It's an SVO in spirit, anyway.
[UPDATE] Live shots from the 2019 New York Auto Show have been added to the gallery, below.
There’s a new performance pony in Ford’s corral, and unfortunately for turbocharged Mustang fans, it’s not called SVO. It’s not called ST nor does it get an RS badge, even though Ford says the tweaked 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine under the hood has ties to the Focus RS hot hatchback. In fact, this new high-performance EcoBoost Mustang is called . . . the Mustang 2.3L High Performance Package. That sounds terrifically uninspiring, but hey, at least there are cool badges on the fenders.
Fortunately, the mechanical upgrades of this new entry-level performance Mustang appear slightly more exciting. It starts with a 330-horsepower (246-kilowatt) version of the 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine that gets a slightly larger twin-scroll turbo compressor, a fresh engine calibration, and a larger radiator to keep things cool. In the noise department, The High Performance Package also adds active exhaust with quad tips for a bit of aural pleasure.
The changes only add 20 hp over the base Mustang, and peak torque remains the same at 350 pound-feet (475 Newton-meters) of twist. It sounds like a lot of pomp and circumstance for such a small increase, however, Ford says the tweaked engine creates a significantly broader torque curve that’s 40 percent wider compared to the standard EcoBoost engine. As such, the automaker believes 0-60 times should run in the mid-four-second range, which would be roughly a half-second improvement from the entry-level model. A shorter 3:55 rear axle ratio is also part of the package, which certainly contributes to quicker acceleration as well.
Power isn't the only enhancement on this new Mustang. EcoBoost fans often talk about the car’s weight distribution and handling prowess, and Ford helps the cause with suspension and brake upgrades taken from the Mustang GT. A front strut-tower brace tightens the chassis, while 32-millimeter front and 24-millimeter rear sway bars help keep things flat. 13.9-inch front brakes come from the GT, and all the electronics benefit from a new performance calibration for the steering, braking, and stability control systems.
As for appearance, Ford gives the 2.3L High Performance Package an exclusive set of 19-inch wheels and requisite badging on the fenders, striping on the hood, and gray side mirrors. A blacked-out grille with an offset tri-bar Pony badge sits up front, along with a black front splitter and belly pan that compliment brake cooling ramps taken from the Mustang GT Performance Package. Along with the quad exhausts at the rear is the cool black blade spoiler adorning the trunk.
In addition to the new performance upgrade, all new Mustangs for 2020 will get FordPass Connect as standard equipment, and base-model cars gain new 17-inch silver aluminum wheels. There are four new color options as well, including Grabber Lime, Red hot Metallic Tinted Clearcoat, Twister Orange, and Iconic Silver.
Ford doesn’t have pricing available yet for its entry-level performance Mustang. Currently, the base EcoBoost starts at $26,395 and jumps to $31,410 for the EcoBoost Premium, with the V8-powered Mustang GT priced from $35,355. Presumably, the new model will slot between the Premium and GT, though such pricing would take the 330-hp model uncomfortably close to the significantly more powerful 5.0.
The 2020 Mustang 2.3L High Performance Package will arrive at dealerships this fall.
Live Photos: Chris Amos Photography
Powered by Ford Performance: New High Performance Package for 2020 Mustang Delivers 330 Horsepower and GT Hardware
- 2.3L High Performance Package provides entry-level Mustang buyers the first EcoBoost® engine powered by Ford Performance to deliver a projected 330 horsepower and 350 lb.-ft. of torque – the most powerful four-cylinder sports car offered by an American automaker
- Poised to attack at autocross, 2.3L High Performance Package adds Mustang GT brakes and Mustang GT Performance Package aerodynamics and suspension components to make it the highest-performing production four-cylinder Mustang ever
- Initially a passion project that began with a Focus RS engine swap, the High Performance Package became a green-lit production program to strengthen Mustang’s entry-level performance offering in under 10 months – just in time for Mustang’s 55th anniversary
DEARBORN, Mich., April 15, 2019 – Strengthening Ford’s performance reach for 2020 and just in time for the pony car’s 55th anniversary, the new 2.3L High Performance Package for the entry-level Mustang EcoBoost® creates the most powerful four-cylinder sports car offered by an American automaker. This is the result of a unique EcoBoost engine powered by Ford Performance and upgraded handling components from the Mustang GT Performance Package.
“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.’”
Reminiscent of development of the original Mustang in 1964, the car began as a five-person skunkworks project in the Ford Performance garage. Following an experiment with a Focus RS engine swap, the Mustang team leveraged Ford’s quickening product development times to accelerate and complete the design-to-approval process for the 2.3L High Performance Package in under 10 months.
Available on the entry-level Mustang EcoBoost fastback coupe or convertible models this fall, the Mustang EcoBoost package was developed to feel at home both on thrilling mountain and coastal roads and even on the most precise autocross courses thanks to its Mustang GT brakes, performance tires, and chassis and aerodynamics hardware from the Mustang GT Performance Package.
Most powerful EcoBoost engine yet in a Mustang
To make their project a reality, members of the Mustang team traveled to Valencia, Spain, home of the Ford Performance-tuned 2.3-liter engine, to convince plant management to build a new variant of the turbocharged four-cylinder specifically for Mustang. Then, with the Ford Performance-designed engine as a starting point, they tuned the EcoBoost to more broadly and responsively deliver a projected 330 horsepower and 350 lb.-ft. of torque achieved with premium fuel (per the SAE J1349 standard).
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, then calibrated the engine to run both Ford’s 10-speed SelectShift® automatic and 6-speed Getrag manual transmission.
The 2020 Mustang 2.3L High Performance Package is designed to run 0-60 in the mid-four-second range on premium fuel, with top speed increasing to 155 mph, a 10 mph gain over the 2019 EcoBoost Performance Package and 34 mph faster than the base EcoBoost Mustang.
“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.”
Helping to deliver 143 horsepower per liter, the new 2.3L High Performance Package includes a fully active quad-tip exhaust system with a signature tuned sound.
Packed with enthusiast hardware
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 solid sway bar up front and a tubular 24-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 19x9-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.
New EcoBoost Handling Package
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 19x9.5-inch premium painted aluminum wheels with 265/40R Pirelli P Zero™ Corsa4 summer tires provide traction, while a 24-millimeter solid rear sway bar, up from 21.7 millimeters, improves handling balance.
The new EcoBoost Handling Package is available exclusively on the 2020 Mustang EcoBoost fastback coupe with the 2.3L High Performance Package with either 6-speed manual or 10-speed automatic transmission.
New smart technology, colors and more for 2020
FordPass Connect™, now standard on Mustang for 2020, allows owners to interact with their vehicles via a smartphone. Using FordPass Connect’s phone application, owners can locate their parked car, lock and unlock it, and check vehicle status, such as fuel, oil levels and maintenance alerts. For automatic transmission-equipped Mustang models, the system has a remote start feature. The availability of these features varies by market.
Available SYNC® 3 with AppLink™ adds enhanced voice recognition communications, 911 Assist and two smart-charging USB ports.
Four new Mustang colors for 2020 include Grabber Lime, Iconic Silver, Red Hot Metallic Tinted Clearcoat and Twister Orange. New 17-inch sparkle silver-painted aluminum wheels now come standard on the base 2020 Mustang EcoBoost.
The 2020 Ford Mustang with 2.3L High Performance Package arrives at dealerships this fall.