Wednesday 25 June 2014

Ford Edges in new use for CGI engine blocks

Production volumes of Ford’s new 2.7-litre, twin-turbocharged V6 gasoline engine look set to blossom following the company’s unveiling this week of the all-new, second-generation Edge crossover vehicle at its Dearborn, Michigan headquarters.

Earlier this year, Ford unveiled its new V6 EcoBoost gasoline engine, the most striking feature of which is the use of compacted graphite iron (CGI) material for the vee cylinder block.

Ford is no newcomer to CGI. The company already produces the 6.7-litre V8 PowerStroke diesel engine at its Chihuahua Engine Plant in Mexico where the company also makes the 4.4-litre V8 diesel engine with a CGI block. The 3-litre engine produced at the Dagenham Engine Plant in the UK also employs a CGI block. The material is also used in some Ford engines built in Turkey.

The 6.7-litre diesel powers Ford’s Super Duty pick-up truck where it has set an industry benchmark. General Motors has yet to make a commitment to CGI material for production engines.

As yet observers are waiting for Ford to unveil both power and torque its new 2.7-litre EcoBoost engine, though in the latest pronouncement the company admits engine power will be over 300bhp.

The 2.7-litre engine will make its production debut before long in the F-150 pick-up truck when the company is expected to provide full performance details as well as possibly some supplier information.

It is the first of Ford’s gasoline engines to use a CGI cylinder block. Competitors will be watching closely to see how well the 2.7-litre Edge Sport is received in the marketplace.

This latest version of the popular Edge crossover will ride on the same CD4 architecture that underpins the Ford Fusion and Lincoln MK. The Edge will also be the first Ford-badged product to come standard with EcoBoost power.

The implication might be therefore that it will not be long before other Ford products also received the new 2.7-litre V6. They could include Lincoln, Mustang and Taurus models suggesting – over time – significant production volumes.

The latest Edge will have three engine options. Primary offering will be the 2-litre turbocharged four-cylinder EcoBoost which delivers 245bhp and 270lbft torque thanks to its twin-scroll turbocharger design. Ford will also offer an optional start-stop system for the 2-litre engine.

The 2-litre EcoBoost is joined by Ford's 3.5-litre naturally-aspirated V6. There are no official power figures for this engine but sources suggest the engines figures will be close to the 290bhp and 255lbft torque found in Explorer and Taurus.

Finally, as mentioned, the Edge Sport has the latest and most exciting of the available engine trio, packing Ford's new 2.7-litre, twin-turbocharged V6 under the bonnet.

In this relatively small engine, Ford claims a CGI block significantly improves noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) characteristics as well as durability. The new EcoBoost is as yet the smallest Ford engine to adopt CGI which has been employed solely for vee-configuration engines.

The Joinville foundry of Tupa SA in Brazil has been up to now the principal source of supply of Ford's CGI cylinder blocks. Tupy is a major user of SinterCast CGI process control technology to deliver consistent product quality.

Regardless of engine, a six-speed automatic with Ford's SelectShift manual mode is the sole gearbox with paddles as standard. The 2-litre EcoBoost will be able to send its power to the front axle or through a full-time all-wheel-drive (AWD) system. The 3.5-litre and 2.7-litre models however will be AWD only.

The 2015 Ford Edge will enter production at Ford's Oakville Assembly Complex outside of Toronto with sales slated to begin in the North American market in early 2015. The Edge will also be exported to Europe, South America and Asia, although estimated dates to reach those markets have not been revealed so far.

The most immediately noticeable aspect of the 2015 Edge is, of course, its all-new sheet metal exterior, the lines of which show a substantial change from face-lifted first-generation models. Inside, the changes are far less dramatic. The Edge however, will be the first Ford product to offer adaptive steering. 

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