(from Ford Press Release)
The legendary Bronco is back as Ford
re-explores the origins of the sport utility vehicle in a concept making
its debut at the 2004 North American International Auto Show. The Ford
Bronco concept demonstrates the original’s authentic spirit while
advancing powertrain technologies.
At a time when sport utilities are becoming more and more civilized –
some to the point of forgetting their roots – the Bronco’s clean, raw
shape, uncluttered interior and capable chassis make it the ideal tool
for work, play or just making a statement.
Key design features reminiscent of the original Ford Bronco include the
boxy, upright roofline, short wheelbase, round headlamps and the Bronco
nameplate milled into the modern three-bar grille. A winch and guide
rollers are integrated into the lower fascia. Exterior details include
exposed door hinges, cowl vents and flared wheel wells. Unique
loop-shaped door handles are integrated into the door panels and open
with a tug.
"True to its heritage, the Bronco concept is a tough, genuine SUV that’s
all about function," said J Mays, Ford Motor Company group vice
president of Design. "It’s like a claw hammer in a box full of
department store, battery-operated, plastic, power tools."
Yet within Ford Bronco concept’s rugged design is an advanced
turbo-diesel powertrain with concept technologies that stretch the
envelope of today’s conventional propulsion modes.
"The Bronco concept showcases significant advanced powertrain
technologies, mating a 2.0-liter intercooled turbo diesel with an
efficient six-speed PowerShift™ transmission and Intelligent™
four-wheel-drive system for a powerful, sure-footed off-roader," said
Graham Hoare, director, Powertrain Advanced and Research Engineering.
"Then comes the fun part. We’ve added nitrous-oxide injection for a
burst of power at your fingertips."
Although only a concept, the Bronco demonstrates how Ford could further
complement its extensive SUV lineup that includes Escape, Explorer,
Expedition and Excursion.
"The original Bronco carved new trails as a rugged off-roader, but Ford
really created the SUV phenomenon with the introduction of the Explorer
in 1990," said Steve Lyons, president, Ford Division. "Since that time,
Ford has always been the clear leader in SUVs. But we will keep looking
at new ways to extend our SUV leadership. For example, we’re introducing
the Freestyle crossover for customers who are looking for a very
civilized SUV alternative. At the other extreme, the Bronco concept
shows how a small, rugged and extremely capable off-road machine could
complement our SUV lineup."
The Bronco concept strikes a
familiar profile of the authentic SUVs of the late 1960s and at the same
time is contemporary, appealing and relevant for today’s market. The
Bronco concept adds modern technologies to an original theme for a fresh
new approach. The headlamps use LED and halogen light sources to cast a
wider beam for better peripheral vision in off-road situations.
The Ford name is integrated into the tailgate that swings open to the
side, allowing easy access to the rear cargo area. The taillamps are
rectangular and feature LED lights in a cascaded array. Bronco sits on
LT 265/70R18 Goodyear all-terrain tires mounted on specially cut
18-inch, six-spoke aluminum wheels that convey the confidence to carry
it over any surface in any condition. A full-size spare tire is mounted
in the rear cargo area.
The roof is made up of two separate sections. The rear portion can be
removed for an open-air driving experience. In another link with the
original Bronco, roll bar accents can be attached once the rear portion
of the roof is removed, giving the look and feel of a Baja racer. Ford
offered customized "Baja Broncos" in the early 1970s.
A monotone color scheme featuring a warm silver finish, coupled with
bright anodized brushed aluminum accents, flows seamlessly from the
exterior body panels to the exposed interior surfaces. The two seats are
trimmed in ginger-hued suede that looks and feels like a leather work
glove, accented with same color leather inserts and a four-line
stitching pattern often found on a rugged tool belt.
The instrument cluster is made up of two round bezels, housing a
speedometer and a combination odometer/compass. A lockable glove box
features an integrated grab handle that is perfectly positioned to
reassure the passenger when traversing rough terrain. Corrugated
interior floor panels further communicate strength and durability.
"The Bronco concept is like your favorite pair of worn, faded jeans –
classic, familiar, comfortable and always in style," said Mays.
Ford introduced the original
Bronco in August 1965 as a response to the needs of active Americans who
sought adventure as well as practical transportation. Bronco, with a
92-inch wheelbase, was available in three body styles: A four-passenger
wagon with a removable full-length roof, a pickup with a half roof and
open rear and a two-door roadster with a choice of two- or
Like the other no-frills off-roaders of the day – such as the Land Rover
Defender and International Scout – the Bronco was both adept and
adaptable. Owners loved its ruggedness and the ease with which they
could customize it for their needs. Ford offered an array of
work-and-play options including winches, snowplow blades, locking front
hubs, tow hooks, air-lift springs, an auxiliary gas tank and more.
The original Bronco was powered by a 105 horsepower inline six-cylinder
engine from the Ford Falcon and was mated with a fully synchronized
three-speed manual transmission with a column-mounted shifter – its
location affectionately dubbed "three on the tree."
The Ford small-block 289-cubic-inch V-8 became available as an option in
1966, upgraded to 302 cubic inches in 1969. Full-time four-wheel-drive
uniquely mounted for maximum ground clearance and a solid front axle
made it an ideal choice for off-road enthusiasts.
Bronco’s sturdy shape is instantly recognizable. The simple, upright
stance, signature round headlamps and basic, functional interior are
hallmarks of the original design and have made it an icon among
Bronco was an immediate success, leading the emerging recreational
four-wheel drive market with sales of 18,200 units in its first full
year of production. Ford continued to update the original Bronco until
1977 – its best sales year, but its last. More than 230,000 were
produced from 1966-1977. A much larger Bronco took over in 1978.
Powerful Diesel Punch –
With a Little Extra Kick
The Ford Bronco concept is
powered by a proven 2.0-liter common-rail Duratorq TDCi engine from
Ford’s European product range. This 16-valve turbo diesel combines
outstanding power, torque, smoothness and exceptional fuel economy in a
compact package, helping to change public expectations about diesel
Using the latest common-rail fuel-injection technology, the 128
horsepower (130 PS) engine delivers peak torque of 244 lb-ft (330 Nm) at
a relatively low 1,800 rpm – an ideal quality for off-roading or urban
driving. Plus, Ford has engineered the engine technology to deliver
overboost that provides an extra surge of power on driver demand for
situations such as hill climbing. Overboost generates an even higher
torque of 258 lb-ft (350 Nm) for a limited time under full throttle.
Sophisticated, electronically controlled injectors are central to the
Bronco concept’s common-rail system. The system delivers fuel at
extremely high pressure – up to 20,300 psi (1,400 bar) – to the
injectors. The fuel is delivered to the cylinders with high precision
and control that results in greater performance and torque and excellent
For the Bronco concept, Ford engineers took this punchy engine and went
A Nitrous "Kick"
The use of nitrous oxide (N2O) as a
performance enhancement dates back to World War II, when it was employed
to give Allied aircraft "emergency" boosts in both airspeed and altitude
In the 1970s, nitrous systems saw growing popularity in the automotive
performance community among racers looking for that added "kick." The
word began to spread when enthusiast publications such as Hot Rod, Car
Craft and Popular Hot Rodding informed their readers by publishing
in-depth, technical feature stories on nitrous-oxide systems.
The 2001 movie, "The Fast and the Furious," and its sequel highlighted
nitrous oxide use as a performance enhancer among high-revving,
California street racers and spread the word to a new generation of
How does nitrous injection work? Each nitrous oxide molecule is made up
of two parts nitrogen and one part oxygen (36 percent oxygen by weight).
During an engine’s combustion process, nitrous oxide breaks down and
releases its oxygen atoms. This extra oxygen creates additional power by
allowing more fuel to be burned. The remaining nitrogen acts to keep
cylinder pressures from getting out of hand.
On the new Ford Bronco concept, a stream of nitrous oxide is injected
into the engine’s cylinders as long as the N2O button is held down,
providing up to a temporary 50-hp boost and a three-second improvement
in quarter-mile times, with 10-15 mph more top speed.
"This has practical benefits for an off-road vehicle when you might need
a sudden burst of extra power to clear an obstacle and keep moving,"
Hoare said. "But it also is a blast to drive – literally."
Power is transmitted to the Bronco’s
wheels through a revolutionary new six-speed PowerShift™ transmission
that significantly improves performance and fuel economy.
PowerShift is the result of a Ford-Getrag joint venture, a transmission
that will be seen in Ford Motor Company products later in the decade. In
gasoline applications, PowerShift promises a 12-percent fuel economy
advantage over today’s four-speed automatic transmissions and provides
capability to handle a whopping 332 lb-ft (450 nm) of torque in a
"A twin wet-clutch module replaces the traditional torque converter and
operates using hydraulic actuation. This feature is similar to the
clutch found on a typical manual transmission," said Ernie DeVincent,
department manager for transmissions and drivelines in Ford Advanced
Research and Engineering.
"However, manual transmissions or automated manual transmissions change
gears by disengaging the clutch, which interrupts the flow of torque and
can cause rough shifts," DeVincent said. "The PowerShift approach
changes gears by power-shifting from one clutch to the other, giving
smooth shift quality equal to a typical automatic transmission."
The PowerShift transmission uses a layshaft architecture, which also has
more in common with manual transmissions than typical automatics, with
gears arranged on two parallel shafts. Within the PowerShift
transmission, one clutch connects to the odd gears (1, 3, 5), the other
clutch to the even gears (2, 4, 6). The dual-clutch layshaft has better
mechanical efficiency than conventional automatic transmissions by
eliminating the torque converter and the drag losses of an open clutch.
A typical four-speed FWD automatic transmission has approximately 68
percent mechanical efficiency (on the EPA fuel economy test), vs. 80
percent for a PowerShift transmission.
Combined with the Duratorq TDCi diesel, the PowerShift promises 5
percent better fuel economy than a conventional six-speed automatic
transmission, and 6 percent better acceleration times.
The PowerShift transmission makes an
ideal partner for the Duratorq TDCi engine. Even efficient, lightweight
turbochargers can induce a noticeable delay in torque rise on tip-in
because of inertia – the so-called "turbo lag." A twin clutch
transmission like the PowerShift offers an advantage because of its
lower inertia compared with a typical torque converter, minimizing the
effect of turbo lag. In addition, the diesel’s low-end torque will allow
lower launch rpm, which results in a shorter duration of clutch slip at
launch for quicker acceleration.
Diesel engines tend to have differently shaped horsepower and torque
curves than gasoline engines, making it desirable to adjust the step
size between transmission gears accordingly. Here again, the PowerShift
transmission, like all layshaft-based transmissions, offers an
advantage. Internal gear sets can be changed easily during development,
allowing the efficiencies of common transmission architecture, while
optimizing gear ratios for both engine types.
While the shifting is automatic, the PowerShift transmission on the
Bronco concept also can be placed in manual mode, with sporty Formula
1-style shifting, using a pair of control paddles on the steering wheel.
Intelligent™ 4WD System
The new fully automatic Intelligent™ 4WD
System on the Bronco concept will be seen in production first on the
2005 Ford Escape. It replaces the current Control Trac II™ System and
offers better traction and vehicle stability, improved fuel economy and
The automatic system requires no driver intervention and is so seamless
in operation that most drivers will never notice that it has engaged –
other than being impressed by the system’s capability in slippery
The Intelligent 4WD System uses a fully computer-controlled clutch that
engages the rear wheels only as needed. In normal conditions, the Bronco
concept is driven by its front wheels. Using sensors at each wheel and
at the accelerator pedal, the system’s computer calculates – dozens of
times per second – exactly how much torque to send to the rear wheels to
minimize slip. It can even predict slip and preclude it from happening
The Intelligent 4WD System eliminates one of the drawbacks of other
four-wheel-drive systems tuned aggressively for maximum traction, which
is a binding effect during tight turns and a feeling of driveline
harshness when the system engages. The Intelligent 4WD System can sense
tight turns and continuously vary torque to the rear wheels at all
speeds, offering the benefits of a "locked" four-wheel-drive system
without any of the drawbacks.