Until the EcoBoost arrives, the big powertrain news is sideways installation of the Mustang's new 3.7-liter V-6 standard and only available on Edge Sport. That model comes with standard 20-inch wheels and starts at $36,995 ... almost Lincoln territory. (The 3.7-liter engine also is standard in the new, '11 Lincoln MKX.) As in the Mustang, the Edge Sport's 3.7-liter is rated 305 horsepower and 280 pound-feet. All the press fleet Sports are likely to come with the flashy, optional 22-inch polished aluminum wheels, and that's what we got.
Impressive as the 3.7 is in the Mustang, in the Edge, it has a lot of sheetmetal to move. The AWD Sport's 0-60 mph time was half a second slower than the time for our 285-horsepower FWD SEL model. Some of the SEL's advantage comes from lower-spec options, including four inches less wheel diameter contributing to unsprung weight. Ford says the Sport weighs about 200 pounds more than a similarly equipped standard Edge. Our AWD Sport tipped the scales at 4,405 pounds, 330 pounds heavier than our FWD SEL.
The 22s, shod in P265/40WR-22s with a tread based on the Mustang GT's all-season options, pay off in terms of handling grip. The Sport circled Motor Trend's Figure Eight test at a carlike 27 seconds-flat and 0.65 g average.
While the extra-wide tires and stiffer springs and shocks has a lot to do with the Sport's handling prowess, you can't ignore the way Ford is coming into its own in chassis development. It is benefitting from its European engineering expertise.
In recent years, we've criticized Ford for deleting any type of manual-shifting control in various models with six-speed automatics. All those gears, and you can't shift them yourself. The Edge Sport excels in correcting this with crisp-shifting steering wheel paddles. Even non-Sport Edges come with manumatic control, though it's the inconvenient shifter-knob +/- button, good only when you absolutely must upshift or downshift on mountain roads.