Friday, January 16, 2015

Ford Upstages itself and others at NAIAS

This last Monday was the most dynamic and surprising Press Conference Reveal at any Auto Show I've ever been at.  Ford owned the show, they dominated the conversation of all the media upstaging other manufactures. We knew going into the show that for sure the Mustang GT 350R was going to be shown, our hosts at Ford were tight lipped as to what else we'd see.  We were blown away along  with the rest of the global automotive press.

The reveal itself was nothing short of amazing.  With Ford its about Innovation and Performance at this years North American International Auto Show.

First Ford introduced the new Raptor piggy backing the announcement a bit earlier in the day that the F-150 won North American Truck of the Year.  This promises to be the ultimate off-roading performance truck.  Here are some of the key features added into this truck above what is available on the F-150

  • High Output 3.5L Ecoboost V6 producing more horsepower and torque than last years 6.2L V8
  • First application of Ford's new 10 Speed Automatic
  • Smart Terrain automatic four wheel drive
  • Larger standard Fox Racing shocks with more wheel travel
Raptor was upstaged with the new Mustang GT350R,


"R" for racing, a track ready Mustang ready to go toe-to-toe with the Camaro Z/28 at a lower price point.  It gets the same upgrades as the Mustang GT350 revealed before our own Los Angeles Auto Show a few weeks ago.  Not able is that anything that added weight that wasn't required or optional it was deleted in the effort to reduce weight, including unsprung weight all to better its performance on the track.  Thinks like automatic wipers, rear seats, air conditioning and aluminum wheels were deleted all in an effort to reduce weight and increase competency on the race track.  This is the most powerful, track ready Mustang in the models history.
A few key features of the Mustang GT350R:

  • Lighter than basic GT350 by 130 pounds
  • Active aerodynamics, including front splitter to increase cooling and down force
  • Aggressively tuned Magnaride suspension, first application in a Mustang, to excel on the track
  • First mass produced automobile with standard carbon fiber wheels reducing unsprung weight by 50 lb while being stronger than the outgoing aluminum
  • Michelin Sport Cup Tire specifically designed for the GT350R
  • 5.2l Flat Plane Crank engine that is Ford's most powerful naturally aspirated engine.  Ever
  • 6 Speed Tremec transmission with its own cooler

Upstaging the GT350R was a complete surprise.  The new Ford GT.

The Ford GT is about innovation and performance.  Its a hint at what is to come in production automobiles in the coming years.  It was about using innovation to create the Ultimate Expression of Ford Performance.  It completely upstage the Raptor, GT350R and every other car revealed at NAIAS this week.

The Ford GT also won the prestigious Eyes On Design Award. Eyes On Design, the official design awards for NAIAS, honors the best production and concept vehicles making global debuts in Detroit. Judges include current and former design leaders from global automakers and transportation departments at top art schools.

Some key features of the 2016 Ford GT...yes, they are building it...making it the Ultimate expression of Ford Performance:

  • All-new Ford GT supercar sets new standards for Ford innovation through performance with advances in light-weighting, aerodynamics 
  • Ultra-efficient EcoBoost engine Ford GT features the most powerful EcoBoost production engine ever – a new twin-turbocharged Ford EcoBoost V6 producing more than 600 horsepower 
  • Carbon Fiber passenger tub with lightweight Suspension and Engine cradles directly mounted to the tub
  • Sync 3 with Navigation
  • Track proven torsion bar suspension
  • Push rod suspension with fully active inboard dampers
  • Carbon ceramic brake discs with 20" wheels
And they still weren't done.  The Focus RS, the fastest, most powerful expression of the hot hatch in the EU is going global next year and yes, we in the States are going to finally get our hands on this car.  YES!

No details were given on the specifics on the Focus RS being released next year.  It will be the subject of its own reveal at a press conference at a later date.  We do know we can expect something along the order of 300+ horsepower in an all wheel drive platform.  From a Focus!

The opinions expressed in this post are my own.  I was a guest of Ford Motor Company as "Digital Influencer" and they did provide my transportation and accommodations.  But like Bart Simpson, I beat to my own drummer and these words are all mine.

More pics of the 2015 NAIAS can be found in my flickr album.  As always, all pics and video are done by me unless otherwise noted.