2010 Detroit: Ford's 5.0L Mustang Returns

Automobile Staff
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Fans of small cars might be delighted by the 2011 Ford Focus, but Ford also brought 5.0-liters of fun for Pony Car enthusiasts to the 2010 Detroit auto show. The legendary 302 cubic-inch powerplant is back and ready to take on Camaros and Challengers with 412 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque and a pair of six-speed transmissions to send the power to the rear wheels.

As Eric Tingwall wrote in our First Look, the new 5.0 boasts cam-torque actuated variable valve timing on the intake and exhaust cams, plus a long-runner single-scroll intake manifold and tubular stainless headers to optimize breathing. Moving the alternator out of the valley opened up space for the 80mm throttle body to breathe straight into the larger intake manifold. To cope with the engine's 11:1 compression and high combustion stresses, the crank is forged steel and fully counterweighted, using forged powdered-metal connecting rods, floating wrist pins, and hypereutectic pistons cooled by oil jets. The bulkheads are also 2mm wider and the six main bearing bolts are larger than those in the 4.6L. T

Implementation of electric power steering with aggressive fuel shutoff on overrun and various friction-reducing measures, plus the switch to a choice of six-speed transmissions, should pay dividends with EPA highway fuel economy -- expected to be 25 mpg. Speaking of transmissions, the 6R80 is fortified to withstand 7000 rpm and 390 lb-ft, and receives a new, one-way clutch to smooth 1-2 and 2-1 shifts. The MT82 manual gets needle bearings to support each gear for reduced friction.

Ford's planned ahead, too: The new engine is package-protected for direct injection, which would allow an increase in compression ratio to 12:1, but the cost of the DI fuel pump and injectors was deemed unreasonable at this point.

- Carlos Lago

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