The 2011 Ford F-150 now has more exciting engine choices than at any other time in the storied truck's history. But as much as we're looking forward to rocking the new 411-horsepower 6.2-liter V8, the 360-hp 5.0-liter V8 or the 300-hp 3.7-liter V6, the top of-the-line EcoBoost V6 has us the most excited. The reason? Ford keeps taunting us with tales of terrific torque curves and class-leading fuel economy.
While The Blue Oval is still playing coy on fuel economy, we've finally got official word on the power tip. The twin-turbo 3.5-liter will churn out 365 ponies, a figure that's great, but not terribly unexpected in a full-size pickup. The bigger story is the mill's promised 420 pound-feet of torque at 2,500 rpm. That lofty figure is more than General Motors or Chrysler can deliver with their light duty pickups, but not quite enough to out-twist the 434 lb-ft. from Ford's new 6.2-liter V8. But while the 6.2 has stronger numbers all around, the EcoBoost 3.5 can hold its twist longer, with 90 percent of peak power is available from 1,700 rpm all the way to 5,000 rpm.
The EcoBoost 3.5's power figures translate into the ability to tow a best-in-class 11,300 pounds or haul a payload of 3,060 pounds. Impressive stuff, indeed, but we'll only be blown away if the twin-turbo mill can also manage best in-class fuel economy. After all, EcoBoost variants will likely command a significant price increase over what appears to be a very capable new 5.0-liter V8. The EcoBoost 3.5 will become available early in 2011. Hit the jump to check out the official Ford press release.
* The 3.5-liter EcoBoost™ truck engine will deliver an unbeatable combination of best-in-class towing of 11,300 pounds, payload of 3,060 pounds, torque of 420 lb.-ft. and the fuel economy of a V6
* The 3.5-liter EcoBoost truck engine delivers 365 horsepower at 5,000 rpm and best-in-class 420 lb.-ft. of torque at 2,500 rpm, with up to 90 percent of the peak torque available from 1,700 rpm to 5,000 rpm – all on regular fuel
* Ford's award-winning EcoBoost engine technology highlights the most extensive engine makeover in Ford F-Series history.
* The F-150 EcoBoost engine features technology found in heavy-duty diesel truck engines, including twin turbochargers and direct fuel injection, and is uniquely designed to meet the stringent Ford truck durability tests
DALLAS, Sept. 20, 2010 – With its new 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine, the 2011 Ford F-150 will deliver best-in-class towing capability and torque with outstanding fuel economy.
"Customers have embraced the EcoBoost solution of delivering the power they desire with the fuel economy they demand in a no-compromise package," said Derrick Kuzak, group vice president, Global Product Development. "From the start, we have pledged that this solution applies to any engine and any customer. The EcoBoost truck engine for the 2011 F-150 will deliver those attributes and has been specially tuned and tested to deliver the best-in-class towing and capability our truck customers demand."
The key technology built into every EcoBoost engine, including turbocharging and direct fuel injection, is particularly relevant to customers of the 3.5-liter EcoBoost truck engine.
This combination of turbocharging and direct fuel injection delivers a wealth of low-end torque and maintains it across a broad rpm range, which is key in towing applications. The 3.5-liter EcoBoost truck engine delivers 420 lb.-ft. of torque and 365 horsepower to enable best-in-class towing of 11,300 pounds – more than enough to tow a fully loaded three-horse trailer or 30-foot boat, for example. Plus the EcoBoost truck engine does it all on regular fuel and with outstanding fuel economy.
"Truck customers should think of the EcoBoost truck engine as a gas-powered engine with diesel-type capability and characteristics," said Jim Mazuchowski, V6 engines program manager. "The twin turbochargers and direct injection give it the broad, flat torque curve that makes towing with a diesel so effortless – and hard acceleration so much fun."
Up to 90 percent of the EcoBoost truck engine's peak torque is available from 1,700 rpm to 5,000 rpm. A typical comparable V8 competitor reaches peak torque at higher engine speeds – around 4,000 rpm – and holds it for a much smaller range.
"This is good news for customers because the combination of reaching peak torque at a lower engine speed, and maintaining that torque for a longer period, brings new levels of fuel efficiency with maximum towing capability other competitors can't match," said Mazuchowski.
This EcoBoost truck engine also features twin independent variable camshaft timing, or Ti-VCT, to help save fuel. Ti-VCT provides extremely precise variable – yet independent – control of timing for intake and exhaust valves. Ti-VCT also reduces emissions, especially in situations when the throttle is partially open.
Independent adjustment of intake and exhaust valve timing allows maximum fuel economy at part-throttle, while delivering optimized power in full-throttle situations. An added benefit is improved driveability and responsiveness across the torque curve.
An all-new engine
Every Ford truck engine undergoes a tortuous testing program, and the EcoBoost truck engine was no exception.
"We're testing this EcoBoost truck engine just as we would all of our other F-150 truck engines – we have exactly the same expectations and it has to pass all our truck durability and reliability tests," said Kris Norman, powertrain operations manager. "From our standpoint, this is an all-new engine specifically designed and engineered for the F-150. Everything is validated to the higher stress levels and higher customer usage levels found in any F-150 engine."
Three avenues that test and validate engines are computer analysis, laboratory testing and in-vehicle validation. For the 3.5-liter EcoBoost application in the 2011 F-150, that includes:
* More than 1.5 million hours of analytical time
* More than 13,000 hours of dynamometer testing, including more than 5,000 hours at full boost and more than 2,500 hours at or above 5,000 rpm; the dyno testing helps ensure durability in excess of 150,000 miles
* More than 100,000 hours of vehicle test time encompassing the full range of potential customer operating conditions
All the tests together replicate more than 1.6 million miles of customer usage – the harshest-use customer. A customer profile reflecting extreme-use driving style, road types and vehicle usage, including maximum towing and payload situations, was developed to underpin the testing program.
The computer modeling and system analysis especially have been key.
"Instead of constantly building and testing parts, we want to be smarter and use our computer skills and our ability to model things to do the upfront work," Norman said. "We want to get everything right at the start, then validate with extensive testing."
Turning up the heat
Engineers put the 3.5-liter EcoBoost truck engine on an extreme, accelerated pace. The thermal cycling test, for example, replicated conditions from the Arctic Circle to Death Valley to simulate 10 years of use in the harshest environments.
"On a thermal cycling test, for example, we want the engine to get hot as fast as possible, so the best way to do that is to go full boost at high speed," Norman said. "To test the structure of the engine, we run it at full boost with maximum load. We run thousands of hours at full boost – conditions not attainable in a real-drive situation but important for proving this F-150 is ready to go the distance."
The 2011 F-150 with EcoBoost will be available in early 2011.