Ford just announced it will no longer sell a V6 Mustang beginning next year. The 2018 Mustang, which will also get some styling tweaks, will be offered only with the currently optional 2.3 liter turbo four as its new standard engine or (in the GT) the 5.0 liter V8.
This is good – or bad – news, depending on your point of view.
On the good side, the turbo four is stronger than the soon-to-be glue-factory’d 3.7 liter V6. This year’s version of the “Ecoboost” 2.3 liter engine makes 310 hp and 320 ft.-lbs. of torque vs. 300 hp and just 280 ft.-lbs. of torque for the V6. The V6 engine also weighs more than the four, which not only slows the car down some (the turbo four Mustang is quicker) it also puts more weight on the front end, which makes the V6 Mustang less balanced than the four-pot Mustang, which handles better.
And there is the potential for slightly better gas mileage.
The four, paired with the standard six-speed manual transmission, carries an EPA rating of 22 city, 32 highway vs. 17 city, 28 highway for the V6-powered car (also with the six-speed manual).
The mileage differential by the way, is the main reason for the retirement of the V6. The gains are not huge on a car vs. car basis (5 in city, 4 on the highway – and that’s on EPA’s test loop; on my test loop the turbo’s mileage is somewhere in between the V6 and the V8 because I use the turbo) but they are huge in fleet average terms. Factored over tens of thousands of cars, a 5 or so MPG uptick greatly affects the average returned by the fleet – which is how Corporate Average Fuel Economy fines are calculated.
Speaking of which – did you suppose that making the turbo four standard would be free?
Ford hasn’t said anything specific yet – this is a 2018 model we’re talking about and it’s just barely 2017 – but the 2017 Mustang with the 2.3 liter turbo engine stickers for $25,645 to start while the V6 Mustang stickers for $24,695.
That’s just under $1,000 for the additional 10 hp and 5 MPG.
But it could end up being more than that.
Ford also announced that the 2018 Mustang – whether it’s got the turbo four or the V8 – will also get (if it’s not a manual car) a new ten speed automatic.
It’s a measure of just how desperate things are getting – in terms of CAFE compliance – that car companies (Ford is far from being the only one) are resorting to such measures as putting a transmission with ten forward speeds behind an engine with four cylinders.
Or even eight.
Most of these speeds – the ones after fourth or fifth – are multiple overdrives that the computer will try to get engaged as soon as throttle pressure allows, in order to cut engine revs to the bare minimum and thereby scrape the bottom of the barrel for yet another .3 MPG here (or there). I’ve driven several FiatChrysler vehicles with functionally similar nine-speed transmissions and the shift action is sometimes… weird.
These transmissions will not be free, either. Especially if one fails on you post warranty.
Which brings up something else, again – that turbo.
It’s one more thing to go wrong. The V6 hasn’t got one, so it’s a non-issue, ever.
Turbos apply pressure to the engine. Pressure adds stress. The more boost, the more pressure. And even if the engine is built stronger to stand this, it remains a fact that it is higher stressed than an engine not turbo’d. Historically, turbocharged engines do not last as long as not-turbocharged engines.
Maybe Ford (and everyone else resorting to this expedient) will upend history. It will be a good job if they do.
But it would be even better if they didn’t have to do it at all.
Turbos are fun and they have their place, but they probably ought not to be mass-market things and the same goes triple for ten speed automatics. But we’re getting them because the government keeps pressuring the car industry to meet increasingly unobtainable mandatory minimums – the most recent of these being the Obama cabal’s midnight mandate (fatwa’d days before Obama leaves office and after his political party lost the recent election) imposing new tailpipe exhaust emissions standards on gasses that aren’t even “emissions” (i.e., carbon dioxide, an inert gas that doesn’t do anything as far as smog or other such).
Hence smaller and smaller engines – and small engines that are designed to not even run whenever feasible (see here).
By the way, the idiocy doesn’t end there.
Ford also announced it will be “upgrading” the 2018 GT’s V8 to have both direct and port fuel injection. Do you know why the engine has to have two different fuel injection systems?
It is because direct injection – which supplanted port fuel injection because CAFE – causes new problems such as carbon build-up on valve stems. This happens because direct injection sprays the fuel directly into the cylinder, through a hole in the cylinder wall, like the hole for the spark plug. In a PFI (or TBI or carbureted) system, fuel enters from above, washing over the back of the valve as it passes, cleaning off the carbon as a kind of perk of the process.
Well, with DI, that doesn’t happen and the crud builds up and the engine ends up developing premature and expensive problems. Which are being dealt with by adding a dedicated port fuel circuit just to keep the crud from accumulating – but keeping the DI system, too.
Once again, my teeth are beginning to hurt.
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