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At Ford's 2010 model year preview – hey, they're more efficient! – in Dearborn, Michigan this morning, Barb Samardzich, VP of global powertrain development announced the next stage of the company's EcoBoost strategy for North America. The new 2.0-liter EcoBoost four cylinder will debut in 2010. This will be the first four-cylinder EcoBoost for North America. (Read all about previously-announced EcoBoost technology here).

Along with the new engine, Ford will also debut its Powershift 6-speed dual clutch gearbox in North America next year. The Powershift uses a dry clutch system that is more efficient than the wet clutch systems used on some existing DCTs (see: VW DSG). Samardzich said the Powershift will yield a 7 to 9 percent efficiency improvement over current automatics.

So far, no Ford officials will say which applications will see the new engine or gearbox first, although there are several likely possibilities. More on this after the jump.

[Source: Ford]

Brett Hinds, Manager of advanced powertrain engineering, wouldn't say whether the PowerShift would be paired with the new EcoBoost or even which vehicles it would appear in. However, Samardzich's charts compared it to the current 3.0-liter V6. According to Hinds, the four will be rated at about 230 hp and 240 lb-ft of torque. By comparison, the current V6 is rated at 240 hp but only 223 lb-ft of torque with a peak at 4,300 rpm. The EcoBoost reaches its torque peak below 2,000 rpm and stays there until about 5,500 rpm.

Like the current V6 EcoBoost, the new engine uses direct fuel injection and turbocharging to achieve its impressive output. A first for the new engine is twin independent variable cam timing. Both the intake and exhaust cams are adjustable independent of each other.

The V6 is currently used only in the Fusion/ Milan (pictured above) and the Escape/Mariner, so those would seem to be the obvious applications for the new engine. However, when Ford showed its Explorer America Concept last year it was also listed as using either a 2.0-liter or 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine. The new uni-body Explorer is debuting in 2010, so this would seem a suitable application. Another possibility is the Mustang where the turbo four could make a suitable replacement for the hoary old 4.0-liter V6, a powerplant that is well past its expiration date.

A long shot at this point is a base engine application for the F-150. The current F-150 is probably still too large and heavy for a turbo four cylinder. Also unknown is whether the new engine will immediately replace the V6 or supplement it as a premium option.

The new gearbox is currently used in several European Ford and Volvo models, mostly based on the C1 Focus platform. The U.S. Fiesta preview page has hinted at a dual clutch gearbox, so the best guess for the transmission would be the Fiesta and the new Focus coming later in 2010.

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