- - Thursday, April 28, 2011

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 362 horsepower and 457 lb.-ft. of torque. F-150’s EcoBoost 3.5-liter engine - with about half the displacement - delivers 365 horsepower and a comparable 420 lb.-ft. of torque. The horsepower per liter of the V10 is 53.23 compared with more than 104 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.

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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