MRT's '06 Ford Fusion AWD
Many of you populating reader-land will be familiar with Mustang Racing Technologies (MRT), the Detroit-area firm headed up by Scott Hoag. Since its inception, MRT has carved out a niche of aftermarket parts and services for the Mustang, with its primary focus being on SN95 and New Edge cars.
In his past life with Ford Motor Company on Team Mustang, Hoag was a driving force behind "selling" the '01 Bullitt special-edition idea to Ford senior management and actually bringing it to market. Now a businessman and entrepreneur, Scott is still, first and foremost, a FoMoCo enthusiast whose entire corporate and personal vehicle fleet-right down to his estate tractor-has sprung from Ford DNA (my kind of guy. -Ed.). So maybe we shouldn't be entirely surprised to see his company begin to cast its attention on Blue Oval models beyond the Mustang.
Why can't we buy a Fusion like this from the factory? Don't get us wrong. Optioned correctly, a stock Fusion can be perfectly practical transportation. It handles well right out of the box, has a quiet and nicely crafted cabin ahead of a good-sized trunk, and has crisply folded sheetmetal that isn't hard to look at (even if the semi-clear taillights are a little pass). Oh, and let's not forget the availability of all-wheel drive, an obvious boon to those residing anywhere north of the Sunbelt, but that would also be an excellent way to put some excess horsepower to the pavement. If only the factory Fusion had some, that is. Sadly, while undeniably smooth, a stock Fusion's top-dog 3.0L V-6 option can best be described as uninspiring from an enthusiast's standpoint. We long for the EcoBoost!
Which kind of inspired Scott to stick a turbo on the darn thing-something more easily said than done, as there certainly wasn't anybody out there offering a complete hair dryer kit for the Fusion. Necessity, they say, is the mother of invention, so Hoag had his MRT crew fabricate some ducting to weave a rather large Garrett T31 intercooled turbo into the Fusion's already-packed engine bay. They then set about the task of calibrating the powertrain control module so the stock engine and transaxle internals wouldn't blow like a fragmentation grenade upon that first delicious hit of boost.
Is this Frank Bullitt's SUV? MRT took an Edge crossover and applied a Bullitt theme (a Sco
The result is what likely would have been a torque-steering monster, were it not for the quick reaction of the aforementioned all-wheel-drive system in transferring all the power to Mother Earth. There is a bit of lag in the setup, but once the Garrett spools up, watch out. In other words, MRT's Fusion T5 now has the power an enthusiast could love, along with all the lovely sonic entertainment of excess boost being vented to the atmosphere when you lift your boot out of it. Sonic entertainment can also be found in the car's MRT-fabricated stainless exhaust with Aero Turbine mufflers. Though the exhaust note may be a tad raucous for the daily commute of an old bugger like me, this system leaves little doubt of the sporting intentions of MRT's T5. Scott seems to enjoy using it to humiliate BMW M3s.
Looks pretty bitchin', too, doesn't it? We really like MRT's own TwinScoop hood, a fiberglass piece that's nicely finished both top and bottom and is now available through the company's website at www.mrt-direct.com. The balance of the body kit is from 3dCarbon, and MRT went with an understated black-chrome look on the T5's grilles, wheels, and lamp assemblies. The headlamps and taillamps, by the way, are not simply tinted; rather, they were disassembled and any brightwork was then black-chromed. The rims? They're Boss 328s, again in black chrome, and are 20x8.5 at both ends, wearing P255/35ZR20 Nittos and filling out the wheelwells perfectly. Of course, the wheel arches are a little closer to earth, thanks to a set of coilovers from H&R.