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It looks like the 2011 Ford Edge Sport is really going to live up to its name. A brand-new 3.7-liter V6 – from a Mustang, no less – will now reside in the engine bay.

Power goes up to 305 horsepower – that's 40 more than the outgoing engine. It gives this Edge the, um, edge over its greatest rival – the Chevrolet Equinox – to the tune of 41 hp. Torque is now at a robust 280 pound-feet – that means it takes off quick from a stand still.

However, the extra muscle won't mean more visits to the gas station. Ford claims the same fuel consumption stays as before (18 mpg in the city, 25 mpg on the highway, in the front-wheel-drive version). This feat has been achieved by things like the use of variable camshaft timing, lowering the engine's idle speed and improving the Edge Sport's aerodynamics.

To underline the vehicle's sportier character, this version of the Edge gets race car-style steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters for changing gears manually. Although the six-speed transmission will revert to being fully automatic when the shifters aren't being used.

Ford is going for an aftermarket look with the 2011 Edge Sport, by adding a blacked-out grille, smoked headlamps and tail lights, four-inch chromed oval exhaust tips, and new-design 22-inch forged aluminum wheels. Although the combination of those wheels with an available sport-tuned suspension (firmer than standard) may not be to everyone's taste.

There's also a world first: iTunes Tagging in an (optional) factory-installed HD Radio receiver. When a song comes up on the HD Radio that the driver would like to buy, its details can be stored in the unit's memory (by pressing a button marked "Tag"), allowing that song to be downloaded from the iTunes website later.

Although the Edge Sport model has been around for two years, it's been more of a "halo" model for the range rather than a big seller. With this revamp, more buyers might be tempted to splash out the extra $9,000 over a base Edge and spend from $36,220 on the 2011 Sport when it goes on sale at summer's end. But if they do decide to get a front-drive Edge SEL or Limited, at least they can be happy in the knowledge that the 285-hp, 3.5-liter V6 in those vehicles can offer class-leading fuel consumption of 19 mpg (city) and 27 mpg (highway).

author photo

Colin Ryan has driven hundreds of cars thousands of miles while writing for BBC Top Gear magazine, Popular Mechanics, the Los Angeles Times, European Car, Import Tuner and many other publications, websites, TV shows, etc.

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