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Ford's TwinForce set to fire

Adoption of these engines means future Ford Performance Vehicles could use a single or even twin-turbo, direct-injection version of the imported 3.5-litre V6 and a new 5.0-litre TwinForce V8 with cylinder deactivation technology.

The TwinForce family of engines grew from Ford's existing 3.0-litre Duratec family. One of its first applications was previewed in the Lincoln MKR concept car at this year's Detroit Motor Show.

The Lincoln used a TwinForce all-alloy twin-turbo 3.5-litre V6 developing 321kW and 542Nm, which compares favourably with the current FPV turbo six's 270kW and 550Nm.

Though Ford Australia will not comment on the specifications of its future V6s or V8s, US Ford executives have said the TwinForce unit has the power of a V8 and economy of a six. They say a TwinForce V6 can achieve 20 per cent better economy than existing six-cylinder engines.

The alloy engine has the potential to be enlarged to 3.7 litres for different markets. Mazda's new CX-9 will use a 3.7-litre version when it goes on sale later in the year.

Ford's group vice-president, global product development, Derrick Kuzak, says TwinForce engine technology is a key element of “how we're going after fuel economy gains without asking anyone to give up performance”.

Apart from the twin-turbo V6, Ford has a standard 3.5-litre that develops 198kW and 339Nm but can reach 224kW once such features as direct injection are added.

Direct fuel injection, already used on some Japanese and European performance cars, monitors fuel flow into the cylinders more precisely, resulting in lower emissions.

Technologies for the twin turbocharging system were developed in co-operation with Volvo.

The direct-injection system is a joint development between Ford and Bosch, based on Bosch DFI systems already in production.

The engine is capable of operating on any mix of E85 ethanol and premium petrol.

Ford is also working on new dual-clutch six-speed gearboxes called Powershift, which will be used with the new engines.

The gearboxes were developed in conjunction with Getrag.