Ford Motor Company didn’t want an opportunity to claim bragging rights to pass by, so it sent its 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine in for a massage.
The result was a torque (eco)boost of 30 pounds-feet, raising the engine’s output to 365 horsepower and 450 lb-ft. That places Ford’s F-150 ahead of its closest full-size six-cylinder competitor, the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel, which claims 420 lb-ft.
The next-generation engine and the company’s new 10-speed automatic transmission (jointly developed by Ford and General Motors, but built by Ford) debut in the 2017 F-150 due out this fall.
Ford foisted a number of improvements onto the engine to create the increase in twist, but also to make the motor leaner in preparation for itsÂ 10-speed partner.
AÂ dual-direct and port fuel-injection system delivers fuel to both the intake port and cylinder, while the turbochargers now have a lighter turbine wheel and electrically activated wastegates.Â Hollow camshafts in the new roller-finger follower valvetrain have weight savings in mind, and beefier intake and exhaust valves are a nod to long-term durability.
A start-stop system will come standard on the model, to the chagrin of owners who dislike the gas-saving feature. Ford tosses them a bone by shutting off the system if the vehicle is towing or in four-wheel-drive mode.
Fuel economy ratings aren’t available for the new F-150 drivetrain, but Ford is being careful not to make any promises about its start-stop technology, warning owners that “actual fuel savings vary depending on driving patterns.”
Production of the cog-heavy gearbox is backed by a $1.4 billion investment in the Livonia Transmission Plant, but it’s money well spent if FordÂ continues to rake in the dough from its lucrative truck lines.[Image: Ford Motor Company]