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Ford engine development focused on efficiency and performance

by DrivingEnthusiast

An interesting Press Release from Ford today. Encouraging in the sense that Ford engines are moving forward and several world-class examples are reaching production.

However, we would take issue with the explanation of the Explorer 2 liter EcoBoost compared to the previous 4 liter V-6. The 4 liter was one of the least competitive and oldest engines still produced by Ford. The basic architecture dated back to the sixties. It was only offered in the Explorer and Mustang for cost reasons, where it provided a very dull and unsatisfying experience.

In terms of the competition, Nissan’s state-of-the-art 4 liter V-6 currently produces 266 horsepower and 288 lb-ft of torque. The EcoBoost 2 liter cannot produce that kind of power in its current form while maintaining the required emissions and mileage.

Keep in mind the other half of the challenge: despite all the press spin on this topic, the bottom line is that the new Explorer has lost only 100 pounds pounds in weight from the previous generation Explorer. That’s meaningless in terms of fuel economy. And over the history of the Explorer from the beginning, it has gained in seize and added several hundred pounds in weight.  While the 2 liter EcoBoost is a fine engine – we’d take one – it has to haul far more weight than it should. And the only reason the new Explorer carries this size and weight is because of the Volvo-originated suspension it is based on. Same problem with the new Taurus (which in SHO form at a minimum of 4368 pounds is grotesquely obese, especially when compared to the original SHO at 1000 pounds less!). The weight problem is going to be the next challenge for Ford to overcome, but given the investment costs and model cycles, it may be another 6 to 8 years before we see the kind of Explorer Ford is capable of building, rather than the one they were forced to build.

Ford Press Release follows: 


Ford Engines Are Getting Smaller, While Fuel Economy and Horsepower Are Growing

  • Ford engineers are creating a new generation of global engines that use advanced technology – not more cylinders – to enhance performance
  • Ford’s new engines are the most fuel efficient and powerful in the company’s 107-year history
DEARBORN, Mich., March 23, 2011 – Ford is leading the way in the transformation of the automobile engine around the world.
For most of Ford’s 107 years, engineers have answered the call for higher horsepower and more torque with larger, heavier and thirstier engines. But the company’s 2006 commitment to lead or be among the leaders in fuel economy in every sales segment has changed the way Ford designs its engines.
The advanced technologies adopted and enhanced by Ford’s engine development team – EcoBoost, twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT) and direct injection, for example – have made the old saying “There’s no replacement for displacement” as obsolete as the carburetor.
For consumers, horsepower per liter is as important as the speed of an Internet connection – the higher the number, the better the performance.
Two of America’s favorite vehicles, the Ford Mustang and Ford F-Series, now provide the most dramatic examples of how that is not the case, and how new, smaller-displacement engines are delivering levels of performance that in the past could only be obtained with much larger engines.
  • The optional 6.8-liter V10 engine in the 2011 F-Series Super Duty is rated at 305 horsepower and 420 lb.-ft. of torque. F-150’s EcoBoost 3.5-liter engine – with about half the displacement – delivers 365 horsepower and the same 420 lb.-ft. of torque. The horsepower per liter of the V10 is 38.125 compared with more than 127 for the 3.5-liter
  • The 2011 Mustang coupe has a 3.7-liter V6 engine rated at 305 horsepower and delivers as much as 31 mpg highway, according to the 2011 EPA Fuel Economy Guide. The 3.7-liter replaced a 210-horsepower 4.0-liter V6 that was EPA-rated at 26 mpg highway. The 2011 Mustang Coupe is the first car in history to have a 300-plus-horsepower engine rated at 30 mpg or more. It also delivers 0-to-60 times of around six seconds
These new engines are part of nine all-new or significantly revamped engines Ford began launching in 2010. And they are helping make the 2011 Ford and Lincoln lineup the most fuel efficient in the company’s 107-year history.
Ford and Lincoln showrooms today are filled with an industry-best dozen vehicles that lead or are among the leaders in their sales segments for fuel economy. Four vehicles carry an EPA-certified rating of 40 mpg or higher, also best in the industry.
“From Fiesta to Super Duty, Ford has invested a record amount in new engines, transmissions and cutting-edge technologies to meet our commitment to lead or be among the leaders in fuel economy in every segment in which we compete,” said Joe Bakaj, Ford vice president of powertrain engineering.
“Though we have made great strides, our work in improving fuel economy is not done and never will be. We have to deliver a fuel economy gain of about 10 percent every three years from now on. Expect further improvements to our EcoBoost system, three-cylinder engines and our Auto Start-Stop system launched now in Europe and soon to be installed in North American vehicles,” he added.
More new engines on the way
The next smaller but more powerful engines coming from Ford are two new four-cylinder EcoBoost engines already proving popular in Europe. First up is the new 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder slated for later this year in Edge and the all-new Explorer. Then comes a frugal 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine for the C-MAX multi-activity vehicle.
In the 2010 Explorer, the smallest engine available was a 4.0-liter V6 rated at 210 horsepower and 250 lb.-ft. of torque. In the all-new Explorer, the 2.0-liter Ford EcoBoost engine will be the smallest engine, yet it delivers 237 horsepower – 27 more than the old engine – and about the same torque, 245 lb.-ft. The 2.0-liter Explorer is projected to deliver best-in-class fuel economy.
“The 2012 Ford Explorer with EcoBoost is going to mark a new era in smaller-displacement SUVs, offering more power than the previous 4.0-liter V6 with a really remarkable improvement in fuel economy,” said Greg Johnson, manager of North American power packs. “Similarly, Edge with EcoBoost and C-MAX with the EcoBoost 1.6 will both serve to redefine customers’ opinions about smaller-displacement engines.”
Although the Ford EcoBoost 2.0-liter is the smallest engine ever offered in Explorer – and the first four-cylinder – drivers likely will not notice the two fewer cylinders. “It’s got the efficiency of a small gasoline I-4 when cruising,” explains Johnson, “because that’s fundamentally what it is. But when you need that extra muscle for passing or accelerating, the turbocharger provides a diesel-like reserve of torque without the drawbacks – like higher weight, slower engine speeds and, at least in the States, higher fuel cost – of a diesel engine.” 
For most consumers, all it takes is a test drive to convince them smaller engines can deliver the goods.
“Most everyone who has driven the EcoBoost F-150 has been converted,” explains Jim Mazuchowski, Ford V6 engine manager. “Once our customers move past the idea of ‘only’ having six cylinders, and begin to think of our EcoBoost V6 as a gas-powered engine with diesel-type capability and characteristics, the excitement begins to build. Twin turbochargers and direct injection give the EcoBoost F-150 the broad, flat torque curve that makes towing with a diesel so effortless – and hard acceleration so much fun.” 

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