Although Ford hasn't released final output numbers, some sources rate the new Power Stroke at 360 horsepower, with more than 650 pound-feet of torque. You can bet there's more power to be had in that block, too. At the heart of the new powerplant's big power numbers is a set of turbochargers, one large and one small. The smaller variable-vein turbo is designed to ramp up quickly, providing fast-responding low-grunt grunt, without the traditional amount of lag in an engine this size. The larger turbo is more for mid-to high-rpm power production, allowing for a flatter and longer torque plateau, even into and above 3000 rpm. The standard transmission behind the new Power Stroke is the ZF six-speed manual transmission previously offered, with the TorqueShift five-speed automatic optional.
Underneath the front end of the F-450, the wider stance is a result of the 10-bolt Dana 60 Hybrid live axle, so called because it has heavier-duty parts from Dana 70 and 80 axles. 4x2 models will continue to use the twin I-beam setup, but will now have a weight rating that's 400 pounds stronger. Both 4x4 and 4x2 versions will have an almost 45-degree tire turning angle that'll provide an astoundingly small turning diameter, relatively speaking. The front coil springs will remain unchanged, but the rear suspension has been modified: To accommodate the extra weight and strength of the commercial-looking Dana 110 rear axle (with heavy-duty square axle tubes), the leaf springs have been lengthened eight inches. The extra length is said to allow for more control, and with two extra leafs, it'll carry more weight. Ring-and-pinion gear sets are 4.88:1 with six 19.5-inch 10-bolt polished aluminum rims at the corners.
From the outside, there are no dramatic departures from previous Super Duty cues. We like that the grille is bigger (needed for better cooling) and that Ford has embossed the Super Duty name right on top of the hood in masculine block lettering. The stacked headlights are now in the lower section just above the bumper, and because of the extra width of the heavy-duty axles, fender flares were necessary to keep the tires under the body. Also, faux side vents have been set behind the front wheels and will demarcate option and trim packages.
Don't expect to see many base-model F-450s. Ford anticipates that the people interested in this vehicle won't be cutting corners on interior options, which makes sense. In many cases, these people probably have trailers equal to or much more expensive than the towee. When you own a $50,000 horse trailer that carries another $100,000 worth of livestock, you may not worry too much about an $1800 DVD system option, just check all the boxes. With that said, the King Ranch version shown here has the special saddleback leather seats, fully electric (and retractable) tow mirrors, navigation system, backup camera, rear-seat DVD player, an MP3 plug-in, and several large interior storage compartments, as well as an industry-first hideaway step and hand rail, hidden in the tailgate.
With all these goodies, we'd expect most F-450 models (especially the King Ranch version) to come in as the most expensive full-size pickup truck out there, which puts it right around $55,000. But if you have to tow, and you've got long-haul driving to do, a case could be made for spending the money. No word yet from Ford as to how many it thinks it can sell, but it could be somewhere under 10,000 in the first full year. Whether that business case will work for Ford remains to be seen. Until we can get behind the wheel and drive, we'll hold our final verdict.