Regulations Relegate Possible V8 Ford Bronco to Aftermarket

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If you want a new Ford Bronco and you want eight cylinders, you better start searching for aftermarket upfitters.

According to our friends at Autoblog, Ford won’t be offering a V8 in the Bronco due to emissions regulations and a belief that well, it doesn’t need to, because the 2.7-liter V6 will be powerful enough for customers. Bronco’s chief engineer Eric Loefller laid out the company’s reasoning in an interview with Muscle Cars and Trucks.

The emissions issue is about carbon dioxide and footprint – and the Bronco’s footprint doesn’t make it conducive to offering a V8, since a small off-road-oriented SUV has a high bar to clear when it comes to government requirements for carbon-dioxide emissions.

Loefller also asserted in the interview that consumers just don’t care about cylinder counts the way they used to. For its part, Ford pointed out that in the company’s opinion, the available 2.7-liter twin-turbocharged V6 is powerful enough.

“If the customer experience was significantly enhanced with a Coyote engine, it would have been under serious consideration,” Ford’s Global Program Manager, Jeff Seaman, told Muscle Cars and Trucks. “In all honesty, that EcoBoost motor is damn good and when you get out of it you don’t say, ‘I wish I had a bigger engine.’”

Bronco. Photo: Adam Tonge/TTAC

The Coyote engine, of course, is the 5.0-liter V8 available in the Mustang and F-150.

We haven’t driven the 2.7 in the Bronco yet – we haven’t driven the Bronco at all, although our man Adam went for a ride recently – but broadly speaking, Seaman’s point isn’t a bad one, even if it sounds like a toeing of the company line. I mean, as it is, the V6 in the Bronco is projected to make 310 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque.

While comparing an off-road SUV to a sports car is apples to oranges, it’s still worth noting that the listed torque figure is just 20 lb-ft fewer than what a Mustang GT with the Coyote V8 offers. If you think the F-150 makes for a better comp, the 400 lb-ft from the Bronco’s V6 is the same as the both the V6 and V8 in the 2020 model (2021 figures are not out yet).

Modern engines are quite good at delivering plenty of power while using fewer cylinders these days. There’s plenty of four-cylinders and V6s on the market that don’t leave drivers wanting for more cylinders, and Ford’s own lineup offers examples. Take the EcoBoost four-cylinder Mustang. It has plenty of guts.

Another Ford example? The F-150 Raptor. That truck is plenty beastly without V8 power, although it is rumored to be getting a V8 in the near future. Whether that happens or not, the twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6 is more than enough for the job.

Still, a V8 Bronco would likely be a blast to drive. So, that in mind, the aftermarket could provide the answer. Hennessy has a 5.0-liter V8 option for the Raptor, as AB notes, so that could be one option.

It’s important to note that sticking with six cylinders doesn’t mean that Ford won’t offer more power in the Bronco. We’ve reported a model with more off-road goodies – possibly dubbed Raptor – is likely to reach the market, and there’s a good chance a more bad-ass Bronco would get more power to go along with the upgraded off-road components. Ford could also simply wring more power out of the V6 in the future, even in “regular” trim applications.

If you’ve read this far and you’re paying attention to the off-roader wars, you’re probably wondering how Jeep can propose putting a Hemi V8 in the Wrangler and still stay on the correct side of the emissions regs?

Well, for one thing, the Wrangler Rubicon 392 has yet to be confirmed for production, and it may be a limited-edition model if/when it’s built. Not to mention, Jeep can offset some emissions with the upcoming Wrangler 4xe hybrid model.

Does this mean that Ford might build a hybrid Bronco in the future to offset a potential V8 model? One can only wonder.

H/t to a friend of mine who sent me the source link before I even saw it in my RSS feed/daily news scan.

[Images: Ford, Adam Tonge/TTAC]

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