The Sound of Science: Ford Focus ST Features Active Sound Symposer

May 23rd, 2012 by Karen Joy Provo

Discerning sports compact drivers not only want their engines to sing, they want them to roar. Ford engineers made sure the new Focus ST does both, with the help of a new twist on an existing technology.

Ford engineers added a special sound tube – called a sound symposer – to amplify the throaty frequencies enthusiasts crave in performance cars. Engineers worked to naturally amplify the specific lower range of engine frequencies found between 200 and 450 Hz that are most pleasing to performance enthusiasts through the use of a composite “paddle” that vibrates with intake air pulses.

While the sound tube concept has been used on Mustang in the past, the sound symposer used in Focus ST is unique because of its electronically controlled valve that opens and closes based on driver inputs – engine speed, accelerator pedal position and gear selection. In lower gears, the valve is mapped more aggressively, while in higher gears the effect is dialled back to enable quieter cruising. This isn’t possible with conventional, passive sound tubes. Part of the reason Ford made these changes is that on Focus ST, for the first time, the symposer is attached directly to the intake manifold (as opposed to between the manifold and air intake).

“For ST drivers, it’s not enough to have a car that is fast or feels fast. It also has to sound fast,” says Christopher Myers, Air Induction System engineer. “Part of this is the design of the exhaust, but we went further and engineered the symposer both to dial up the nice sounds the EcoBoost delivers under the hood but dial back the interior sound volumes at part throttle.

“The turbo gives us great power across the rev range, but it presents a special challenge from a sound perspective as it absorbs much of the beautiful engine music,” Myers adds. “The symposer helps us bring the throaty sounds that drivers love.”

The secret to getting this right was developing the perfect paddle to naturally amplify the ST’s great engine sound. Ford engineers tested several different paddles. Eventually, the supplier developed a paddle with the correct stiffness that yielded the best acoustic response and ultimately, the best “flutter” and low-end frequency sound.

An international team from suppliers of the intake manifold, battery tray, electrical hardware and software, and electrical connectors came together with Ford to accelerate development of the symposer. All in all, 30 engineers from five countries had to balance NVH, materials, manufacturing and assembly considerations to bring the symposer to life.

“The sound symposer gives the Focus ST an aural split personality,” says Lisa Schoder, Ford Focus ST Marketing manager. “In everyday driving, the car is composed and refined. But under full throttle, we unleash the sonic hounds. It’s a beauty and a beast.”

Among the more visible options will be the Tangerine Scream metallic colour that will be offered exclusively on Focus ST as well as race-inspired Recaro seats with matching colour accents.

2013 Ford Mustang teased online

November 15th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The new 2013 Ford Mustang is on its way and is widely expected to be put on show later this week at the upcoming Los Angeles Auto Show. To get Mustang fans all hyped up the blue oval has dropped a teaser image showing some of the changes for the new model.

The four separate shots include cropped images of redesigned head- and taillights as well as upgraded instrumentation with Ford’s Track App display. The new Mustang is expected to borrow styling cues from the current Shelby GT500 model and this will mean more a more aggressive aesthetic.

Aerodynamics are also set to improve with the addition of a new chin splitter and rear spoiler. But for many fans, what’s in store for the new 2013 GT500 has them really excited. Continue reading “2013 Ford Mustang teased online” »

Ford’s next-gen Mustang to be less retro

September 20th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The year 2014 will be a big one for the Ford Mustang. The iconic sports car will celebrate its 50th anniversary and a new production model will be released. The announcement came last week from Ford’s design chief, J Mays, who spoke to the press at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

According to Mays, the design of the next-generation Mustang has already been completed – three years ahead of its launch. But what’s even more interesting is Mays statement that the new version of Ford’s pony car will be more future focused than retro styled.

“Both redesigns introduced in 2005 and 2010 are retro vehicles,” Mays said at the Frankfurt Motor Show. “The challenge with the 50th anniversary car is to not just look back over your shoulder, but to try to win all of the Mustang faithful yet bring the brand forward as well.”

It sounds like a tough task and if there’s anything that really angers badge fans it’s poorly considered exterior styling. However, Mays is confident that, even though the new Mustang will be different, it will still keep the famous models character. Continue reading “Ford’s next-gen Mustang to be less retro” »

Chevrolet’s hardcore Camaro ZL1 to come packing 425kW

July 21st, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

It looks like the horsepower wars are far from over in the States and may see Chevrolet’s new Camaro ZL1 released with a higher power output than was originally planned. The ZL1 (pictured) won’t reach American car dealerships until early next year, but fresh reports are claiming that power output for the pony car has been bumped up to more than 570 hp (425 kW).

When the ZL1 officially debuted at the Chicago Auto Show, GM said the supercharged 6.2-litre engine would have a max power output of approximately 550 hp (410 kW). That was all good until word came out that the 2013 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 was expected to use a supercharged 5.8-litre V8 with up to 620 hp (462 kW). With Ford now throwing down the challenge, Chevrolet was left with little choice but to upgrade its hardcore ZL1, just to stay in the fight. Continue reading “Chevrolet’s hardcore Camaro ZL1 to come packing 425kW” »

Next generation Mustang to be given global design flavour

March 7th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The Ford Mustang is an American icon without doubt, but Ford believes its pony car is an icon for the entire world. To prove it Ford has announced that the next-generation Mustang will be designed and built with global input.

What that means is that styling themes will be penned from studios in Australia and Europe as well as other places around the world. Ford says that the practice is now standard operating procedure for most of the automaker’s new products, and that the global design approach was taken on board three years ago. Up until now the design of the Mustang was strictly handled in the States.

Ford’s group vice president Derrick Kuzak told reporters at the recent Geneva Auto Show, “It is a common process we now use on every vehicle, when we embark on a new product, particularly one that is all new, it involves all of the studios. Then the Ford design team pick the best of those themes,” he added.

Kuzak went on to use the new 2012 Ford Ranger ute as an example because it was created solely for markets outside North America is a potentially successful examples of Ford’s new global design approach. “The Ranger was done by the Australian studio with input from the European studio,” Kuzak said.

So when do we get to see this new globally inspired Ford Mustang? Sadly, Ford is staying tight-lipped about the Mustang’s time frame but it is speculated that the new pony car should reach the market by 2014.

Chevy Camaro set to outsell Ford Mustang for first time in 25 years

December 6th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

The new Chevy Camaro has gone from strength to strength this year and for a reward it looks set to steal away the yearly pony car sales crown from the Ford Mustang. It will be the first time in 25 years the Camaro has managed this achievement.

According to industry insiders, the GM has sold 75,685 Camaros in the States through to the end of November, while Ford has only shifted 68,264 units. With the current sales totals in mind, it’s estimated that Chevrolet will finish 2010 with around 82,500 sales and Ford with 74,500. Coming in third in the muscle car pack is Dodge’s Challenger with 36,000 units sold in 2010.

How did the Camaro break the trend and come up trumps?

There was a built-up demand for the Camaro among badge fans after its prolonged absence in the States, combined with an excellent product on launch has done the trick. What’s even more impressive about the Camaro’s sales total is that the Chevy has outsold the Ford and the Dodge with far fewer special editions and no convertible bodystyle like the Mustang. The rag top Camaro is on the way shortly and when that is finally released things will get even more interesting.

Next-gen Ford Falcon may use Mustang platform

October 6th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Ford has managed to stay strong through the tough economic times with a large part of its success attributed to the “One Ford” policy installed by boss Allan Mulally. But not all Ford enthusiasts are fans of this policy particularly with recent speculation, after Mulally’s comments at the 2010 Detroit Auto Show, that next Ford Falcon would be transferred to a front-wheel drive platform, shared with the American Taurus.

We love our RWD machines and most Falcon fans turn red at the thought of it going front drive, but new reports that comments by Mulally at the Paris Motor Show may calm those fears. The Ford CEO has now acknowledged that rear drive vehicles are still commercially viable, and continued that the automaker would continue to make vehicles that customers want.

While Mulally didn’t exactly announce that the Mustang and Falcon would one day share a platform, he hinted that it’s a possibility. Mulally said that rear-wheel drive platforms will be global in the future, adding “we love our rear-wheel drive platforms and we love Mustang, and they’re global platforms.”

This isn’t the first time rumours about the Falcon and Mustang sharing a rear drive platform have surfaced. In January of this year it was revealed that the next Mustang would house an independent rear suspension set up. Making it even more likely that the Falcon and Mustang would share that platform.

Mustang GT 5.0 vs BMW M3 – Track Attack

August 29th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Ford’s Mustang GT goes head to head against a BMW M3 on a closed circuit track. Results may surprise.

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