Only in America could you bring a Ford Mustang to market with more than 300 horsepower and have purists turn up their nose because all that power comes from half as many cylinders as they think a Mustang "oughta" have.
For a few years now, the base Mustang---the least-powerful Mustang you can buy---had a 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder making 310 horsepower and 350 pounds per feet of torque. This year, the engineers pulled off a minor miracle.
They went to Spain to get the High-Performance EcoBoost engine used in the European Focus RS. 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 larger radiator. And then they tuned the EcoBoost to more broadly and responsively deliver a projected 330 horsepower and 350 lb.-ft. of torque.
90 percent of the peak torque happens between 2,500 and 5,300 RPM, and it holds strong through the gears, enabling mid-four-second 0-60 runs and a top speed of 155 miles per hour---34 miles per hour faster than the base EcoBoost Mustang.
Best of all, they did all that for $4,995. making the base price for the 2020 Ford Mustang 2.3L High Performance EcoBoost $31,665. It's very, very quick---and having been in the 2020 Ford Mustang BULLITT just this summer, the lighter weight in the engine compartment made for a lighter feel and better handling in the twisty bits of our favorite back roads.
A fair amount of standard equipment comes at that price. The window sticker is at the end of this review so you can see for yourself, but among the highlights are LED fog lamps, ambient lighting, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather-trimmed seats and a SYNC3 audio system.
Out test vehicle did have one extra-cost option. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, but ours had the ten-speed automatic ($1,595). So, with $1,195 destination fee, the as-tested price for the 2020 Ford Mustang 2.3L High Performance EcoBoost is $34,455. The window sticker that came with the car specified that our particular unit was not for sale, and those stickers leave the prices blank. Our numbers above were obtained using Ford's "Build and Price" tool on their website. That also shows $1,500 in incentives available for the 2020 Ford Mustang 2.3L High Performance EcoBoost, which would drive the bottom line down to $32,955.
At its price, the 2020 Ford Mustang 2.3L High Performance EcoBoost is a bargain and a miracle all in one wrapper. It shows that engineering is not a lost art and that efficiency and performance are not mortal enemies. Bravo, Ford!