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Could the Mustang get another upgrade soon?

Could the Mustang get another upgrade soon?

According the the guys over at, there is a good chance that our beloved 5.0 Mustang could see a power boost in the coming years, due to a tell-tale sign suggesting that Ford is prepping the Coyote engine block for direct injection.

This picture, taken from the Mustang display at the 2010 New York Auto Show, seems to hint at a secret Ford probably didn't want you to know yet. The TTAC blogger took the picture, knowing he had seen a casting bump that likely means the 5.0-liter engine in the 2011 Ford Mustang GT could be ready for a direct fuel injection setup sometime in the near future.

Could this be planned for next year's model? Two years out? Maybe even for the 2014 50th anniversary Mustang. Nobody at Ford is saying a word, but the rumor-mill is abuzz with the thought of gaining 30+ horsepower from this new-and-improved method of fuel injection, currently used on a growing amount of vehicles, including Ford engines utilizing their new EcoBoost technology.

Here is some of what the writer from TTAC had to say:

Direct fuel injection, as opposed to (intake) port fuel injection, is the latest technology in the advancement of the internal combustion engine.  It’s one of many advancements that proves the piston engine gets better with age, and beats the dubious “Moore’s Law” argument of Tesla fans. The proof is already on the street! Owners of late model diesels, EcoBoost Fords and several GM products like the Cadillac CTS already know the drill: direct injection gives more power, more economy and lower emissions with zero changes to the driving experience. It is the textbook definition of having your cake and eating it too.

Geek Alert!  Let’s get detailed: a port fuel injection vehicle has the fuel injector placed in the intake manifold, usually at the end of the runner, behind the intake valve. Direct Injection places the injector in the red circle from the picture above: so there’s no more mixing of air and fuel in the intake.  The benefit is simple:  injecting the fuel at a very high pressure (2000psi, compared to 10-60 psi) directly into the combustion chamber produces a cooling charge. Much to the joy of mechanical engineers everywhere, “cold” fuel gets shot into a hot combustion chamber: Thermodynamics wins.  This helps reduce engine knock, so higher ignition timing and/or compression ratios can be implemented. Just like sane doses of Nitrous Oxide on a motor, the extra cooling charge afforded by Direct Injection is a huge win by itself.

The doubters might mention the Jaguar XF makes “only” 385 horses with its direct injected 5.0L mill, which is less than the current Mustang’s 412 ponies. But both 5.0s come from different engine families.  And when you consider the Jag’s power bump from port to direct injection, the improvement is real.

Even if my theory is correct, there’s no guarantee that the direct injected Mustang shall be any more powerful than the current model.  Ford can pull a fast one: de-tuning the direct injected 5.0 for a multitude of reasons. Thanks to drive-by-wire and traction control nannies, the direct injected 5.0 can easily give 80% of a day’s work and nobody will notice.  Considering damn near every vehicle today has power robbing torque management built into its DNA, why would Ford up the Mustang to its full potential?

Go back to 1986: the year that port fuel injection (@200hp/285tq) took the 5.0’s game to refined places the Holley four-barrel (@210hp/270tq) of 1985 couldn’t even imagine.  Torque went up, but the 1986 Mustang lost 5% in peak horsepower. Cue the modestly-redesigned 1987 Mustang: a quickie head swap to ye olde F-150 parts turned the Mustang’s EFI 5.0 (@225hp/300tq) into the real deal. That’s a healthy 7 and 11% increase in hp/tq over 1985’s tried and true Holley carburetor.

Imagine if the direct injected 5.0 pulls a “1987” on us: the 412hp/390tq we see today will be nothing compared to the 441hp/433tq of our near future. It’s entirely possible. But will history repeat itself?  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.


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