One thing is for sure, writing about trucks and SUVs, two letters inspire the most responses always: V8. It’s no surprise that V8 engines are popular. There’s a warm spot in the heart for these powerful high-performance engines that let out a visceral sound that can’t be replicated.
Yet, companies like Ford are moving away from V8s in favor of turbocharging V6 engines and also moving toward electrification. And certainly the talk of EcoBoosts and electric trucks and Mustangs gets people worked up into a lather. I’m not here to take a side in such a debate.
I really am neutral in that argument. I do agree nothing beats the sound of a V8, but I also love the output numbers from smaller engines and the torque of electric vehicles.
That being said, a V8 is the one thing missing from the relaunched Ford Bronco. Enthusiasts took note of that too and some groused (as expected). But as good as the Bronco launch has gone, there’s still that underlying demand for a third engine, one with the guttural sounds of a V8.
And with Jeep announcing today, as my colleague Patrick Rall wrote about, that the Wrangler is expected to get a 392 cubic inch SRT V8 engine with around 450 horses. The output numbers aren’t locked in, but the long rumored V8 in a Jeep is now a reality.
So will Ford follow suit with the Bronco? I wrote about the rumors of a high-performance Bronco being worked on with the name Warthog attached to it. And I speculated it could have a V8. That rumor still makes plenty of sense to me, and Ford just sticking with the 2.3-liter and 2.7-liter engines for the Bronco makes even more sense – at least for now.
If there were to be a third engine with a V8, it likely wouldn’t come as part of the 2021 model year. Ford is having a hard enough time with the production schedule of the Bronco and the high demand that mucking up the water with a third option would simply be disastrous.
Rather Jeep’s well-timed announcement of the 392 Wrangler is intentional and meant to sway some who might pre-order a Bronc to reconsider. If, and that’s a big if at this point, Ford does plan a V8 option for the Bronco, they’d be wise to tease something out to keep V8 Bronco enthusiasts from jumping ship to Jeep.
It may seem like Ford is abandoning V8s, but as I wrote, V8s are still a major part of Ford’s future. And from what we’ve seen, rumors of a V8 engine in the 2021 Ford Raptor and likely a Raptor Bronco (Warthog?) option in 2023 might in fact be true. Now let’s look at the V8 engines Ford has available that could potentially go in the Bronco, there are four total (counting the 6.2-liter which I’m not including here) in production that are possibilities and rumors of a new pushrod V8 coming as well.
5.0-Liter Coyote Engine
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). In the Bronco it would likely approach 450, which is what Jeep is touting for their 392 Wrangler.
Still, I don’t believe the Coyote will go into the Bronco.
7.3-liter V8 Godzilla
I wrote about this tremendous engine coming to the Super Duty segment and it was an incredibly popular story. This engine already has a strong following.
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.
The 7.3-liter V8 is so popular that Ford Performance has made it available to purchase as a crate engine 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.
I just don’t believe the Godzilla, as good as it is, would work well in the Bronco.
Ford’s 5.2-liter V8 engine
This is Ford’s high-performance V8 engine. When I speculated on the Warthog, I also hinted that this would be the engine that might come to a V8 Bronco.
We already know that Ford is discontinuing the GT350 (Voodoo) while continuing the 5.2-liter (Predator) in the Mustang GT500.
If I were a betting man, I’d say that some tune/variant of the Voodoo engine would be the best candidate to get placed in the Bronco. Ford Performance announced that the Predator version of this engine would be available as a crate engine, so there will likely be some Bronco enthusiasts who swap that engine in anyway.
New Ford 6.8-liter Windsor Engine
A couple of a weeks ago, the union leader for the auto workers at the Windsor (Ontario, Canada) plant announced that they would be producing a new 6.8-liter pushrod V8 engine and that it would be in both the F-150 and the Mustang.
That swept through forums and speculation ran rampant. That doesn’t make much sense for either vehicle, but nevertheless, it’s an irrefutable fact that this new Windsor engine will soon be manufactured, so it will go in some Ford vehicle.
The 6.8-liter will be built in the Windsor plant in Canada, which is where the 7.3-liter Godzilla engine is also manufactured. However, it’s believed that the 6.8-liter will be much lighter and made of aluminum instead of steel like the Godzilla.
If that’s true it does make some sense for the Mustang, F-150 and perhaps the Bronco. I have asked Ford for comment but, as usual, they said they don’t comment on future products. So we are left guessing and speculating.
If I were forced to guess, I’d say yes, a V8 will eventually be part of the Bronco lineup. No chance will it be in the initial startup or the 2021 model and likely not the 2022 model year either. If you’re truly a V8 enthusiast and you must have a Bronco with a V8, you may have to wait until the 2023 model year (Warthog?), or jump ship and go order the 392 Jeep Wrangler.
I want to hear from you. How important is a V8 to you with the Bronco? Leave me a comment below.
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.