Top 5 Ford Mustang Six Cylinder Engines

Take A Look At Our Top 5 Mustang 6 Cylinder Powerplants!

Updated September 30, 2018

Attention usually goes to Mustang’s V8 engines, but 6 cylinder motors have been the underpinnings of the line. Here’s a look at 5 of the best Mustang 6s.

The range of engines here is incredible. There’s everything from a simple, durable push rod inline motor to a highly-sophisticated V6 with just about every form of automotive technology incorporated. Regardless of technology, the job has always been the same – provide a lively performing motor for the budget-minded Mustang buyer. Scroll down to view our list.

Mustang 6 Cylinder Engines 1


5. 1968-1970 Ford Thriftpower 4.1 L

Our Number 5 choice is the 250 CID (4.1 L)  Ford Thriftmaster inline six cylinder that was vailable in the 1969 and 1970 Ford Mustang. The 250 was a simply a 200 with a longer stroke, making the engine undersquare (stroke longer then the bore) which may explain the peak horsepower coming in 400 rpm lower than the 200. Despite breathing through a one-barrel carburetor, output was 155 hp, very close to the 164 hp produced by the two-barrel 260 V8 in earlier Mustangs.

Mustang 6 Cylinder Engines 2


4. 1974-1978 Cologne V6 2.8 L

For our fourth choice, we’ve selected the 2.8 L version of the Ford “Cologne” engine. In production since 1965, this Ford of Germany design featured a 60 degree V (to provide more even firing) and an OHV valvetrain configuration. Despite pushing out just 90 hp, the V6 actually outperformed the Mustang II 5.0 V8 on a displacement versus horsepower comparison, with the V8 delivering only 133 hp (nearly 50% more displacement but only a 32% increase in power).

Mustang 6 Cylinder Engines 3


3. 2001 Essex V6 3.8L

Believe it or not, Ford actually had two different V6 engines in production in Europe at the same time. One was produced in the German city of Cologne, the other in the English county of Essex. However, the British Essex engine was never used in the US. It was heavily modified and produced in Canada,  changed from a 60 degree V6 to 90 degrees. The British engine the Canadian inherited was much heavier than the Cologne engine, so cast iron heads were replace with aluminum. The 2001 version utilized Ford’s IMRC intake system and produced 193 hp.

Mustang 6 Cylinder Engines 4


2. 2005 – 2010 Cologne V6 4.0 L

Our second choice is the bored and stroked version of the 60 degree Cologne V6, but now converted to SOHC configuration. The standard camshaft was replaced by a plain shaft and was driven by the regular timing chain. The plain shaft carried two sets of gears, one for the timing chain for each cylinder head. It’s a similar The as Ford used with its famous 427 SOHC race engine. The big Cologne engine produced 210 hp – the same output as the 289 V8 with a four-barrel in a 1964.5 – 1966 Mustang.

Mustang 6 Cylinder Engines 5


1. 2011 – 2014 Duratec 3.7 L

A completely modern engine when compared with the previous designs. In marketing speak, the engine is the Duratec 3.7. The code name inside Ford is Cyclone. Notable features for the Cyclone include DOHC 4-valve per cylinder heads, direct acting mechanical bucket (DAMB) camshaft tappets,  gasoline direct injection and twin independent variable cam timing (Ti-VCT). In EPA testing, the Cyclone powered Mustang delivered 31 mpg, making it the first production engine to deliver 300 hp and 30 MPG. The output for the 2011 – 2014 engine is reported at 305 hp, while Ford has lowered the rating to 300 hp for the 2015 – models.

Mustang 6 Cylinder Engines 6



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Chris Riley
About Chris Riley

I have been wrecking cars for as long as I've been driving them but I keep coming back for more. Two wheels or four, I'm all in. gives me a chance to give something back to the automobile community.

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