Detroit Auto Show: 2008 Ford Five Hundred Finally Gets The Horbury Treatment

Yes, that's the new Ford Five Hundred for 2008 — and yes, it's exactly the look the five hun'ed shoulda had if Peter "Big Balls" Horbury had been able to lay his sweaty British palms on the clay of the first gen model. Because now it's got the "Hi, I'm Dave" Gillette-like front-end — which, as we all remember from one year ago — is the design direction that screams "I'm an American." And now, as you can see from the photo gallery below and the press conference after the jump, FoMoCo's finally got an American sedan to wave the flag.

Detroit Auto Show: 2008 Ford Five Hundred Finally Gets The Horbury Treatment

DETROIT, Mich., Jan 7, 2007 - The Ford Five Hundred sedan packs nearly 30 percent more power and boasts a new look inside and out for the 2008 model year.

On sale by summer 2007, the Five Hundred features a new front end resembling the popular Ford Fusion, more horsepower and torque thanks to a new 3.5-liter V-6 engine, a new six-speed transmission and all-wheel-drive system and safety upgrades that include Ford's available AdvanceTrac electronic stability control system. Structural upgrades to further improve crash protection include reinforcements in the footwell area and new interior door panels.

"Customers love the Five Hundred's ride and package, and its safety reputation is excellent," says Cisco Codina, Ford's group vice president of North America Marketing, Sales and Service. "For this year, we've dialed up the appeal with a new, more expressive look, a more powerful engine and more than 500 changes to make this great car even better."

The Five Hundred's 3.5-liter Duratec V-6 now delivers an estimated 260 horsepower and 245 pound-feet of torque. It also benefits from the same smooth shifting, six-speed automatic transmission and the same available all-wheel-drive system as the new Ford Edge. Importantly, even with the upgraded powertrain, real-world fuel economy for the front-wheel-drive model is expected to be similar to the current model - thanks to advancements in powertrain technology.

New look inside and out

The Five Hundred's new look aligns it with the Ford Fusion. New from the A-pillars forward, the Five Hundred now features Ford's signature three-bar chrome grille. A sculpted hood adds a touch of crisp detail, and a new front fascia is chamfered at the outer edges, adding structure to the design. All-new side mirrors are smaller yet provide better visibility and reduce wind noise. Chrome side vents, door handles and mirror caps give the Five Hundred Limited models a more expensive appearance. New taillamps carry the horizontal theme to the rear, while a new rear fascia houses chrome-tipped dual exhausts.

Ultra-quiet interior and plush ride

For 2008, the Five Hundred's sound package has been completely revised, helping make it as quiet as many luxury cars. The new sound package includes such technologies as expandable foam pellets in the A-pillars to reduce wind noise and the use of an advanced sound-deadening material called Sonosorb in the doors, headliner and pillars. Sonosorb increases sound-deadening efficiency by 20 percent while retaining the same thickness as the material it replaces.

Engineers also reduced road noise by stiffening the area where the rear package shelf meets the floor pan. Even the climate control system was improved by making the system 50 percent quieter than before.

The Five Hundred's quiet, confident ride starts with an already solid foundation. Upgrades include revised shock towers that help increase front suspension travel by 10 percent, new dampers and springs in both front and rear, and a revised, retuned rear suspension.

One of the most significant changes is how the engine is mounted in the vehicle. Previously, the engine was mounted to the front subframe. On the new model, the engine and transmission are bolted to the body with hydraulic mounts to reduce vibration. By moving the roughly 600-pound powerpack off the subframe, engineers were able to better tune the suspension and, ultimately, create an even better ride.

Maximum convenience and space

The Five Hundred features the most spacious interior of any large sedan, with best-in-class legroom front and rear and 60/40-split fold-flat second-row seats. With the fold-flat front-passenger seat, items up to nine-feet long can fit inside.

Five Hundred also offers a number of must-have technologies. In addition to a standard auxiliary audio input jack, available convenience features include a voice-activated navigation system, a DVD entertainment system and factory-installed SIRIUS satellite radio. Ford Sync is also available on the new Five Hundred. Sync is a voice-activated hands-free in-car communications and entertainment system which fully-integrates mobile phones and digital media players. The Sync in-car communications system was developed in collaboration with Microsoft and will be offered exclusively on 12 Ford, Lincoln and Mercury products in North America beginning this year.

Building on safety leadership

The 2007 Five Hundred is already the segment leader in safety, earning five stars in all four categories for the U.S. government's crash tests. Five Hundred was also the first Gold Award winner from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and is the class leader in rear crash performance.

For 2008, Five Hundred offers the added safety and control of Ford's AdvanceTrac electronic stability control system. AdvanceTrac can predict the vehicle's intentions using a sensor to detect and measure oversteer and yaw by monitoring the vehicle's speed, throttle position and steering wheel angle. When the system senses wheel slip, engine torque is reduced and braking is applied where needed to help keep the car tracking safely on its intended path.

Five Hundred comes standard with dual-stage driver and passenger front air bags, seat-deployed side air bags for driver and front passenger and Safety Canopy side curtain rollover air bags for both rows.

About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures and distributes automobiles in 200 markets across six continents. With about 300,000 employees and more than 100 plants worldwide, the company's core and affiliated automotive brands include Aston Martin, Ford, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lincoln, Mazda, Mercury and Volvo. Its automotive-related services include Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford's products, please visit www.fordvehicles.com.

Related:
Spy Photos: 2008 Ford Five Hundred, Now With Thrice the Dave [internal]