Photography by ©2019 Toni Avery
It’s been a minute since I’ve reviewed a Mustang. And even longer since I’ve reviewed a four-cylinder Mustang. Thanks to Ford, I was invited up north to San Francisco, CA to drive the latest iteration of the Ecoboost pony. The Ecoboost High Performance Package.
First of all, the views in and around San Francisco were amazing! I’ve really only been to the city where it’s quite crowded and the streets are incredibly steep. So it was a nice change to be outside of all the hustle and bustle to just drive. There was still quite a bit of traffic in the form on slow cars in front, but the change of scenery was great.
There are a few distinct differences between the standard Ecoboost Mustang and the High Performance Package Ecoboost Mustang. Those differences include:
- Horsepower increase to 330 [from 310 and RPM increase to 6,000 from 5,500]
- Front brake rotor increase to 352 mm x 32 mm vented discs, four-piston 46 mm fixed aluminum calipers [from 320 mm x 30 mm vented discs, twin-piston 43 mm floating aluminum calipers]
- Rear rotor increase to 330 mm x 25 mm solid disc, single-piston 45 mm floating aluminum calipers [from 320 mm x 11.4 solid disc, single-piston 45 mm floating aluminum calipers
- Standard wheels/tires increase to 19 in x 9 in 225/40 R summer only tires [from 17 in x 7.5 in 235/55RH A/S]
- Curb weights increase slightly across the board from fastback to convertible to manual and automatic
According to Ford, the new High Performance Package offers:
“The new 2020 2.3L High Performance Package feels sharp and nimble, with an aggressive road-holding stance, near-balanced 53/47 weight distribution and fully independent suspension, plus chassis and aerodynamic upgrades from the Mustang GT and its Performance Package.
For greater steering precision, the team added an alloy strut tower brace to stiffen the chassis at the front. To improve stopping power and fade resistance, the 2.3L High Performance Package adds larger four-piston fixed calipers with 13.9-inch front rotors from Mustang GT. It features a 32-millimeter sway bar up front and a 21.7-millimeter bar at the rear.
New performance calibration tuning is applied to the electronic-controlled power steering, antilock braking, stability control and five driver-selectable drive modes. For improved cornering, a 3.55:1 limited-slip rear axle is included, plus package-specific 19×9-inch machined-face aluminum wheels and 255/40R summer tires.
For an aggressive look, the new EcoBoost 2.3L High Performance Package includes a large black front splitter and belly pan, plus brake cooling ramps from the Mustang GT Performance Package–add-ons that also work to reduce front-end lift and improve brake cooling. A blacked-out grille with offset Mustang tri-bar pony emblem, 2.3L High Performance Package side badges and magnetic gray side mirrors and raised blade rear spoiler add to the performance look, while a unique metallic gray stripe crosses the hood.
An engine-spun aluminum instrument panel with oil pressure and turbo boost gauges, plus a serialized dash plaque highlight the interior.”
During the drive to lunch, I drove a coupe with the 10-speed automatic transmission and the Ecoboost handling package. This package includes:
“Increasing lateral acceleration grip and stopping power, the available EcoBoost Handling Package includes semi-metallic brakes, specially calibrated MagneRide dampers and a TORSEN 3.55:1 limited-slip rear axle. Wider 19×9.5-inch premium painted aluminum wheels with 265/40R Pirelli PZero Corsa4 summer tires provide traction, while a 24-millimetersolid-rear sway bar, up from 21.7millimeters, improves handling balance.”
After switching to a non-handling package Ecoboost after lucnh, it was apparent that this package is a must. The car feels overall more solid and nimble in corners when equipped with the handling package. I loved the overall sound being much more aggressive than the Ecoboost I remember, this is thanks to a fully active quad-tip exhaust system with a signature tuned sound. I had a hard time looking past the automatic transmission, though. Even in Sport mode. It truly made the car feel less responsive than it can be. I would have loved to try a manual, but maybe that’s in my future!
Aside from the automatic, one of the coolest things Ford told us about the car is:
“The Ford Performance Focus RS 2.3-liter engine is a high-revving marvel, and anyone who’s driven this EcoBoost engine instantly loves how quickly it responds and delivers power,” said Carl Widmann, Mustang chief engineer. “When our team got the chance to try this specially built engine in a Mustang, we immediately agreed, ‘We have to do this.’”
Having secured production of the die-cast alloy block and high-performance cylinder head, the engineering team specified a 5 percent larger 63-millimeter twin-scroll turbo compressor and a largerradiator, then calibrated the engine to run both Ford’s 10-speed SelectShift automatic and 6-speed Getrag manual transmission.
“It’s not just the horsepower gains over the standard 2.3-liter EcoBoost, it’s the broader torque curve that delivers 90 percent of peak torque between 2,500 and 5,300 rpm, which is 40 percent wider than the base EcoBoost engine,” said Widmann. “Plus, horsepower holds stronger up to the 6,500-rpm redline–enabling more usable power and torque for enthusiasts and weekend autocrossers to enjoy.”
I overall enjoyed my time in San Francisco and look forward to further testing a manual High Performance Package Ecoboost Mustang!