When you write about Ford products there are inevitable landmines you will step on that will set off a maelstrom of discontent, bickering and comments. Discussion, and even discourse, isn’t always a bad thing. And as a writer, I have thick skin anyway.
One such landmine is the topic of the V8 engine. There are diehard fans of the V8. Any time I write about something with a hybrid or an Ecoboost, there will be several people commenting that “it needs a V8”.
And the silly voice in my head always harkens back to the old V8 juice commercial that had the line “I should’ve had a V8!” I hear your voices loud and clear, I understand your mindset and I really don’t want to argue with you.
I am not a V8 snob since today’s turbocharging technology cranks out copious power and performance. Sure there’s the “sound” of a V8 and viscerally it’s outstanding. No argument. But you can also tune a V6 to pipe out plenty of noise too.
With all that said, let’s put the V8 argument aside and focus on the current offerings of V8 engines from Ford and also focus on a curious quote I got from Ford’s North America Product Communications Manager, Mike Levine.
I asked him about the future of the V8 engine for Ford. And although his famous line is “we don’t comment on future products or speculate on the future”, I actually got something with a little more substance.
Here’s what Levine said: “We still see a long life ahead for V8 engines in our lineup, even as they continue to become even more efficient over time.”
That cryptic quote tells me that V8s are here to stay for a while and will be part of Ford’s short and medium range future. Ecoboost is a big part of that, and Ford has done wonders in the turbocharging world and made a lot of power and performance from their Ecoboost technology.
And what we’ve seen with 2021 Ford F-150 is that hybrid technology is also part of the future. Ford adds hybrid technology to their Ecoboost and call it Powerboost. You can guarantee you will see this Powerboost technology in future iterations of Ford vehicles including the Mustang and Bronco (unconfirmed but likely).
And of course, as I’ve written many times, Ford’s electrification future is bright. There’s some looming battles with Tesla in the truck realm. And of course Ford has gone to great lengths to promote and market the Mustang Mach-E, an all-electric crossover wearing a Mustang badge.
With all these options, there’s still three great V8 engines available for Ford. Let’s take a look at each.
7.3-liter V8 aka Godzilla
This is the newest V8 engine from Ford, and boy is it a good one. This engine has been universally praised and has driven a lot of excitement to Ford’s Super Duty line of big trucks, as this engine is one of the available engines for F-250, F-350 and F-450.
I recently reviewed the 2020 Ford F-250 Super Duty with the 7.3-liter engine and found it quite praiseworthy.
The 7.3-liter V8 is so popular that Ford Performance has made it available to purchase as a crate engine. It can even fit in a Mustang. So for those who chime in and say, that would be great if it had a V8, now you can order this and enjoy the heck out of the power of this engine.
According to the Ford Performance website, the 7.3-liter V8 engine crate package costs $8150. In the 2020 F-250 it has a horsepower rating of 430 and 475 pound-feet of torque.
5.2-liter V8 aka Voodoo/Predator
This naturally aspirated V8 engine (pictured at the top) is in the Mustang GT500 and the soon-to-be discontinued Mustang GT350.
Known as the Voodoo engine in the 2020 Mustang Shelby GT350 and the Predator in the GT500 this engine makes 760 horses and 625 lb.-ft. of torque.
This engine has automatically become a favorite of drag race enthusiasts and it’s rumored (but not confirmed) that the 2021 Ford Raptor will have this engine in it, along with an Ecoboost engine option. If that’s the case, that would make the 2021 Raptor one of my dream vehicles to drive since I already professed my love for the 2017 Ford Raptor.
5.0-liter V8 aka Coyote
This incredibly popular engine is a crowd favorite. It’s so popular that it’s used in both the Ford Mustang and the Ford F-150.
In the Mustang GT it’s good for 460 horsepower and 420 lb.-ft. of torque. The outgoing Mustang Bullitt used this engine as well and it was always popular with this V8 option.
In the F-150, the naturally aspirated 5.0-liter 90-degree V8 has overhead cams has an aluminum block with aluminum heads. In the popular F-150 it’s still one of the go-to engine choices for the old-school truck consumer who thinks (falsely) that a full-size truck needs to have a V8.
In the F-150 it’s rated for 395 horsepower and 400 lb.-ft. of torque (at 4,500 RPM).
The passion for the V8 and Ford likely started with the outstanding and legendary Flathead engine. The flatty was a durable and consistent valve-in-block design that spanned in the U.S. market from 1932-1953. The flathead was a low-compression engine that honestly helped Ford in sales and also in engineering reputation.
Since, the thirst for V8s has been non-stop. And while the saying there’s no replacement for displacement holds true (in theory), it’s up for debate how necessary bigger engines and more cylinders are needed during this time of turbocharging. I won’t step into this debate arena, but wanted to share that very pointed quote from Mike Levine.
For those who say the V8 is dead or dying, it seems Ford says, not so fast there. And that’s a good thing, in my opinion.
Now it's your turn to comment. Yes, I want to hear from you V8 lovers out there. Which Ford V8 is your favorite?
Jimmy Dinsmore has been an automotive journalist for more than a decade and been a writer since the high school. His Driver’s Side column features new car reviews and runs in several newspapers throughout the country. He is also co-author of the book “Mustang by Design” and “Ford Trucks: A Unique Look at the Technical History of America’s Most Popular Truck”. Also, Jimmy works in the social media marketing world for a Canadian automotive training aid manufacturing company. Follow Jimmy on Facebook, Twitter, at his special Ford F-150 coverage on Twitter and LinkedIn. You can read the most of Jimmy's stories by searching Torque News Ford for daily Ford vehicle report.