Horsepower Wars - Diesel World

Is Ford Underrating their 2020 Super Duty?

From an engineering standpoint, the new 2020 Ford trucks are one of the most impressive diesels to come down the pike in quite some time. It’s 475 horsepower rating puts a decent gap on its competition in the form of Duramax (445 hp) and Ram (400 hp), and that’s not all. The power number that the new blue oval puts to the ground is also impressively high–in most cases around 425rwhp at sea level, uncorrected. So what’s going on here? Is Ford underrating its engines, or are the new trucks just that efficient?

As it turns out, it might be a little of both. With most Duramax-powered GMs putting down around 365rwhp, that means there’s a good 60 horsepower gap between the Fords and GMs–a lot more than the flywheel numbers might indicate. A big part of the rear-wheel horsepower advantage comes from Ford’s new 10-speed transmission, which is said to reduce traditional drivetrain losses as compared to older automatics. If the figures are to be believed, that means about only a 10-percent drivetrain loss through the new transmission, compared to 17-20 percent for older automatics.


That still doesn’t entirely clear things up however, as there are dyno numbers for stock 2020 Ford diesels that are floating around as high as 480-rwhp, with a few others in the mid 450s. Most of these graphs seem to use some sort of correction factor, a high load, are up in elevation, or all three. Ford seems to want to make sure their vehicles don’t fall off as elevation increases (a Mustang Ecoboost for instance makes MORE boost at higher elevation) so it’s possible that Ford has more aggressive tuning at high altitude.

Whatever the case may be, it’s clear that Ford has thrown down a power and efficiency gauntlet for 2020 with its new heavy-duty diesel. GM and Ram? It’s your move!