Ford Motor Co.’s upcoming Lincoln MKS flagship sedan will be powered by a new 3.7L V-6 engine based on the auto maker’s 3.5L V-6 Duratec 35.

The engine also will be used in the new Ford Edge cross/utility vehicle, Mark Fields, executive vice president and president-The Americas said last week.

These and other powertrain initiatives were revealed by Fields in the auto maker’s Sept. 15 announcement of its accelerated Way Forward North American restructuring strategy.

While Ford does not say whether the MKS will offer an optional V-8 mill, as media reports suggest, a company spokesman tells Ward’s nothing yet has been decided.

“We didn’t say no to a V-8, but we said (for now the MKS) would get an exclusive 3.7L (V-6) engine. It’s a clear sign of the differentiating powertrains in the future of Lincoln vehicles,” he says, adding it is doubtful the 3.7L will be capable of producing power comparable with a V-8 engine.

The MKS reportedly will share a platform with the Ford Five Hundred and Mercury Montego sedans.

During his speech last Friday, Fields said, “development is now under way on five new vehicles that previously did not exist,” but will be on the road in the future. He later explains in a question-and-answer session all will bow post-2008, but declines to list the models.

While the Ford spokesman does not say what powertrains will be offered in the five new products, he does note the auto maker has said “one out of five vehicles would be powered by the new 3.5L engine by the end of decade.”

Meanwhile, Fields says the accelerated strategy plan calls for the F-150 fullsize pickup to receive “an even stronger powertrain lineup,” including “higher performance gas and clean diesel options” beyond 2008.

Ford doesn’t provide specifics on the coming diesel, but earlier this month a spokesman told Ward’s the auto maker is working on a light-duty-pickup diesel application that meets the Environmental Protection Agency’s Tier II, Bin 5 emission standards, which takes effect in 2010.

It is widely expected that diesel will be offered in the new F-150.

A more powerful gasoline engine, designed as a so-called “Hemi fighter,” also is in the works. As first reported by Ward’s, Ford will brand its new upcoming high-power V-8.

An official name has yet to be finalized, but iconic monikers such as Boss, Cobra Jet, Cleveland and Windsor are being considered for revival, Barb Samardzich, vice president-powertrain, told Ward’s in July. Boss is considered to be the frontrunner.

Fields says the Five Hundred, Ford Freestyle and Montego all are slated for facelifts and more powerful engines. Although no official announcement has been made, all three reportedly will receive the new 3.5L gasoline mill by next year.

The upcoming production version of the Fairlane concept, slated to replace Ford’s foundering minivan lineup in 2008, also is expected to be powered by the engine.

The unnamed production Fairlane, which will come in both Ford and Lincoln derivatives, will achieve a combined city/highway 23 mpg (10 L/100 km), Fields says.

The Ford spokesman says the secrecy surrounding the Fairlane’s powertrain is necessary due to a number of factors. “There are a lot of behind-the-scene decisions being made,” he says. “We’re coming up on union negotiations, and we want to do it in private.

“This (Fairlane decision) has implications for sourcing and could affect all the people at the plants. A decision has probably been made, but we haven’t announced what it is.”

Ford does say the Fairlane derivative will be built at its Oakville, Ont., Canada, assembly plant reportedly will ride on the Five Hundred and Montego sedan platform.

Fields in his speech also announced a new initiative at Ford that requires competitive fuel economy for every vehicle it sells, regardless of body style or powertrain.

While new engines are certain to debut, Ford makes clear it will lean heavily on its 3.5L mill, which now is in production at the auto maker’s Lima, OH, manufacturing facility.

“A year ago, we didn’t have this engine, and it was a considerably more bleak picture for powertrain,” the spokesman says.

“This is a real shining star for powertrain at Ford. It’s the best engine in the world in its class. It’s going to be in vehicles in showrooms in the next couple months, so it should help our business.”