Ford's EcoBoost engines promise higher performance while simultaneously providing higher fuel economy. To prove it, they took us out to the drag strip with a Taurus SHO-ish Lincoln MKS EcoBoost and Ford Flex EcoBoost to go head-to-head with some "competition." They certainly raised a few eyebrows.
355 HP from a 3.5 liter twin turbocharged V6 is nothing to sneeze at, but we've never really heard verified quarter mile times for either the Lincoln MKS or Ford Flex, so we jumped at the chance to run them at Milan Dragway when Ford called us up. After all, big talk about stuff like "fuel economy" and "V8-like performance" isn't squat unless the cars can turn in the numbers. Although we've already driven the Lincoln MKS EcoBoost, we've yet to drive the similarly ecoboosted Ford Flex. We weren't allowed behind the wheel this time either, but we did get to watch as Ford engineers peeled out from the starting tree.
So we hit the "Test and Tune" night at the Dragway, better known as "run whatcha brung." The gates open at 5:00 pm and through them pour a wide spectrum of vehicles, everything from clapped together hoopties we're pretty sure tech looked the other way on to drag rails to snowmobiles. Yes, they race snowmobiles, nine second, 130 MPH snowmobiles. So when three MKS and a Ford Flex showed up, let's just say the crowd didn't exactly go wild. Once we popped the hoods though, those in the know crowded around the cars. "Yes, it's the SHO powertrain" was very often repeated.
And then over the loudspeaker "All street tire cars proceed to the staging area." We were up. It's a very strange thing to stage a quiet, luxurious, $48,000 Lincoln next to snarling, barely-road legal Mustangs and GTO's, but we made our way to the front of the line. We lined up at the lights, windows up, air conditioning off, traction control disabled, brake stand, revs at 3000 rpm and green! The unassumingly Lincoln then proceeded to return a 14.1 second quarter mile with a trap speed of 104.4 MPH. When we parked, there were quite a few more people interested in what was under the hood. Ours wasn't even the fastest time of the evening. Later in the evening, when the temperature had dropped and the cars had cooled down, former Jalopnik hack and Car & Driver man about town Mike Austin managed a 13.9 second run at 104 MPH. Yes, that's right — you can buy a 13 second Lincoln.
But what about that EcoBoost Flex? Well, despite all our ribbing and negotiating, Ford wouldn't let us behind the wheel, but that didn't stop them from having a good 'ole time of it. Would you believe the Flex, with all of it's 4500 lbs of heft and the aerodynamics of a brick wall managed a 14.5 second run at 98 MPH? Turns out 355 HP and a torque curve as flat as Iowa can really wake up a car's performance.
Here's the thing about both of these cars — they were running consistently all night long. If you want to be a bracket racing hero and take the kids out to soccer practice the next day, the Flex will do 14.5 s at 95 to 98 MPH run after run after run. Same with the MKS, speeds were in the 103 to 104 MPH range and we picked up 1/10 of a second for each 5 degrees the temperature dropped, 14.1 to 13.9 as the night grew cooler.
Someone should really tell Ford they need this setup in the Mustang.