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First look: Fairlane goes for sport

Familiar: The BA Fairlane picks up styling cues from the BA Falcon.

Ford previews a high performance version of its new BA Fairlane

5 Mar 2003

FORD has revealed its new BA Fairlane at the Melbourne motor show months in advance of its launch because it mistakenly believed Holden would be launching its new WK Statesman at the show.

"We thought, quite frankly, they would have a Statesman here and I'm amazed they haven't," said Ford Australia president Geoff Polites.

But Mr Polites expressed no regrets about displaying his new long-wheelbase locally-built luxury car, which does not go on sale until July 1.

"It looks really good and we wanted to put it on show," he said. "We are really excited about what we have done."The WK Statesman and Caprice are expected on sale before Fairlane. It is believed Holden debated heavily the pros and cons of displaying its new luxury sedans, but ruled against it because it did not want to damage the current WH model's run-out.

Not only did Ford show the new bodystyle, which for the first time in Fairlane's history includes a rear sheetmetal redo at the mid-life change, it also revealed a new structure for the range.

The base model will be the existing Ghia, then comes the new G220 which was shown in Melbourne, with the luxury LTD topping out the range.

As the name suggests, G220 will be powered by the new Barra 220 5.4-litre V8 engine. It will also feature sports tuned Control Blade IRS, 17-inch alloy wheels, red leather seats and the absence of woodgrain inserts, replaced by a brushed aluminium finish.

Ghia and LTD buyers will get the traditional warm charcoal leather and woodgrain interior along with a Control Blade set-up tuned for a plusher ride.

The BA Fairlane will pick up the mechanical improvements incorporated into the BA Falcon range, including the engine, suspension and body stiffening upgrades.

It also gets plenty of BA Falcon styling cues up-front, including identical headlights and grille shape, although the rear-end look is quite different thanks to the substantial boot height.

Inside the changes are said to be even more dramatic, reflecting the significant makeover that Falcon went through. Luxury and specification are both tipped to be improved in the new model.

Ford is hoping the revamped long-wheelbase family will take chunks out of Holden's dominance of the segment, just as the BA Falcon is making big inroads into Commodore's domination of the passenger car market.

Mr Polites was coy on the prospect of a Ford Performance Vehicles Fairlane topping out the range, replicating the slow-selling TL50 from the old Tickford range.

"You'd have to ask David Flint (boss of FPV that). The capability is there for him to do one. We wouldn't stop him if he thought he had a business case," Mr Polites said.

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