Cooley On Cars
On the road: 2017 Ford GTBrian Cooley takes a look at the 2017 Ford GT and explains why light and lithe is key to its story.
[NOISE] Let's face it, we hear about lightweight technology in the auto industry all the time, but for most car buyers it doesn't really print. But what lightweight is all about is everything that a vehicle's all about. Better performance. Better fuel efficiency which leads to lower emissions, and better handling dynamics in every direction the vehicle goes. [NOISE] Committed to this ethic is the coming Ford GT. 600 plus horsepower from a Turbo V6 mounted in the middle on an aluminum sub frame behind a carbon fiber center tub Having the rear wheels. To be honest, that architecture has been done before. And you can buy a 700 horse power Dodge Challenger for 60 grand. So what's really going on here? It's how the new GT will seek performance by burdening itself less. Lighter weight and less envelope. The vehicle's physical outline is the essential story of this car. So Rog, this is such a big effort. You got a car with incredible performance but its got less weight, less bulk, right? Well, performance, you know, is a lot about efficiency. If you look at our latest F-150 all aluminum body, we took More than 700 pounds of that vehicle. And the, all the attributes get better when you take weight out. Improve your fuel efficiency, we can soften up the suspension, the ride gets better. So it all feeds on itself. Some of the parts we're seeing, that you're also displaying here, have a lot of carbon reinforced plastic. Things that were exotic and used in small volumes. You're saying this is a high volume technique to make a lot of part in affordable cars? Well we can use performance vehicles to prove out some technologies and then bring it to high volume. Iterate the designs, take those learning and bring it to high volume, mainstream manufactures. So what used to be win on Sunday, sell on Monday is now lightweight on Sunday. [LAUGH] Sell on Monday right? Absolutely, for the engineer it's. It's win on Sunday and then take that and mainstream on Monday. How important is it to use carbon fiber versus aluminum. Carbon fiber's lighter and it's strong. And, as a designer, what it does is it's given me greater flexibility to To create unique forms that I can't create in steel and aluminum. So these flying buttresses are one that you point out. Why couldn't you have made those flying buttresses out of aluminum. We hear that all the time. We couldn't have done that in metal. Steel or aluminum needs to be pressed. It needs to have, you need to have a die, and it's pressed. And you have Maximum draw depth, and then you have radiuses, which are, which are really restricting based on your maximum depth of draw. It would tear or be too thin? It would tear, it would be too thin, I wouldn't get the draw depth between, between, this point and this point. Yeah. In a tool. One of the first things you notice as you come back like so, is this thing gets real narrow, real fast. And in fact, you can reach across and touch the other glass. The three key factors in cr, creating the ultimate performance car. One is lightweight. Second is aerodynamics. It has a really, really tapered cabin. It's really narrow at the cabin. And it allows us also to manage the air flow much better than on a traditional Full volume car. This tapering here helps the wind to see less car. Yes. As it's coming. Yes. We would normally think the face is kinda where it all ends. So a, so a normal car, you would fill out this volume. [CROSSTALK] Yeah, you would just have a- The glass, the glass would be here. But imagine how much That's a foot. That's, yeah, on a type. Which I'm not pushing through the air. We're managing the air flow, to direct it straight on to the aero devices like the rear wing. We hear so much about lightweight of products. But it's also light footprint. The range in supercars. These days has been hybrid, Porsche's 918, Ferrari's LaFerrari, the McLaren P1. But to stay light and lean, Ford skipped the added motor, big battery and the inverter that would have meant weight, and volume to put somewhere. Less under the skin means less skin to move through the air. The main reason we chose this engine is it is compact. So, it's one of our, you know, mainstream engines. Yes, it's got a little bit, you know, a few of the components, so a little bit more exotic. [LAUGH] A little more. But the foundations of this car are the same yeah. that's in your F-150. And it allows us to shrink all this body around this engine. It also produces high power. Over 600 horse power from this engine. It's also fuel efficient. If we didn't need the extra two cylinders, Why do, why do we need to put them on? If they added weight, and they added fuel consumption. And they added mass. And they added mass. Yeah. Why did we need them? As I look at it here, I see these buttresses come back, and they seem to almost be supporting, these, these pods over the rear wheels. What's in there is an intercooler, there's a vent in the front here. There's a grill in the front there. There's a grill, is a, it's an intercooler and radiator. The air feeds through the buttress, so it's not just there. So that's your bleed-off to go into the engine. Air feeds into the engine. That's your intake run. Yes. So we exhaust the air through the middle of the lumps. These engineering ideas created great aesthetic design ideas, you know? It's a beautiful looking thing, but it's also clever and innovative. And that balance between looking amazing but also delivering a clever solutions is what this car is all about. Now lightweight technologies do have some hurdles. They tend to be exotic in terms of rapid work flow and production. They tend to be more expensive right now as we've heard about. Some of the carbon fiber technologies. And let's face it, the auto industry is one that is known for inertia, doing things the way it's done things although that's changing quite a bit lately. Still the GT's wholesale lightweighting approach is a leading edge look at what is and will increasingly happen to mainstream car. Light weighting is no longer optional or limited to cars in the stratosphere like this. It makes every motion a car accomplishes better, and does it with less energy. More cars driven CNET style standing by now at CNETOnCars.com. Click ON THE ROAD.