The new Mustang GT350 with the original 1965 GT350 in the background at the LA Auto Show.

Ford has already promised that the new 5.2-liter V8 in the 2016 GT 350 Mustang will boast more than 500 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque. And it’s been announced that the engine will feature a 180-degree or flat-plane crankshaft-a high-performance feature usually limited to race engines or exotics like the Ferrari. Other than those talking points, Ford released very little else about the engine when the car was introduced Monday night.

While at the LA Auto Show, EngineLabs couldn’t force any more specs or innovation secrets out of Paul Seredynski, who is manager of Global Powertrain Technology Communications at Ford, but he did offer additional insight into the design strategy behind the new engine, which is codenamed “Voodoo.”

“We’ve taken technologies from recent and current V8s and combined them in a best-of situation,” says Seredynski. “Adding the flat-plane crank really forces you re-engineer the engine around that.”

A 180-degree crankshaft eliminates any issues of exhaust pulses interfering with each other in the headers or manifold. The exhaust pulses are evenly spaced in a V8 configuration because the firing order switches between the two banks with every spark. (see video below for demonstration)

Many race engines, especially Formula 1, have had considerable success with flat-plane cranks because they are lighter than a 90-degree or cross-plane crank. Yet many other racing disciplines like Pro Stock and Top Fuel have had disastrous results because of vibration and balance issues.

“When people talk about vibrations with flat-plane cranks, they’re generally talking about racing applications. This is a production application,” says Seredynski. “We have NVH targets to meet, and we’ve met them. We don’t see NVH as an issue, just an opportunity to create a new, cool sound for this car with more power.”


Cool sound

A furious exhaust note is certainly one of the most glorious side effects of a flat-plane crank, but Ford still has to work within the constraints of emissions requirements.

“It’s a modern, street-going automobile. You need to get the package under the hood and you need to get emissions. That means getting the cats as close to the cylinder as possible,” explains Seredynski. “The flat-plane allows shorter headers to act like longer headers because you don’t get the interference between cylinders. It’s all about the breathing, letting each cylinder breathe better because the firing order is different.”

The only image known of the new 5.2-liter Ford V8 pulled from the introduction before the LA Auto Show.

The engine will likely resemble the current 5.0-liter Coyote but nearly component will be unique to the 5.2-liter.

“The main reason we’re not providing more details is that the engine is still in development,” says Seredynski. “But it has to have a unique cylinder head, valvetrain, intake and exhaust. That’s all driven by the fact that the crank is unique and the firing order is unique.”

Seredynski says nothing trick like dry-sump oiling will be introduced, and the intake will have some active measures, similar to the Charge Motion Control currently in use. It will also be port injected, not direct injected. While some media outlets are reporting rev limits of 8,000 to 8,200 rpm, Seredynski simply says the redline will be high.

“It will be one of the highest if not the highest-revving V8 engine we’ve produced,” he says.

Finally, he promises there will be no coverup under the hood.

“The original GT350 didn’t have an engine cover. You just saw the engine,” says Seredynski. “This one will be like that. It’s all function. No plastic covers. Some people will say it’s not the prettiest thing, but for people who love engines, they will want to see it.”