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Prodrive Develops 475HP Supercharged Ford V8 for Australia - Web Exclusive

A new supercharged 5.0-liter V8 engine has taken the latest Ford Falcon GT models to the top in the Australian performance car market.

Jan 6, 2011

Developing 475hp at 5750rpm and 420 lb-ft all the way from 2200-5500rpm, the Prodrive-designed 'Miami' engine has been universally acclaimed by the region's specialist press.

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"The old 5.4-liter 'Boss' V8 used by Ford Performance Vehicles (FPV) was a tough act to follow, but it had reached the limit of its emissions development and mechanical strength," explained Bryan Mears, Managing Director of Prodrive's Asia Pacific division. "It took three years and AUS$36million but the result is a new benchmark for a high-performance V8."

In an example of performance-engine downsizing, the Miami replaces a naturally-aspirated 5.4-liter V8, saving 104 lb yet providing more power.

The supercharger also helps to deliver more torque at lower engine speeds than its predecessor, ensuring effortless acceleration. Straight-line performance include a standing start quarter-mile time of less than 13 seconds and 0-62mph in under five seconds.

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The new engine even contributes to improved handling. Being lighter, it allows a better front/rear weight distribution.

The Miami engine is produced in two power ratings by altering the level of boost from the supercharger: a 420hp model in the Falcon GS and a 475hp version in the Falcon GT, GT-E and GT-P. These four high-performance vehicles are produced for the Australian market by Ford Performance Vehicles (FPV), a joint venture between Ford and Prodrive, and are the latest in a series of high performance versions of regular Ford models built by the company.

FPV commissioned Prodrive's global powertrain engineering team in Melbourne, to develop the new engine. Within the Ford empire, the team identified the Coyote V8 block and twin overhead cam cylinder heads from the North American Mustang as an ideal starting point.

Using simulation techniques, Prodrive established the boost levels necessary to deliver the required power characteristics. By optimizing the supercharger installation, especially the drive ratio and intake runners, it was possible to reach the targets without an intercooler. This leaves untapped potential for future upgrades using higher boost levels with an intercooler, should these be required. New parts include uprated exhaust valves, pistons, connecting rods, the complete intake and exhaust system, a high-capacity sump and oil cooling jets to control piston temperature. Even parts that are retained from the Mustang have been optimized for the new application, such as resetting the standard fuel injectors to suit the new combustion characteristics and rebalancing the crankshaft to suit the new pistons and rods. Unlike a 'bolt-on' supercharger conversion, engineering changes are carried through the engine to ensure long term reliability.

Prodrive ran the Miami program as a 'turnkey' project within the framework of Ford's Global Product Development System (GPDS). Prodrive Australia became the nerve centre for complex communications and logistics, coordinating input from Dearborn, Canada, Germany and the UK. Powertrain and vehicle testing locations included Germany, the USA and Australia's Northern Territories.

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Rigorous development and validation processes included accelerated engine endurance tests, simulating 250,000km use in 14 weeks, and a vehicle durability program of 170,000km. The program used three levels of hardware: hand-made prototypes for early evaluation, pre-production samples for development and production parts for final validation.

Approximately 40 percent of the engine is manufactured locally and all engines are hand-built at FPV on the only V8 assembly line in Australia.

For the Falcon GS and GT models, volume is predicted to be around 1500 engines per annum.

The Miami project has reportedly been so successful, there is the potential to sell finished engines back to the USA.

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