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 2012 Interceptor First Drive (Road & Track)

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Posts : 74
Join date : 2012-03-19
Age : 23
Location : Los Angeles, CA

PostSubject: 2012 Interceptor First Drive (Road & Track)   Wed Mar 21, 2012 9:39 pm

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2012 Ford Police Interceptor - First Drive

The new kid in the precinct.

By Sam Mitani

March 21, 2012

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It was a long run, one that lasted 20 years, but it’s the end of the road for the beloved Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor. During its entire road-life, this familiar whale-like sedan served as the standard vehicle for law enforcement agencies everywhere, comprising 70 percent of total market share. So how do you replace an entity whose legendary status is right up there with notable law-enforcement icons such as Dirty Harry and Colombo? Instead of simply recreating another Crown-Victoria-like vehicle, Ford wiped the slate clean and designed its new police car from scratch. And the Ford’s police-car engineering team did some things that had some cops reaching for their handcuffs.

2012 Ford Police Interceptor

First, they opted to replace the Crown Vic’s big-block V-8 with a V-6 (a misdemeanor). Then they took away rear-wheel drive, replacing it with all-wheel drive and, gasp, front-wheel drive (a felony). At first, everyone from local police officers to undercover agents was skeptical about the new specifications, that is, until they drove the car. On a sunny day in New York, I was invited to try out the new police car on a makeshift race course.

The Ford Police Interceptor utility & Police Interceptor sedan will both have at least a 20 percent improvement in fuel-economy over the outgoing Crown Victoria Police Interceptor.

Up close, the new Ford Police Interceptor, based on the Ford Taurus, looks stunning. The car appears significantly sportier than the Crown Victoria. It’s more compact and curvaceous. Underneath the sheet metal, the new Police Interceptor is a different animal altogether; it’s purpose-built to meet the needs of police officers everywhere. Under the hood is the aforementioned V-6 that produces 288 bhp and 254 lb.-ft. of torque, which is 38 more bhp than the Crown Vic’s V-8. Power is sent to all four tires via a specially-tuned automatic transmission. There’s a high-performance front-drive version equipped with a turbocharged 3.5-liter powerplant that pumps out a whopping 365 bhp and 350 lb.-ft. of torque. And because the car is considerably lighter than a Crown Vic, the new Interceptor sedans feel like a rocket when mashing the throttle. (There’s a new SUV Interceptor, too, based on the Ford Explorer.)

Ford's Police Interceptor sedan will receive at least a 20 percent improvement in fuel-economy over the outgoing Crown Victoria Police interceptor.

Handling and Safety to Match Power

The suspension has also been tuned for better cornering prowess, and the brakes have been heavily upgraded.

“Safety was and always will be a key factor when designing police cars. We took extreme measures to make the new Ford Police Interceptor as safe as possible. These cars can be traveling at very high speed, so special attention was paid to the brakes,” William Gubing, chief program engineer of the car, said. “Also, a first for police cars is that it has a 75-mph rear crash rating, important when the car is pulled over on the side of the road.”

The all-new Ford Police Interceptor utility & Police Interceptor sedan.

On the autocross course, the new Interceptor was impressive. Our test car was the all-wheel-drive model, and it felt so composed and neutral on the tight course that it reminded me of a friend’s champion autocross race car. The steering was quick and there was minimal body roll. The car accelerated briskly, and the special gearbox kept the car in low gears when other transmissions would upshift (very important when coming out of corners). In comparison, the Crown Victoria was all over the place and felt like a dinosaur in terms of agility and age.

Nearly 90 percent of the Police Interceptors' interior has been redesigned specifically for the needs of police, maximizing officer comfort and cargo capacity.

Built for Law Enforcement

The car can be ordered with bullet-proof doors (“It’ll stop shots from an AK47,” Gubing said.) and comes with special seats designed to accommodate an officer’s utility belt and holstered gun. My big gripe here was that these seats lack lateral support, but they do include a stab-proof panel in the seat back just in case your rear-seat passengers get naughty.

Perhaps the best thing about the new Ford Interceptor is that it’s economical (20 percent better fuel economy than the Crown Vic) and comfortable (I can easily chase someone across the country in this car). But don’t forget it’s as fast as many sports cars, so anyone who even thinks of outrunning one should really reconsider. The Ford Interceptor is available only to government agencies, so none of us without badges can ever buy one.

Nearly 90 percent of the Police Interceptors' interior has been redesigned specifically for the needs of police, maximizing officer comfort and cargo capacity.



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