Ford Mustang may soon have Chevy Camaro 1LE-like performance pack

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Few automotive rivalries are as heated as the Ford Mustang and the Chevy Camaro. For decades, the two cars have faced off, constantly fighting tooth and nail for bragging rights and customer attention. Factory performance packs are nothing new, but the Camaro’s 1LE variants have garnered a lot of praise, more than the basic performance pack on the Ford Mustang. Now, Road & Track is reporting that an even more extensive performance pack may be in the works for the refreshed 2018 Ford Mustang.

Road & Track compiled a list of evidence that points toward a more robust performance option. The current Mustang GT Performance Pack includes things like staggered wheels and tires, six-piston Brembo brakes, new front springs, a larger radiator, a limited-slip differential and more. The upgrades to the Camaro 1LE are roughly the same, but somehow Chevyseems to eek out more performance from its parts than Ford has with the Camaro, especially with a car like the ZL1 1LE (internal option codes are sexy).

A new Mustang was spotted wearing a new set of wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, some of the stickiest street tires available. There have also been some leaked order guides that hint at an even greater performance pack. Still, we’ve been burned by leaks before. There’s no comment from Ford on the matter, so we’ll have to wait for the Mustang to hit showrooms before we know any more.

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Some of our favorite Ford truck and SUV concepts coming to SEMA

Ford’s booth at SEMA is going to be a packed one this year. The company already revealed four custom Focus hatches and six modded Mustangs that will be on display. Now the company has announced another 11 trucks and SUVs that will sit alongside the cars. Among them are Expeditions, F-150s, F-250s, and a lone EcoSport. The F-150 is by far the most popular platform, with six custom shops modding the truck for the show. You can see all eleven of them above, and you can check out our favorites of each model down below, listed from smallest to largest.

2018 Ford EcoSport by Vaccar

Ford EcoSport by Vaccar

What is it?
Ford’s new-to-the-U.S. EcoSport gets the custom treatment from Vaccar. The modifications are fairly limited. Under the hood is a standard 2.0-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder that’s livened up with a cold-air intake and axle-back exhaust. It should also be more responsive with the recalibrated throttle-by-wire gas pedal. The little crossover also is better suited to dirt roads with large fender flares and bigger all-terrain tires. Ford roof rail bars and some aftermarket amber LED light bars complete the exterior. Occupants of the EcoSport will be treated to better sound courtesy of the upgraded sound system and 10-inch subwoofer.

Why we like it.
Well it’s the only EcoSport here, so besides being our favorite by default, we also like that at least one company is taking a stab at making the little trucklet interesting. It probably doesn’t go much faster with the limited performance upgrades and bigger heavier tires, but it does look better than a stock model, and should sound better, too. Maybe in the future we’ll see more ambitious custom EcoSports. It is based on the outgoing Fiesta, so it would be really cool to see someone fit the Fiesta ST powertrain in one. Maybe add back the hatch-mounted spare available overseas. Or if Ford would like to do one (or both) of those things, we wouldn’t object.

2018 Ford Expedition by LGE-CTS Motorsports

Ford Expedition by LGE-CTS Motorsports

What is it?
This Expedition is another off-road oriented vehicle. It features a lifted suspension with coilovers and big fender flares to fit 35-inch mud-terrain tires. Those big tires are stopped by larger brakes, and the EcoBoost V6 enginebenefits from a cat-back exhaust. Custom off-road bumpers and roof rack from LGE CTS Motorsports are also attached to the truck. It’s ready for camping trips, too, with a roof-top tent above, and a refrigerator and safe inside.

Why we like it.
It’s an Expedition that’s actually ready for some expeditions. It now has a place to sleep and a place to keep food. With all the storage space, this would be perfect for the outdoorsman with room for toys or more supplies. It’s also a nice example of how you don’t need to go crazy to have a solid off-roader. Add some suspension lift and some bigger tires and you’re good to go. We also appreciate the addition of upgraded brakes, something that isn’t a bad idea when dealing with heavy vehicles and bigger, heavier wheels and tires.

2017 Ford F-150 RTR Muscle Truck by RTR Vehicles

Ford F-150 by RTR Vehicles

What is it?
RTR Vehicles took a V8 F-150 and prepped it for high-speed off-road duty. The engine simply has a custom exhaust, but the suspension is upgraded with long-travel shocks all around, and extended control arms up front. It’s also supported by heavy duty springs for additional load capacity. Visually, it features RTR’s custom tailgate, fender flares, and grille. The grille has the same style of accent lights as the version available for the 2015-and-up Ford Mustang. Under the flares are off-road tires, and a skid plate protects the under side of the truck.

Why we like it.
We don’t have anything against the EcoBoost V6 in the current Ford F-150 Raptor. But as good as it is, it still doesn’t make those sweet burbly noises the old V8 did. As such, we’re happy to see RTR build what is basically a new generation V8 Raptor. It’s also cool to see a company turn a regular F-150 into a real Raptor competitor.

2017 Ford F-250 Project SD126 by BDS

Ford F-250 by BDS

What is it?
This F-250 is both the smallest and biggest F-250 you may see running around. It’s among the smallest because BDS took a stock regular cab F-250, and shortened it to accommodate a short bed (not available on Super Duty Fords) and thus be more capable off road with a greater breakover angle and less truck to have to maneuver. The shorter length also supplied the truck with its name, as it now has a 126-inch wheelbase. It’s also one of the biggest Super Duty trucks because it’s been lifted to fit gargantuan 42-inch off-road tires. Supporting the body, which has wide fiberglass fenders to fit over the tires, are Fox coilovers that have 14 inches of travel. Additional upgrades include F-450 axles, a cold-air intake, upgraded exhaust, engine tune, winch, and 40-inch LED light bar.

Why we like it
Come on, this thing is basically a Tonka truck brought to life. It’s huge. It’s orange. It has a big powerful diesel. It’s even tastefully done, for a giant orange truck. It doesn’t have gaudy graphics, overwrought wheels, or too many lights. Plus it has some legitimate off-road parts under it. It hits every note just right.

[Source: Autoblog]

2018 Ford Expedition has best-in-class fuel economy

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After more than a decade, the Ford Expedition is finally getting a full redesign. In addition to a lighter aluminum body, the Expedition gets a new 3.5-liter turbo V6 and the same 10-speed automatic that’s in the F-150. All of that combined means the 2018 Expedition gets the best fuel economy in the class, eclipsing the full-size body-on-frame competition from Chevy, Nissan and Toyota.

Part of that has to do with cylinder count. While the Ford uses an EcoBoost V6 making 375 horsepower and an impressive 470 pound-feet of torque, all of the competition makes do with V8 power. That means in two-wheel-drive configurations, the Expedition is the only model to have a combined rating of 20 mpg (17 city and 24 highway). That’s better the 19 combined for the Tahoe, 16 for the Armada and an abysmal 15 for the Sequoia. At freeway speeds, Ford estimates the Expedition is good for nearly 550 miles of range.

Passenger comfort and interior appointments were a huge focus for Ford engineers. All three rows have USB charging ports. There’s an available 4G WiFi model available with enough bandwidth for 10 devices. The entertainment system is able to stream television and movies through the Sling Media subscription service.

Still, none of that comes cheap. The Expedition starts at $52,390. That’s slightly more than the $49,420 base price of the Chevy Tahoe. The 2018 Ford Expedition hits showrooms in the next few months.

[Source: Autoblog]

Watch Johnny Bohmer hit an (unofficial) record 292 mph in his Ford GT

The current world record-holder for the fastest standing mile in a street-legal car just broke his old record. Except it was unofficial. And there was some technical drama involved in the feat. Watch here.

Johnny Böhmer once again took his 2,700-horsepower 2006 Ford GT to the Kennedy Space Center runway once used by the space shuttles to take aim at breaking 300 mph. Böhmer still holds the record for the fastest standing mile in a street car at 283.232 mph, set in 2012 and also driving the BADD GT.

On Friday, Böhmer managed to hit 292 mph — a feat that won’t count as a new record, since no one from Guinness was on hand to certify it. Speaking with Jalopnik, Böhmer explained that he lost some boost pressure in sixth gear, then had to deal with a greater challenge when his parachute broke free on deployment. That left him with nothing to alleviate the burden on the car’s brakes, which generated enough heat to crack the rear rotors.

“When I stopped I thought the car was on fire,” Böhmer said.

Böhmer says he’ll try again for 300 mph in December, when the Discovery Channel show “Fast N’ Loud” will be on hand to film his exploits.

[Source: Autoblog]

Howling Coyote: Ford Mustang, F-150 getting 700-hp supercharger

Mustang and F-150 owners: How does 640 to 700 horsepower sound? Watch this video.

Ford Performance and Roush announced at SEMA that they have developed a supercharger kit for the 5.0-liter Coyote V8 engine in the 2018 Mustang and F-150. For the Mustang, the setup is rated at 700 peak horsepower and 610 pound-feet of torque. That’s a boost of 240 hp over a stock Mustang GT, and an additional 190 pound-feet of torque — and it’s far above the Shelby ratings, too.

For the pickup, it’s 640 horsepower and 600 pound-feet — a boost of 245 horsepower and 200 pound-feet over stock.

The blower is designed to work with the 5.0-liter V8’s new port- and direct-injection fuel system. The kit comes with everything needed for installation, including custom performance calibration. It carries a 3-year, 36,000-mile warranty when installed by a Ford dealer or authorized technician. Better yet, it doesn’t void the vehicle warranty.

Boost pressure is 12 psi, and the setup requires 93 octane fuel.

“Ford and Roush have teamed up on performance for years on and off the track,” said Doug White, Ford’s global performance-parts manager. “This new supercharger is another great example of our innovation in performance, greatly improving horsepower and torque so people can enjoy two of our most iconic vehicles even more.”

The supercharger kit will be available in early 2018 through Ford dealers, Ford Performance Warehouse Distributors and Roush Performance dealers. Additional information can be found at the Ford Performance website.

Cost was not mentioned in Ford’s announcement, but by comparison a Ford Performance 670-horsepower supercharger kit for 2015-17 Mustangs lists for $7,100.

[Source: Autoblog]

Ford introduces the Drift Stick performance e-brake for the Focus RS

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Ford Performance just pulled the wraps off of a little SEMA surprise for Focus RS owners: the Drift Stick, a rally-style aluminum handbrake that slips over the existing handbrake. It doesn’t just look cool, because a micro-switch inside talks to the RS’s electronics and lets you do some big e-brake slides, just as if the car was equipped with the kind of hydraulic handbrake system you’d get in a rally car.

Let’s back up for a second and talk about the Focus RS’s Drift Mode, a clever bit of programming that tells the AWD and torque vectoring systems to play nice with the stability control, allowing you to swing the RS around in big, smoky drifts. It’s not quite ready for Formula D, but it’s a fairly safe way to have some fun under controlled conditions – and unlike a completely analog drift machine, it’ll attempt to save your butt if you muck it up.

Where the Drift Stick comes in is if you want to do a rally-style handbrake turn, as opposed to a smoky Drift Mode drift. When you pull the Drift Stick, the electronics inside tell the ABS system and rear differential clutches to allow for the rear brakes to lock the wheels, letting the car rotate without having to hold in the clutch pedal. It lets you do very quick, wide-angle turns without the extensive modifications (and expense) of installing a hydraulic system, so it’s perfect for rotating around a lightpole or a guy in a gorilla suit.

If that tips you off that Ken Block was involved, well, of course he was. This is the perfect thing for him to be involved with, and vice versa.

Installation seems easy. Clamp it over the existing handbrake, bolt a rod to your inboard front seat mount, and plug in the cord into the diagnostic port. That’s it. Easily reversible. And here’s a neat bonus: since it talks to the OBD system, there’s a USB port on the Drift Stick. Plug a cable into that and it acts just like Ford’s diagnostic tool. That means you can download diagnostic data, and more interestingly, upload different tunes. Installing the Drift Stick itself won’t void your warranty, either.

The Drift Stick goes on sale Dec. 1, and it’ll set you back $999. If you want one, head to your local Ford Performance distributor or get one online.

[Source: Autoblog]

Ford U.S. pickup sales lift its profit

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Ford reported a better-than-expected quarterly net profit on Thursday, driven largely by U.S. sales of its high-margin pickup trucks, and it raised the low end of its full-year earnings forecast.

Ford’s positive results came despite an overall decrease in vehicle sales to U.S. dealers.

A large part of the company’s profits came from its F-Series pickup trucks, which have been the best-selling vehicle in North America for decades. Ford said the average transaction price for its trucks rose $2,800 to $45,400.

Ford said its North American margin rose to 8.1 percent from 5.8 percent a year earlier. Earlier this week, GM reported a third-quarter margin for North America of 8.3 percent.

Apart from North America, the only other region that was profitable for Ford was Asia Pacific, driven by sales increases outside China. Ford Chief Financial Officer Bob Shanks said sales volumes, market share and margins were all down in China.

He said its European operations would return to profitability in the fourth quarter and for the full year.

New Chief Executive Officer Jim Hackett is under pressure to please Wall Street. Following his first 100 days in office, Hackett’s overarching message to Wall Street focused on plans to slash $14 billion in costs over the next five years, and shift capital investment away from sedans and internal combustion engines to develop more trucks and electric and hybrid cars.

Wall Street has been underwhelmed, particularly by Hackett’s caveat that most of the savings will not show up on Ford’s bottom line until 2019 and 2020.

By comparison, main rival GM has impressed Wall Street with promises to put the first self-driving vehicles into commercial service before 2020 and introduce 20 electric vehicles by 2023.

Year to date, GM’s stock is up nearly 30 percent, while Ford is down almost 1 percent.

When asked by reporters about the flagging stock, CFO Shanks said Ford has a “really good plan” for electric vehicles and self-driving car technology.

“I think the market will reward us,” he said.

Ford said it had lower engineering, advertising and promotion expenses than in the third quarter.

The second largest U.S. automaker posted a quarterly net profit of $1.56 billion, or 39 cents per share, up more than 60 percent from $960 million, or 24 cents, a year earlier.

Excluding one-time items, Ford reported earnings per share of 43 cents, above Wall Street expectations of 32 cents.

Revenue rose to $36.45 billion from $35.94 billion a year earlier.

Ford said it now expects full-year earnings in a range of $1.75 to $1.85 per share. Previously it had looked for $1.65 to $1.85.

In premarket trading, Ford shares were up 1.7 percent at $12.24.

[Source: Autoblog]