Ford out to prove that size does not matter

Ford was out to prove that size really does not 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 115g/km.

The new engine is a three-cylinder 1.0-litre unit developing either 98 or 118bhp, yet it is said to deliver the performance of a conventional 1.6-litre unit, with up to 125lb ft of torque across a broad portion of the rev band. Ford is so convinced that driveability matters more than engine capacity 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 year. 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 80bhp. 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 87g/km -slightly above the record low for a combustion-engined vehicle of 85g/km set by the new diesel Kia Rio - and 89g/km for the Focus.

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

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

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



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