Photos by Brenda Priddy & Company
Ford is about half a year away from starting production of the first six-cylinder EcoBoost-equipped 2011 F-150 half-ton pickup, but our spies have caught a tester SuperCab FX4 model racking up the miles.
In the picture, you can see a turbo intercooler framed in the middle of the lower bumper.
The EcoBoost twin-turbo system runs at up to 1,740 degrees, according to Ford. An air-to-air intercooler is used to cool the compressed intake air before it enters the engine's combustion chamber, and water cooling protects the internal turbo bearings in the high-temperature operating environment. Using two turbochargers, rather than one larger one, helps fight turbo lag.
In an interesting reversal of tradition for trucks, it's expected that the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 (which also features direct injection) will be a premium engine for the light-duty F-150, along with the new 411-horsepower, 6.2-liter naturally aspirated gas V-8 that makes 434 pounds-feet of torque.
Ford has officially said the F-150's EcoBoost engine will arrive by late 2010 with improved fuel economy and low-end torque with a broad, diesel-like torque curve through most of its power band. Our sources say it will be rated at about 400 hp and more than 400 pounds-feet of torque. Gas mileage is expected to be at least 23 mpg on the highway.
What do you think? Would you buy the new EcoBoost V-6 or stick with a conventional V-8?