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Auto blogWed, 05 Mar 2014 00:01:00 EST
Time for everyone to feign surprise - Ford has just announced that it has the increased horsepower and torque levels of its 6.7-liter Power Stroke turbodiesel V8 engine for 2015. As you'd expect, the Blue Oval is claiming class-leading figures of 440 hp (up from 400) and 860 pound-feet (up from 800), and that's enough to enable Ford's F-450 Super Duty model to tow as much as 31,200 pounds, which, again, the automaker claims is class leading.
Now, it should be noted that the max rating quoted above is achieved with the Ford F-450. The 2015 F-350, which is perhaps a better comparison to the Ram 3500 HD pickup that claimed the towing crown in 2013 at an even 30,000 pounds, is capped at 26,500 pounds, either with a gooseneck or when towing a fifth-wheel trailer. In any case, it's going to take a load the size of Godzilla to make any of the current crop of fullsize heavy-duty pickup trucks break into a sweat. For those keeping track, Chevy rates its 2015 Silverado HD at a maximum of 23,200 pounds.
Ford's newfound pulling power comes courtesy of a larger turbocharger for its in-house Power Stroke engine, new fuel injector tips and, we'd assume, retuned computer controls. Besides the engine enhancements, the F-350 gets a wider front track for 2015 and new front springs, while the F-450 gains commercial-grade 19.5-inch wheels and tires, new rear U-joints, leaf springs, stabilizer bars and shocks. The steering and brake systems have also been upgraded.
To learn more about the all-new 2015 F-150 and get an early read on its potential hero-or-zero status, we flew to the heart of full-size pickup truck country, San Antonio, TX, to spend a day driving, towing and playing in the mud with an assortment of Ford's innovative new trucks.
First, a caveat - while we feel we have a reasonably good handle on the new F-150 after attending this first-drive event, we are far from ready to pass definitive judgment on the success of this radically new rig. Our time in the various models was lamentably limited and we felt rushed. With so much at stake and with so much to talk about and experience, we had zero alone time with the vehicle - there were Ford folks shadowing us at every moment.
And we still don't know everything there is to know about the trucks, as Ford is withholding some of its most crucial numbers, including curb weight data and anticipated EPA fuel economy figures. We don't even have a firm on-sale date. All of this information is typically disclosed - or at least officially estimated - at the time of a new vehicle's first drive. This limits the scope of the judgments we feel comfortable making based on our first encounter.
You know how people refer to someone as having "been around the block" to mean they're very experienced? Well, when it comes to automotive spy photography, Jim Dunne actually laid down the concrete slabs of the block's sidewalk. The unforgettable Dunne more or less invented the car spy game - a fact he cemented by writing book called Car Spy - and has been delivering spy shots and reporting on the industry for some 45 years now. (He also once employed this writer as his impromptu personal chauffer on a Volkswagen trip in Germany, while he slept, but that's a story for a different time.)
In any event, Dunne must be on a mission to prove that "elder statesman" doesn't also mean "washed up" as it is his shots of the upcoming new 2014 Ford Mustang that we've been handed by our friends at KGP Photography.
Mr. Dunne has likely spent the last few years obtaining powerful telescopic lenses, as the Ford in question has clearly been photographed from some distance. Nevertheless, what you see here is visual evidence that the sixth-generation Mustang has moved beyond the mule stage, and is now testing in proper prototype form. Sources indicate that there are production-spec body panels under that baggy canvass dress; but the slightly less bulky silhouette of the new car can be just made out. While the car's bumpers have been removed to obfuscate things, we can tell by way of the camo's apertures that the car's taillights have moved upwards and towards the lip of the tail. A fender vent appears to be visible, too, just behind the front wheel.