Engines that combine direct injection with turbocharging are not new to the Ward's 10 Best Engines list.
But Ford Motor Co.'s 3.5L twin-turbo EcoBoost V-6 is a different take on the technology. It represents the cornerstone of a massive global engine downsizing strategy aimed at dramatically improving fleet fuel economy and curbing emissions.
Gasoline turbocharged direct-injection technology branded by Ford as “EcoBoost” eventually will encompass not just premium and performance vehicles, but popularly priced vehicles as well.
That includes fullsize pickups in the U.S. and 4-cyl. engines as small as 1.6L in Europe. Ford says as many as 1.3 million new vehicles will be powered by EcoBoost technology annually by 2013.
We laud Ford for launching such an ambitious plan, but that's not what impressed jurors most. It wasn't even the V-6's 365 hp.
What convinced Ward's jurors EcoBoost is the real deal is the stunning 350 lb.-ft. (475 Nm) of torque at just 1,500 rpm. After starting there, it's torque “curve” remains flat as a table top to 5,250 rpm.
That blew away some excellent V-8s vying for the list this year. The 4.6L V-8 in the Toyota Tundra makes a healthy 327 lb.-ft. (443 Nm) of torque, but it doesn't get maximum twist until 3,400 rpm.
Even the only V-8 that made our list this year, the 4.6L Tau in the Hyundai Genesis sedan, can't match the EcoBoost with its 333 lb.-ft. (451 Nm) at 3,500 rpm. Ditto for the DI supercharged 3.0L V-6 in the Audi S4 Euro hotrod.
The EcoBoost did an admirable job motivating the beefy Taurus SHO and its porky 4,368 lbs. (1,981 kg). And it delivered decent fuel economy considering it's a high-performance engine in a beast of a car: 17/25 mpg (13.8-9.4 L/100 km).
If the SHO suffers any negative feedback in this area, we can only hope the body will tell the engine: “Look, it's not you, it's me.”
We're convinced the Ford 3.5L EcoBoost is going to make the world a better place, in more ways than one.
FORD MOTOR CO.: 3.5L ECOBOOST TWIN-TURBOCHARGED DOHC V-6
Engine type: 3.5L EcoBoost 60° twin-turbo DOHC DI V-6
Displacement (cc): 3,496
Block/head material: aluminum/aluminum
Bore × stroke (mm): 92.5 × 86.7
Horsepower (SAE certified): 365 @ 5,500 rpm
Torque: 350 lb.-ft. (474 Nm) @ 1,500-5,250 rpm
Specific output: 104 hp/L
Compression ratio: 10.0:1
Assembly site: Cleveland, OH, No.1
Application tested: '10 Taurus SHO
EPA city/highway (mpg): 17/25