This bold saloon concept will form the centrepiece of Ford’s stand at next week’s Detroit motor show. The Interceptor, based on a stretched Mustang platform, is described as “America’s favourite muscle car, debuting as a grown-up four-door saloon.”
As recently reported on Autocar.co.uk, Ford is looking to capitalise on the potential of the Mustang with new vehicles using its mechanicals. But the Interceptor is more sophisticated than a Mustang, replacing the coupe’s coil-sprung live rear axle with multi-link suspension. It’s still rear-wheel drive though.
Despite the different suspension, and a recent denial that it would expand the Mustang range, Ford is playing up the Interceptor’s Mustang heritage. Ford US design boss Peter Horbury said the Interceptor “celebrates the best of American muscle. It has the soul of the Mustang with the sporty elegance of’60s Ford sedans.”
Inevitably for a car closely related to a Mustang, the Interceptor uses a V8. A 5.0-litre version of the Mustang’s 4.6-litre engine, it’s been breathed on by Ford Racing to produce 400bhp and runs on E85 ethanol. The transmission is a six-speed manual ’box.
The Interceptor's upright front is heavily influenced by Ford’s F-250 Super Chief concept from last year’s Detroit show. Peter Horbury also designed that car. The Interceptor also features some clever seatbelts. In the back it uses Ford’s inflatable seat-belts - they contain airbags that explode out of the webbing. Up front there’s a patented four-point seatbelt that Ford describes as a “possible next-generation safety belt.” Ford is planning to fit both systems to its cars by 2010.
Also to be unveiled at Detroit by Ford is a spacecraft-inspired crossover concept called the Airstream, the 2008 model-year versions of the Ford Five Hundred and Focus saloons, and a sleek four-door Licoln coupe concept called the MKR. You can see photographs of all of them in our gallery.