Monday, December 22, 2014

Listen To Ford's Flat-Plane Crank V8 Roar In The 2016 Shelby GT350

With more than 500 hp deriving from a 5.2-liter flat-plane crank V-8, Ford promises the new GT350 will be the best performing Mustang ever made. And with Dodge having unleashed the Challenger Hellcat and Chevy the Camaro Z/28, the GT350 needs to deliver.

In reality the GT350 will be more refined than the Hellcat, and yet not as track-focused as the Z/28. It may line up closer in numbers to that of the Camaro ZL1. While we won't know for a while how well the GT350 drives, Ford has already published a video showcasing how the car sounds: the results, as you can hear in the video above, are pretty darn impressive.

Cross plane crank vs. flat plane crank
Cross plane crank vs. flat plane crank

But what is a “flat-plane crankshaft?” Imagine a see-through version of a typical V-8 engine: The pistons move in a stair-step fashion — alternating power strokes in a way that maximizes the engine’s smoothness; the traditional V-8 burble comes from exhaust pulses created by so-called cross-plane crankshafts.
In a V-8 with a flat-plane crankshaft, a pair of pistons raise and lower in concert, like two four-cylinder engine banks bolted together. It’s called a flat plane because the connecting rods of the pistons lie 180 degrees from each other, rather than being offset 90 degrees as in a cross-plane.

 Flat-plane cranks fell out of favor because the firing order creates harsh vibrations that have to be dulled with special weights or more expensive engine parts. Yet a flat-plane V-8 can rev higher and produce more power pound-for-pound, which is why it’s usually chosen for racing machines and modern supercars; every Ferrari V-8 is a flat-plane design.

With the 2015 Mustang GT's engine note proving to be considerably quieter than previous GT's, and the Ecoboost four-banger using BMW-style trickery to pump a more evocative soundtrack through the speakers, the GT350 appears to be the antidote we've been waiting for. Detroit never sounded so good.



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