Inside Line recently published spy photos of a mysterious Ford Mustang in testing. On the outside, the car looks like any other V6 Mustang with Brembo brakes and custom wheels. Look inside, and there are two clues that all is not as it appears: first, the dash is labelled “premium fuel only”, and second, the tach redlines at 8,000 RPM. Even the front fascia is revised to allow better airflow, either for radiator cooling, an intercooler or both. Could this mean that a V6 EcoBoost Mustang is under development? I hope so.
As tuned for the F-150, the EcoBoost motor puts out 365 horsepower and 420 ft lb of torque. Better yet, 90% of the motor’s torque is available from 1,700 to 5,000 RPM, meaning that you don’t need to wind the motor all the way out to make power. Fuel economy for the EcoBoost motor has yet to be determined, but it’s safe to assume it will be better than that of the 5.0 liter V8, rated at 17 mpg city and 26 mpg highway. Weight of the 3.5 liter EcoBoost motor is about the same as the 5.0 liter Coyote V8, so there won’t be any significant change in the car’s balance.
When I asked a Ford engineer why the current V6 Mustang was limited to a top speed of 112 MPH, he ran through a list of possibilities. Of those, the most likely culprit was cooling; for whatever reason, the V6 ‘Stang doesn’t flow enough air across the radiator to meet Ford’s standards (which are probably absurd, like running at wide open throttle in 110 degree temperatures). That will need to be addressed before the EcoBoost motor gets a green light in the car, because an absurdly low top speed just won’t fly for this particular model.
So where would that put the forced induction ‘Stang in the product mix? Probably above the current GT, but well below the Shelby GT500. The EcoBoost is considered a premium engine in the F-150, and commands a $1,750 premium over the base 3.7 liter V6. If you’re going to ask more money for a turbocharged V6 Mustang, it had better be faster and offer improved handling over the GT, and that’s a fairly tall order.