2015 Ford F-150 Engines

Our Auto News Sunday feature story is Ford beating the drum for their all new 2015 F-150 which promises to be the most ground-breaking pickup to hit the market in decades.

This week they announced full specifications on the new 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 engine which has gotten plenty of headlines being the smallest powerplant to find its way into a full-sized pickup in recent memory.

Cranking out 325 horsepower, 375 lb.-ft. of torque the engine is big on power however and offers up V8 towing numbers like 8,500 lbs and a payload capacity of 2,250 lbs.

The high-output 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 has twin-turbochargers and direct-injection much like the larger 3.5 liter EcoBoost V6 which will remain a higher level option.

The engine comes with auto-start-stop to aid in fuel-efficiency which should be even better than the 3.5 liter EcoBoost engine which has been very popular.

Auto-start-stop shuts off the engine when the vehicle is at a stop. When the brake is released, the engine restarts quickly. For those of you who worry about that, the system is off when towing or in four-wheel-drive mode.

Ford says the new engine while small is extremely durable. It represents the first use of a compacted graphite iron cylinder block in a gas engine, the same material used in Ford’s 6.7-liter Power Stroke turbo diesel.

Ford has been testing the 2.7-liter EcoBoost against the Ram 1500 V6 EcoDiesel and Chevrolet Silverado 1500 with a 5.3-liter V8 while towing up to Davis Dam in Arizona.

Ford points out this is the test loop for the SAE J2807 towing test standard, which the 2015 Ford F-150 will follow and be certified for.

2015 Porsche Cayenne

With a sharper design, better fuel efficiency and a new line of four powertrains, the 2015 Porsche Cayenne is revealed.

The sports car among SUVs, the Cayenne has become more popular than anyone ever expected offering the high performance driving typical of Porsche with the utility typical of a truck.

The new 2015 Cayenne will be available in four models, a Diesel, Cayenne S, Cayenne Turbo, and an all new Cayenne S E-Hybrid.

Porsche says the Cayenne S E-Hybrid, which is the first plug-in hybrid in the premium SUV segment, though Volvo will be offering their XC90 T8 plug-in hybrid soon thereafter.

The Cayenne S E-Hybrid combines a 3.0 liter supercharged V6 and an electric motor for a total system 416 horsepower and the ability to sprint from 0-60 in about 5.4 seconds.

The top of the line is the Cayenne Turbo with its 520 horsepower 4.8 liter twin-turbocharged V7 engine, a rocket that can sled from 0-60 in just 4.2 seconds.

The Cayenne gets mild restyling front to rear and interior enhancements but remains built largely on the 2014 model’s platform underpinnings.

Starting at $61,700, the 2015 Porsche Cayenne will begin arriving in U.S. Dealerships this coming November.

AMG 4.0 liter twin-turbo V8

All new from Mercedes-Benz is a breakthrough performance V8 engine that will be the back-bone of their AMG model line-up across the board for several models.

Calling it a technological masterpiece, Mercedes-Benz unveiled the new AMG 4.0-liter V8 “biturbo” or twin-turbocharged engine this week, showing off its many design advancements.

An all new design, the lightweight V8 offers up 503 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque while also becoming the most efficient and environmentally friendly performance engine from the brand.

Making this engine unique is its “Hot V” design in which the exhaust exits into the topside of the engine directly into the turbochargers mounted in the vee. This is better for volumetric efficiency as well as engine response.

The design also has benefits for emissions and packaging. Intakes are down low on the outboard sides of the engine, allowing the assembly to be more compact.

Also new is dry sump lubrication which allows the engine to be installed lower in the chassis, which moves the center of gravity closer to the road.

With a dry weight of 460 lbs the new AMG V8 is also the lightest performance engine in its class. I can’t wait to hear it!

Test Drives:

In our test drives this week we got a chance to really explore the world of high-performance efficiency with the 2014 Lexus GS450h Hybrid.

The luxury sport sedan is the most powerful, yet the most efficient Lexus GS you can buy at any price. Combining electric motors with the smooth and powerful 3.5 liter V6 really pays off.

With 338 horsepower and a sublimely adept chassis, the GS450h impressed with its handling poise and fun to drive talents while also turning out high mpg numbers.

All of this having your cake and driving it too does come with a price-tag, but this premium sedan feels worthy every penny.

Also in our garage this week was the 2014 Hyundai Azera, the brand’s full-sized front-wheel drive entry competing against Toyota Avalon, Ford Taurus, and Chevrolet Impala.
The Azera offers up a healthy sense of style, comfortable space and a quiet ride. It’s small 3.3 liter V6 packs a healthy punch, but has to be pushed hard to get it.

It does however benefit from the smaller engine in the fuel economy department, showing us high numbers for its class.

This week we’re testing the Mazda MX-5 Miata, a car that has been with us for some 25 years and is now in its second generation.

We’re spending plenty of top down time on the windy back roads to find out if the latest version is true to the formula that made it famous.

Also this week we have the Toyota Avalon Hybrid which Toyota says can average 40 mpg, a strong showing for a large sedan.

The latest Avalon of course has much sleeker styling than the last generation and has won the checkbooks of a much younger audience than before. We’ll have a full road test review next week.

To see these and many other reviews, log onto TestDriven.TV or our YouTube Channel.

Reality Check: Vans Fiat 500L Concept

In our Reality Check segment this week, Fiat takes their somewhat homely looking 500L and shows us they might have a way to make it a bit more exciting.

The 500L has been with us for a year and offers a larger four-door experience to the cute 500 coupe the brand first introduced here. But, the styling hasn’t won as many hearts, being a little pudgy looking.

This all changed this weekend at the Vans US Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach where Fiat unveiled the 500L Vans design concept.

With a raise in ride height, some off-roadification in its body trim and accoutrements, the 500L seems entirely transformed.

On the fun side are details from Vans original hi-top shoe including vintage palm-patterned canvas, Vans logo stickers, Vans Waffle Sole on the pedals and storage bins.

The roof gets the iconic Vans Checkerboard pattern, while the step pad, cladding and grille texture are accented with the Waffle Sole design.

Now if this concept can make it to reality, Fiat might actually have something to really juice up the otherwise forgettable 500L.

Money Shot

Now it’s time for out new Money Shot feature, a photo we pick from the pile of press releases each week that really just makes your mouth water.

The 2015 Hyundai Genesis really looks swank from the rear ¾ angle. The all-new rear-wheel drive sedan is almost taking on an Audi-esque kind of aura don’t you think?