Ford Mustang, Boss 302 and Shelby GT500

Ford logoIf you believe that there’s no substitute for horsepower, then you’ll be rejoicing in 2012 as Ford updates the iconic Mustang muscle car line-up. The new Mustang  will be ready to go in spring but the real power will be later in the year with the return of the Boss 302 and the Shelby GT500, expected to be the most powerful production V8 available.

The 2013 Ford Mustang has a new exterior design with a bigger front grille, re-styled hood and signature LED lighting to give the car a high-tech look. The automatic gearbox now has “SelectShift Automatic” transmission as standard, for drivers who want greater control over the growling 5 liter V6 engine.

2013 Ford Mustang GT

But it’s not just high-tech on the outside, as in an industry-first, the Mustang comes with a 4.2″ LCD car information system with TrackApps; a suite of apps that monitor the car’s performance, including acceleration, cornering-g and braking.

The LCD screen is navigated by a five-way control button to access information relating to fuel economy and vehicle performance. The TrackApps give performance metrics for g-forces, acceleration times for quarter mile and 0-60, and braking times. It also indicates automatic and countdown starts.

Ford TrackApps

“The new Mustang is the perfect example of continuing to build on excellence. It takes the greatness of the 5.0-liter and V6 and pushes the refinement to the next level,” said Dave Pericak, Mustang chief engineer. “The car has been spot-on functionally and now we’re adding more features and technology to further improve the driver’s experience.

The Boss is back, paying homage to a 70’s legend, the Ford Boss 302 Mustang and the car that won the 1970 Trans-Am Championship, driven by Parnelli Jones. Building on this heritage, the new Boss 302 and Boss Laguna Seca will be available in School Bus Yellow, the same colour as the championship-winning car.

2013 Mustang Boss 302

The 2013 Boss 302 comes with 444 HP delivered to the rear wheels via a carbon fiber limited-slip differential – there’s over 380 lb-ft torque available. The orginal Boss 302 had a little under 300 HP under the right foot and in its day, the 302 was the fastest car to lap Ford’s test track.

Compared with 1970 model, the new Boss is totally high-tech, with Ford SYNC as standard. SYNC is a voice-activated in-car connectivity system, with features including
– hands-free control of mobile phones and USB-connected digital music players.
– 911-Assist that automatically calls the emergency services in the event of an accident.
– Vehicle Health Report, an on-demand diagnostic and maintenance system.

The real petrolheads will have to wait until later in 2012 before they can get their hands on the new 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang, which will lay claim to be the most power production V8 in the world, pumping out 650 HP from the 5.8 liter supercharged V8 engine. 600 lb-ft of torque will be on-tap and a 4 second 0-60 time is expected. Whoa!

2013 Ford Shelby GT500

While there may be no substitute for horsepower, a great deal of technology has gone into making sure that the Shelby GT500 goes round the corners quickly as well. Ford’s Special Vehicle Team (SVT) has worked with world leaders in car design to ensure that the Shelby GT500 is fast. SVT-designed Bilstein electronic adjustable dampers can be adjusted from within the car. A Torsen limited-slip differential ensures that as much power as possible gets through the rubber to the road. Brembo braking system aggressively deccelerates the 3,850 lb car with six piston calipers and fade-resistance rotors.

SVT keeps the Shelby GT500 on the cutting edge of technology and takes muscle car performance to new heights,” said Jost Capito, director of Global Performance Vehicles and Motorsport Business Development. “We encapsulated every aspect of performance in this car – whether it’s 0-60, top speed, racetrack or quarter-mile times. Beyond that, the daily driver also will find this car perfectly fits his or her needs.

Nearly every part of the powertrain has been improved for producing the additional horsepower, including a new supercharger, new cross-drilled block and heads, updated camshaft profiles, a new carbon fiber driveshaft and upgraded clutch, transmission and axle. Putting down 650 HP isn’t easy – it’s not as easy as simply putting in a bigger engine.

The 200 mph top speed needed an enhanced aero-package to keep the wheels on the road at high speed and every aspect of the air flow over the vehicle was analysed and harnessed to improve cooling, maximise downforce and minimise drag. As a result, there’s over 33% more downforce at 160 mph compared with the previous model.

The Shelby GT500 is also equipped with an SVT-designed launch control system that allows the GT500’s pilot to adjust the start depending on tire temperature, street surface and other conditions. The launch system is smart enough to interface with both the engine managment system and traction contol to optimise the getaway.

2013 Ford Shelby GT500

For those drivers more confident of their skills or wanting to learn greater control, the electronic systems can be programmed for a range of situations. The Intermediate mode allows drivers to push the car without completely disabling the safety systems, allowing more aggressive driving before traction control and electronic stability control kick in. For real racing, both the systems can be completely disabled requiring maximum driver skill.

We took a completely different approach with this car so drivers can choose their settings instead of a computer making the selection,” said Jamal Hameedi, SVT chief engineer. “Nearly every system the driver interacts with can be tailored to his or her situation including the Bilstein electronic adjustable suspension, launch control, AdvanceTrac and steering assist levels.

Whether it’s the Mustang, the Boss 302 or the Shelby GT500, there is a ton of technology and gadgetry in all of these vehicles. Much of this technology would only have been available to race teams just a few years ago and here it is now in street-legal car. Visit your local Ford dealer for a test and once you’ve stopped fiddling with the gadgets, you can go out for a drive.

GNC-2011-11-07 #719 On the Road!

I want to thank the Gadget Professor Don Baine for stepping in while I was in Los Angeles. Many of you asked how to get more of Don’s show, well you can subscribe to The Gadget Professor here at GNC in the second column of the website.. Ok lost of tech and I get you all caught up on the past week.

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Ford Drives Real World Customers from the Gaming World

Today Ford announced their latest advertising initiative, which involves the gaming world.  No, you won’t be able to play Angry Birds in your car via Sync, that would likely prove dangerous.  What Ford is doing is branding their vehicles in video games, and it’s actually not something new.  They have been at this for a while, beginning in 1995 with Sega Rally, but they are now making a more concerted push.

While gamers seem locked into their virtual worlds, they are surprisingly aware of the products that appear in those worlds.  And driving games may be one of the genres where the gamer is most aware of the product.  After all, the gamer in a car race is keenly aware of the car he or she chooses because it may make the difference between winning and losing.

“We’ve realized that gaming is something that many people have grown up with and helps define who they are,” said Brian Mcclary, with Ford’s Social and Emerging Media team. “Ford has gained positive exposure and popularity because we put our products into the right games while giving something back to the gamer.”

Ford is doubling down their efforts now with the release of Forza Motor Sport 4 (released 10/11/11) and Need for Speed The Run (to be released 11/15/11).  They have found that allowing their vehicles to be used in-game gets them more brand recognition and more positive feedback, which translates to more potential customers.  Here are the numbers that they provided from their study.

36% increase in brand rating

28% increase in purchase consideration

39% increase in brand recommendation

45% more gamers agreed Ford Focus is fun to drive

It’s good to see Ford continue to “get it” with their innovation to keep them on top in an ever-changing digital world.  Their partnership with Microsoft for the Sync system and the forward looking advertising with gaming and even with supporting podcasts is something many other old-world companies should take note of.

If you are a gamer, you can check out Forza Motor Sport 4 in the Xbox Marketplace and NSF The Run at the EA Need for Speed website (you can pre-order now).  You can view a trailer of NSF below, but it’s not completely family safe (language).

MyFord Touch Performance Upgrades!

Ford today is announcing some major upgrades to MyFord Touch, that will improve performance, stability and usability. This upgrade available in early 2012 will be free to all current owners of vehicles that have MyFord Touch. Owners will receive a USB stick with a complete system update to do themselves or they can have the system upgraded on their next Ford service call.

This performance update will make MyFord Touch much easier to use screen navigation update includes a simplified layout, larger fonts, clear labels and 4 corner easy navigation. Ford has taken advice from customers across the country, to include holding owner clinics, and have implemented literally 1000’s of changes with the redesigns of screen interfaces. The screens will now be 2x faster,

The software updates also include better phone pairing and wider phone compatibility. The voice recognition system has went under major overhaul as well with the team from Nuance and Ford increasing and simplifying voice commands. The Navteq map system will be updated bringing enhanced junction views and 3D landmarks for easier navigation. MyFord Touch will remain compatible with iOS and Android devices.

Some MyFord Touch customers have complained about the systems instability, the Ford team spent time talking about improved stability and new error reporting. Ford seems to have taken criticism very seriously and have worked very hard to improve the stability of the MyFord Touch.

Currently MyFord Touch is installed in the following models Edge, Explorer, Lincoln MKS. In 2013 MyFord Touch will be introduced to Taurus, Flex & Escape. This will be welcome news for those of you shopping for new vehicles in the 2013 model year.

Overall I was impressed by the speed increase, the updates to the menu system make sense when compared with the old screens. Ford has made some very smart changes, the team behind MyFord Touch is dedicated to making the user experience while driving a safer / smarter one. The enhancements to the voice commands alone means drivers will be able to do a lot more without ever looking down to the MyFord Touch interface.

Overall great update, and very smart play by Ford to give the update to their customers for Free.

Ford Focus ST – Ford’s First Global Performance Car

I was given the pleasure of seeing the new Ford Focus ST at Ford Motor Company on Tuesday Night. The new Focus ST model available early next year, is destined to have a cult following, as it is a serious high performance vehicle that will delight drivers young and old.

Ford’s long racing history and historic muscles cars are well known. This new chapter in a high performance vehicle is very exciting and reaches a new segment of buyers. The Ford Focus ST packs 250HP / 250ft Pounds of Torque with EcoBoost is bound to excite anyone.

While I did not get to drive the vehicle, talking to those that did it is apparent they had an out of body experience and did not want to get out from behind the wheel. The Ford team emphasized that even though the vehicle is a front wheel drive it has amazing handling performance, and specifically that the vehicle did not have under steer characteristics that many front wheel vehicles suffer from.

Performance meets efficiency under the hood

Focus ST is powered by the 2.0-liter Ford EcoBoost® engine. Ford’s lightweight, all-aluminum EcoBoost engines provide the power of a larger engine in a fuel-efficient smaller displacement, leveraging three key technologies.

High-pressure direct injection, low-inertia turbocharging and twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT) create an advanced combustion system that brings new levels of performance and fuel efficiency. The EcoBoost 2.0-liter in the Focus ST reduces both CO2 emissions and fuel consumption.

“This is the first time we have used a Ford EcoBoost engine in a high-performance model, and the result will leave drivers smiling,” said Ford Rep Capito. “They will have a lot of power and torque at their disposal throughout the rev range. For everyday driving, though, the characteristics of this car will let them drive in a more fuel-efficient way than previously, which is an essential part of the ST’s DNA.”

What really excited me about this vehicle, was the on-board technology along with racing styled seats,  sports suspension, and styled in a way that it just looks fast.  The Focus ST is going to appeal to all of you that have a need for speed, in an affordable package. Built for speed yet street legal, those that own one, will have to be careful to keep out of the radar guns cross hairs.

From the driver’s seat, customers will experience the newly developed Ford sport steering system. This variable-ratio steering rack is designed to increase the agility of the Focus ST on winding roads yet still inspire the same high-speed confidence. With Enhanced Torque Vectoring Control the Focus ST’s ETVC applies steering pressure more aggressively and also adds cornering control, which applies torque to create a yaw effect based on the car’s understeer, both in power-on and power-off conditions.

Focus ST will be available in more than 40 markets including the U.S., Canada, Mexico, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and 15 countries in Europe. The North American production car makes its U.S. debut this month at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

Personally I hope I get invited back to Ford to drive one of these bad boys… Keep an eye here for more cool Ford Announcements.

Ford to Show Fiesta ST Concept at L.A. Auto Show

Ford is unveiling its vision for a future high-performance Fiesta ST at the Los Angeles Auto Show this month. The Ford Fiesta ST Concept signals the next step in Ford Motor Company’s global performance vehicle strategy and hints at how a future Fiesta ST model might look when it joins the Focus ST in the global small car portfolio

“With a racing silhouette inspired by global Fiesta race and rally cars currently competing on the world stage, and influenced by the unique appearance of the all-new Focus ST, the new Fiesta ST Concept is an exciting demonstration of the road-going Fiesta’s potential,” Kuzak added.

The five-door Fiesta ST Concept embodies the spirit of Fiesta’s high-performance history with an infusion of dynamic, futuristic looks and innovative technology.

Rally car-inspired, EcoBoost-powered

With the Fiesta RS World Rally car and Fiesta Rallycross cars currently demonstrating the potential of Ford’s global small car in the toughest of international motorsports events, there could be no better time for Ford to offer customers a glimpse of what is technically possible with the road-going Fiesta. The Fiesta ST Concept uses a 1.6-liter Ford EcoBoost® gasoline engine to deliver high-level performance.

As with all engines in the EcoBoost family, the Fiesta ST Concept’s advanced engine combines turbocharging and direct injection to deliver the powerful performance of a larger-capacity, traditional gasoline engine. In the Fiesta ST Concept, the 1.6-liter Ford EcoBoost engine achieves a target output of 180 horsepower with 177 lb.-ft. of torque.

Yet the advanced design of the turbocharged four-cylinder engine – connected to a six-speed manual transmission – means the Fiesta ST Concept also delivers lower emissions.

With a Tuned suspension geometry ensures dynamic and competent handling that can flatter less-experienced drivers while rewarding those seeking to push the limits of the Fiesta ST’s sports performance.

This is another car that if brought to the market will excite a whole new segment of drivers. Although just a concept at this time, I think Ford is committed to bringing this to the market.

Ford Uses Gestures To Open Liftgate

Ford Escape SUVFord today announced that the new Ford Escape SUV would come with a powered liftgate that opens and closes when you kick your foot under just below the bumper . Using gesture-based technology similar to games consoles, it ensures that the liftgate doesn’t open accidentally.

Todd’s Noytes: Having actually seen this work at a Ford Demo today. It’s pretty cool and unlike anything I have seen on a car.. You can essentially kick/wave/wiggle your foot just under the bumper from almost any angle and so long as you have the key on your person.

Combined with Ford’s Intelligent Access key-less entry, owners can unlock the car and open the liftgate without even getting the keys out of their pocket or bag. Very handy if your hands are full and need to dump stuff in the back before you drop it all! The ‘gate can be closed again with a similar motion: again handy if you are taking stuff out of the car.

The hands-free power liftgate is yet another innovative Ford technology that makes customers’ lives easier,” said Jason Sprawka, Escape brand manager. “New Escape owners will be able to load their vehicle without ever having to set packages or gear down.

The system is like that used in games consoles and has a pair of sensors to detect the shin and the kicking motion. This stops other motions, say, from an animal, or bumps on rough roads, from operating the liftgate by mistake. It’s the first time the technology has been used in this market segment.

The new Escape will debut at the Los Angeles Motor Show on 16 November and will go on sale in the US in the spring.

I was going to run with a headline about Ford “giving the boot a boot” but didn’t think enough people would get the joke…

GNC-2011-10-17 #717 Mixing it Up!

Time to mix it up a bit to keep things interesting. Watch and see :) Lots of great commentary tonight. Times are a changing and it is going to be an amazing time to watch it all go down. I will be on the road for the next two weeks, will likely have guest hosts for the next two shows enjoy.

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Ford and Gogo Add to Inflight Entertainment

Ford logoTravelling by air can be pretty dull – you’re jammed into a metal tube with nowhere to go even if you could get out of your seat. Inflight entertainment has evolved from one or two screens for the whole cabin to multichannel personal media players in seat headrests, which certainly helps to alleviate the boredom. More recently and largely responding to the requests of business travellers, more and more flights now have Wi-Fi, bringing the Internet to your foldaway table, albeit usually at a price.

Gogo LogoIf you are lucky enough to be on a plane equipped with Gogo‘s inflight Wi-Fi connectivity, Ford has teamed up with Gogo to offer access to Ford’s Mustang Customizer and free access to Facebook for the rest of the flight. The Customizer is a notch above the usual car modelling websites where you can only change the colour of the paint and the interior trim. Starting out with Mustang V6, GT, Boss 302 or Shelby GT500, the Customizer lets you choose the exterior before tweaking under the hood and then placing the car in one of three backgrounds – dragway, cityscape or drive-in restaurant. Apparently there are over 78,791,049,216,000 combinations of vehicle to dream up.

Once you’ve got the car of your dreams, the picture can be downloaded as a background or posted to Facebook and entered into contests to see who has the best car. If you’ve cash to match, you can get a .pdf pricing out the components you’ve chosen.

We are really excited to give Gogo users a chance to customize their very own Mustang while in flight,” added Brian McClary, emerging and social media specialist at Ford. “The Mustang Customizer has proven to be a great way for users to create their own Mustang and provides an interactive and immersive experience.

Definitely of interest to bored petrol heads, small boys and Facebook junkies. The special promotion starts 21 October, 2011 and ends 18 November, 2011

GNC #704 New Media Models

I talk about different podcast models and why there is room for multiple flavors in the space. I also share with you some personal info that I hope will help some of you that listen to the show. Lots of tech as usual!

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