SVTP Drives a Tuned 7.3L 2020 F-250 | HP-Tuners & 5 Star Tuning The wait is finally over. The engine no one ever expected to see Ford building in the 2020s, the Brand-New 7.3L ‘Godzilla’ Pushrod V8, is finally making its way into the hands of the Super Duty buying public. And even better than that, the aftermarket is already hard at work making improvements. The usually suspects are already starting to crank out cold air intakes and exhaust system, but we were lucky enough to get our hands on something really special. 'FX5' is a moniker 5 Star likes to put on their tuned Ford trucks. That fine folks at 5 Star Tuning in Florence, SC invited us out to take a look at and drive one of their 2020 Super Duty test trucks. This particular model was an STX F-250 4x4 equipped with the new 7.3L gas engine and 3.55 gears. More importantly, it had an early version of 5 Star’s yet-to-be-released 87-Octane performance tune installed in its ECU. 5 Star elected to use HP Tuners’ software and the ever popular n-Gauge tuner. The result is impressive. Nicely uncluttered under the hood of a 7.3L truck. The first thing you’re going to notice when getting behind the wheel of a 7.3 powered truck is the sound. This engine sounds like a proper V8, even through the maze of factory mufflers and resonators. During steady state driving the truck is exceedingly quiet, but once you get on the throttle you instantly realize this is not just another Modular engine derivative under the hood. I expect a mild cat-back to really accentuate the already deep growl. No, your eyes are not decieving you. You can actually see the ground beside the engine. On road, the truck feels strong and capable. Make no mistake, this engine does not give a driving experience that even comes close to matching a 6.7L Powerstroke Diesel. I think of that comparison to being similar to that of a 2020 5.0 Mustang GT and a 2020 5.2L Mustang GT500. At this point, the diesel is making nearly 500HP and over 1,000lbft of torque. There’s no way an NA gas motor is going to match that level of power from the factory. And you’re going to have to get used to revving the gas motor more than the diesel to extract the power you’re requesting from it. Simple yet modern, and the exhaust manifolds look decent too. However, the 7.3L does not feel underpowered. Quite the contrary, with the 5 Star tune installed this truck moves out quite well. I suspect that it will tow very competently at the levels most buyers here on SVTP would be looking to use it. 5 Star’s HP Tuner calibration plays around with the fueling and timing a bit, and produces a nice bump in power (final numbers are not available yet) while still burning cheap 87 Octane fuel. But the big story is in the transmission tuning. This is part of the new and improved variable-rate steering system. You guys here on SVTP are probably familiar with just how great the 10R80 has been in the platforms where Ford has installed it. I’m here to tell you that the new 10R140 heavy duty transmission is just as good. 5 Star has dialed in the shifts to be quick and firm, but not harsh. It holds gears much better than stock in order to keep you in the 7.3’s meaty power band. Even for just a preliminary tune on regular pump gas, it feels nicely dialed-in. On the Rack | 7.3L Godzilla V8 | 2020 Super Duty Under Hood Inspection | 7.3L Godzilla V8 | 2020 Super Duty Test Drive | HP-Tuners & 5 Star Tuned | 7.3L Godzilla V8 | 2020 Super Duty One odd thing we did notice is that the 10R140 seems to run a bit hotter (about 210 degrees F) than we’re accustomed to seeing. It has a thermostatically controlled oil cooler than transfers heat to the engine coolant. Perhaps it’s to keep the trans oil flowing properly, but I’m sure Ford has its reasoning for making that change. If not, we’ll all be installing aftermarket transmission thermostats sometime down the road. This scoop gives a straight shot to the air filter. Should be pretty good for performance, and makes checking the filter super easy. So who is the customer for the new 7.3L powered Super Duty. IMO, you’re probably not going to convert a lot of hardcore diesel owners. For those buyers the added cost of the diesel is a small price to pay for the ownership experience. However, for those who appreciate simplicity and only tow heavy occasionally the 7.3L may be the best choice. The gas motor is going to be far less expensive to buy, own, and operate than a comparable year diesel truck. I suspect may 5.0L Coyote equipped F-150 owners will move up to a 7.3L Super Duty the next time they trade. Godzilla is a far less complicated engine than the 5.0, and the towing capability/confidence of the Duty far surpasses any half-ton truck. I recommend anyone shopping for a new full-size truck to consider and 7.3 Super Duty, you find yourself taking one off the lot.