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by Tim Beissmann

The 2011 Ford Falcon EcoLPI has been unveiled at the 2011 Australian International Motor Show in Melbourne ahead of its Australian launch later in the third quarter of this year.

The Falcon range has been struggling from a sales perspective this year, and Ford Australia has partially blamed the poor performance on the absence of a dedicated LPG model.

The old Falcon E-Gas was phased out in the second half of last year, and Ford Australia claimed the model – popular with taxi companies and fleets – accounted for around 20 per cent of total Falcon sales.

The Falcon EcoLPI will be available in the XT, G6, G6E and XR6 sedan models, as well as the XL, R6 and XR6 ute variants (both Cab Chassis and Styleside Box).

The EcoLPI engine option will add $2500 to the price of all models. Ford Australia admits this is $500 more than the price premium for the E-Gas system, although unlike the old model’s four-speed automatic transmission, the EcoLPI is teamed with the sophisticated ZF six-speed auto like the regular petrol Falcon.

The new EcoLPI liquid injection LPG powertrain produces 198kW of power and 409Nm of torque (at 3250rpm) – output figures identical to the petrol engine when operating on higher octane 95 RON unleaded fuel. That’s 27 per cent more power and 10 per cent more torque than the E-Gas.

Fuel economy for the sedan models has improved more than 15 per cent. The Falcon XT EcoLPI returns combined cycle figures of 12.5 litres/100km, while the G6, G6E and XR6 variants use 12.6 litres/100km. This is down from the old model’s 14.9 litres/100km. CO2 emissions have also plummeted from 240g/km to 203-204g/km.

EcoLPI vs Petrol

LPG is currently around 90-100 cents per litre cheaper than regular unleaded petrol (59.9 cents/litre vs 145.9 cents/litre in Sydney today). Assuming those prices remain constant and you travel 20,000km per year, you will spend $1498 fueling the XT EcoLPI and $2889 fueling the XT petrol (based on combined cycle figures).

Ford Australia President and CEO, Bob Graziano, said the Ford Falcon EcoLPI was the right car for Australian drivers right now.

“LPG is an alternative fuel that is readily available right across Australia and provides real benefits for Australian consumers, with reduced fuel costs contributing to a significant improvement in cost of ownership,” Mr Graziano said.

“Falcon EcoLPi offers customers the power, torque and overall engine performance they expect from a traditional Aussie six, coupled with all the space, comfort and towing capability of a family sedan, while at the same time delivering the fuel costs of a smaller car.”

Correction: The article previously stated the Ford Falcon EcoLPI was now on sale. This was a reporting error. It will go on sale later in the third quarter of 2011.




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