vettel to enter a limited production run of 200 units
• CO2 emissions of the Infiniti M35h lowered to 159g/km without any reduction in performance
ROLLE, Switzerland (March 6, 2012) – Infiniti, the luxury performance automotive brand from Japan, revealed today at the 82nd Geneva Motor Show its first ever mid-engined sports car concept called the INFINITI EMERG-E.
In addition, Infiniti confirmed the limited production of 200 units of the 420PS FX Sebastian Vettel version for Europe and Middle East markets, as well as the reduction of emissions of its world record holding Infiniti M Hybrid model to 159g/km.
INFINITI EMERG-E: AN ELECTRIFYING NEW TAKE ON THE SPORTS CAR
The INFINITI EMERG-E Concept, which makes its debut at the Geneva Motor Show 2012, is a highly advanced mid-ship sports car that provides an exciting glimpse into Infiniti’s future.
INFINITI EMERG-E is physical proof of Infiniti’s intension to produce a bold halo model befitting the brand’s promise of Inspired Performance, and also signals an array of exciting new technologies that the brand will adopt in its quest to build dramatic and sustainable high performance cars. INFINITI EMERG-E also provides a fresh expression of Infiniti’s design language applied to a high performance, mid-ship sports car for the first time.
INFINITI EMERG-E is also significant for being the first Infiniti that has been developed in Europe. More than that, its advanced technology deliberately draws on the knowledge of suppliers beyond Infiniti’s usual base in the quest to uncover the most innovative hardware and the deepest knowledge base. That quest has seen Infiniti become a part of the UK government’s Technology Strategy Board initiative, whose aim is to speed the arrival of low carbon vehicles to our roads.
INFINITI EMERG-E is the ultimate expression of Infiniti’s inspired performance. This 402bhp (300kW) mid-engined, twin motor, electric motors powered sports car is capable of accelerating from 0-60mph in just four seconds – and from zero to 130mph in a single, seamless 30 second burst. Yet it also operates as exciting, zero emission urban transport over a 30-mile range. And when the range-extender petrol engine functions in concert with its twin electric motors, it produces a CO2 output of only 55g/km (NEDC cycle).
Within its compact 4.464m length the two-seater INFINITI EMERG-E contains a pair of electric motors, a lithium-ion battery pack, four inverters, a three-cylinder range-extending internal combustion engine and a petrol tank. All this is efficiently wrapped within highly aerodynamic, light bodywork characterised by a design fluency that could only come from Infiniti.
INFINITI POWERS UP THE FX SEBASTIAN VETTEL VERSION
Infiniti today confirmed the FX Sebastian Vettel version, shown first in concept form at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show, is to enter a strictly limited production run of 200 units to be sold across Europe and Middle East regions. The announcement was made by Bernard Loire, Infiniti Vice President for Europe and the Middle East.
The production version will match the 420PS output of the concept car making it the most powerful Infiniti yet to be sold by the European business unit. Although no price is available yet, it will also be the most expensive.
The car is a collaboration between Red Bull Racing’s champion racing driver and global brand ambassador, Sebastian Vettel, and Infiniti’s Chief Creative Officer, Shiro Nakamura. With its sophisticated technology, lightweight components and features such as Rear Active Steering for maximum agility, the V8 FX50S Premium – Infiniti’s current flagship as well as its best-selling model in some markets – provides the ideal starting point for the FX Sebastian Vettel version. Changes including increased power, lower weight, longer gearing, increased downforce and lowered, stiffer suspension turn what is already a sports car among crossovers into a crossover supercar.
Customer reservations are being taken now ahead of first deliveries from early 2013.
400 Wild Horses in a Silky Dress
Imagine a superfast, near silent sports car, cruising the neon-lit streets of an after-dark London. This is the compelling image that gave birth to INFINITI EMERG-E, and this concept is its realization.
INFINITI EMERG-E is a highly advanced, mid-ship, electric motors powered sports car concept. It projects Infiniti’s already advanced electric vehicle technology deep into the future with a range-extender powertrain that delivers the performance expected of sports car bearing the Infiniti badge. Combining thrilling performance with the scope to drive in urban conditions for up to 30 miles with zero emissions, it emits no more than 55g/km of CO2 (NEDC cycle) over a 300 mile combined range. INFINITI EMERG-E lays down a radical new marker for mid-ship sports cars, and explores one of a number of the alternative propulsion avenues that Infiniti is considering.
The thinking that brought the INFINITI EMERG-E concept about came from the department of Francois Bancon, Division General Manager of Exploratory and Advanced Product. “When I was in charge of exploring the next step, I thought, how can we be innovative? We started with Essence. It was very successful, but arguably not a dynamic performance flagship. Then came ETHEREA, an indication of Infiniti’s future in the compact luxury segment. Now we have to think about a flagship, an emblem for the brand – not necessarily a big car, a limousine, because Infiniti is about inspired performance, and sporty cars,” said Bancon.
Creating a sporty, dynamic and unusual flagship is one inspiration for the INFINITI EMERG-E program, but equally important is Infiniti’s continued exploration of alternative propulsion systems, a logical next-step for a company that is already selling the advanced Infiniti M35 Hybrid.
That exploration takes an unusual form with INFINITI EMERG-E, its range-extender driveline a first for Infiniti.
“Infiniti has a deep knowledge of what an internal combustion engine is because this is what we are providing, and we also have a deep knowledge of what hybrid is, which we are also providing in the market right now,” explained Bancon of Infiniti’s decision to pursue a range-extender series hybrid technology. “This is about changing the rules of the game. You have more and more cities in Europe that are banning internal combustion engine emissions, but with this car you can run downtown in London, for example, with no guilt – you are not guilty, because you are zero emission. At the same time, you’re going to have fun on a racetrack with the maximum performance you can enjoy.”
INFINITI EMERG-E also represents a new way of developing cars for Infiniti. It is the first car developed in Europe, and the first car it has built as part of a UK government sponsored technology initiative. That initiative is run by the Technology Strategy board, whose aim is to fast track the arrival of low carbon cars to the UK’s roads. The TSB’s competition is framed to encourage contact with innovative and pioneering suppliers who might not normally gain access to major manufacturers, providing Infiniti with the opportunity to harness promising new technologies that might enable it to produce better low carbon cars. That projects like INFINITI EMERG-E only qualify for partial funding if they pioneer new technologies – which this Infiniti clearly does – also encourages innovation.
“This is a new way of thinking about the sports car of the future,” said Bancon.
INFINITI EMERG-E was designed under the direction of Senior Vice President and Chief Creative Officer Shiro Nakamura. While some of Nissan Global design bases were involved in this project, the overall design development were mainly led by Nissan Design Europe (NDE), Paddington, London, and built by Nissan’s European Technical Centre (NTCE), Cranfield.
It’s a highly significant car for Infiniti because it advances on many fronts. It is the first mid-ship sports car the marque has ever produced. It takes the Infiniti design vocabulary in a fresh, intriguing and convincing new direction. It stretches Infiniti’s already accomplished expertise in the areas of electric vehicles and alternative propulsion systems. And it will provoke debate about the form an Infiniti flagship should take.
INFINITI EMERG-E is also unusual for being a project part-funded by the UK Government’s Technology Strategy board, a development that has significantly deepened the resource that the brand can draw on for the creation of new models, while lending this project an intriguingly international flavor.
The desire to stretch Infiniti’s knowledge of electric vehicles lead to the idea of a range-extender electric vehicle, and just such a machine began to be developed in Japan. An unexpected opportunity to advance the project through Britain’s Technology Strategy Board (TSB) – whose mission is to speed the passage of low carbon vehicles to UK roads - provided the chance to access new technologies and work with a variety of organizations. These included universities, suppliers and OEMs, this facet of the development broadening the scope and ambition of INFINITI EMERG-E. The opportunity to work in a consortium revealed that fellow member Lotus Engineering was also developing a range-extender electric sports car, the two companies deciding that it made sense to collaborate. That decision, explained Bancon, was eased by the fact that “Nissan (and Infiniti) have had a relationship with Lotus for 10 years, mostly about methodology. We have never agreed a contract to do a car with Lotus, but we have done many studies together, utilizing their additional resource when ours was taken,” he said. Further benefits included co-funding of the INFINITI EMERG-E project from the TSB, and access to a range of highly innovative suppliers.
A key feature of the INFINITI EMERG-E Concept is that it contains a blend of technologies and solutions that have not previously been tried, as required by the TSB funding rules. The sharing of several components by other members of the consortium is also an element of the TSB initiative, the aim being to promote developmental economies of scale, although the approach to their deployment differs.
“A key aim of the TSB approach is to develop projects that are closer to commercial reality,” said Jerry Hardcastle, Vice President Vehicle Design and Development, the Nissan Group Technology Centre Europe and senior member of the UK’s Automotive Council. “So there’s more of a chance of the technology making it to market.”
That chance will gain extra momentum when Infiniti produces two fully functioning INFINITI EMERG-E demonstrators in the next step of this highly unusual and innovative concept development program.
Although Infiniti has only been on sale in Europe since 2008, the brand made a big impact when it was launched in the U.S. in 1989 as Nissan’s luxury marque. From the very beginning the Infiniti name has symbolized “Inspired Performance,” the ownership experience painstakingly tailored to combine these qualities with exceptional customer care. Those first two decades culminated with the 2009 unveiling of the Essence, an elegantly sensuous-looking high-performance coupe. Apart from making a very favorable impact that resonates to this day, Essence was the first of a trilogy of concept cars showcasing the three core strands that characterize Infiniti’s design values. The second concept was ETHEREA, and INFINITI EMERG-E is the third.
This dramatic trilogy of show cars embodies the three strands that form the foundation of Infiniti’s Design Values. The elegantly spare muscularity of their bodywork is inspired by the Energetic Force to be found in nature. Their Seductive Aura is also immediately apparent, from the sensuous, hourglass squeeze of Essence’s cockpit to the graceful, unbroken arching of Etherea’s roofline and the subtle, cloth-like folds of INFINITI EMERG-E’s haunches. Yet the drama in the lines of all three show cars is tempered by the qualities of Dignified Intelligence that suffuses all Infinitis.
The concepts also bear a unique set of highly individual hallmarks that characterize an Infiniti. These include a radiator grille elegantly book-ended by a double arch and Infiniti’s highly distinctive crescent-cut rear pillar. Just as distinctive are the headlights, which are redolent of the eyes of a human, this shape reinforced by a fine eyebrow line of LEDs.
INFINITI EMERG-E takes the brand’s design vocabulary in an exciting new direction, this being the first time that it has been applied to a mid-ship sports car.
“Infiniti has always had rear-wheel drive styling,” said Nakamura. “The FX is a good example – it has a long hood, short rear deck, it is not wedged and has a very horizontal movement. But a mid-ship layout usually has a different attitude – it’s slightly wedged, so that’s a challenge for us.”
That challenge was all the greater, said Nakamura, because a mid-engined car was never a part of the original plan for Infiniti or its design philosophy. “Designing a mid-ship car sounds very exciting, but at the same time there’s even less freedom because of the package constraints and the distribution of weight. Because of the FX and Essence, we have already established an Infiniti look and proportion. Also, we now have front-wheel drive cars with ETHEREA. We’ve got to go beyond our existing proportions, so this is a good experience.”
That experience began with the creation of three-quarter scale model proposals from Infiniti studios in Japan, the UK and California. The winning design, the work of California-based Infiniti designer Randy Rodriguez, was recreated as a full-size clay model constructed at Nissan Design Europe’s Paddington studio.
The aim has been to combine the brand’s characteristic long nose with the heavier volume at the rear, while maintaining what Nakamura calls “the emotional flow of an Infiniti.” Unlike most mid-engined cars, INFINITI EMERG-E is not a wedged design, although there is considerable energy in its shape.
“We wanted to make it elegant yet dynamic, to show graceful power,” said Nakamura. “Mid-ship cars are usually more crude – this is like silk wrapping over the wheels.”
Taisuke Nakamura, NDE Design Manager, explains that, “The volume of INFINITI EMERG-E starts from the badge and the grille and flows like a stream from here all the way to the chopped tail.” This fluency of line is all the more effective for the extra length grafted into the INFINITI EMERG-E platform ahead of the windscreen, the fast angle of its A-pillars and the subtly flexing curve in the upper surfaces of INFINITI EMERG-E’s flanks, a characteristic of every Infiniti. So is the crescent-cut sculpting of the car’s rear pillar – fast-becoming a key Infiniti signature – which gives INFINITI EMERG-E a distinctively shaped greenhouse.
The furl of the neck of a Kimono is the inspiration for INFINITI EMERG-E’s subtly voluptuous lateral air intakes, explained Nakamura, adding that he did not want to see the crude grille of an air intake.
Bold headlights also identify INFINITI EMERG-E, their crescent-shaped LED illuminations visible during day and night. It is a future Infiniti design cue that was first shown on the ETHEREA concept. The penetrating quality of these lamps and their eyebrows is suggestive of human insight, a product of Infiniti’s Dignified Intelligence approach. The double arch grille also resonates with the flowing shape of the INFINITI EMERG-E’s shapely rear wings. The crowning visual highlight is the dramatic liquid silver paint that envelops this leanly tensioned, low, wide and more masculine Infiniti. Underlining the theme of Energetic Force, this liquid metal paint emphasizes the INFINITI EMERG-E’s sculptural, fluid lines.
“We’re moving the design language forward,” said Nakamura. “We’re still in the same form language as the Essence – elegant, sensual, but taut and sharp – and now that we’re confident, we can go beyond front engine, rear-wheel drive proportions,” he concluded. He also said that “designing a sports car is always fun.”
“Silence is the new vroom,” said Bancon of INFINITI EMERG-E’s potent and technologically advanced drivetrain. “It is elegantly silent, and responsible.” INFINITI EMERG-E is a range-extender electric vehicle, and it is propelled at all times by a pair of 201bhp (150kW) EVO ELECTRIC motors driving the rear wheels. These advanced motors direct their power via a single speed (XTRAC) transmission to create what is effectively an open differential, this arrangement significantly reducing driveline friction losses. A quartet of inverters controls the motors and their energy regeneration role under braking, the recovered power directed to a lithium-ion battery mounted behind the seats. The battery can be recharged from a mains power supply (domestic and fast-charge) and stores sufficient energy to propel the INFINITI EMERG-E for 30 urban miles, at which point the on-board petrol engine starts up to act as a generator. This light, ultra-compact, Lotus-engineered three-cylinder 1.2-liter35kW engine has been purpose-designed for its range-extending role. It operates between crank speeds of 1500-4000 rpm, producing peak power at only 3500 rpm.
The INFINITI EMERG-E high performance, low emission propulsion system is installed within a lightweight, extruded aluminum chassis unit to which ultra-light carbon fiber panels are attached, Infiniti keen to explore the potential for this material in future low production volume models. Given that it provides a 20 percent strength gain in tandem with a 50 percent reduction in weight compared to the sheet molded composite often used in sports car construction, it’s easy to see why INFINITI EMERG-E’s carbon upper body construction is a major contributor to the car’s 3,523-pound curb weight – impressively low for an EV offering performance at this level.
INFINITI EMERG-E has been developed for excellent aerodynamic performance, both to reduce energy-draining drag – which stands at 0.34 Cd – and to generate positive downforce, and downforce balance, to enhance its high-speed handling. “One of the biggest challenges was cooling the car, especially for the range-extender and the car’s EV mode,” explained Hardcastle. There are a surprising number of air intakes and extractors let into INFINITI EMERG-E’s body, but they have been introduced with such flair and subtly that they enhance the sensuous drama of the car.
As you’d expect of a machine created for ultimate performance, INFINITI EMERG-E features the double-wishbone suspension of race car practice, its arms of aluminum to save weight. Its carbon fiber panels have been developed in the UK in conjunction with a number of leading motorsports specialists (Lola Composites, supported by Cranfield University), with the aim of using the material in higher volumes than has previously been possible.
‘This is 400 wild horses of muscle in a silky dress,” said Francois Bancon.
The cocooning cockpit of a sports car, the artful grace of craftsmanship, the intrigue of experiencing an innovative machine – all these qualities and more are to be found inside INFINITI EMERG-E.
“We wanted to explore the excitement and desirability of a true sport car,” said Bert Dehaes, Project Lead Designer. “And because it is an electric vehicle, we also wanted to show its innovation.”
INFINITI EMERG-E is a strict two-seater sports car, and it provides the classic reclined seating position that heightens the driver’s sense of connection to car and road below. The cockpit is clearly oriented around the driver, and as with all the best sports cars, its simplified controls are located for speedy and intuitive use, this more mechanical, functional look reinforcing the theme of inspired performance. Yet the overwhelming impression is of the flowing lines of this cabin’s highly distinctive architecture, their contrast with its high-precision cut lines and the elegantly executed attention to detail.
The swooping lines of Infiniti’s trademark double-wave dashboard structure, a lightweight, floating center console and the inviting textures of locally sourced, semi-aniline leather upholstery make this a sports car cockpit with a difference, especially in the detail, and the dark chrome center console finisher echoes the crescent cut signature in the car’s rear pillars. But the most dramatic detail appears when INFINITI EMERG-E is powered up, bursts of light briefly streaking around the cabin to provide live confirmation that the EMERG-E is ready for action.
This lighting is an essential part of the INFINITI EMERG-E experience, not only because it confirms the electric heart of the car, but also because it provides a striking, modern alternative to the conventional roar of an internal combustion engine. The lighting sequence signals the flow of energy within the car, a heartbeat signature radiating from the ignition to illuminate the floating centre console and the silhouettes of the seats. A small, jewel-like lamp in the steering wheel boss also lights up momentarily to reinforce the drama. After three seconds these illuminations fade out, leaving the eye free to concentrate on the excitement of driving INFINITI EMERG-E.
Among the finer details is the dramatic undercut of the dashboard ahead of the passenger, a sculptural device that doubles as an air vent. The line of this cut runs in a single, energetic swoop into a center console whose lightweight, carbon fiber construction makes a satisfying reminder that the entire outer structure of the car is made from the same material. The center console’s upper surface is angled to present the INFINITI EMERG-E’s transmission controls to the driver, who sits behind a finely detailed instrument pack that includes a gauge indicating the percentage of total available power. The instrument illumination mostly glows blue, but shades to hot purple when INFINITI EMERG-E is driven with vigor.
The excitement of the drive is further heightened by a neatly integrated, touch-screen display, a wheel whose upper and lower portions are flattened off, and a light in the center of the boss that illuminates when the car is deploying full power. A pair of slender, lightweight, luxuriantly supportive bucket seats provide grippy Alcantara® side bolsters and leather centre panels, the fine stitching of this upholstery confirming Infiniti’s painstaking mastery of interior detail.
“It’s very cool to design a mid-engined sports car,” said Dehaes. “We produced a lightweight feel that’s sharply cut, like a tailored suit. It fits well with Infiniti’s approach. An EV is pure and clean so the interior is the same, but it’s a friendly interior and ergonomic too, but not brutal.”
The inviting nature of the interior is a reflection of Japanese hospitality, while the influences of traditional craftsmanship can be seen in the slightly shiny texture of the semi-aniline leather encasing the dashboard and seats, the subtle violet-tinted lacquer sheathing the cabin’s carbon fiber elements and INFINITI EMERG-E’s novel flooring. Fashioned from an architectural material called Sefar, this fine metallic mesh allows light to shine through to provide an intriguing, translucent glow. “It’s the first time this material has been used in an automotive application,” said Gail Patrick, Senior Color Designer, adding, “it adds depth and allure,” while underlining the car fact that this car is electrically propelled.
Exotic though all this sounds, Dehaes emphasizes that “this is not a show car that goes wild – it’s important to be realistic and believable. It’s a car you’d design for yourself.”
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Honda will introduce this ”Small Sports EV” electric concept at the upcoming Tokyo Auto Show. We’re shocked, and it’s beautiful.
We’d given up on Honda when the S2000 replacement was cancelled, preceded by the cancellation of the wild V-10 powered new NSX.
But we’re also very disappointed in Honda because the company formerly known for its engine technology as well as it’s practicality and reliability and fallen significantly and steadily behind the engineering curve in recent years. Looking over the current line of engines, we’d ask where the independently variable intake and exhaust timing is, as well as variable valve lift and direct injection. Don’t even mention 6-speed automatic transmissions, which have just barely appeared in their highest-end luxury cars. Nearly everybody else has that engine technology very nearly across the board, and 6-speed automatic transmissions are in the process of being wholesale replaced by 7-, 8- and even 9-speed automatics. We won’t even ask Honda about a dual-clutch transmission.
The only engine left of any interest to enthusiasts, the Acura RDX turbo 4 cylinder, is saddled with outdated port injection and a lowly 5-speed speed automatic. Resulting in atrocious gas mileage. And is due to be cancelled next year. What might have been an “EcoBoost” type of engine, to compete with Mazda, Hyundai, Ford, GM, and BMW, is already dead and out of the plan. A better-engineered version might have powered a Civic S-Type or next-gen S2000, and it could have provided up to 35 MPG in those light and efficient cars.
With this new concept, there might be hope for some sort of Honda rejuvenation… perhaps along the lines of Toyota with its new FT-86 themed sports car. When that car appears next year (and we also know the idea of a new Supra is being explored), we will see a Toyota that recognizes and celebrates the joy of driving as well as the responsibility of environmental conservancy. Of course, Toyota has a dynamic leader (and experienced driver in sports car racing series) in Akio Toyoda – something that Honda is conspicuously missing. And Toyota is growing a new generation of enthusiasts engineers with the LFA project and some of the recent work in the Lexus LS-F and the new G series. Honda’s S2000 engineers have all retired, and the next NSX project is weighted down with political “green” undertones.
Only time will tell if any of the Japanese automakers can find their own way forward.
Premiering at the Frankfurt show on September 13th: one last update to the FT-86 concept. A new paint color! And that will have to tide us over until the Tokyo show, when we should see the final production Toyota and Subaru versions.
Spy pictures abound: we know how big the car is, what it sounds like, and how it runs on the Nurburgring. And thanks to the clear plastic Subaru “concept”, we know what it’s suspension and engine looks like. But it’s going to take several more months until we see the first driving impressions, then a few more for the first road tests, then a few more for the first realistic tests.
Will it be worth it? We certainly believe so, and even better we believe that this represents a renaissance for Toyota sports cars.
Meanwhile, the FT-86 is very nearly here (unfortunately as a Scion, rather than as a Toyota Celica). We can hardly wait to try one out on a road course and we also believe that it will become the leader of its class in SCCA Solo II. This will be one of the best Toyotas ever produced.
The Marauder Convertible Concept, which premiered at the Chicago Auto Show in 2002, has just resurfaced on eBay. For only $75,000 USD, this concept can be yours – providing you don’t mind that it can’t be registered for the street and that it likely doesn’t have an actual top (at least a picture has never been shown of it).
The concept is a converted 1999 Crown ‘Vic LX, shorted and converted to 2 doors, along with the swap of the production Marauder body pieces and interior. It also has a 4.6 liter 2-valve engine with a factory supercharger. This prototype engine was intended for the 2005 production Marauder, which was of course cancelled, and also for the S197 Mustang – just another part of that car which was cancelled (including the 4.6 DOHC supercharged engine as an option in the GT, the independent rear suspension, and of course the actual SVT Cobra model before it was dumbed-down and tarted up as the solid-axle Shelby with an iron block engine).
We have a complete gallery of images of the Marauder Convertible Concept, including the original introduction images from Ford as well as images of the car as shown in eBay when it went up for sale in September 2011. The images also include two of the engine, the only time this particular engine was shown in public. It was, however, discussed at the time by the Marauder product planner, who revealed that it would replace the 4.6 4V DOHC engine for the 2005 model year in order to provide more low-end power and torque – something the DOHC Marauder was conspicuously missing.
For extensive Marauder coverage on the DrivingEnthusiast network, see:
- Blog tag “Marauder” (where you’ll find the story of our encounter with a Marauder prototype on the cold streets of Dearborn)
- Our concept section (detailing over 150 concepts from Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury) covering both the Marauder Concept and the Marauder Convertible Concept
- Production Marauder – complete details
Here are a couple of the images from eBay, followed by original production images (all images are in the gallery) and the original press release.
What the concept is doing at a Sears is hard to say – it certainly wasn’t driven there.
The following notice is added to all Ford Motor Co. concepts that are sold to the public. None of them can registered or used on public streets.
The engine is the same as shown originally… however, oddly, the fuel lines have been changed. It appears that the car now uses a different fuel pressure regulator.
- 335 HP @ 5,250 rpm rpm
- 355 lb.-ft. @ 3,000 rpm
In the original press image below from 2002, you can see the different fuel pressure regulator and fuel lines, almost cobbled together here judging by the appearance. As far as we can tell, this is the only change from the original concept vehicle (other than the missing red battery terminal cap). Click on the engine picture below for a 2000-pixel high-res image of this prototype engine.
As you can see in the press image below, the Marauder was a good-looking car and delivered a knock-out blow to the usual Mercury demographic (which may have been the problem in trying to sell it).
Press Release follows:
MERCURY MARAUDER RETURNS TO CHICAGO AS A CONVERTIBLE CONCEPT
CHICAGO, Feb. 6, 2002 – A new convertible concept debuting at this year’s Chicago Auto Show points to future possibilities for Mercury and for the all-new 2003 Mercury Marauder four-door performance sedan that goes on sale this summer.
The Marauder Convertible builds on the popularity of the sedan, which is designed to deliver a 1960s muscle car experience with contemporary driving dynamics, comfort and safety. It is designed to be like no other vehicle:
- Its supercharged 335-horsepower V-8 delivers more horsepower than any other full size convertible priced less than $85,000.
- It is a five-passenger convertible. All other convertibles on the market today only seat two or four passengers.
- Rear seat room is generous. At approximately 38 inches, the convertible’s rear seat legroom is the same as Marauder sedan’s.
- While true to its American muscle car heritage, it is thoroughly modern – with low emissions, cutting-edge safety and driving dynamics that balance comfort with control.
“The Marauder and the Marauder Convertible concept say a lot about the next generation of Mercury vehicles, which we’re defining now,” says Brian Kelley, president of Lincoln Mercury. “Both Marauders have heritage, performance and charisma. You’ll see these same qualities in future Mercurys.”
Over the next five years, eight new Mercury products are planned, including two all-new sedans, a new multi-purpose vehicle and specialty image-building niche products.
The 2003 Mercury Marauder sedan goes on sale this summer. Pricing will be announced closer to launch. At this time, the convertible is purely a concept, but public reaction will be closely monitored to gauge whether sufficient demand exists to justify a full development program.
The Marauder Convertible brings together types of vehicles that have become Mercury signatures: premium cars with outstanding performance and comfort, and stylish convertibles.
The Marauder Convertible concept’s lineage includes these notable vehicles:
- 1939 Series 99A Convertible:
- Ford Motor Company created the Mercury brand to offer premium products between the Ford and Lincoln brands, and a convertible was offered in 1939, the first model year.
- 1949 Mercury Series 9CM: James Dean drove a de-chromed Mercury six-passenger coupe in the movie “Rebel Without a Cause.” Mercury coupes went on to become the car of choice for performance tuners and hot-rodders.
- 1950 Mercury Series OMC Convertible:
- Mercury’s first Indianapolis 500 pace car was driven by Benson Ford, Henry Ford’s grandson.
- 1957 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser Convertible:
- Mercury’s second Indianapolis 500 pace car
- 1963 ½-1964 Mercury Marauder: The first Mercury Marauders were performance versions of Mercury’s mainstream sedans, the Montclair and Monterey. They made their debut at the dawn of the muscle car era and were designed to capitalize on the success of the Bill Stroppe prepared Marauder stock cars, including the one that Parnelli Jones drove to victory in the 1963 Pikes Peak Hill Climb.
- 1966 Mercury Cyclone GT Convertible:
- Once again, Benson Ford drove a Mercury pace car at the Indianapolis 500. His Cyclone GT convertible was super-tuned to achieve 0-60 mph in 7 seconds.
- 1967 Mercury Cougar: The first Cougar – Mercury’s luxurious pony car – was named Motor Trend magazine’s “Car of the Year.”
- 1968 Mercury Parklane Brougham 4-door: Actor Jack Lord drove a triple black Mercury on the hit television series “Hawaii Five-O.”
- 1969 and 1970 Mercury Marauder X-100: 1969 marked the return of the Marauder, which included the feature-packed top-of-the line Marauder X-100, which was powered by a 429 cubic-inch V-8 engine.
“Since the day we began work on the first Marauder concept, everyone on the team knew we were building a car for customers who were like ourselves – total gear heads who remember what it was like to drive cars that made you feel like you owned the road,” says Steve Babcock, Marauder project manager. “I think the Marauder Convertible may be the ultimate car for Woodward Avenue or Mulholland Drive because it has the performance we remember, the comfort and roominess of a Mercury sedan, and nothing but open sky when the top is down.”
The Mercury team, like most enthusiasts, knows the engine is the heart and soul of a car. Even though the sedan’s normally aspirated, all-aluminum 4.6-liter DOHC V-8 will produce 300 horsepower and 310 lbs.-ft of torque, the team craved even more torque for the convertible to give it the performance feel of a 1960s “big block” V-8 off the line. So, they chose the same supercharged 4.6-liter SOHC V-8 that appeared in the 1998 Marauder sedan concept.
This iron block engine with aluminum cylinder heads and two valves per cylinder produces 335 horsepower at 5,250 rpm and 355 lbs.-ft of torque at 3,000 rpm. The engine breathes through a high-flow filter and aluminum upper and lower intake manifolds. A belt-driven Eaton Gen 4 Supercharger- Model 90 produces 6 psi of boost. The Roots-type supercharger is mated to a dual-core air-to-water intercooler, which extracts heat from the compressed air charge to improve combustion efficiency. Premium unleaded fuel is fed to the engine through a dual-bore 57 mm throttle body and high-flow fuel injectors. The compression ratio is 9.85:1.
To minimize exhaust backpressure – and make a bold visual and auditory statement – the six-brick catalyst system uses 2-inch diameter high-flow stainless steel exhaust pipes through the hot end and 2.25-inch tailpipes out of the muffler with 3.5-inch stain less steel Megs tips. Under acceleration, the exhaust note is aggressive, with the unmistakable sound of a large American V-8 engine, but overall sound levels are very subdued when cruising for a surprisingly tranquil cabin.
To handle the torque of the supercharged engine, Marauder uses a heavy-duty four-speed transmission with overdrive. For good off-the-line performance, the team went to their drag racing playbooks and added a reinforced 11¼-inch high-stallspeed torque converter with a heavy-duty 1-inch, one-way clutch.
The high stall speed allows engine revolutions to rise into the peak power band before torque is transmitted to the rear wheels. A 3.55:1 rear axle with an 8.8-inch ring gear and limited slip differential also enhances launch performance and acceleration.
Under-hood detailing recalls the heritage of the “Super Marauder” production and stock car engines:
- The black painted cam covers are adorned with badges that recall the original red, white and blue Super Marauder badges from 1963.
- The exhaust manifolds are finished in black.
The chassis shared by both the Marauder Convertible concept and the production Marauder sedan is capable of delivering a combination of ride, handling, braking and safety performance unattainable in the heyday of the muscle car era.
The full perimeter frame has several significant enhancements compared with the frame used on full-size Mercury sedans before the 2003 model year:
- Strong but lightweight hydroformed steel is used for the front rails for good performance in full and offset frontal impacts.
- The critical number two crossmember – which serves as a mounting surface for the steering rack, engine mounts and the suspension’s lower control arms – is now a solid cast-aluminum piece. This strong, lightweight crossmember provides a precise mounting surface and better alignment tolerances than a steel crossmember.
- The steel crossmember that ties the frame together behind the A-pillar is a more robust design that improves the frame’s resistance to torsion and bending forces. This new member is designed to help manage side impact crash forces by transferring energy across the frame structure into the opposite rail.
All told, the sedan frame’s torsional rigidity has been increased by 24 percent, and its resistance to vertical bending has been improved by 20 percent. A frame that resists twisting and bending allows the suspension components to operate more efficiently. It also limits the transmission of noise, vibration and harshness into the body structure.
The independent front suspension uses a short and long-arm design with steel upper and aluminum lower control arms and coil-over-shock springs with Tokico monotube dampers. Monotube dampers were selected because they are more efficient and “tunable” than conventional twin-tube shocks because the damping pistons have a larger effective area. Heat dissipation also is improved.
To reduce lateral suspension compliance for crisp turn-in with reduced body roll, the Marauder sedan and convertible use a 28mm solid front Gripper™ stabilizer bar system. This system provides enhanced on-center steering response and better high-speed lane change stability.
Upper and lower control arms and a lateral Watt’s linkage locate the live-axle rear suspension. Load-leveling air springs and monotube dampers manage impacts. The rear air springs help maintain the car’s ride height even when the trunk is fully loaded and are very effective at absorbing minor road imperfections.
The combination of air springs and monotube dampers also is effective at managing the unsprung mass of the solid axle, which keeps the rear of the vehicle firmly planted during cornering on rough roads or washboard surfaces. A 21mm solid rear stabilizer bar, which uses rubber bushings, further improves body roll and tracking.
The steering system is rack-and-pinion with speed-sensitive variable power assist. Previous full-size Mercurys used a recirculating ball steering system. Because a rack-and-pinion system has fewer links, operating friction and compliance in the system are substantially reduced, which improves steering feel and precision. The new system also weighs 22.5 pounds less.
Other steering changes include a new intermediate steering shaft design called a swing link, which helps reduce operating friction compared with the old system. The steering knuckle is now cast aluminum for an additional five-pound weight savings.
For the convertible’s wheels and tires, the Marauder team selected strong but lightweight 18 x 8-inch, 10-spoke forged aluminum-alloy wheels shod with ultra-high-performance BFGoodrich g-Force T/A tires. The P245/55WR18 rear tires have a higher aspect ratio than the P235/50WR18 front tires to give the car a muscle car rake. The rear tires also have a slightly larger contact patch for maximum traction under acceleration.
These tires have an asymmetrical tread with sidewall inserts to enhance steering response.
In addition, the steel belts are reinforced with spiral-wound nylon to provide high-speed durability while minimizing weight and optimizing ride quality.
The concept shares the Marauder sedan’s 12-inch vented front and 11-inch rear brake rotors with twin-piston front and single-piston rear calipers.
The Marauder Convertible concept’s monochromatic body is finished in black gloss paint. Dark-tinted headlamps and taillamp bezels flow from the black exterior to continue the serious, but understated appearance. Unmistakable but subtle performance cues include the high intensity Cibié fog lamps integrated into the fascia, the three-inch chrome exhaust tips and the “Marauder” name embossed on the rear bumper.
The Mercury Marauder sent the message that the V-8 rear-drive muscle car is back. The convertible concept shows customers the possibilities for fun Marauder can create with its top down,” said Steve Park, Marauder chief designer.
The car’s lowered front suspension gives it an aggressive, muscle-car stance that is reinforced by the large 18-inch wheels and tires. The classic image of the Roman god Mercury is cast into each of the wheel caps to further communicate the car’s personality and heritage.
Like the Marauder sedan, the convertible is true to classic Mercury and Marauder heritage with added luxury touches for comfort. Inside, dual eight-way-power reclining bucket seats are appointed in rich black leather with classic French seam stitching derived from vintage Marauders. The seats have extra padding for better thigh, lumbar, and shoulder support. A modern rendition Mercury god’s head is debossed into the front seat backs.
For the convertible, the safety belts are seat-integrated for easier egress and ingress. Power adjustable accelerator and brake pedals are standard to help accommodate tall and short stature drivers.
On all Marauders, modern, technical-looking dot matrix gray trim accents the instrument panel.
A leather-wrapped floor shifter highlights the floor console area that flows into space for two-cup holders and a high storage bin for CDs and cell phones.
The white-faced gauges include a 7,000-rpm tachometer that redlines at 6,250 rpm. The 140-mph speedometer has a red-lit “Marauder” graphic. Auto Meter® brand high-performance oil-pressure and voltmeter gauges are located just in front of the shifter.
The audio system is a 140-watt Alpine AM/FM/CD/cassette player (a 6-CD changer is optional on the sedan) with four 100-amp speakers and a rear subwoofer for excellent top-down sound quality. For convenience, the steering wheel features secondary audio and climate controls.
The Marauder team refused to sacrifice passenger space when designing the convertible, so the interior package is the same as a Marauder sedan. The trunk is roomy and offers additional cargo-carrying convenience – golf clubs and athletic equipment can actually fit in the trunk, unlike; most modern convertibles. If produced for sale, the Marauder Convertible’s top would be a fully lined power-folding unit that would store cleanly under a hard tonneau cover.
The Marauder Convertible concept and sedan include several advanced safety technologies, including four-wheel antilock disc brakes, side-impact air bags and the Personal Safety System.
The Personal Safety System is one of the most comprehensive driver and front seat passenger restraint systems available. It includes dual-stage front air bags that deploy based on crash severity; sensors to detect if front-seat occupants are wearing safety belts; seat weight sensors; driver’s seat position sensor; safety-belt pretensioners and load-limiting retractors.
In addition, the BeltMinder™ system rings a chime to remind front seat occupants to buckle up. Standard child-safety seat tether anchors are located in the parcel tray behind all three rear-seating positions.
All Marauders also feature the Securilock™ passive anti-theft system, which prevents the vehicle from being started unless a key containing a uniquely encoded computer chip is inserted into the ignition.
Ford introduced its new design language today, as part of the rollout of concepts for the Frankfurt show. It’s aggressive, there are no chrome bars, it leaves truck styling completely behind, and it’s all Ford. The “Evos” concept is the most important concept Ford has created in many years.
And just look at it! We’re intrigued: this isn’t the new 2015 Mustang, but it could very well be the front face of the new Mustang. The Evos, at 177″ long, is just slightly shorter than a Fox Mustang, but has a much longer wheelbase. We think the overall proportions are perfect, and the curves are sexy and much appreciated. The Evos makes the Camaro look like a brick, and it makes the current Mustang look like something from the last century. It’s striking.
Unfortunately, while the rest of the concept is the correct size for a Mustang, the Evos is designed around front wheel drive architecture, not rear. It’s also nice to see a 2-door concept. The thought of having to live with 4-door Focus STs and Fiesta STs is depressing. Why carry around extra weight that you don’t need?
You can also see the similarity here to the upcoming 2013 Taurus – with the same shape grill and angled headlights. Of course the morbidly obese Taurus looks heavy, and has tiny narrow windows. The Evos has by comparison an airy greenhouse. A return to that design philosophy would be much appreciated – a car that you can actually see out of.
Ford Press Release follows, with image.
Ford Evos Concept – The Ultimate Expression of Ford’s New Global Design and Technology Vision
- Ford Evos Concept showcases Ford’s first truly global design language and a new vision for customer-focused and intuitive technologies
- Dramatic four-door, four-seat fastback concept with state-of-the-art lithium-ion plug-in hybrid powertrain previews Ford’s new global design language with distinctive exterior and interior design cues
- Driver engagement technologies explore seamless enhancement of the driving experience, driver well-being and smart, electrified powertrain.
- Ford Evos Concept makes global debut at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show
Berlin, Germany, August 31, 2011 – Making its global debut at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show in September, the Ford Evos Concept represents the ultimate expression of Ford’s new global design language, and explores key future powertrain and vehicle technologies.
Created as a bespoke concept vehicle, the fastback introduces Ford’s first truly global design language as the momentum of the company’s One Ford product plan continues to build.
“The Ford Evos Concept unites three key elements which are at the core of our One Ford global product strategy: outstanding design, smart technologies and fuel economy leadership,” said Derrick Kuzak, group vice president of Global Product Development.
“With its compelling design and innovative technology experience, this is a clear demonstration of the exciting vision we have for the Ford brand. While you will never see this car on the road, the next generation of Ford products around the world will display many of the distinctive design ideas and advanced technologies it showcases.”
Technology vision for enriched customer experience
Ford Evos Concept is not just a design-led exercise. It also embodies the global Ford product development team’s move to design and develop vehicles as more than just an interior and exterior, or a collection of attributes.
“Our goal is to focus on enriching a customer’s every experience with their vehicle – by personalizing it, adapting it, and creating unique, unexpected features that surprise and delight them,” said Kuzak. “In the Ford Evos Concept, this objective is explored and extended to the area of connectivity, where the intent is not to convert the vehicle into a smartphone, but rather to provide personalised and safe connection to the outside world in an enriching manner designed totally for the vehicle context.”
Ford’s global Research and Innovation team, led by Paul Mascarenas, was tasked with building Evos Concept around a technology experience as visionary as the design. The result signals how Ford intends to build on the momentum of innovations like the SYNC in-car connectivity system.
“At Ford, the future of technology in the car will be defined by the experience that it delivers to the driver and passengers,” said Paul Mascarenas, chief technical officer and vice president of Ford Research and Innovation. “We see technology as more than just an impressive list of microprocessors, sensors and software; it’s about the application of that technology to create an experience that enhances the driver’s time behind the wheel.”
The concept’s technology experience embraces a new generation of driver interaction and awareness currently under development in the Ford Research and Innovation laboratories. Seamless connectivity between the vehicle and the driver’s ‘personal cloud’ of information is at the heart of the vision for its capabilities.
“The possibilities are fascinating when we explore how to enable a seamless lifestyle between home, office and car linked by access to the driver’s personal information,” Mascarenas said.
With information from the cloud, the vehicle can provide the same connected lifestyle the driver experiences at home or office. The car knows the driver, and automatically adapts handling, steering and engine controls to deliver an exceptionally dynamic driving experience.
Ford researchers are focusing their efforts in this area to deliver on four key customer benefits: personalisation, seamless enhancement of the driving experience, looking after the driver’s well-being and delivering smart electrified powertrain optimisation.
The personalised, cloud-connected lifestyle
While today’s Ford products provide drivers with many personalisation options, cloud connectivity will enable future Ford vehicles to take the experience to the next level.
Drawing from a detailed understanding of the driver’s preferences and driving habits, the Ford Evos Concept combines this personal information with additional data from the cloud, such as the driver’s work schedule and local traffic or weather conditions. This information provides a personalised and seamless experience as the driver transitions in and out of the car.
“We’re researching how we can use patterns or preferences set by the driver to make life simpler,” said Mascarenas. “The car gets to know you and can act as a personal assistant to handle some of the usual routines of a daily commute.”
It could automatically play the same music or news program that was just streaming at home, or heat or cool the interior to an ideal temperature before the driver gets in without having to be requested by predicting departure time based on his calendar. Wirelessly communicating with devices in the home, it could close the garage door and switch off the lights automatically as it pulls away.
“This cloud-connected vision shows the enormous potential of tailoring the driving experience to suit the exact personal tastes and moods of the driver,” said Mascarenas. “From recommending a great driving road from friends on your social networks or resetting your alarm clock to let you sleep in when a morning meeting gets cancelled!”
Enhanced driving experience
Ford Evos Concept explores adaptive vehicle technologies to redefine the driving experience.
Current technology requires vehicle chassis settings to be defined based upon the abilities and tastes of a cross-section of drivers and the topography of typical roads. The concept foresees tuning handling and performance to the road ahead and the specific individual behind the wheel.
Learning driver habits and capabilities, the technology can overlay map and weather data sourced from the cloud to adjust powertrain, steering, suspension and braking systems for optimum enjoyment, comfort and safety. Because the vehicle is adaptive and honed to maximum performance based on the situation, it takes driving engagement to a new level.
Ford researchers have already developed technologies focused on driver wellness, such as the heart-rate monitoring seat and certified allergy-free interiors. With a seamless connection to the cloud, the Ford Evos Concept monitors the physical state and workload of the driver and adjusts the driving experience accordingly.
“Our wellness research and technologies are focused on relieving driver stress and enhancing their situational awareness,” said Mascarenas. “Drivers around the world are spending more time behind the wheel, and the car should not be another stress point in their lives.”
The Ford Evos Concept is also equipped with advanced air quality sensors and filtration systems to help allergy sufferers. Location aware, it can access air quality data from the cloud and proactively suggest a healthier route to the destination.
In dynamic driving situations, the vehicle may simplify the appearance of the instrument panel to display only necessary gauge information and switch the driver’s connected smartphone to “Do Not Disturb” mode to help keep the focus of attention on the road.
Cloud-optimised hybrid powertrain
Completing the vision for the Ford Evos Concept is a state-of-the-art lithium-ion plug-in hybrid (PHEV) powertrain providing the same next-generation performance and fuel economy as the Ford C-MAX Energi scheduled for introduction in North America in 2012 and Europe in 2013.
Ford ‘powersplit’ hybrid architecture allows the electric motor and petrol engine to work together or separately to maximise efficiency. The advanced powertrain typically runs in all-electric mode before switching to charge-sustaining hybrid mode for continued optimal fuel efficiency.
Cloud connectivity would provide further opportunities to enhance performance and efficiency by selecting the optimum combination of powertrain modes for any given journey.
“Access to historical driver behaviour and travel patterns allows us to calculate the optimal fuel and energy efficiency by predicting the destination,” said Mascarenas. “Our researchers are working to increase understanding of driver behaviour, develop accurate protocols to predict it and enhance the trip by providing the smartest use of fuel or battery for the situation.”
The cloud-optimised powertrain would automatically ‘know’ when to save energy and switch modes, using information about the vehicle’s predicted travel route, any emission zone restrictions during the journey and current weather conditions.
In the future, communities may place firm restrictions on the types of vehicles allowed to use certain roads or highway lanes, and some city centres may choose to be open only to full electric vehicles. Helping drivers comply with such regulations could therefore be among the benefits of this technology. For example, the French government is considering creating zones mandating lower emissions, while cities such as London, Berlin, and Stockholm already have them in place.
This capability would further enhance the performance of Ford’s advanced PHEV technology, which offers an overall driving range of more than 500 miles (800 kilometres) using the battery and engine – more than any other plug-in or extended-range electric vehicle.
“With its leading-edge ‘cloud-optimised’ PHEV powertrain offering outstanding efficiency and range with supreme driving enjoyment, the Ford Evos Concept highlights our vision for greener, smarter vehicles with outstanding customer appeal,” said Kuzak.
Ford’s new design direction
The Ford Evos Concept was specifically developed to introduce the new Ford design direction. Key design elements will be applied to forthcoming Ford vehicles.
The new global design DNA provides the company’s worldwide design teams with a common framework to guide the creation of new products, enabling them to shape a coherent family of distinctive vehicles sharing the same fundamental design character.
“We wanted the Ford Evos Concept to give a clear message about where Ford design is heading – shaping vehicles that are fun to drive, have a strong premium visual appeal, and above all, are stunningly beautiful,” said J Mays, group vice president, Design and chief creative officer.
“Our exciting new design DNA has been developed and refined by an intensive effort by all of our talented global design team,” said Mays. “As a team, we wanted to create a more technical design vocabulary to help communicate the smart technology that is now core to the Ford brand. In addition, we worked particularly hard on meeting the high-expectations of a new generation of buyers – a group of consumers who have grown up surrounded by beautiful, premium design work on even the most affordable products.”
Dramatic fastback design with unique proportions
To provide a fitting vehicle to introduce the new design language, the Ford Evos Concept was conceived as a dramatic fastback concept, combining a striking new profile with innovative proportions. Attention-grabbing lines conceal a unique new format, with a four-door, four-seat layout which combines dynamic appearance with surprising practicality.
“This is an exciting new interpretation of the fastback bodystyle, with a really innovative silhouette as well as dramatic and very modern proportions,” Mays said.
With the length of a typical C-car, but with width of a CD-car, the Ford Evos Concept has a powerful, sporting stance. The forward position of the cowl, the strongly rounded front screen and the A-pillars set further to the rear enabled the designers to create the impression of a classic GT car, but with a very contemporary feel.
The concept’s spectacular hinged gullwing-style doors, both front and rear, provide outstanding access to the spacious four-seat cabin.
The concept car measures 4.50m (177in) long, 1.97m (77in) wide and 1.36m (53in) high, with a wheelbase of 2.74m (108in).
Shaped as the ultimate expression of the new design DNA, the Ford Evos Concept highlights key elements of Ford’s distinctive new global design language.
“The new design DNA marks a bold evolution of the kinetic design language featured on existing global Ford products and is characterised by a number of important elements that will contribute to an unmistakable future Ford look,” said Mays.
From the front, the Ford Evos Concept immediately signals the arrival of something new – a new face for Ford featuring the signature trapezoidal grille mounted higher on the car and creating a confident, more premium look.
Bold, technical shapes, such as the extremely slim ‘laser cut’ front lamps or the dramatic graphic created by the front and rear screens connected by the thin glazed section of the roof, add a distinctive character to the design. Sculptured flanks highlight attention to detail on the surfacing, which lends a refined quality and a tauter, more muscular character.
“The Ford Evos Concept embodies the core elements of the new global design language, while capturing the dynamic, fun-to-drive spirit which is central to the Ford DNA,” said executive design director Martin Smith. “Most notable is the brand new ‘face of Ford’, with its higher mounted trapezoidal grille, and the design is characterised by the use of very bold, technical graphics. We have also created much more refined and precise surfacing, and these elements together give a strong visual sense of premium quality.
The vehicle was sculpted with the same purity of surface sculpture and attention to detail which characterise premium vehicles. Around the world, a new generation of buyers have come to expect premium design in all products, regardless of the purchase price.
Built around the driver
Reflecting the fun-to-drive spirit of its exterior design, the interior of the Ford Evos Concept is built around the driver. A stylish and innovative cockpit promises new levels of driving pleasure and driver interaction.
The interior architecture features clean and simple surfaces, with a muscular, athletic character to the slim upper instrument panel, enhanced by bold trapezoidal cut-outs. Contrasting these muscular forms, curvaceous cockpit display surfaces sweep down either side of the driver, providing secondary information about vehicle and infotainment systems.
The concept features a bold red driver’s seat and the vision of unprecedented driver interaction via an advanced driver interface. The two rear seat passengers get an equally special experience, with dedicated touch-screen displays to interact with the vehicle and individually adjustable sports seats.
“Both the exterior and interior of the Ford Evos Concept clearly communicate that this is a driver’s car, so that as soon as people see the vehicle, they will immediately want to get in and drive,” said executive design director Moray Callum.
The Ford EcoBoost family continues to expand, with a 1.6 liter 160 PS 4 cylinder engine in production, 2 different 2 liter 4s of 200 and 240 HP, and 3 variants of the 3.5 V-6 for cars and trucks. We’ll also see a 3 cylinder EcoBoost, as well as a higher output 1.6 in the future Fiesta ST, a higher output 2 liter in the Focus ST, eventually a very high output 2 liter 4 in the future Focus RS, and a smaller displacement V-6 for future Lincolns. There are also rumors of a increased displacement >2 liter 4 for the future Mustang (not for performance, not an SVO – but solely for fuel economy).
The Lincoln C concept was introduced almost 3 years ago at NAIAS and was built on a production Focus chassis with an engine and drivetrain taken from near-production. While Ford has only acknowledged a future “C”-class product for Lincoln in the most general terms, the concept is an indication of what we may see in another year or so, combining a high output 1.6 liter EcoBoost 4 with a dual-clutch transmission. Note the facts in the press release below (red highlights are ours): the EPA highway mileage would be 43, and the HP would be 180 with matching torque. An exceptional achievement, combining exceptional fuel economy with very reasonable and responsive performance in a 2,750 pound car.
Ford Press release follows:
LINCOLN C PAIRS ECOBOOST I-4 WITH DUAL-CLUTCH POWERSHIFT TRANSMISSION FOR 40-PLUS MPG
DETROIT, Jan. 12, 2009 – The Lincoln C concept showcases Ford Motor Company’s newest combination of fuel-efficient powertrain innovations: a four-cylinder EcoBoost engine mated to a dual-clutch PowerShift transmission.
Featuring a 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine and Ford’s all-new dry, dual-clutch PowerShift six-speed transmission, Lincoln C achieves a projected 43 mpg on the highway, while offering up an estimated 180 horsepower and 180 ft.-lbs. of torque. That’s a nearly 25 percent fuel-economy improvement over Lincoln C’s fuel-sipping C-car cousin, the Ford Focus, which currently delivers unsurpassed highway fuel economy in its segment when equipped with a 2.0-liter naturally aspirated engine.
“Lincoln C demonstrates that a higher degree of engine downsizing as the key to fuel economy improvement, paired with the right technologies, can deliver optimum horsepower, torque and drive-away capability,” said Andreas Schamel, a chief engine engineer with Ford’s Powertrain Research Laboratory. “Plus, when combined with the PowerShift six-speed transmission, the impossible equation becomes perfectly possible: lower fuel consumption, increased power and smoother, more fun-to-drive performance.”
The 1.6-Liter EcoBoost Engine
The Lincoln C concept’s 1.6-liter engine dimensions the common attributes of Ford’s EcoBoost strategy, leveraging a combination of direct fuel injection technology and turbocharging to deliver significantly improved fuel economy and torque versus a larger displacement engine, while reducing emissions up to 15 percent.
The 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine features turbocharging and a central-injector direct injection system. Using a central injector instead of a side-injector system provides improved fuel-air mixture preparation, helping to further reduce fuel consumption and lower emissions. A central injector-based system also provides the most flexible foundation for future fuel-saving technologies.
“We know that a central injection system is a prerequisite for future global fuel economy upgrades such as stratified lean operation, homogeneous charge compression ignition or HCCI, and premium injection system technology if the market demands,” said Martin Wirth, a Ford Direct Injection Gasoline Systems and Combustion technical specialist. “It’s a value solution that gives us the ability to answer market trends quickly and provide broad market coverage, a key component of the EcoBoost strategy to deliver an affordable, fuel-efficient engine technology at high volumes.”
When compared to a standard 2.0-liter naturally aspirated engine, the 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine can deliver up to a 10-percent gain in fuel economy simply on the merits of the engine downsizing and boosting as well as common powertrain systems such as twin independent variable camshaft timing (TI-VCT).
TI-VCT varies the phase of the intake and exhaust cams independently for improved airflow through the engine, which delivers more torque while reducing average fuel consumption by up to 5 percent. “TI-VCT gives us better low-end torque and drive-away capabilities even under the stronger engine downsizing conditions,” said Wirth.
The 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine also features other sophisticated fuel-saving powertrain technologies such as Assisted Direct Start, which contributes to an additional 3 percent gain in fuel efficiency.
Assisted Direct Start automatically shuts down the engine when the vehicle is at idle – at a stop light, for example – and automatically restarts the engine when the brake is released or gas pedal is engaged, improving fuel economy by saving idle fuel consumption.
When a vehicle comes to a stop, the electronic control unit immediately synchronizes the engine’s systems for restart. Once the brake pedal is released or the gas pedal is engaged, a short starter engagement triggers the direct fuel injection system to fill the cylinders with fuel, initiate combustion and start the engine, producing the no-hesitation vehicle launch. An advanced battery management system converts braking energy into electricity and stores it to keep electrical systems operating while the engine is not running.
This advanced system provides consistent start behavior of the stopped or stopping engine that is smooth, quiet and seamless to the customer, requiring no changes in driver behavior.
The Lincoln C concept also features Ford’s dual-clutch PowerShift six-speed transmission, which delivers the efficiency of a manual with the ease of operation of a premium automatic transmission.
Compared to traditional automatic four-speed transmissions, PowerShift can help reduce fuel consumption by up to 9 percent depending on the application. PowerShift, for example, contributes to an estimated 8 percent uptick in Lincoln C’s fuel efficiency when compared to the current Focus.
“The Lincoln C application of PowerShift helps illustrate the competitive advantage this transmission will offer to Ford in the global small car markets,” said Jack Dorigo, North America Powertrain Planning manager. “It’s a new-to-segment technology that’s an improvement over today’s automatic transmissions in terms of fuel economy while providing customers a more connected feel between the pedal and the vehicle’s acceleration.”
PowerShift provides the full comfort of an automatic with a more sophisticated driving dynamic, thanks to uninterrupted torque from the dual-clutch technology, which consists essentially of two manual transmissions working in parallel, each with its own independent clutch unit. One clutch carries the uneven gears – 1, 3 and 5 – while the other the even gears – 2, 4 and 6. Subsequent gear changes are coordinated between both clutches as they engage and disengage for a seamless delivery of torque to the wheels.
The lean curb weight of the Lincoln C enables a dry-clutch derivative of Ford’s PowerShift transmission for added efficiency and durability. A dry clutch transmits power and torque through manual transmission clutch facings, while most automatic transmissions utilize wet clutch plates submerged in oil. As a result, the dry-clutch PowerShift transmission does not require an oil pump or torque converter, providing superior mechanical efficiency.
“A dry clutch is a real sweet spot for lighter vehicle applications like the Lincoln C concept,” said Piero Aversa, manager, Ford Automatic Transmission Engineering. “It is perfectly matched to this vehicle and engine. PowerShift is more efficient, it saves weight, is more durable, more efficient and the unit is sealed for life, requiring no regular maintenance.”
Lincoln C weighs in at 2,750 lbs. due to a number of light-weighting measures, including the transmission. PowerShift, unlike conventional automatic transmissions, does not need the pound-adding torque converter or planetary gears. In addition, the dry-clutch derivative eliminates the need for the weighty pumps, hydraulic fluids, cooling lines and external coolers that wet clutch transmissions require. As a result, the dry-clutch PowerShift transmission showcased on the Lincoln C is nearly 30 pounds lighter than the four-speed automatic transmission featured on today’s Focus.
Differentiating PowerShift even further in terms of its customer appeal is its shift quality, launch feel and overall drive dynamic, which are all facilitated by an expert blend of Ford-exclusive electro-mechanical systems, software features, calibrations and controls. These unique driving features include:
- Neutral coast down – The clutches will disengage when the brakes are applied, improving coasting downshifts and clutch robustness as well as reducing parasitic losses for increased fuel economy.
- Precise clutch control in the form of a clutch slip to provide torsional damping of the engine vibration – This function improves noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) at low engine speeds and enables lower lugging limits for improved fuel economy.
- Low-speed driving or creep mode with integrated brake pressure – This function simulates the low-speed control drivers are accustomed to from an automatic transmission. T he amount of rolling torque in Drive and Reverse is precisely controlled, gradually building as brake pressure is released.
- Hill mode or launch assist – Prevents a vehicle from rolling back on a grade by maintaining brake pressure until the engine delivers enough torque to move the vehicle up the hill, providing improved driver confidence, comfort, safety and clutch robustness.
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This is an interview from the Geneva show debut of the second Toyota FT-86 concept.
The discussion of passion and the enjoyment of the driving experience appeals to us. This car is shaping up to be one of the great drivers cars, as well as a renaissance of the Japanese practical sports car movement.
In our humble opinion, this car will offer a driving experience much like a hardtop S2000 would have offered, with handling dynamics that a stock Miata does not offer (too much roll). If you look at the spy videos of the car testing at the Nurburgring in our earlier posts, you can see very flat handling characteristics. The Proof of our supposition will be verified in the first press drives at the end of the year. Until then, we can enjoy the pre-production prototypes. And keep our fingers crossed!
Be sure to stop by to the FT86club.com site for a complete set of images of the new Toyota FT-86 II concept being revealed at the Geneva show.
The concept is an update of the original FT-86 concept from 2009, clearly closer to production but still a concept. The wheels/tires/brakes are much larger as you’d expect on a concept, as are the carbon fiber details (front lips under the spoiler, side skirts). Those clearly won’t make it into production. The side vents just before the doors look tacked-on and are doubtful for production, as they should be. The concept’s 215/40-18 tires are a possibility, but as with all concepts the intent is to look intended to fill the wheel wells.
New is the side vent window, roof water channel, and detailing around the windows and doors that were”t present on the earlier concept. This tells us that we are seeing the production bodyshell. And, thanks to partner Subaru, we know the FT-86 II has a strut front suspension and a multi-link independent rear. The engine is a Subaru boxer 4 cylinder, resulting in an extremely low center of gravity.
We also can’t see the interior on the images the FT-86 Club has provided, other than the very top of what is clearly a new dashboard. Fortunately it’s only a matter of time until somebody gets close enough with a camera to grab the shots.
The FT-86 is a masterpiece in the making. The big questions now are the final specifications and production date. And if Toyota will offer “enough” power in an optional engine – power to match the promise of the chassis. And will North America be stuck with this as a Scion, rather than as a Toyota? We think the idea of naming this a Scion is just plain stupid but it appears to be the direction. How about dropping the Scion brand and going with a “One Toyota” approach? Why dilute the brand in North America?
Subaru also presented a concept, of sorts, at Geneva in the form of a clear-bodied version of it’s FT-86. And again the FT86club.com site has detailed images. Images from different angles are available, the suspension layout and engine are very clearly detailed. We know the engine is a flat boxer, updated with direct injection, and uses a suspension derived from Subaru production parts and shared with the Toyota version. What’s even more clear now is the phenomenally low center of gravity this chassis offers. It’s unprecedented, and there is nothing like it elsewhere in the world. The Subaru “concept” is also rear wheel drive, although AWD is referenced int he accompanying press materials. But that is where the story becomes less clear – whether Subaru is discussing their own credentials, or talking about some sort of future AWD version of this car. We do know form spy pictures that a turbocharged engine is coming, and if it’s like the ones available in other Subarus, then 300 HP would be easily achieved. It’s great to see that the chassis is up tot he task, too.