Ford's New 5.0 V-8: Back In Black, And Ready For The Track

March 10, 2010
New 5.0-liter V-8 - 2011 Ford Mustang GT

New 5.0-liter V-8 - 2011 Ford Mustang GT

New 5.0-liter V-8 - 2011 Ford Mustang GT

New 5.0-liter V-8 - 2011 Ford Mustang GT

2011 Ford Mustang GT

2011 Ford Mustang GT

The 5.0 is back, and Ford didn't take the opportunity lightly. The 2011 Ford Mustang GT will pack a 412-horsepower, 5.0-liter V-8 that for all practical purposes is an all-new engine. A very stoutly built, race-ready one at that.

Along with the 3.7-liter V-6 that will also be introduced in the 2011 Ford Mustang, Ford suddenly has a completely refreshed powertrain lineup for the pony car and nothing to be ashamed of. Considering weight, in fact, the 'Stang now has a leg up on its rivals.

It's an about-face from the past several years, when Ford has seemed a step behind other automakers with respect to V-8 engines—especially if you take a look at power output. Even with the Mustang's lighter weight than the Camaro and Challenger, Ford's current 315-horsepower, 4.6-liter V-8 in the 2010 Mustang GT is no match for the larger Chevy and Chrysler V-8s.

With the '5.0' badge, the 2011 Mustang GT approaches the power output of those big-displacement engines while promising both stout construction and race-ready performance plus better fuel economy in everyday driving.

Bore is 92.2 mm (3.63 inches), with a 92.7-mm (3.65-inch) stroke, calculating out to just over 302 cubic inches and—this time—properly rounding up to 5.0 liters. And the new engine in the 2011 GT makes 412 horsepower, which should be enough for the lighter Mustang to beat both the 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS and the 2010 Dodge Challenger R/T. In the Camaro SS, GM installs a huge 6.2-liter V-8, making 426 horsepower, while Chrysler puts its 372-hp, 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 in the Challenger R/T, among other vehicles, and the 425-hp, 6.1-liter V-8 in the Challenger SRT8.

At the same time, Ford projects an estimated 17 mpg city, 25 highway for the new engine (with the automatic) in the Mustang. The Camaro SS gets 16/25, while the Challenger SRT8 is rated at just 13/19.

The new engine will require just 87-octane gasoline, though 91-octane will be recommended for peak performance.

New 5.0-liter V-8 - 2011 Ford Mustang GT

New 5.0-liter V-8 - 2011 Ford Mustang GT

New 5.0-liter V-8 - 2011 Ford Mustang GT

New 5.0-liter V-8 - 2011 Ford Mustang GT

New 5.0-liter V-8 - 2011 Ford Mustang GT

New 5.0-liter V-8 - 2011 Ford Mustang GT

New 5.0-liter V-8 - 2011 Ford Mustang GT

New 5.0-liter V-8 - 2011 Ford Mustang GT

2011 Ford Mustang GT

2011 Ford Mustang GT

2011 Ford Mustang GT

2011 Ford Mustang GT

2011 Ford Mustang GT

2011 Ford Mustang GT

Ford's Twin Independent Variable Camshaft Timing (Ti-VCT) system is one of the key technologies in the engine. Using camshaft torque energy, assisted by pressurized oil, the system physically ratchets the camshafts' position relative to the crank to advance or retard engine timing depending on a number of variables, including throttle position. The intake and exhaust adjustments work independently and, as an engineer explained to TheCarConnection.com, there's simply less to break in the long run in this oil-pressure-based mechanical system than in other systems relying on solenoids or electronic actuation in high-heat areas.

Ford plans to incorporate the Ti-VCT on 90 percent of its engines by 2013 and says that the technology provides benefits to torque in low- and mid-range revs while also improving fuel economy at partial throttle. The new Mustang GT will get a projected 25 mpg on the highway, with the six-speed automatic transmission. A six-speed manual will also be offered.

The engine's deep-sump oil system was designed from the start for high lateral g-forces, with a banked wall along with baffles to avoid oil starvation. Oil capacity has been expanded to eight quarts, with a 10,000-mile service interval, and the factory fill will be 5W20 non-synthetic. The block has fully redesigned passages to help control crankcase pressures and manage oil return without frothing at sustained high revs.

Also included in the design are piston cooling jets, hypereutectic pistons, high-strength forged power-metal connecting rods, and a floating pin setup. All these features help assure that the new engine has the durability for track duty and its new 7,000-rpm redline. A fully counterweighted forged steel crank helps keep the engine vibration free as well.

Up on top, the engine has intake ports that are directly vertical, with a tuned composite intake manifold. The alternator has been relocated out of the valley to allow straight-down risers. The low-profile heads hold roller-finger valve actuators, while allowed both more compact packaging and improved precision and high-rev durability.

Following a "Back in Black" theme for the new GT, Ford opted for a simple, black plastic cover for the 5.0, along with black headers, and it completes the modern but somewhat retro feel of the whole setup.

Dressed with fluids and ancillaries, the engine weighs 430 pounds—just ten pounds more than the 4.6-liter—and that includes the higher oil capacity.

Finally, hooked up to the engine will be exhaust headers that owners won't want to scrap right away in favor of an aftermarket solution. Ford actually designed these headers to provide the look, sound, and performance that the aftermarket had been providing.

In a special preview, TheCarConnection.com heard the new 5.0 rev, and it sounds great—even better than the original. That to us helps seal the deal that the engine plus the badge will be the basis for an entire new generation of nostalgia.

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