Sprinter Sell

XR MODELS BOW OUT WITH THE RETURN OF AN OLD FAVE

AS THE terminal draw-down process begins at Ford Australia, details have started to emerge of the final editions of the Falcon, the Blue Oval reviving an old favourite badge.

The Sprint name last appeared on the ED XR8. Launched in September 1993, that XR8 Sprint was developed and finish-assembled by Ford’s performance vehicle partner of the time, Tickford, with a higher-output version of the 5.0-litre Windsor V8 (192kW vs 165kW of the standard XR8) from a higher-flowing intake and heads, and a tweaked EECIV management system.

The ED Sprint also featured very well-developed suspension – complete with polyurethane bushes - to match the motor. This time round the ‘XR Sprint’ models will be offered with both the six and the eight cylinder donks.

The six-cylinder XR Sprint will be auto only while the eight gets a choice of manual or automatic transmissions.

Photos leaked out of the You Yangs plant in January showed Sprint-monogrammed seats ready to be fitted into a Falcon and set the Unique Cars Facebook page ablaze and Ford has since done its best to manage the speculation by confirming that XR Sprints will be a thing but precious little otherwise.

Here’s what we do know. It’ll be launched at an unspecified point in 2016 and features a welcome power increase to both models, an upgraded brake package, model-specific wheels and stripe kit, Sprint badging on rear deck lid and on front quarter panels, unique seat trim with ‘Sprint’ embroidery and a numbered build plaque on the engine.

A bit of detective work suggests that it’s likely that the six-cylinder XR Sprint will upgrade from the XR6 Turbo’s 270kW/533Nm output to the 310kW/565Nm figure of the old FPV F6. Extending that rationale, the eight-cylinder XR Sprint would likely step up from the 335kW/570Nm XR8’s figure to the 351kW/570Nm of the last FPV GT F. These figures could even be on the conservative side if the confidence of Ford executives in the potency of these cars is anything to go by.

The XR Sprints are part of a very big 2016 for fast Ford fans, with RHD Mustangs and the pugnacious Focus RS also arriving in Oz. It looks like the Falcon’s set to go out with a bang rather than a whimper.