Ford out to prove that size doesn’t really matter

Ford was out to prove that size really doesn’t matter with its Frankfurt Show exhibits.

The first production model powered by the latest and smallest version of its Ecoboost family of turbocharged direct-injection petrol engines appears in the Focus, paring the CO2 emissions of a mid-sized family hatchback to 115 g/km.

The new engine is a three-cylinder 1.0-litre unit developing either 98 or 118 bhp, yet it is said to deliver the performance of a conventional 1.6-litre unit, with up to 125 lb ft of torque across a broad portion of the rev band. Ford is so convinced that driveability matters more than engine capacity that it stopped numerical badging its cars some while ago.

The new engines will also make their way into Ford’s small and compact MPVs, the B- and C-Max, within the next 12 months. And Gunnar Herrmann, vehicle line director of the company’s mid-sized cars, says that a non-turbo version of the 1.0-litre engine is under development, with a target output of between 75 and 80 bhp. The Fiesta and Ka would seem the most likely cars to use it.

Refinement has been made by developing new engine mounts which reduce noise, vibration, and harshness from the 1.0-litre Ecoboost range, he says, and by carefully tuning its sound characteristics.

Ford’s efforts to drive down CO2 emissions were also evident in Econetic versions of the Fiesta and Focus at Frankfurt. Powered by a 1.6-litre diesel engine and aided by stop-start, active aerodynamics and brake energy recovery, the CO2 of the Fiesta is down to 87 g/km -slightly above the record low for a combustion-engined vehicle of 85 g/km set by the new diesel Kia Rio - and 89 g/km for the Focus.

Herrmann is especially proud of the 89 g/km with the Focus, and says it is the result of a lot of detailed work, particularly on the underbody shielding to reduce drag and the tuning of the electric power steering.

To prove that Ford hasn’t entirely lost its sense of fun, there's was also a concept for a Fiesta ST that would have a 177 bhp version of the 1.6-litre Ecoboost engine, and a production-ready Focus ST that features a 235 bhp 2.0-litre Ecoboost engine.

Ford’s centerpiece was their stunning Evos concept car. Ford say publicly that it is just a concept and an insider tells me it will not be built but one colleague from Germany tells me that he is convinced that the Evos is the first concept incarnation of the next generation of Ford cars. He believes that we will see this with the next Mondeo, due to break cover some time next year.

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