The Good Oil: Rumours hint at turbo four Mustang

2013 Ford Mustang.
2013 Ford Mustang.

Rumours hint at turbo-four Mustang The phrase "four-cylinder Mustang" will either horrify or excite you.

For many, the idea of Ford's iconic muscle car sprouting a 2.3-litre version of the company's EcoBoost four-cylinder turbo engine is a truly mouth-watering prospect, one that also revives memories of the legendary four-cylinder turbo Mustang SVO that sold between 1984 and 1986.

Said to be in development first for European markets, the 2.3-litre version of the engine found in the Focus ST is thought to be good for "at least" 224kW. But rumours suggest the four-pot 'Stang is also lined up for release on home soil, so it will have to better the current V6 Mustang's 226kW if it even wants to have a hope of selling there.

In keeping with Ford's policy of offering the EcoBoost as an "upgrade" engine (except in the Aussie Falcon ... ) it seems most likely that the V6 will remain the base engine, with the EcoBoost as a more powerful, more frugal option.

But then, running counter to that idea, the rumour persists that Ford is also developing a new turbo V6 EcoBoost engine for the US Mustang, meaning the four-cylinder version may be a Euro-only proposition, after all.

Still, a light, turbo-four Mustang with a six-speed manual and independent rear suspension replacing the ancient live rear axle? Yes, please ...

Supercars and superheroes?

Superhero Tony Stark may well have flirted with Honda by driving the Acura NSX concept car in The Avengers, but the latest trailer for Iron Man 3 shows he is firmly back behind the wheel of an Audi. That's the brand driven by Robert Downey Jr's character in each of the Iron Man films.

In the original movie, Stark drove an R8; in the sequel it was the convertible version of the Audi supercar.

Now the billionaire industrialist superhero is driving the electric e-tron version of Audi's hero car, but Honda's Acura nameplate has a stranglehold on Disney's other Marvel movies The Avengers, Captain America and Thor with the luxury brand the vehicle of
choice for S.H.I.E.L.D., the fictional spy agency of the Marvel universe.

Neither brand would say how much the product placement cost them, but it wouldn't be cheap.

Engineer hints that Toyobaru may get hybrid boost

When talk turns to a hotter version of the Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ, thinking naturally heads towards turbos, or possibly superchargers. After all, turbos are what Subaru does best, and it has to be said that Toyota are pretty handy with them as well. But another school of thought surrounding the grunting-up of the Toyobaru has emerged and it may not be the one you would have imagined hybrid power.

In an interview for UK magazine Autocar, chief engineer Tetsuya Tada says nothing is off the table in the development of a more powerful version of the car. Turbo and supercharging are both options, but Tada hinted about using hybrid technology to boost power.

Tada says the system will be different to Toyota's hybrid system in the Prius and act more in the fashion of Honda's IMA system, providing ''substantial'' low rpm torque boost without compromising fuel consumption or emissions.

It would also be simpler, cheaper and lighter, with the system's batteries used to lower the car's centre of gravity further, with any weight penalty offset by the TRD tuning department finding it ''easy'' to take 100kg out of the 86's kerb weight.

This may send waves of dismay shuddering through the enthusiast's nervous system, but consider the current breed of supercar the McLaren P1 and Ferrari LaFerrari feature
hybrid electric systems to boost power to frankly silly levels. Maybe all is not lost after all.

We are the world

*There is nothing unusual about taking your teenage son with you on a quick errand, but that shouldn't include torching your ex-girlfriend's car. After being dumped via text
message, 47-year-old Florida man Israel Guadalupe took his 14-year-old son to help him torch his (now) ex's 2011 Ford Fusion. Unfortunately for him, witnesses saw Guadalupe's Chrysler 200 leaving the scene. Not only is he a poor criminal, he also torched the wrong Fusion ... When police went to Guadalupe's home, they found
the 14-year-old with burns on his leg. He told the police that his dad made him help torch the car, then refused to get him medical treatment when he was burned.
Guadalupe was charged with arson and child abuse.

*A Chinese Buick dealership is facing allegations of using a child abduction and
murder case to promote the safety features of their vehicles. The case, which received
enormous media coverage in China, revolved around the theft of a Toyota RAV4 and the
subsequent murder of an infant who had been left unattended in the vehicle.
Tianhe Buick posted the following on the Weibo social media site: ''When buying a car, it's completely okay to choose brands with better technology. Tianhe Buicks carry the OnStar GPS system, which can track down the location of a stolen vehicle at any time and automatically report it to the police. Feel at ease, have peace of mind, if you're going to buy a car, why not choose a completely safe Buick!!!'' Classy.

Number Crunching

100 YEARS Cars have been produced at Oxford, England.

11.655 MILLION Cars built at Mini's Oxford plant.

191 MILLION BMW has spent since taking over the Oxford plant.

750 THOUSAND Minis produced at the Oxford plant in 2011.

- NZ Herald

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