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Ford to Introduce New E85-Capable, Direct Injection, Turbocharged Engine Family

With its debut of the Lincoln MKR concept car next week at the North American International Auto Show, Ford is launching its new TwinForce engine family—combining direct injection with turbocharging—in an E85-capable model.

The concept’s 3.5-liter gasoline twin-turbocharged direct-injection V-6 performs comparably to or better than V-8 engines, delivering 415 hp (310 kW) and 400 lb-ft (542 Nm) of torque on an E85 ethanol blend. The concept’s engine is mated to a six-speed transmission.

Achieving this type of performance from a V-8 would require an engine displacement of 6.0-liter or larger, nearly double the size of the 3.5-liter in the Lincoln MKR, according to Ford. As a result of the smaller V-6, the Lincoln MKR concept delivers 15% better fuel economy than a V-8 with similar performance.

The concept MKR also features soy-foam based seats, with leather seat covers made through a chromium-free process and an instrument panel of reengineered oak that has been recycled and reassembled.



It sounds like a great engine, but the E85 angle is a bit off. It would be better to have the whole country at E5 then 5% at E85, so I don't think there is a big market here. This seems like an exercise in getting more mileage and power from E85, so it has some value. I like direct injection and turbo more than the 4/8 scheme that GM has for their V8s.


I've seen the claims that "it would be better to have the whole USA at Exx" but I'm not so sure that's true.

For one thing, ethanol shipping doesn't do so well by pipeline, and therefore is more expensive to ship than gasoline. Furthermore, since it's grown in the breadbasket, it's probably more difficult to ship by water, particularly to the east and west coasts.

I agree that widespread Exx (E5, E10, whatever) would be great, but that doesn't preclude also having pockets of high E85 usage, particularly in the heartland.

Solving the energy problems of the 21st century will require many different approaches. There's no sense in poo-poohing any of them... encourage all of 'em!

fyi CO2

A concept that illustrates how tempting the E85 CAFE loophole is to Ford & GM;
creating market demand for the heavily-subsidized ethanol industry one guzzler at a time


If they can transport ethanol to California to get us to E5, I think they have that transport issue solved. To sell a few cars to a few people that have E85 does not seem like a strong business proposition. I agree, we may need all methods that work applied, but the motives here are not clear.

Sid Hoffman

While I applaud them for doing it, VW/Audi has already been making turbocharged, direct injection engines for a couple years now in production - not just concept cars like Ford's. Also, their assertion that you need 6+ liters from a V8 to make over 400 horsepower isn't entirely accurate either. Ferrari was making 400 horsepower from a 3.6 liter V8 back in 2001. Sure, it's a different league of price, but we're talking half a decade ago and in a production car, not a concept car like Ford's.


...and VW/Audi are only following in the footsteps of Mitsubishi whom have had a turbocharged direct injected gasoline engine for 6 years now in the Japan market Cedia-Lancer.

The Ferrari engine is a hand built motor not something based off of mass-production techniques. There are guys out there who have 2.0L, 4 cylinder, turbocharged engines pushing 400 to 500hp at the crankshaft as well (for atleast 10-15 years).


A 6.0L V8 is great. But how about a 1.6L, direct injection, turbocharged, E85-capable I-4 that gets over 40 in the city?


The Mazda CX-7 and Acura RDX are gaining interest, with their direct injected turbocharged I4 engines. A 2.3L that gets 240 hp is pretty impressive. When you read the reviews, you see that people want better gas mileage. Maybe hybrid versions and smaller displacement would help there.


Sid Hoffman,
Their reference to 6+ liters, for same power/torque, is probably to natually aspired engines.

That would be nice in a redesigned Focus, Mazda3, or 5.


Why is Ford continuing to push powerful ICE when we need to embrace an electric dominant drivetrain? in 2006 we only produced 4.9 billion gallons of ethanol while we used over 160 billion gallons of gasoline and diesel to drive our cars. The solution is both simple and clear:
Get the best electric drivetrain in the american market: AC Propultion
Get the best battery in the market: Altair Nano or A123 Systems
Make a genset with a small turbocharged ICE (40 or 50 hp) that uses E85
If they have trouble with the first two, contact Tesla Motors for advice...


"Fyi CO2" calls it exactly right. Smoke & mirrors.


Allen the motor Sid is mentioning is naturally aspirated. I can't think of too many turbocharged Ferrari engines off the top of my head. Of course he doesn't mention that the 400hp would be made at a very high rpm with significantly less torque than the 6.0L motor and gas mileage just as bad or worse than a 6.0L V-8.


Mentioning the CX-7 and RDX brings up a good point - there is too much of a misconception that smaller displacement automatically produces lower fuel consumption. Neither of those 2 utes get better mileage than the Lexus RX350 with it's 3.5 liters and 270 HP!

The problem is physics. I know with the prices of aluminium going up so sharply, no one is eager to use more of it to reduce mass. I would like to see some more focus on carbon fiber - at least for some parts of the car. Similar to battery technology - if this ever hits large scale production, it could come down significantly. Look at how much carbon fiber brake rotors have come down in price. They are no longer just for the exotic race cars.


Carbon-Carbon brakes have come down in price. Now you can get a complete braking system for a manufacterer at around $1000. Then again a complete steel braking system for a manufacterer runs under $100. (This would be rough estimates of FOB pricing to a vehicle manufacturer).

I too await the breakthrough which allows carbon fiber to be mass produced rather than the labor intensive methods currently required.

Sid Hoffman

Carbon fiber is in far shorter supply now than aluminum, largely on account of it being used extensively in the aircraft industry. A friend of mine who works for an aerospace company said the price of CF has tripled in the past 5 years.


Last time I checked carbon fiber reinforced ceramic and metal braking pads and rotors, it was mentioned that these products have inconsistent braking performance. Simply put, such materials should be substantially heated-up to begin perform. It makes them superior for racing, but lousy for regular vehicle applications.

Am I wrong?

Rafael Seidl

Ford has the right idea in introducing GDI plus turbochargers. Presumably, they will use cam phasing as well. Replacing an NA V8 with a turbocharged V6 sharply reduces fuel consumption.

However, Ford is way behind the technology curve on this compared to its competitors. VW/Audi offer GDI and turbos in many models now. Mercedes and BMW already offer second-generation spray-guided stratified GDI and lean-burn NOx aftertreatment in production vehicles.

Even GM's Opel division has had GDI turbos in production for several years now. Moreover, the mid-sized cars Ford needs to introduce to the US market in short order to survive should feature the same technology applied to inline fours with around 2L displacement, not big V6 engines. The fuel economy benefit stems from reduced displacement = reduced weight plus high load operation at relatively low RPM, i.e. long gearing.


I'd have to wonder why Ford hasn't looked to use the same 2.3 GDI Turbo from the Mazdaspeed 6 in the Fusion yet. They are the same platform, and it would really draw a lot more attention to an otherwise boring car. While the peak HP isn't that much more than the 3.5 used in the Lincoln MKZ AWD, it's a more powerful engine that still gets better mileage in the city (19 vs. 18). I know Mazda uses very short gearing on that car, so I'd have to think that the gearing of Ford's new 6-speed auto would give it much better highway mileage than the 26mpg the MKZ 3.5 gets.


If the MKZ uses the Edge V6, then the mileage is not as listed. I have seen reports that the Edge mileage is more like 16 mpg in town. I agree that the 2.3l Mazdaspeed engine would be good in the Fusion. It might attract more people to look at the Fusion in general.

Reality Czech

You folks are missing something regarding ethanol, which is this: the only reason it cannot be shipped by pipeline is because it picks up water, and the only reason water is a problem is because it causes phase separation in ethanol-gasoline blends.

The solution is to eliminate the blending.

Ford has the key to this, with the turbocharged engine concept developed with MIT. It uses a separate supply of ethanol for knock management under high load, and that ethanol supply does not have to blend with gasoline. This would allow shipment of ethanol through the same pipeline network used today. Mileage gain was projected to be 30%. And an engine which burns ethanol 5% of the time for bursts of power could just as easily burn it 50% of the time, or 95% of the time; it just depends what's available at the moment. And it would have no loss of efficiency as the fuel mix changed.


Ih you do know that an e85 capable engine can handle e5 and e10 and e20 fuels? By going e85 they justcover all the bases nd make it sould more impressive then it vurrently is and handle those places where e85 is easy to get.


Since it costs so little to make autos FFV, I think we should mandate that in the U.S. Last I heard, it was about $300 per car. We mandated safety devices and polution controls, why not national security? Once we start selling all FFVs it is just a matter of time until most of the cars on the road are FFV. Then you have created a market for alternate fuels.


I think is would have been more interesting for Ford to show a 3.5 V6 DIESEL power plant running on a biodiesel blend with a turbo system. Lots of power with incredible torque and probably around 35 mpg. No corn wasted to produce the fuel. And add carbon fiber and aluminum as major components in the vehicle construction, and you will get a very energy efficient vehicle based on a proven engine technology.


I like the idea of being free to make your OWN fuel, I don't care if it only gets 5MPG and you have to get out and push on some hills, anything's better than the perpetual dependency garbage we've got right now. I'd like to see at least one automaker grow some 'hair' and build a car that recharges itself out there in the nice sunny parking lot. A 30HP electric motor will do just about anything you need to do for city driving, even more if it's geared right, old cars and trucks used to move tons(not very fast), but they did it on low-power gasoline and diesel engines. Truckers in the Great White North add ethanol to their fuel reglularly to keep it from gelling, we can add it to our fuel to keep from going broke, or, OR, we can get all smart on using both ethanol AND methanol from bio-waste, and have all the fuel we'd ever wanted. It may not be Dr. Emmet Brown's Mr. Fusion, but it'll be close...imagine owning a car with a built-in still, or a built-in hydrogen charger, or integrated solar panels in all the flat surfaces, that got the aero treatment like they were going to paint a tail number on it. R. Buckminster Fuller had that aerodynamics thing going on waaay back when with a car called the Dymaxion...I've also yet to see any passenger car prominently feature a high-RPM flywheel can recover quite a bit of energy with the regeneration systems, too.

Most of the energy used(wasted) is spent idling at stoplights. Your city council could do quite a bit for city energy efficiency by re-timing their lights to be more energy-efficient. Also, the simple stuff comes first, tires, oil, alignment, filters, injection/carburetion system, brake check(to see if they're dragging), bearings, the whole trip that'd allow your car to use about a pint of gas on a long freeway downhill, just idling, without you having to
constantly crack the throttle open, overdrive transmissions do their job if allowed to, driver training is every bit as much a part of this as anything else. What's YOUR driving style like? fast do you go on the freeway? That kind of stuff all adds up to a lower fuel bill at the end of the month, you have to give an energy-efficient vehicle the opportunity to do its' intended job, but a lot of people are just too plain ignorant or impatient to do it. So, moral of the story is, it doesn't really matter how efficient the equipment is, a vast portion of REAL efficiency lies with the nut behind the don't need 18 computers to tell you where McDonald's is...I'd like to get an old BMW 2002 and refit it for ethanol, light car, put a 6-speed trans in it, not the most aero shape in the world, but you're not dragging 4,900 extra pounds of car with you, either, that counts for a lot. 1% here, 3 % there, pretty soon, you've whacked about 35% of your monthly fuel bill. That's good juju there, I think...

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