The thought of a four-cylinder American muscle car might have Mustang diehards recoiling in horror, but according to Ford’s powertrain VP Bob Fascetti, the new model's Ecoboost four has the right numbers to excite drivers.
Speaking to TMR at the Sydney unveiling of the new Mustang, Mr. Fascetti said that there was no apprehension within Ford about putting a four-cylinder motor under the long bonnet of the Mustang.
“Not when it’s turbocharged like this,” Fascetti told TMR.
“Our success with the ecoboost lineup in North America has surprised even us. The F150, when we put the 3.5 Ecoboost in it - it’s now over a 40 percent mix [of overall F150 sales].”
This isn’t the first time a turbocharged 2.3 litre four-cylinder has found its way into the iconic Mustang, however, unlike the 98kW inline four of the 1979 Mustang, the new engine develops a much healthier 227kW and 407Nm.
And with more power and torque than the naturally-aspirated 3.7 litre V6 that will be offered in the USA, Fascetti expects the four-cylinder to do well in the showrooms.
“Because it’s fun to drive, the torque is there right away, we really anticipate that when a customer gets in it [the four-cylinder Mustang], they’re going to like it,” he said.
When asked why Ford will persist with the atmo V6 (which develops 220kW and 366Nm), Fascetti said that it was all down to customer preference in the United States and Canada.
“The naturally-aspirated V6 has been very good for us in North America, so there’s still a good market for that engine,” he said.
“However when we look globally, we think the 2.3 [Ecoboost] is a better answer.
But while Ford is betting that the Ecoboost 2.3 will be a hit, Fascetti says that there are currently no plans to turbocharge the Mustang’s 313kW/529Nm 5.0 litre Coyote engine - even in the face of tightening emissions legislation which heavily favours turbocharged engines.
“We can meet emissions with the five litre, that’s not an issue,” Fascetti told TMR.
“As long as we can continue to meet the demands of what every new Mustang requires, I think it [the 5.0 V8] is going to be around a while.”
“Who would have thought we’d be getting the numbers we’re getting out of this engine now even three years ago?” he continued.
Asked if he thought turbocharging was necessary for the Mustang to stay relevant, Fascetti was clear:
“Not while we can provide these kinds of numbers, no.”
As for what lies in the Mustang’s future, Fascetti said that the options were open for an alternative-fuel Mustang.
“We’re turning Mustang into a global product now, so all our powertrain options are open,” he said.
“Just as we have great diesels in Europe, we’ve got the Ecoboost lineup in North America - we can do just about anything.
“We’re not looking at diesel at the moment, but given where we need to go with fuel consumption we are looking at all our options..