Monday, February 16, 2015

The 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor is Still Menacing, Wonderfully Ridiculous | Metro Ford Chicago IL

It may be all Ecoboost and 10-speed automatic underneath, but the 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor strikes that balance of aggressive and goofy characteristics that made the outgoing model such a hit.

Oh yeah, and the off-road credentials were pretty good, too.

Unsurprisingly, like the 2015 F-150, the new Raptor is a case of same-but-different on the outside. The FORD letters on the grille are still enormous, an endearing characteristic. They've also been added to the tailgate in lieu of a blue oval. The whole look is perhaps more modern and sophisticated, but in person the Raptor still comes off as a tough thing.

Ford didn't let us pop the hood to see the 3.5-liter Ecoboost V6 that's supposed to be in there. Nor did they let us get too close to the interior, which at least doesn't stray too far from the new F-150's style. The paddle shifters inside were the first thing I noticed, though. And I'm still not convinced they look right in a truck, especially when they bear a similar appearance to the ones in the new Ford GT.

The thing about the Raptor has always been that it's a ridiculous vehicle. It's ridiculously large, ridiculously powerful for its size, ridiculously capable. But at the end of the day, the main attraction to this thing is its looks and sounds. They just make you smile.

This new one may be smarter under the skin, but it looks like it still has a sense of humor on the outside. 

Monday, February 2, 2015

The 17 Things You Need to Know About the 2017 Ford GT Supercar | Metro Ford Chicago IL

2017 Ford GT: The facts

Ford's all-new GT supercar was the smash hit of the 2015 Detroit auto show, and although we were given its basic specs, we were hungry for more. So we cornered anyone we could find from Ford to give us the 600-plus-hp sports car's juicier details.
  • The GT "concept" Ford put on display in Detroit looks mighty production ready, suggesting that the skunkworks project has been in motion for years. In fact, we're told the car has seen just one year of development work so far—yet the final car is due next year. That's hyperspeed in the car world.
  • Ford expects the first production prototype to be in action this spring. Spy photographers, get ready.
  • The in-house low-cost carbon-fiber development program Ford has fired up in collaboration with Dow Chemical has little to do with the GT project. In fact, the carbon fiber in the GT's chassis tub and bodywork will be hand-laid and production probably will be handled by an outside supplier.
  •  When Ford's global performance vehicle chief engineer Jamal Hameedi started to tell us how his team was targeting "the best power-to-weight ratio," we figured the sentence would end with "in its class." Nope. Hameedi instead capped off the claim with "of any car on the market." Ford has yet to reveal the GT's weight, but we're expecting it to be crazy light. As for the engine, Ford promises more than 600 horsepower.
  •  The GT on Ford's Detroit show stand rolled on normal aluminum wheels, in contrast to the Mustang Shelby GT350R sitting nearby; that car has ultra-lightweight carbon-fiber wheels. Given how fanatical Ford is being about the GT's weight, you'd think these high-tech and mass-reducing rims would be on the GT, too. Ford tells us it is looking at the possibility.
  •  The GT's rear spoiler is full of tricks, including an air-brake function. The wing can both rise vertically and tilt, its horizontal surface angling upward to capture extra downforce and drag when needed.
  •  Riding on a what Ford calls an "active" suspension, the GT can lower itself at speed for stability and better aerodynamics. In true supercar form, a button in the cabin can lift the front end when faced with inconsiderately designed driveway ramps and speed humps.
  •  Front and rear, the GT features carbon-ceramic Brembo brake rotors and calipers. Just as the Nürburgring is practically a required stop on any vehicle development engineer's world tour, so apparently are Brembo's offices.
  •  There's no question about it: The 2017 GT will be fast. But Ford didn't set out to grab top-speed records or acceleration honors. Instead, we're told Ford is chasing "lap times, lap times, lap times" and is seeking ultimate handling. Oh, and Ford is planning to take the GT to Le Mans in 2016—the street car partially exists for homologation reasons—and is putting Ferrari in its crosshairs. The 1960s are back, baby.
  •  As you probably already ascertained, this is the front of the Ford GT. It doesn't have anything in it—well, besides a radiator, some cool heat-exhausting vents, and the pushrod-actuated front suspension. There is no electric motor powering the front axle, as there is in Porsche's 918 Spyder, and neither is there one in the back. Ford didn't want to sacrifice low weight for heavy hybrid components like motors and batteries. Oh, and the sports car is intended to showcase Ford's EcoBoost engine branding, a mission that'd be complicated by a hybrid system.
  •  One of our favorite things about the GT is the way its passenger cell tapers to nearly a point at the car's tail, and the channels that create between the "fuselage" and the rear wheels. Far more than a flamboyant flourish, these pathways force the air to bend and submit to the GT's will. The flying buttresses linking the roof to each rear fender may appear flat, but they are in fact curved in section. This is because they're really wings—cut them in half, and they're airfoil-shaped. They create downforce, in addition to directing air flowing around the car to the rear spoiler.
  •  Amazingly, Ford found a second use for the GT's flying buttresses: intake tubes. Each hollow panel (one per side) houses piping that flows from an air-to-air intercooler ahead of each rear wheel (visible through the large vents on the fenders). Intake air is scooped up from beneath the GT, compressed in each turbocharger, and then shot through the intercoolers before twisting its way up the winglets and down into the engine. Sweet.
  •  After passing through the fender-mounted intercoolers, newly heated air then flows above each rear wheel to the GT's tail, where it exits through the centers of the taillights. Yep, the look of those lamps isn't by accident.
  •  The GT's EcoBoost twin-turbocharged, direct-injected 3.5-liter V-6 engine shares far more with the EcoBoost six in Ford's Daytona Prototype LMP2 race car than it does with any roadgoing Ford engine. With more than 600 horsepower, the GT's V-6 earns the awesome "Powered by Ford" branding.
  •  Oh yeah, baby, Ford plans on keeping the two colossal, jetfighter-like exhaust outlets right where they are, high up on the rear bumper. Those cannons are just finishers, however—the actual exhaust pipes terminate a few inches ahead of them. We don't care, the openings look the business.
  •  With a near-horizontal rear window that's roughly one and a half feet wide, parking is probably going to be the least-fun thing you could do in a GT. So the hyperFord has a backup camera nestled in the nether regions of its diffuser. It makes sense, of course, as the things are federally mandated after 2016.
  •  According to Ford VP of design Moray Callum, the styling is 95 percent complete. That last 5 percent? We're told the GT needs little things like the door mirrors larger than teaspoons and subtle lighting tweaks to be salable. Otherwise, what you see here is what is going to hit driveways. This is fantastic news because, well, just look at the thing.
But the niggling question hangs in the minds of many—what does FoMoCo’s new supercar sound like? It’s a longstanding jab at the Viper that the V-10 snake sounds like a United Parcel Service vehicle at idle. Scratch that. The GT is the new king of the demonic delivery trucks. The 3.5-liter V-6 garble-gargles through its high-mounted tailpipes, while the twin turbos send their barbaric whirring hiss echoing through the taillight tubes. If Steven Spielberg’s Duel were remade by Michael Bay, it’s the noise the film’s menacing Peterbilt would make at rest. Watch the clip below to see what we mean.