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Mustang might go green, says Ford

Looking forward: The day may come when we see an EV or even a - gasp - diesel Mustang, says Ford.

Ford pondering diesel, hybrid and even electric versions of Mustang


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6 Dec 2013

FORD is looking at more economical Mustang drivetrain variants in the future, as it seeks ways to meet increasingly strict fuel consumption and emissions standards.

With the next-generation Mustang, due in Australia in mid-2015, created to be the most internationally available version in the series’ half-century history, Ford says diesel, hybrid and even electric variations are under consideration.

But traditionalists can take solace that the signature thumping V8 also remains a part of the Mustang’s future, with Ford working towards improving its lightness and efficiency.

Speaking to GoAuto at the global unveiling of the sixth all-new iteration in 49 years, global powertrain boss Bob Fascetti revealed that Ford is exploring a number of alternatives for the iconic Pony Car.

“We’re not looking at diesel at the moment, but given where we need to go with fuel consumption we are looking at all our options,” he revealed.

“And diesel is one of those options, along with hybrids and electric.” However Mr Fascetti refused to divulge any specifics as to what is being looked at, such as powertrain specifics or market timing for such vehicles.

There is also no mention as to when the six-speed automatic transmission will give way to the next-generation nine or 10-speed replacements that Ford is working on in partnership with rival General Motors.

It is certain that these will also help the new Mustang achieve significantly better fuel consumption figures moving into the future.

While Ford has not yet released the official mileage numbers for either the 227kW/407Nm 2.3-litre four-cylinder GTDI EcoBoost or 313kW/529Nm 5.0-litre Ti-VCT V8 units earmarked for Australia, both are speculated to be the most efficient engines of their ilk ever offered in the Mustang.

Still on the subject of engines, Mr Fascetti added that there was no hesitation within Ford to go with the four-cylinder powerplant in a muscle-car icon built around thumping V8s.

“Not turbocharged like this,” he admitted.

“The success of the F-150 EcoBoost even surprised us. When we put the 3.5-litre EcoBoost in that truck we had the same conversation, and it has ended up with a 40 per cent mix.

“And because it is fun to drive and the torque is there straight away, we anticipate that the Mustang customer will really like it. It’s fun to drive.” The 2.3-litre engine, meanwhile, also has transverse applications, and will most likely feature prominently in the Territory-replacing Edge SUV due on sale in Australia sometime in 2016 when Ford’s local manufacturing ceases.

“There will be a front-drive version of the 2.3, east-west applications,” Mr Fascetti said.

“The one beauty with this car from my point of view is that it is rear-wheel drive, and this provides so many degrees of freedom as to what we can offer, because the engines are so much narrower relative to the rest of the car when they go north-south.

“So clearly we always wanted to keep the 5.0-litre in the Mustang because it’s always been tremendous for us, and it is really part of the brand.

“But (RWD) really opens up these other options for global markets, so we are really pleased to be able to offer the 2.3-litre EcoBoost, for example, where fuel is much more expensive than it is in the US.

“And we think that option for a car like this is important… it is a better answer for some global markets (than the V6 available in the United States).

“We are turning the Mustang into a global product now so all of our options are open now… we have great diesels in Europe, we have an EcoBoost line-up in North America… so we can do almost anything.

“For us it’s a case of designing the right drivetrain for the car.

“But there was never a debate about not using the 5.0-litre.” Asked if the V8 will be able to comply with pollution reduction requirements in the future, Mr Fascetti said the current engine family has been future-proofed to a large extent.

“We can meet emissions with the 5.0 – that’s not an issue. As long as we can meet the demands of what every new Mustang requires, the V8 will be around for a while.

“We never thought we’d be getting the numbers we’re getting out of this engine now, even three years ago, so we think the 5.0 still has some life in it yet.

“And we won’t need to (provide forced-induction versions) while we’re still providing the kind of numbers (that the V8 is achieving).”

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