Before you ask, no, this isn't it. But an all-new Interceptor is set to replace the old-and-busted Crown Vic, and it's likely to be rear-wheel drive. Get in the car, perp.
Confession time: A few us have driven a Police Interceptor. One of us even owns one. Some of us, on the other hand, have barely even sat in one. (There was that one time with the live chickens and the three hundred pounds of prime rib, but for legal reasons, we're not allowed to talk about it.) So from a personal standpoint, we can't really explain why we dig this, or why it gets us excited, or why it makes us want to get all Good Cop/Bad Cop and go hunt down some junkie fool with a dirty mouth and blood on his mind.
The skinny: The next Interceptor arrives in 2011. Ford claims it will be engineered and built in America, and that it will offer better fuel efficiency, quality, safety, and performance than the current Crown Vic. (Given that the Crown Vic was designed when Calvin Coolidge was in diapers, none of this should difficult.) Further details should arrive in the first quarter of 2010.
The speculation: For starters, the picture above is the Ford Interceptor concept first shown at the New York auto show in 2002. That car was based on the '03 Police Interceptor; it sported crush-resistant bumpers, push bars made of reinforced steel, eighteen-inch alloy wheels, and a 4.6-liter, four-valve V-8 that produced 300 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque. As you might guess, it is not what Ford is unveiling next year.
What's actually on the way? Our bets are on a rear-wheel-drive ass-hauler based off the Australian-market Ford Falcon. There's a slim chance that it could be Taurus-based, but durability issues would likely preclude that from happening. Note that all of this comes on the heels of Chevrolet's Caprice announcement. Nothing like a good cop-car shoot-out, is there?
[Full press release here: Ford]