The updated S650 Mustang forgoes electrification for three new gas engines.
There is officially a seventh generation Ford Mustang, and the newest pony car—codenamed S650—comes powered by a choice of three gas-burning engines. Real engines! No electrification! These engines are even all new or highly revised. Can we get a hallelujah?! The InEVitable electrified and autonomous future is bearing down on us, but soul-enriching internal-combustion, capable of delivering far more than A-to-B transportation, is still very much alive at Ford Blue. Let’s take a deeper dive into the three engines on offer in the 2024 Ford Mustang and see how they’ve adapted to survive into a Tier 3/LEV III emissions future, clawing back some power that was recently lost in the name of emissions.
MPC 2.3-Liter EcoBoost I-4
It may be tough to tell by studying the Mustang’s spec sheet, but this 2.3-liter EcoBoost I-4 engine is entirely new, save for a few fasteners. One of its big emissions enablers is fitment of both port- and direct-injection, with the latter’s pressure bumped to 5,000 psi. Another is internally plumbed exhaust-gas recirculation, which can be managed far more precisely than metering exhaust gasses back in through external lines. One interesting feature on this longitudinal application of the engine is an integrated airbox, which ships from the engine factory attached in front of the front-end accessory drive unit. Mounting it so close to the intake manifold minimizes losses.
The team is still running SAE dyno tests, so peak power and torque figures are not yet available, but Ed Krenz, chief functional engineer, Ford Performance, assures us there will be no backsliding on performance or fuel consumption and that the team prioritized drivability and fun performance over advertisable peak numbers (which today are 310-330 hp, 350 lb-ft, and 22-25 EPA combined mpg—the new figures are forthcoming). Oh, and that MPC stands for Modular Power Cylinder, which refers to the combustion chamber shape, valve and injector orientation, piston dome, etc., all of which get engineered and optimized once and applied to a family of engines (in this case, inline three- and four-cylinders).
5.0-Liter Coyote V-8
This fourth-generation version of the Coyote went through its big emissions update in time for the 2021 launch of the 14th-generation Ford F-150. So the Mustang team’s objective was to shift that engine’s focus from work to play. The first thing Ford ditched was the truck’s cylinder-deactivation system, which would have forced a higher hood and a lower redline. Then, to increase power, the team sought to move more cooler air (and fuel) through the engine, by ensuring every 5.0-liter Coyote V-8 in a Mustang inhales cool air straight from the nostrils flanking the radiator grille, into a pair of airboxes, and on up through a separate 80-mm throttle body feeding each bank of cylinders, virtually doubling the airflow.
Other deviations from the F-150 include strengthened camshafts to better withstand more higher-rpm running (the Mustang’s 7,500-rpm redline is 800 revs above the truck’s), and the use of a steel oil pan in place of a molded plastic one. The goal here was reducing windage losses, with different baffling and a half-liter less oil capacity. Here again Ford has yet to finalize power, torque, or efficiency ratings, but expect them all to improve slightly from today’s 450 hp, 420 lb-ft, and 18-19 mpg (EPA combined).
Dark Horse 5.0-Liter Coyote V-8
Ford has targeted 100 hp/liter for the Dark Horse engine, which will make this history’s most powerful production Mustang 5.0 at over 500 hp. Interestingly, the team has managed this without turbocharging, without larger throttle bodies, and without spinning the engine faster. (Measured hp is a function of engine speed, and raising redlines is a time-honored way of extracting a few extra ponies.) The main difference is in the rotating mass. Borrowing technology (but not specific part numbers) from the Shelby GT500, the crankshaft and connecting rods are forged (base GTs use compacted-graphite iron connecting rods). These can withstand considerably higher combustion pressures, which the engine achieves primarily through more aggressive fuel and spark strategies.
This makes us think the base GT output may meet or exceed the Mach 1′s 470 hp, and it certainly suggests that this Coyote V-8 variant will be the basis for racing 5.0-liters capable of way more than 500 hp.