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2020 Ford Mustang High Performance 2.3L First Look: AutoXer?

A lot of noise (and tire smoke) gets made at the high end of the pony/muscle-car performance spectrum, with cars like the Challenger Hellcat Redeye, the Camaro ZL1, and the forthcoming Shelby GT500 vying for bragging rights in horsepower, quarter-mile stats, or lap times. Now Ford is once again showing some love to the half of Mustang buyers at the other end of the continuum opting for the four-cylinder. To better serve these younger buyers who prefer to lay their rubber down a little at a time in the bends of an autocross, some Mustang team members burned the midnight oil raiding the global parts bin to gin up a pretty cool four-banger Stang. The whole thing started with an EcoBoost chassis development test car that the team just couldnt fall in love withuntil someone discovered a Focus RS development engine lying around and thought, hey, maybe Late nights were spent Frankensteining the transverse engine into the Mustangs longitudinal rear-drive chassis, the keys got tossed to product development veep Hau Thai-Tang, and pretty soon a 10-month crash program was underway to bring the most powerful four-cylinder Mustang in history (and the most powerful American four-cylinder, period) to market. The timing was propitious in that Focus RS production was just ending, freeing up the tooling in Valencia, Spain, to make engines for the Mustang. The transition from transverse to longitudinal mounting wasnt that big a dealthe turbo had to be redesigned to meet the very different exhaust plumbing, the intercooler is unique, and of course all of the electronics were retuned, both to suit this very different and heavier application and to work with Fords optional 10-speed automatic. The calibration ended up giving up 20 horsepower (now 330) while preserving the 350 lb-ft of peak torque and widening the torque plateau by 40 percent, so that 90 percent of peak torque is available between 2,500 and 5,300 rpm. Another goal the team met was to carry 90 percent of peak horsepower to the 6,500-rpm redline regardless of transmission choice. Oh, and the active exhaust system is standard and is custom-tuned for this application. This is a unique EcoBoost engine, though it shares its bore and stroke with the 310-hp/350-lb-ft workaday version. The aforementioned new turbo, which produces more than 20 psi (up from 18), produces more violent explosions in the cylinder, requiring stronger cylinder head and gasket materials. And the engine will still be made in Valencia. Ford claims that with the 10-speed automatic, it should hit 60 mph in 4.5 seconds (our last EcoBoost fastback needed 5.3) en route to a 155-mph top speedthats up 10 from the EcoBoost Perf Pack and up 34 mph from the base EcoBoost. Of course buyers who tick the box marked 67E will get much more than just an engine. Naturally, many of the EcoBoost Performance Package bits carry over, including the springs, dampers, and anti-roll bars, the aluminum shock-tower brace, the GT-grade brakes (13.9-inch front, 13.0-inch rear), 32.0mm hollow front and 24mm solid rear anti-roll bars, a set of 9.019-inch wheels wrapped in three-season Pirellis sized 255/40ZR-19, and a 3.55:1 Torsen limited-slip rear differential. Additional appearance differentiators for the High Performance 2.3L include upper and lower grilles finished in magnetic (metallic graphite) paint and fitted with the offset Mustang emblem, magnetic side mirror caps and whisker stripes on the vented hood, and a black finisher with unique faux filler cap spanning between the taillights. Interior alterations are minimalan engine-spun aluminum instrument panel with analog gauges, including oil pressure and turbo boost, plus a serialized dash plaque. Oh, and this package can be had on the fastback or convertible, with the base cloth or upgraded leather interior. There will also be four new Mustang colors for 2020: Twister Orange, Grabber Lime, Red Hot, and Iconic Silver. Autocrossers will also want to check the box marked 60E for the handling package, available only on the fastback, with the manual or automatic transmission. This brings MagneRide shocks with unique tuning for this application, semi-metallic brake pads and improved front brake cooling, wider 9.519-inch wheels wearing 265/40ZR-19 Pirelli P Zero Corsa4 tires, and several GT Performance Package 2 parts, including the front springs and 33.7mm hollow front anti-roll bar. EcoBoost Mustangs generally weigh about 200 pounds less than their GT counterparts, with 155 pounds of that burdening the front wheels. The new car boasts a 53/47 percent front/rear weight bias (our last base GT measured 55/45). All things considered, an EcoBoost High Performance 2.3L handling package car should be the Mustang of choice for tight autocross courses or short-straight technical handling circuits. Mustang vehicle engineering manager Tom Barnes says it also performs really well on the MotorTrend figure eight. We cant wait to verify all of these claims. Look for High Performance 2.3L Mustangs to hit dealerships this fall. Pricing will be announced later this spring, but expect to pay more than the $2,495 charged for the outgoing EcoBoost Perf Pack. But rest assured that even with the handling package, it will undercut the $8,960 premium charged for a base GT by a significant margin. The post 2020 Ford Mustang High Performance 2.3L First Look: AutoXer? appeared first on Motortrend .

Read more at www.motortrend.com




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