Ford has unveiled the last of the "hot" Falcon specials in the form of the "Sprint". Available in both XR6 and XR8 forms, the Sprint is limited to just 1400 units; 750 XR8 Sprints and 500 XR6 Turbo Sprints. 150 examples will be produced for New Zealand, with a 100/50 XR8/XR6 split.
The limited edition revives a name first used locally on the ED XR8 in 1993, but the Sprint label has earlier American history. First used on the US Ford Falcon in mid-1963, the Sprint denoted the first application of a V8 engine to that model for the North American market.
Based on the final FG X platform, both the XR6 and XR8 Sprints are identified by subtle 'SPRINT' badges in the front guard vents, while differences in bodyside decals distinguish the 8- and 6-engined versions.
New, common elements to the special edition Sprints include a black rear spoiler, black-finished 19-inch alloy wheels, gold-finished brake calipers (as part of an upgraded Brembo brake package), front fog lamps and black headlamp bezels, with Sprint badging on the bootlid, door scuff plates and aforementioned front guards.
XR8 Sprints also get a Silhouette (black) painted roof and side mirrors that are unavailable on the XR6 version, as well as black quad exhaust tips, while the XR6 Sprint features a single chrome exhaust tip.
Inside, the Sprint logo is embroidered on the leather/lux suede seats, which are common to both versions, as is a Sprint logo on the instrument panel and gear shifter (manual trans. only).
Each Sprint edition also features a numbered build plate on the engine.
The XR6 Sprint powertrain consists of a turbocharged 4.0-litre inline six, producing 325kW @ 6000rpm and 576Nm @ 2750rpm. A short-burst overboost function increases this up to 370kW/650Nm. The auto transmission - the only gearbox available for this edition - is a six-speed, with a final drive ratio of 2.73:1.
A point of note on the XR6 Sprint is its carbon fibre air intake. A first for a Falcon XR6, this larger, lower carbon piece was designed and produced locally. Also of note is specific engine and transmission calibration.
On the XR8 Sprint, power comes from the proven 5.0-litre supercharged V8, outputting 345kW @ 5750rpm and 575Nm @ 2220-6250rpm; equalling the most potent V8 Falcon ever offered, and specially calibrated for the Sprint edition, according to Ford. The overboost function on the XR8 Sprint delivers up to 400kW/650Nm.
Unlike the XR6 Sprint, the eight-cylinder version comes with a manual or auto transmission - six-speed in both instances. Gear and final drive ratios for the XR8 auto are the same as the XR6 Sprint, with a 3.73:1 final drive for the manual.
Combined fuel consumption is 12.8lt/100km for the XR6 Sprint, while the XR8 Sprint lists at 14.0lt/100km for the auto and 13.8lt/100km for the manual.
Braking package for both Sprints consists of 355 x 32mm front discs with Brembo six-piston calipers, with 330 x 28mm rear discs with four-piston calipers.
The 'Panther Black' alloy wheels (19x8 front, 19x9 rear) are shod with Pirelli P-Zero tyres; 245/35 R19 on the front and 265/35 R19 on the rear. A full-size alloy spare wheel is standard.
Suspension has been specifically calibrated for the Sprint edition's power, braking and tyres, with Ford claiming the limited editions offer improved ride and balance, sharper handling and reduced understeer compared to a standard XR6 Turbo or XR8.
Standard safety features include ABS, six airbags, emergency assistance, front seat Beltminder system and an anti-theft system.
Six colours are offered, with Ford saying the hero colours for the XR6 and XR8 Sprints are Smoke and Victory Gold, respectively.
There's one final feature that Sprint buyers are unlikely to take up; a towbar, which is the only optional extra available. With the 'modern classic' collectability of these models already assured, we can't imagine anyone hooking a caravan up to their Sprint for a road trip!
"We're excited to be able to offer our Falcon enthusiasts a car that truly represents the performance DNA of Ford," according to Graeme Whickman, Ford President and CEO.
"The Falcon chassis is recognised for its refined ride and fantastic balance but our dedicated product development engineers have taken the opportunity to further hone the Falcon's dynamic package - ride, body control and performance of the six cylinder turbo and V8.
"We think customers will really appreciate the amount of dedication and work that's gone into this limited-edition series."
Local pricing is listed at $54,990 for the Falcon XR6 Sprint, with $59,990 for the manual XR8 Sprint and $62,190 for the auto.