Ford prepares to join coupe class with dramatic new star Reborn Capri
It's the car every Ford fan has been waiting to see! Here's the new Capri. ( AE )
The original was one of the most famous and best loved models in the firm's history, and left the scene in the late Eighties. Now, the time has come to reinvent the classic.
Affordable coupes are experiencing a real renaissance, and Ford has already proved its talent for building niche products with models such as the S-MAX compact MPV and Kuga 4x4. So the stage is set for the Capri to make its stunning comeback.
One thing is for sure - it will not be short of competition. Audi has its A5 and Volkswagen has resurrected the Scirocco, while Toyota is planning a Celica replacement based on Subaru Impreza running gear.
There's also Hyundai's forthcoming Coupe, plus news that Peugeot has at last given its 308 RC Z the green light for production.
But while there will be an army of rivals, the Capri will certainly have style in its favour. As you can see from our pictures, the new Ford is a real feast for the eyes. If it seems a little familiar, that's because it takes some cues from the 2003 Visos concept.
However, it mixes those with the company's latest design themes. At the front there are the trademark twin grilles, with a large lower air intake incorporating neat spotlights. Bold Mondeo-style headlamps complete the Capri's striking look.
Its profile harks back to the original model, with a tail-heavy stance and familiar C-shaped rear windows and thick pillars. At the back, strong shoulder lines combine with distinctive tail-lights and a sloping tailgate to create a pert-looking rear. A neat roof spoiler and venturi-style lower bumper finish the design off.
Inside, the Capri will offer a 2+2 seating layout, with a cabin inspired by the current-generation Mondeo's. Under the skin, it's likely that Ford will follow VW's approach with the Scirocco, which sits on the Golf platform, and base the car around the Focus. That will mean a front-wheel-drive layout and a similar engine line-up to the family model, with the range topped by the 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbocharged unit from the ST hot hatch.
An RS version, powered by a 3.2-litre six-cylinder motor and offering four-wheel drive, could also be on the cards.
With the Focus as a starting point, things bode well for the Capri's hand-ling. Engineers will give the new model a sporty suspension set-up to ensure excellent grip and agility. There's even the possibility it will benefit from the Mondeo's adaptive damping system. This would provide the car with sharp handling or refined cruising ability at the flick of a switch.
As Ford has yet to officially confirm its new Capri plans, we won't see the car before the next decade. However, it has been reported that the blue oval is planning to reveal a concept version of the coupe at a major motor show in 2009.