By on September 14, 2020


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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28 Comments on “Regulations Relegate Possible V8 Ford Bronco to Aftermarket...”

  • avatar

    Personally, if I was in this market for some reason I’d buy a V8 Jeep without even cross-shopping a V6 Bronco.

    I have a turbo V6 car now. It’s fine, it makes good power, it’s not slow, but I still wish it had the Tau V8 and it’s kind of disappointing to know I’ve got a compliance engine.

    • 0 avatar

      This is exactly where I’m at.

      Nothing the interior or suspension offers could make up for a cylinder count deficit (and natural aspiration). People can feel free to ridicule that as much as they want.

      If Ford’s listening, I’d honest to god pay $10,000 more for a V8 that assuredly costs them less to build than the turbo 6 and costs them a fraction of that figure in CAFE costs.

      • 0 avatar

        I obviously don’t hate a turbo V6 or anything, but outside of a very few exceptions (like the Quadrifoglio or GT-R) I’ll always feel like it’s the silver medal or “technical winner”. It’s the “you can’t even taste the broccoli!” of engines.

        A major reason I’m interested in the Supra and M340i is that the B58 really feels like something BMW would offer even if emission regulations didn’t exist.

        • 0 avatar

          The distinction for me is truck vs. car.

          I’d take pretty much any 8 over any 6 in a truck, whereas in a car I’m more forgiving (within reason, I still wouldn’t own a 2.0T in anything bigger than a compact).

          And rational or not, I prefer the sound, power curve, and simplicity of a naturally aspirated engine in virtually any application.

  • avatar

    To me, the 5.0l just doesn’t bring much to the table over a 2.7EB. Ford has spent a decade convincing people that the eb is the engine they want. Plus Ford now says that the eb’s are more popular than the 5.0l.

    the 392 brings a lot to the table over the 3.6 and Jeep seems to be able to sell up and down the aspirational chart pretty well. I see the 392 as being a rubicon-high altitude equipment package and it won’t be cheap, therefore it will be easier to bury the penalties.

    • 0 avatar

      Ford says they’re more popular because Ford sandbags the 5.0L to make it appear less competent than the high strung V6s. They drive EB sales that way.

      Think about it. The garbage 5.4L V8 with a 6-speed had more capability than the same truck with the much more powerful 5.0L V8. Total manipulation to drive EgoBust sales.

      • 0 avatar

        “high strung V6s” What is your definition of high strung?

        FCA has the Pentastar in pickups but no turbo’s. Ram is reported to be going to a 6 cylinder turbo engine for their 1/2 ton trucks.

        As far as your 5.0 versus 5.4 comment:
        The 2010 F150 with 5.4 had a max tow of 11,300 lbs whereas the current 2020 F150 5.0 is rated at 11,500 lbs. The 5.4 has more torque down low. The 5.0 if anything, is the the “high strung” engine in the Ford lineup.

        The 5.0 V8 exists mostly to keep V8 fans happy. The EB 3.5 is a much better engine.

        • 0 avatar

          Hahahahaha. “The 5.4 has more torque down low” Yeah ok. It’s not the fact that Ford wanted to shove a high strung V6 that guzzles gas down people’s throats and to do that they had to make it appear as if it was a better engine. In the real world, the 5.0L runs circles around the 3.5 Egobust (especially in reliability).

          I recently saw a test where a new hybrid Explorer went against a V8 Durango in a MPG test. The Durango SMOKED it despite having two less heard and bigger wheels and tires.

          So Ford designed a pile of garbage hybrid system that gets worse mileage than a V8 SUV that is heavier and designed in the mid 00s. V8s have their place as do high strung engines. Keep the unreliable, high strung engines to the small cars where they belong.

        • 0 avatar

          “The 5.0 V8 exists mostly to keep V8 fans happy. The EB 3.5 is a much better engine.”

          GTFO with that. Not everyone drives a truck dude.

  • avatar

    I would be perfectly happy with the 3.3L base engine out of the F150, no turbo with a stick shift.

  • avatar

    I gotta day one thing Mulally did well was hire people who, when they lied, it was at least believable.

    This is unadulterated BS. Regulations are. It keeping the proper 5.0L V8 out of the Blazer….err…..Bronco. It’s either an inability to properly engineer it or sheer laziness.

    Meanwhile over at Chrysler, they figure out a way to put the Hellcat V8 in everything while being subject to the same regulations.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Ford may not want to be in the position of paying carbon credit money to Tesla while also developing the F-150 EV. FCA just doesn’t care about that.

    Another V8 issue may be weight gain, or space issues under the hood.

    No matter – a mythical V8 Bronco would be a niche player, and Ford already seems to have decent market spectrum covered with the Bronco Sport up through the top trim Bronco.

    • 0 avatar

      No. It’s none of that. It’s “regulations”

      • 0 avatar

        It’s total nonsense. Or why not “regulate” the sales of Mustang GTs? Yet the Mustang isn’t even “Truck” exempt like the Bronco.

        • 0 avatar

          The “footprint” of the Bronco is smaller than that of the Mustang. It is also a brick on wheels so aerodynamics aren’t going to provide any improvement to MPG/emissions.
          The turbo V6 “tests” better than a V8. In a world of lab generated results, that’s all that matters.

          • 0 avatar

            I meant the Mustang is subject to the Gas Guzzler Tax, the Bronco is not. Neither do their CAFE/CARB exposure any favors, but going from a turbo V6 to a V8 isn’t a big deal.

            Or the big deal Ford claims.

  • avatar

    Ford didn’t plan a V8 Bronco. Even if it was possible, or could fit, they didn’t expect a V8 Wrangler. But maybe we can expect a fullsize Bronco based on the F-150.

  • avatar

    The obligatory daily Ford Bronco item. More overhyped than the NFL draft.

  • avatar

    Why are you Americans so attached to big V8 engines? It is not 60s anymore and not even 70s with 5.0L 160hp V8 engines. You don’t get what is going on. Very soon you will not have V6 engines also. And then I4 engines will be outlawed too. Get used to the idea of EV.

    • 0 avatar

      “You don’t get what is going on.”

      So? “Very soon” doesn’t mean “right now”.
      I think we’re mostly all otherwise “used to the idea” of an EV. They will probably be better than these current gasoline compliance engines anyway.

      • 0 avatar

        Not right now yes, but in January 2021. Not that far in future comrade.

        • 0 avatar

          The UK “ICE ban” is currently set for 2035, and even that only relates to new sales. So I don’t think much of substance is happening in the US in January.

          However if the near future is BEV then that just tells me that automakers wasted way too much time on their turbocharged whimsy over the last decade anyway.

        • 0 avatar

          “…but in January 2021…”

          So what happens then? Except at some point, V8s should be the last ICE engines offered/standing.

          There’s not so much attachment to anything smaller.

          It’s not so much that we’re attached to V8’s, but why do so many turbo engines try to mimic the power curve of normal V8s?

          Yet so many turbo engines get not so impressive MPG in the process, especially in midsize vehicles and up. Or get worse mpg than V8s in real world or brisk acceleration.

          But why does anyone bemoan an 8 cylinder count? The 3.5 Eco Boost V6 takes up just as much space as the 5.0 Coyote and weighs just as much. Actually the 3.5 EB is about 7 lbs heavier and is practically just as thirsty. Yikes.

          As far as ICE engines go, show something better than American V8s, all things considered. Even in the V8 Dark Ages, what was better?

          By your math, V10s should’ve put V8s out to pasture. Nothing of the sort happened.

    • 0 avatar

      Well your talking about a country that has a special relationship with that engine configuration ever since Henry Ford decided to make an economical and widely available V8 engine. They make great power (and sound great) in an affordable and relatively uncomplicated package (especially the big cube pushrod engines).

      And as we slip into a dreadfully boring future V8s are like the last and best tasting fries at the bottom of the bag.

      • 0 avatar

        @raph – the “great sound” has more to do with crank layout and head configuration than whether it is a V8 or not. The GT350 flatplane crank V8 sounds more like a European V10/12 supercar engine than that of a domestic crossplane crank V8. Same can be said for Yamaha’s crossplane crank layout in their motorcycles. They sound morelike a V4/twin than a typical inline 4.

      • 0 avatar

        “your talking about a country that has a special relationship with that engine”

        That country you talking about is on its death throes. Shiny new green future is coming next year and wiping old rusty sentiments away.

  • avatar

    But the 392 is NA; a forced induction engine would be vastly preferable for high altitude, no? And no the 2.7 and even the 3.5 can’t match the Coyote, especially not with a supercharger strapped to it. Never owned a 2.7 but i have owned a 3.5 and have a coyote now. The 3.5 had power but didn’t deliver power as seamlessly as the 5.0 and fell on its face at high revs as opposed to the Coyote. Still can’t beat a V8.

  • avatar

    I would take a small displacement V8 over a boosted V6 for something like this. Large displacement would be even better.

    I understand that under testing the turbo does much better in regards to emissions and CO2, but real world they aren’t much different.

    It seems manufactures all play to the numbers on paper game and have given up on the driving involvement part of owning a vehicle.

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