Ford showed a 2011 F-150 XLT SuperCrew with the all-new 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 to journalists in Dallas this evening. Here are the first close-up photos plus a few more details you might not know about the first application of Ford's gasoline direct-injection twin-turbo technology in a half-ton pickup.
As we reported earlier today, the 3.5 EcoBoost mill is rated at 365 horsepower (at 5,000 rpm) and 420 pounds-feet of torque (at 2,500 rpm) on regular unleaded gasoline.
Ford reps say they are still certifying the engine's performance on premium unleaded and wouldn't comment on expected power figures burning higher-octane fuel.
Ford is aware that some traditional truck buyers might not readily adopt a twin-turbo V-6 as a reliable high-power alternative to a naturally aspirated V-8 in a light-duty truck application, so it has taken testing to an extreme to prove its durability in the lab and real world.
"We know that truck customers expect an engine to last," said Eric Kuehn, Ford's chief engineer for the 2011 F-150. "We set up a profile of the [EcoBoost] engine in the most extreme and harshest conditions of F-150 customer use. The end result — from a durability testing standpoint — was over 1.5 million hours of computer analysis to make sure the [EcoBoost] engine was ready to go. Another 13,000 hours of dynamometer testing was done on an EcoBoost engine, with 2,500 of those hours at full boost over 5,000 rpm along with extensive in-vehicle validation."
All of that testing added up to more than 1.6 million miles of simulated customer use with the EcoBoost V-6.
As we saw in earlier spy photos, the EcoBoost F-150's front license plate bracket is shifted to the left side of the bumper to provide a clear inlet for air to flow to the intercooler.
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.
Also note the prominent air deflectors next to the headlights to direct air to the radiator.
Jim Mazuchowski, Ford's V-6 program manager, said the EcoBoost V-6 has two operating modes, as seen in the torque curves below that compare the 3.5 against competitors' V-8 engines.
"The blue dotted line is the steady state torque available when towing, hauling or under part-throttle maneuvers," Mazuchowski said. "The solid blue line is a wide open throttle curve."