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Tomorrow’s Mustang Will Likely Adopt Radical New Powertrain Options

Downsized engines, e-turbos, hybrids and other options all under study.

by on Sep.18, 2014

The 2015 Ford Mustang now gets an EcoBoost engine option that balances performance and mileage.

When Ford Motor Co. unveiled its 50th anniversary Mustang late last year, it delivered a shock to the market by adding a new turbocharged 4-cylinder engine to its powertrain line-up alongside the pony car’s classic V-8 and V-6 packages.

The EcoBoost engine is expected to have significant appeal to fuel economy-minded buyers, especially those overseas, where Ford will aggressively market the Mustang for the first time. The inline-four also will help Ford prepare to meet increasingly stringent mileage and emissions standards in the U.S., Europe and Asia.

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But it is likely to be just a first step in what could become a radical transformation in the powertrain options Mustang buyers will be offered in the not-too-distant future. Various Ford officials tell TheDetroitBureau.com that the range of alternatives that could be required to keep the pony car in the fleet range from even higher-tech turbo and supercharged engines to gas-electric hybrids that can deliver both improved mileage and serious performance simultaneously.


Lexus the Latest to Go Turbo with New NX

New, high-performance engine likely to see broad use.

by on Jul.08, 2014

The 2015 Lexus NX 200h will be the Toyota luxury brand's first turbocharged model.

It has become known as the hybrid luxury brand, but with the upcoming launch of its new NX crossover-utility vehicle, Lexus becomes the latest automaker to turn to an alternative technology that can deliver not only good mileage but the solid performance that appeals to younger, sportier buyers.

And while the 2015 Lexus NX is about to become the maker’s first turbocharged model, it certainly won’t remain unique in the luxury brand’s line-up for long, with a senior official suggesting turbos will play a “significant” role in the next five years as Lexus pushes to drive more passionate performance into its products.

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“Observing the trends in the industry,” said Brian Bolain, the Lexus corporate marketing manager, “it would be foolish to develop (the new engine in the NX) for only one model.”


Automakers Defend Turbo Mileage, Performance

Makers counter claims by Consumer Reports.

by on Feb.06, 2013

The Ford Fusion is now offered with two different turbocharged EcoBoost engines.

They’re billed as being the perfect automotive solution, able to deliver both improved fuel economy and solid performance, but do turbochargers live up to their billing? A review by Consumer Reports magazine has touched off a fierce debate.

According to a new report by Consumer Reports magazine, turbos are more hype than help, generally failing to deliver.  In fact, the non-profit publication claims, turbocharged engines are often slower and less fuel-efficient than the conventional engines they replace.

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Industry officials, however, are standing by the technology which, they contend, will help meet increasingly tough mileage mandates without sacrificing performance and ride quality like other high-efficiency alternatives.


Global Turbo Sales Set to Jump 80%

Technology will be available on 40% of global vehicles, forecasts new study.

by on Oct.02, 2012

Ford is betting heavily on turbos -- which are at the heart of the maker's popular EcoBoost technology.

Once largely reserved for high-performance sports cars and specialty vehicles, turbocharging is becoming an increasingly common solution used on a variety of mainstream products – and should see an 80% global increase in usage over the next five years, according to a new forecast by one of the leading turbo suppliers.

By 2017, turbos will be used on an 36 million new passenger vehicles annually, forecasts Honeywell Transportation Systems. That would represent about 40% of the projected automotive market.  Last year, turbos were used on just 20 million vehicles – about 25% of global automotive volume.

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“Turbocharged engines are expected to continue to grow globally because they meet the needs of consumers in a wide range of vehicle segments and geographic markets,” said Honeywell Transportation Systems Vice President of Marketing and Product Management Peter Hill.


Ford Adding OverBoost to New Focus ST

A 15-second shot of adrenaline.

by on Jun.11, 2012

The new Focus ST will get a 15-second shot ofOverBoost adrenaline.

Ford plans to amp up the performance of its compact Focus with the upcoming launch of the Focus ST, the sporty model making a solid 252 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque.

But when you need a little bit of extra power – whether off the line when the light changes or merging onto a freeway – the ST’s turbocharger packs a little surprise.  Put the pedal to the metal and you’ll get a 15-second shot of adrenaline as the 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine goes into OverBoost mode.

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Just like those videogames that let you punch the turbo-boost button, the inline-four engine pumps out 7.4% more torque right where you need it, between 3,000 and 4,500 RPMs.

A turbocharger harnesses a car’s exhaust gases to spin a fan that, in turn, pumps more fresh air into the engine.  Most turbochargers add anywhere from 5 pounds up to a maximum twice atmospheric pressure (which is about 14 psi at sea level).  But in OverBoost mode, that goes substantially higher.


Turbocharging Turbo Sales

Makers get a boost while downsizing engines.

by on Jun.01, 2012

Porsche focuses on performance, rather than fuel economy, with the Panamera Turbo.

With an engine of just 1.4 liters in displacement under the hood one might expect the Dodge Dart Limited to fall into the “stone pony category.”  But while the maker clearly wanted to downsize the new sedan’s powertrain in order to improve mileage it was clear there wouldn’t be much demand from consumers if that also meant a serious sacrifice in the performance column.

And there isn’t, the so-called Tigershark engine turning 0 to 60 times in the mid 7 second range, comparable to some compacts using much larger – and decidedly less fuel-efficient V-6s.  Chrysler engineers recognized early on that there was one cost-effective way to deliver great mileage under routine driving conditions yet still maintain performance when the demand was there: with a device known as a turbocharger.

And the smallest of the Detroit makers isn’t alone.  From some of the smallest models on the market, like the new Chevrolet Sonic, all the way up to ultimate performance machines like the Porsche Panamera Turbo S, turbochargers are coming into increasingly high demand across the auto industry.

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“With fuel prices being a significant concern for consumers and businesses, turbochargers are a smart choice for getting more miles to the gallon,” says Tony Schultz, Honeywell Turbo Technologies’ vice president for the Americas.

Tubochargers are expected to show up on an estimated 3.2 million commercial and passenger vehicles sold in North America this year, a 1 million unit jump from 2011, according to Honeywell.


Toyota Ready to Fight Back With Downsized Turbo Engines

Some help from the Great Gazoo.

by on Jan.19, 2012

The turbocharged, GRMN-tuned Toyota Yaris (sold as the Vitz in Japan).

Toyota is hoping to take a giant leap into the future with the help of the Great Gazoo.  That’s Gazoo Racing Masters of Nurburgring, or GRMN, which partnered with the giant automaker to pull together a turbocharged version of the Toyota Vitz for the recent Tokyo Auto Salon.

The 178-horsepower subcompact – known in much of the rest of the world as the Yaris – is more than a one-off show car, however.  Industry sources say it’s a sign of things to come from Toyota, which has been focusing the major portion of its engineering resources on gas-electric hybrids while most of its key competitors are racing to market with downsized, direct injection turbo engines.

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Turbos may not yield quite the urban fuel economy of a hybrid but they deliver more customer-pleasing performance than the typically anemic hybrid, along with improved highway mileage.  They’re also, typically, a lot cheaper than hybrid systems that depend on more complex driveline components, including expensive battery packs.