While the new Lincoln MKR concept marks an all-new design strategy for the brand, the TwinForce engine under the hood hints at new engine technologies to future Ford North American vehicles.Based on the company’s existing Duratec 35 all-aluminum production V-6, TwinForce adds two turbochargers and direct injection to deliver increased power while maintaing excellent fuel economy.
"The concept’s engine offers the performance of a 415-horsepower gasoline-powered V-8 and the fuel economy of a V-6. Plus, it can run on E-85 ethanol," said Peter Horbury, Ford’s executive director of Design for The Americas, who introduced the MKR and its TwinForce engine at the North American International Auto Show.
In addition, TwinForce produces 400 pound-feet of torque. Ford claims that it would take a V-8 with at least six liters of displacement to match those performance levels. Plus, the smaller V-6 achieves 15 percent better fuel economy than a V-8 with similar power.
Compared to a conventional port-fuel injection system, TwinForce’s direct-injection fuel system more precisely controls how much and when gasoline is injected directly into the engine’s cylinders. This allows for more efficient burn and improved combustion control that provide optimal performance and fuel economy.
The twin turbochargers increase the amount of air entering the cylinders, resulting in more power.
"Under normal driving, the engine consumes fuel like a V-6, but when you need extra power, it makes the muscle of a V-8," explained Brett Hinds, Ford advanced engine design and development manager.
"We’re going to see more turbocharging – powertrain experts have been predicting this – and last year’s $3-per-gallon gasoline accelerated the shift," said Bill Visnic, automotive writer and independent powertrain consultant. "For Ford, direct injection and turbocharging for a V-6 is pretty exclusive."
The Duratec 35 was engineered to accommodate direction injection and turbocharging technologies, which helped speed development of TwinForce. The program also benefited from Volvo’s turbocharging expertise and Ford of Europe’s experience with direct injection systems.
"We have been working on this for quite awhile, but I think the combination of the fuel-injection technology and electronic control technology for turbos has gotten to the point where we feel very comfortable that this is the technology that customers are going to want and that we are going to be very capable of providing," said Barb Samardzich, vice president, Ford Powertrain Product Development.
"We’re seeing very encouraging performance results from the TwinForce engine," said Hinds. "Overall, we’re well-equipped to accelerate the technology."
Ford says TwinForce technology will appear on future Lincoln and Ford vehicles, but has yet to announce timing. The company already has several direct-injection four-cylinder engines on the market, including the 1.8-liter in the Ford Mondeo and, from partner Mazda, the 2.3-liter