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US:Ford's new V-6 catches up to competitors

Ford's new V-6 catches up to competitors

After years of revving less horsepower, torque, latest Duratec engine matches or beats rivals.

Bryce G. Hoffman / The Detroit News

Ford Motor Co. will release final performance figures for its newest V-6 today that demonstrate that the new engine matches or beats those from rival automakers, an important achievement for a company that has lagged behind the competition in terms of engine power for several years.

The new 3.5-liter Duratec 35 is officially rated at 265 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque using regular unleaded gasoline. That is 23 more horses than General Motors Corp.'s 3.6-liter V-6 delivers in the Buick Rendezvous and 10 more than the same engine yields in the more pricey Cadillac CTS.

"It puts us right up there at the top, relative to the competition," said Tom McCarthy, program manager for the Duratec 35 project.

The final numbers also are better than Ford had expected. Last year, the company said it expected the new engine to develop 250 horsepower and 240 pound-feet of torque.

"Ford is right on with this," said John Wolkonowicz, a product analyst with Global Insight Inc. "That's what the American buyer wants."

Ford has lagged behind in the horsepower wars since Nissan Motor Co. introduced its 3.5-liter V-6 with variable valve timing and dual overhead cam technology in its 2002 Maxima.

Other automakers were quick to follow suit, but Ford continued to rely on a lackluster 3.0-liter V-6 that was no match for the horsepower of competitors' models.

The Duratec 35 will debut in the Ford Edge, Lincoln MKX and Lincoln MKZ this fall.

It also will be extended to other Ford products, including the redesigned Five Hundred sedan that will be unveiled early next year.

The new engine was supposed to makes its first appearance in the original Five Hundred when it was introduced in 2004. However, development problems delayed the program.

Those problems now have been ironed out, McCarthy said, adding that the new engine uses a much simpler design than similar engines manufactured by Ford's competitors.

"It's a very straightforward, fundamental execution of the basic," McCarthy said. "That helps costs, it helps complexity, and it helps manufacturing, and its helps quality as well."

However, Wolkonowicz said Ford will not be able to rest on its laurels for long.

"If they have a lead, it's going to last months, not years," he said. "But the engine will remain competitive."

Comparing engines

Model Displacement Horsepower Fuel
Lexus ES350 3.5L 272 Premium
Lexus RX350 3.5L 270 Premium
Toyota RAV-4 3.5L 269 Regular
Ford Edge 3.5L 265 Regular
Lincoln MKX 3.5L 265 Regular
Lincoln MKZ 3.5L 263 Regular
Chrysler Pacifica 3.5L 250 Mid-grade
Nissan Murano 3.5L 245 Premium
Honda Pilot 3.5L 244 Regular
Buick Rendezvous 3.6L 242 Regular

Sources: Automakers

My first car was a 67 Mustang Coupe, 2nd one was a 67 Cougar XR-7, 3rd one was a 66 Mustang Coupe. Why did I get rid of these cars for ? I know why, because I'm stupid, stupid, stupid.

My next Ford.....
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