The folks as TopSpeed have put their thinking caps on to imagine what Ford has in mind for the new Ford Ranger midsize truck when it finally comes to America, probably as a 2018 model. Ford is planning to move production of its Focus and C-Max vehicles to a new factory in Mexico. That will make room for US production of the Ranger and perhaps a new Ford Bronco as well to begin.
The 2016 Chevy Camaro broke cover this weekend, and while it may not appear that much different at first glance, GM did a lot of work under the skin to shave weight and improve performance. This includes offering a first-for-the Camaro, a turbocharged 2.0 liter four-cylinder engine that will serve as the new base motor for GM’s muscle machine.
Following the successful launch of the 2015 Ford Mustang, which also offers a turbo four-banger, the 2016 Camaro shuffles things up a bit in a bid to separate itself from its competitors. For one, the 275 horsepower 2.0 liter four-cylinder engine serves as the entry-level engine, with a 335 horsepower 3.6 liter V6 carrying over and the 455 horsepower LT1 (the same engine from the 2014 Corvette) doing duty in the top-end SS model. In the 2015 Mustang, the EcoBoost four-cylinder serves as the mid-range engine, with a detuned V6 being the base motor. Definitely a different approach from Ford.
GM quotes a 0 to 60 MPH time of “under six seconds” for the four-cylinder Camaro, while also claiming it will have the best fuel economy of any GM muscle car from the automaker’s long history. Expect at least 31 MPG in that case, as the outgoing V6 Camaro earned up to 30 MPG on the EPA testing cycle. Transmission options are either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic (where’s that 8-speed auto?), and both the V6 and V8 engines get cylinder deactiviation to improve fuel economy.
The area where the 2016 Camaro definitely wins “most improved” in my book is the interior. While the blind spots still look horrendous, the cockpit of this muscle car looks far more performance-oriented, slick, and airplane-like. Considering this is where the driver spends most of their time, it’s nice to see GM appears to have really kicked things up a notch. About damn time.
The styling is distinctly Camaro, no doubt about it, but beyond a familiar look GM has changed the 2016 Camaro over to an all-new chassis. The Alpha platform, which the 2016 Camaro shares with the Cadillac ATS, is lighter and more handling-oriented than the Zeta platform the 5th-gen Camaro rode on. GM says this helped shed some 200 lbs of extra weight, whereas the 2015 Mustang actually put on a few pounds. The two competitors have probably never been closer in terms of weight or performance, and now they’re getting the same kind of fuel economy as compact cars from just a few years ago.
Maybe American muscle will stick around for a few more decades after all.
The past ten years will undoubtedly go down as some of the worst in Lincoln’s long history as both its sales and its status as a luxury car leader have plummeted. Even Ford’s venerated former CEO Alan Mulally considered euthanizing Lincoln, but the brand managed to hang on, and it might finally be turning a corner with the Lincoln Continental Concept.
The first thing I noticed is how low the Continental Concept rides to the ground, hovering just a few inches over the blacktop. In a nod to the Tesla Model S, Lincoln designers added pop-out “E-Latch” door handles that contribute to the smooth, uninterrupted lines of the Continental Concept, even while the flared wheel wells give it a broad, muscular look. It’s true to the history of the Continental, without being mired in the past.
One of the major knocks against Lincoln is how it’s been light on luxury features that other automakers are offering buyers, adding to the accusation that the brand is little more than tarted-up Fords. But the Continental could change that with options like a smart-tinting sunroof, reclining rear seats, a “tablet tray” that pops out of the rear center console, and even a champagne storage compartment, because only the uber-wealthy should be allowed to enjoy an alcoholic beverage on the road, apparently. There’s even detachable Venetian leather travel cases that plug into the backs of the front seats.
By now you’ve got to be wondering, “What’s under the hood?” Sorry to disappoint plug-in car fans, but the sole source of motivation in the Continental Concept is the 3.0 liter EcoBoost V6 that is almost certianly based off of the 2.7 liter EcoBoost V6 that debuted in the 2015 Ford F-150 last year. The Continental offers three driving modes, normal, sport, and comfort, but nowhere is there any mention of weight-lightening materials like carbon fiber or aluminum. That seems like a missed opportunity to me, as is not integrating more sustainability into the Lincoln dealer network.
On the whole though? I love the Lincoln Continental Concept, and the directional shift it seems to indicate for the brand. Let’s drop the crappy three-letter “names” and bring back monikers like Continental, Town Car, and Zephyr that clearly seperate themselves from the Ford lineup. Maybe that $5 billion makeover is finally working.
The only thing missing from the Continental Concept is a plug, and that can only be fixed later.
The year was 2009 when the first Ford powered by the then-new line of EcoBoost engines debuted, promising big engine power but small engine fuel economy. It all began with the 3.5 liter V6 in the Ford Taurus, but EcoBoost engines rocking three and four-cylinders can be had in just about every available Ford and Lincoln vehicle, and consumers can’t get enough of them.
Last week, the five millionth vehicle equipped with an EcoBoost engine came off the assembly line at Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan. That car was a 2015 Ford Focus with the three-time award-winning 1.0 liter three-cylinder EcoBoost under the hood, which is appropriate given the growing popularity of the small-displacement powerplant. The 1.0 liter EcoBoost has demonstrated incredible flexibility, equally capable delivering hybrid-rivaling fuel economy and high-thrills Formula Ford racing action, though it’s just one of a growing number of small-displacement turbo engines at the Blue Oval’s disposal. It’s a welcome alternative from Ford’s frugal-but-less-fun line of hybrids to be sure.
In addition to the 1.0 liter three-banger and 3.5 liter V6, four-cylinder EcoBoost engines range from 1.6 to 2.3 liters in displacement, and the new 2.7 liter “Nano” EcoBoost V6 delivers a healthy 325 horsepower, as much as some competitor’s V8 motors. Like the 1.0 liter engine, Ford has made it so it can easily tune its EcoBoost engines for either fuel economy or performance, which allows cars like the 40 MPG Focus SFE to share a platform with the 320 horsepower Focus RS, both powered by EcoBoost engines. Even the Ford Mustang can be had with a four-cylinder turbo again.
Production has rapidly increased over the past three years, as it took until 2012 for Ford to build the first half-million EcoBoost motors, though there are those who say you get far more “Boost” than “Eco” for your money. But for Ford, EcoBoost has been a huge success that has allowed the automaker to bounce back in a big, big way.
Something tells me it won’t be long before we hit the 10 million motor milestone next.
The Blue Oval delivered the goods at the Detroit Auto Show, trotting out a new Ford GT with 600 horsepower and the 2017 Ford Raptor, a successor to the off-road homerun. Replacing the 6.2 liter V8 in the 2017 Raptor is a 3.5 liter EcoBoost engine, which Jalopnik reports should be good for about 450 horsepower. That’s a 10% improvement over the old V8, and could clear the path for more dramatic revisions to the Ford engine lineup.
Ford has so far been mum on the 2017 Raptor’s new power ratings, only saying that it’ll make more than the 411 horsepower and 434 lb-ft of torque the outgoing 6.2 liter motor made. Most buyers would have been happy with 420 or 430 horsepower, which would put it on par with the 2015 Mustang. But during a live broadcast, Ford Global Product VP Raj Nair said that the EcoBoost V6 would be good for 450 horsepower in the Raptor. That’s 20 horsepower more than the Mustang GT, and just 100 ponies shy of the 5.2 liter V8 in the Shelby GT350. The Raptor also gets a 10-speed automatic transmission, four more speeds than the pony car has to offer.
While Ford has been quick to confirm that V8 engines aren’t being put out to pasture just yet, it’s clear that the Blue Oval sees smaller-displacement turbos as the definitive replacement for displacement. It’s an important statement that Ford’s top-of-the-line truck now packs a V6 instead of a V8, and within a decade the Mustang may be the only car wearing a Ford badge to even offer an eight-cylinder configuration.
It’ll be the end of an era if that happens, and the birth of a new, even more exciting one. Perhaps a hybrid Mustang might happen in my lifetime after all?
Arguably one of the “winners” of the Great Recession, Ford has managed to reinvent itself as a techie, cutting-edge car brand thanks to features like SYNC and EcoBoost. In order to remain competitive in the technology field, Ford is opening a new R&D facility in Silicon Valley, where an increasing number of automakers (including Tesla Motors) have set up shop.
The Ford Research and Innovation Center in Palo Alto, California, is just three miles from Stanford University and the headquarters of Tesla Motors, a company the Blue Oval has been keeping a close eye on apparently. CEO Mark Fields was quoting as saying Ford wants to build a “Tesla for the masses” even though the Ford Focus Electric has been pretty much neglected since its 2011 launch.
It isn’t just Tesla that calls the Valley home though; Nissan, Volkswagen, and Mercedes-Benz are among the many automakers that have opened new facilities in America’s technology capital. It’s the human capital that draws the automakers here, as well as the prestige of having a facility in an increasingly important part of the country. Silicon Valley is a place where new ideas are created and tested before going mainstream, and Ford already has a few ideas, like wind-powered car dealerships, in the testing phase throughout California.
By the end of 2015, Ford wants to grow its Silicon Valley staff from just ten people in a small office to 125 full-time engineers and researchers at its all-new facility. So what will the facility focus on? According to Fields, “This new research center shows Ford’s commitment to be part of the Silicon Valley innovation ecosystem – anticipating customers’ wants and needs, especially on connectivity, mobility and autonomous vehicles. We are working to make these new technologies accessible to everyone, not just luxury customers.”
Ford has already trotted out its own autonomous car concept, is getting increasingly involved in car-sharing, and the new SYNC 3 infotainment system is supposed to be head-and-shoulders better than its predecessor. There’s also Ford’s efforts to link plug-in cars with utilities via “the Cloud” in an effort to reduce costs for everyone involved, though to be honest none of these are so-much groundbreaking ideas as slight variations or improvements on existing ideas.
Ford could use a fresh, new idea that no other automaker is pursuing, and perhaps this new R&D facility will deliver just that.
Ford has made a big splash in the truck world recently by choosing to use lots more aluminum to build its iconic F 150, which shaves more than 700 lbs of weight off the finished product. Ford has also surprised truck buyers by offering a 2.7 liter twin turbocharged EcoBoost V-6 in the F 150 as well. But company executive Joe Hinrichs told the Automotive News World Congress last week that the company is not expecting to substitute aluminum for steel in its passenger cars as aggressively as in its trucks, reports The Detroit Bureau.
Part of the reason for that is cars already weigh less than trucks, so the gains are smaller and do not justify the extra cost. Another reason why aluminum works so well for trucks is that less weight in the truck body and frame means higher towing capacity. A truck that is 700 lbs lighter can tow a load that is 700 lbs heavier. Towing capacity is not nearly as important in a passenger vehicle.
What Ford is ready to do, though, is add more carbon fiber to the mix. Lots more carbon fiber. Ford is working with Dow Chemical to put carbon fiber into mass production, much as BMW has with its i3. The first fruits of that collaboration are apparent in the spectacular new GT, which is built using mostly aluminum and carbon fiber. Lessons learned from the GT program will be applied to upcoming mainstream passenger cars.
AutoBlog recently visited a Ford production facility and shot a video of what they saw. Even though we all pretty much know how cars and trucks are built, it is still fun to see them coming together on the assembly line.
Many automotive technologies have been proven on the race track, and the all-new Ford GT hopes to bring some of that technology back to the street. Featuring a 600+ horsepower 3.5 liter EcoBoost engine, a carbon fiber body, and sleek aerodynamics, the all-new Ford GT is also stunningly gorgeous. And best of all, Ford plans to build it.
It’s been nearly a decade since the last Ford GT rolled off of assembly lines, and the Blue Oval has brought it back with the most powerful EcoBoost engine they’ve ever created. Using information gleaned from their Daytona Prototype racing program, the new Ford GT also has active and passive aerodynamics that promise to make it one of the slipperiest cars on the road. Every inch of the new GT has been crafted with aerodynamics in mind, from the teardrop shape to the active rear spoiler, this car has been born and bred from Ford’s racing program.
Another contributing factor is extensive use of carbon fiber and aluminum. Ford has been hot-to-trot on weight lightening technology, putting the F-150 on an aluminum diet and supposedly bringing aluminum to other models down the road. With the Ford GT, the automaker hopes to start amortizing the costs of carbon fiber, to the point where they can start using it in more affordable passenger cars.
Speaking of cost, Ford hasn’t put a price on the new GT yet, and rumor on the showroom floor puts it anywhere from $150,000 (the cost of the original Ford GT) to up and over $600,000. If I had to make a guess which estimate is more accurate, I’d go with the $150,000 figure myself. Either way, I still can’t afford one, but damn if I don’t want one.
The Ford Raptor was an amazing success story for the Blue Oval, and the next-gen Raptor aims to be even better. This morning an all-new Ford Raptor was revealed, weighing in 500 pounds less and replacing the 6.2 liter V8 with a more powerful 3.5 liter EcoBoost backed by a 10-speed transmission and an all-new FOX Racing Shox suspension system.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to many of the new technologies Ford has integrated into the new Raptor, including new LED lighting and better camera technology for improved visibility, on and off the road. An all-new terrain management system coupled with the FOX Racing Shox allows even more suspension travel than the 12-inches the last Raptor offered.
Ford isn’t talking fuel economy just yet, but with an engine nearly half the size of the old V8, plus a 10-speed automatic transmission, this off-road monster should end up being a comparatively frugal fuel sipper. And those worrying that the 3.5 liter EcoBoost engine can’t handle the rigors of off-roading, take heart; Ford has already taken a well-worn EcoBoost engine across the Baja 1000 before taking it apart, just to demonstrate how potent and reliable it really is.
That’s not the only EcoBoost performance car Ford brought to Detroit though…
Before Ford announced the EcoBoost line of turbocharged engines, it was calling it “TwinForce” instead. But the EcoBoost name has been great for Ford sales, and the automaker has trademarked the EcoBeast moniker reports Motrolix, teasing all sorts of turbocharged possibilities.
Right now Ford offers EcoBoost engines across its lineup, with four performance-focused EcoBoost vehicles in particular; the Focus ST, Fiesta ST, the Taurus SHO, and Mustang EcoBoost, and any one of them could snag the EcoBeast name. But for my money, there’s only one truly solid bet, and that’d be an EcoBoost-powered successor to the highly-successful Ford Raptor. The 2015 F-150 has already gone on a massive diet, and the 6.2 liter V8 is no longer offered in the best-selling pickup, leaving just the 5.0 V8 and 3.5 liter EcoBoost as the heavy-hitters. With 420 horsepower, the EcoBoost engine is the top-of-the-line motor, and if Ford were to massage it closer to 500 horsepower, they’d definitely have a vehicle worthy of being called the EcoBeast.
Yet there is another option, and that’s an even hotter EcoBoost Mustang. With 310 horsepower the first four-cylinder Mustang in over two decades doesn’t disappoint on the power front, and Ford could probably crank out even more power if it wanted. Or they could just drop the 3.5 liter V6 under the hood and call it a day instead. That’s something people have wanted since the EcoBoost engines first appeared.
Then there’s the completely likely chance that a totally new EcoBoost engine is in the works, perhaps like the twin-turbo V8 Cobra Jet concept seen at the 2012 SEMA show. That would be a real showstopper, though hardly “Eco”, though I guess it’s all relative when you get right down to it.Of course there’s a chance that this is nothing more than a protectionist move, and like the Chevy CrossVolt, nothing may ever come of this trademark filing.
Regardless, we’ve reached a level of technology that lets performance and efficiency blend together in ways never thought possible, at least in theory. In practice, Ford’s EcoBoost engines have left something to be desired on the Eco side, if not the Boost side of things. Whatever the EcoBeast is (if it is indeed something), it surely holds some huge potential for fans of mean, green, driving machines.
Slowly but surely, Volvo has remade its entire lineup, introducing new models and new engines including the 400 horsepower XC90 T8 plug-in hybrid. Having already crammed V6 horsepower into a 2.0 liter four-banger, the next step for Volvo is a tiny three-cylinder gas engine offering as much as 180 horsepower. Sounds like a worthy rival for Ford’s three-cylinder EcoBoost.
The new line of Drive-E engines from Volvo was designed to replace V6 engines, and so far it seems to be doing the trick with as much as 450 horsepower without any electric motor assistance. But not every Volvo needs as much horsepower, especially with the Swedish-Chinese automaker looking to offer smaller models based on its new scalable architecture.
“The beauty of the new 3-cylinder engine we are developing is that it can be built on the same production lines as our 4-cylinder engine, offering flexible production potential which can be adapted to suit business needs as we grow. This marks an important step forward for Volvo Cars. In terms of our power and efficiency, Volvo’s engineering excellence will shine through with the Drive-E 3-cylinder engine,” says Dr. Peter Mertens, Senior Vice President Research & Development.
One of the first models earmarked for the new turbocharged three-cylinder is the V60, though there are no doubt other applications in the future for this efficient fuel sipper. Volvo says this new engine targets Euro 7 emissions compliance, and I don’t doubt it’s been built with an eye towards a possible hybrid applications in the not-too-distant future.
Like many young boys, I spent my formative years playing with various Matchbox and Hot Wheels toy cars, and now I get to see these cars come to life. Ford has taken its multiple award-winning 1.0 liter EcoBoost engine and stuffed it into a compact package called the Rip Rod, and I freakin’ love it.
While Tesla may have replaced Ford as my favorite automaker, the Blue Oval still holds a special place in my heart for this exact reason. Teams of Ford engineers from the US and Europe joined forces with the Bandito Brothers to build a snot rocket of a hot rod that makes the most of a small motor and tiny chassis. And it looks like just heaps and heaps of fun.
The Rip Rod actually built back in 2012 and made its first appearance at the 2013 SEMA show as a static (non-operational) vehicle pulled behind a colors-matching Ford Transit van. The video below documents the build process, while the video above briefly shows what it took to get it from a static visual piece to a functioning 158 horsepower race-ready vehicle. 158 horsepower from an engine you can carry on an airplane? No wonder the 1.0 liter EcoBoost has won Engine of the Year three years running.
My only question is when can I buy it, and how much does it cost?
Ford’s Roush Yates prepared 3.5 liter twin turbo V-6 EcoBoost engine powered Chip Ganassi Racing to three wins and seven podiums in TUDOR United SportsCar Championship competition in 2014, including victories at the 12 Hours of Sebring, Long Beach and Circuit of The Americas. The win at Sebring was the first for Ford since 1969.
The racing version of the V6 EcoBoost engine shares 70% of its parts with the production engine found in the Ford F-150 and Taurus SHO. “It’s a testament to the robustness of the technology that powers many of our production vehicles around the world, that our engines stood up to some of the toughest tests in North American endurance racing,” says Jamie Allison, director of Ford Racing. In all, the V-6 EcoBoost engine logged more than 15,000 racing miles.
Endurance racing tests every component of a race car to the limit. The competition places a higher value on reliability than outright speed, since time spent in the pits for repairs costs the teams dearly in lost track position. The lessons Ford engineers learn from racing get translated into greater reliability for its production engines.
Before the beginning of the 2014 season, Michael Shank Racing teamed up with Ford Racing and its 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine to break a series of closed-course speed records at Daytona International Speedway. They set a new record average lap speed of 222.971 mph around the high-banked oval, smashing the old record set back in 1987.
Auto makers around the world are downsizing their production engines to meet tighter emissions and fuel economy regulations. Ford hopes the power and reliability of its twin turbocharged V-6 engines will wean customers away from their love affair with the big, heavy and thirsty V-8 engines that have been the mainstay of the American car industry for the past 60 years. And if a little of the old “Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday” magic rubs off in the form of increased sales of Ford cars and trucks, that would be a welcome bonus, too.
Source: Ford Motor Company
Though it lasted just two years, the Ford GT left a lasting impact with supercar fans, and there have been calls for a successor as soon as the last model ended production. Ford has been listening, waiting for the right moment, and Motor Trend says that the time for a Ford GT successor is near.
Ambitions are high for the new mid-engine supercar, which will also serve to launch Ford back into the endurance car racing circuit it briefly dominated in the late 1960s. It would also need to boast a lot more power, as the 550 ponies the 2004 to 2006 GTs has long since been surpassed by the likes of the Shelby GT500 and competitors like 707 horsepower Challenger Hellcat.
Don’t look for a mid-mounted V8 though; Ford has made headway in the racing world with the 3.5 liter EcoBoost V6, which has been tuned to as much as 600 horsepower in the 12 Hours of Sebring-winning Roush-Yates race car. The problem of course is that most people aren’t willing to shell out supercar deniro for a car with a standalone V6. Ford could dip into the Mustang parts bion and do something with the 5.0 liter V8, but that’s not nearly as special.
While Motor Trend doesn’t put the option on the table, the EcoBoost V6 engine wouldn’t have to work alone. Ford’s plug-in hybrid technology has been on the road for several years now, and a Ford GT Energi could hit all the right notes with supercar buyers. It’s an option to put on the table, given how plug-in hybrid supercars are coming out of Europe on a regular basis, and earlier reports suggest this is the route Ford decided to take.
With the 50th anniversary around the corner for the Ford GT, there’s reason to be excited and expectant that the Blue Oval might roll out something special, and soon.