Ford’s 3-cylinder 1.0 liter Ecoboost engine was designed to replace 1.6 liter naturally aspirated engines while providing 20% better fuel economy, 15% less emissions and more performance. It’s effect on the European small car market won the 1.0 Ecoboost the 2012 Engine of the Year award. To celebrate, Ford Europe outfitted a Formula Ford race car with the 1.0 liter Ecoboost engine and the bare minimum safety equipment to make it street legal. The turbo was upgraded to the bigger unit from the 1.6 liter 4-cylinder engine which pumped the output up to 200 hp. Race driver Nick Tandy was able to set a 7:22 around the Nurburgring which ties the time of the Dodge Viper ACR and is faster than a Nissan GT-R while delivering 56 mpg.
Ford Europe gave Chris Harris the opportunity to drive the Formula Ford Ecoboost on the streets and then take it for his own lap around the Nurburgring. The part that I found the most interesting is simply watching Harris’s reaction. He has recently had the chance to drive some of the most cutting edge green technology performance cars and has been uneasy with them. In the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Electric Drive Harris was wowed by the fact that the controls strategy for the four drive motors could completely change how the chassis reacted but wasn’t completely sold on the fact that the car was a pure EV. When Chris drove the Porsche 918 Spyder, he was very impressed with the car’s performance and engineering, but the thought of applying the same lightweighting techniques to a gas powered car would yield better performance ultimately bugged him. Here Chris just enjoys the car and hardly mentions the green aspect of the Ecoboost engine. It seems as though being able to hear the boost of the turbo and having the characteristic of a tuned engine, albeit a small one, doesn’t rob the driver of the performance experience despite getting good gas mileage.
Ford has got a serious jump start on GM and Chrysler with their EcoBoost technology. Their monster 3.5 liter twin turbo direct injection V6 outperforms the naturally aspirated V8’s in almost all areas while delivering significantly better gas mileage and longevity. It’s a no sacrifice win-win situation brought about by good engineering. Unfortunately sales to the masses don’t always follow proper logic. Ford knew they had a good engine, but they weren’t sure it would be accepted by their core customers. The EcoBoost V6 has seen good sales in the F-150, but Ford was hesitant to pair it with their halo-model Raptor. I think that’s also the reason why we have yet to see an Ecoboost Mustang (though that would be incredibly awesome). The fear was that too many people associated Ford performance with V8’s, but hopefully that will start to change.
One argument for the paradigm shift is this SDHQ built Eco-Raptor. The truck started life as an EcoBoost F-150 whose frame and body got swapped out for Raptor parts. Apparently it was cheaper to do it that way since an EcoBoost crate engine is $17,000. It seems like a lot of work, but the results speak for themselves. The DRIVE crew use a regular 6.2 liter V8 Raptor as the camera platform for this video and they got 11.6 mpg while the EcoBoost equipped truck got 16.8. That’s more than 5 mpg difference with the EcoBoost model making more power while having equivalent offroad capabilities. Like I said, it’s a win-win no compromise situation. More power with less fuel. It is possible to have fun, save money and be environmentally responsible all at the same time. You know we are fully behind these types of movements here at Flux Auto.
It’s looking like Ford has built something special with their new Focus ST. All of the reviews I’ve read so far have picked the ST over the standard benchmark of the hot hatch class, the Volkswagen GTI. The new Focus has a 2.0 liter direct injection EcoBoost engine that puts out 250 horsepower and 26 mpg combined. With a base MSRP of $23,700, the new ST achieves a phenomenal balance of sportiness, practicality and frugality that defines all hot hatches. Chris Harris’s latest video puts the Ford Focus ST up against a couple of Europe’s best hot hatch offerings, the Renaultsport Megane RS and the Vauxhall Astra VXR. He mentions that the test is a little unfair to the Focus because the other two cars are halo models more appropriate for the Focus RS. It ultimately works out for the ST because it manages to hold it’s own while punching above its weight class. The review starts out with seeing how the cars perform on British B-Roads and then ends with a lap around a pretty technical track. All of the driving was down in wet conditions.
The most useful bit of footage is watching Harris throw the cars around the track. All three cars dance around the turns without ever pushing into understeer which is a prominent problem with high power front wheel drive cars. The overall chassis balance on all the cars is well done with “mobile rear axles.” The key to great front wheel drive grip is a stiff rear anti-roll bar. This lifts the inside rear wheel on corner entry which drives the outside front wheel into the tarmac giving it a bit more grip and preventing dreaded understeer. You can really see this working in the Focus ST since it has more of a daily driver soft suspension when compared to the other two track focused cars. I’d say the Focus ST is the Ford product that I’d be most likely to buy new until they come out with a Mustang with the 3.5 liter EcoBoost V6.
Ford’s 1.0 liter three cylinder turbocharged engine has yet to make it to American dealerships, but it’s already won an Engine of the Year award in Europe. The aim for the engine was to replace the 1.6 liter naturally aspirated engines found in the Ford Focus. With features liked dual variable valve timing, direct injection and a turbocharger, the 1.0 liter is much more efficient and a better performance engine at the same time. Fifth Gear recently drag raced an Ecoboost Focus against a 1.6 liter base model and the the Ecoboost car was significantly faster down the quarter mile. This promotional animated video from Ford talks about some of the new technologies of the 1.0 liter Ecoboost engine that allow it to have the best of both worlds.
Ford Europe is celebrating the 3 cylinder, 1.0 liter version of their EcoBoost engine winning Engine of the Year by putting it into a Formula Ford race car. The tuned version of the EcoBoost going into the car makes 205 horsepower while achieving 57 mpg at a constant 75mph. Ford added new livery to the car and made it street legal with a full set of lights. After they were done, the car turned in a 7:22 at the Nurburgring Nordschleife which ties the Dodge Viper ACR and is faster than the Nissan GT-R.