A diesel powered Mustang in Europe’s future? Not likely. And certainly not likely in America. But such common sense didn’t stop a rash of rumorist speculation on the internet this week that came out of a conversation a reporter had a couple weeks ago with Dave Pericak, the Mustang’s head engineer.
In the discussion the journalist asked Pericak about how Mustang could sell better in Europe. Pericak speculated that one way the Mustang might be able to make more inroads in the European market would be to offer a diesel power plant. The writer then went running off through the bushes like a drunken sailor, speculating which European Ford diesel engines could or would be transplanted into the pony car to make it all work. “Maybe it’s the Jaguar V6 diesel,” they opined. Never mind that parts-bin is no longer a major part of Ford’s palette since Jaguar is long sold. The next thing we know, all the internet journalist herds are writing about the coming of the diesel Mustang.
The whole notion reminds me of prank calls a roommate and I made while in college in the 1980’s. We called an all Corvette salvage yard and asked, “Would a 5.7 liter Oldsmobile diesel V8 fit in my Stingray?………I would really like to get better gas mileage and thought I might transplant one into my Corvette”. The horrified Corvette people on the other end of the line would ask. “What? Are you high?”
While diesels indeed make up over 50% of the car market in Europe, let me lay down a few points of logic here to throw some water on our drunken sailors at the source of all this hash mash. Nissan does not offer a diesel version of the 370Z in Europe. Porsche does not offer diesel versions of its sports cars in Europe. We can list a litany of other sports cars that remain solidly competitive remaining powered only by the almighty petrol engine, despite their thirst and expense.
When you consider that the new 2011 Mustang with its new 3.7 liter DOHC gas V6 engine produces an amazing 305hp and still achieves 31mpg you have to start wondering what the expense and brain damage of a diesel engine (for Ford) would really accomplish. If that was not good enough, Ford also has a 200+ hp 2.0 liter Eco-Boost 4-cylinder gas engine that could likely even provide more efficiency. The case for a diesel Mustang further pales.
Don’t get me wrong, we appreciate diesels here. However there is a time and place for everything. If there is one major reason that Mustang may still remain a novelty in much of Europe it’s the fact that it’s a huge car. The Mustang compares in size to the largest of sedans from Mercedes and BMW. And with the fact it is built here in the US and must be exported, the cost is not much less than a home grown luxury car.
Bottom line, America’s favorite pony-car is not getting a diesel anytime soon here or across the pond. Those in Europe who do spend out for the Mustang aren’t going to care about the petrol costs, it’s about the legendary performance of the V8.