Whenever you assume Mustang, you most likely don’t take into consideration a turbocharged four-cylinder. The unique pony automobile might have rounded right into a full-fledged sports activities automobile that we are able to fairly pit in opposition to one of the best sports activities coupes on the market, but it surely’s nonetheless muscular at its core.

Associated: 2020 Ford Mustang EcoBoost 2.3L Excessive Efficiency Pack: Unbelievable 4

However Ford does provide a distinct tackle the Mustang as its base mannequin, serving it up with a turbocharged four-cylinder (as an alternative of a V-Eight) that’s good for hijinks of its personal. And for the 2020 mannequin yr, the Mustang EcoBoost provides a brand new Excessive Efficiency Bundle that guarantees so as to add much more enjoyable.

Ford already supplied an EcoBoost Efficiency Bundle for the 2019 Mustang, and the HPP builds on it. Each provide a Three.55:1 ratio limited-slip rear axle, 19-inch wheels, extra gauges, bigger brakes, a rear wing on fastback fashions, heavy-duty entrance springs, a thicker rear sway bar and distinctive chassis tuning. That’s fairly an inventory already, however the HPP additionally provides extra styling particulars, lively efficiency exhaust and, most necessary, a brand new engine. I headed to Sausalito, Calif., simply north of San Francisco, to see how a lot efficiency the brand new bundle truly provides. (Per our ethics coverage, Automobiles.com pays for its personal airfare and lodging at such automaker-sponsored occasions.)

New PoweRS

Although the brand new engine is a turbocharged 2.Three-liter four-cylinder just like the one discovered within the common EcoBoost Mustang, don’t get the 2 combined up: The HPP’s 2.Three-liter, borrowed from the Focus RS hatchback, provides a bigger turbocharger and radiator on this utility, placing out 330 horsepower and 350 pounds-feet of torque. That’s 20 extra horsepower than you get out of the Mustang’s common EcoBoost engine, but it surely’s additionally 20 lower than you get within the Focus RS.

The brand new engine additionally places out energy in another way than the usual engine. Ford says it has a “broader torque curve that delivers 90 % of peak torque between 2,500 and 5,300 rpm” and that “horsepower holds stronger as much as the 6,500-rpm redline.” That additionally signifies that the ability comes on a little bit bit later than it does with the usual engine (5,500 rpm), which truly feels a bit peppier at decrease rpm, like there’s a bit extra prompt torque available.

This offers the brand new engine a little bit of a studying curve. The primary a part of the morning, I struggled to maintain the revs excessive sufficient to essentially hit the engine’s candy spot round Three,500 to four,000 rpm. Flipping the Mustang into Sport or Sport Plus mode with their extra aggressive throttle mapping makes it simpler to carry the engine within the energy band. When you get the grasp of it, the distinction is noticeable — and it’s not simply the 20 further horses. The Mustang HPP pulls, pulls and pulls some extra, persevering with to pour on pace because the needle approaches the redline. And it’s enjoyable in a means that makes you wish to discover open highway to tear by way of over and over.

Which Transmission?

The Mustang EcoBoost HPP has the identical transmission choices, a six-speed guide or a 10-speed automated. Due to the way in which the engine behaves, it’s paramount that the transmission works with you to maintain the engine in its joyful place. I drove each automated and guide variants, discovering a transparent winner between the 2 selections: the guide.

The 10-speed automated, which I ought to be aware I did like whereas reviewing the 2018 EcoBoost Mustang, will get a bit misplaced on this utility. With the RS engine’s totally different torque band and an emphasis on sustaining greater revs, the transmission will get an enormous slowed down and short-shifts you a bit if you need it to carry onto the gears longer. With the ability to select the gears your self with the guide enables you to get extra out of the engine and makes the automobile much more enjoyable to drive.

The opposite excellent news: Choosing the guide additionally saves you $1,595.

Dealing with Bundle Pluses

The Mustang EcoBoost HPP additionally provides grippier Pirelli P-Zero summer time tires that, together with the suspension modifications, provides the automobile good athleticism. Trip high quality continues to be fairly good, particularly on well-kept roads, the place the Mustang glides properly. However those that wish to extract probably the most efficiency from the Mustang ought to add the out there EcoBoost Dealing with Bundle for $1,995.

For that, you get a formidable set of added gear: wider Pirelli Corsa4 tires, the braking system from the GT Efficiency Pack 1, a Torsen Three.55:1 limited-slip rear axle and, most notably, a MagneRide adaptive damping system. The Torsen setup is healthier, notably as a result of it is ready to mechanically ship extra torque to the wheel with grip moderately than the electronic-braking-based system that’s customary.

The addition of MagneRide had probably the most impact of those modifications. The system is magic and, when mixed with the grippier tires, makes the Mustang come alive much more. That is very true within the sportier drive modes the place the suspension dials up the firmness. If you wish to make the Mustang really feel at its most agile, that is the way in which to do it — and it even holds dealing with benefits over the GT, because it weighs round 250 kilos much less. The nostril actually dances with a deft contact, and figuring out you’ve got larger brakes and people tires simply provides a driver added confidence.

If you happen to’re opting in for the HPP and its $four,995 value already, I feel the EcoBoost Dealing with Bundle is a should. It could be value it for the suspension alone, however toss in the entire different upgrades and it’s a no brainer.

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GT Substitute?

Every of the variants I drove topped $40,000, which places them over the value of a GT by an excellent margin. Certainly one of them, with the automated transmission, dealing with bundle and Recaro seats amongst different choices, pushed all the way in which as much as $45,160; that’s fairly a little bit of change when you think about that you may get a Mustang GT with Efficiency Pack 2 for under $45,225.

The four-cylinder will give you some gasoline financial savings in comparison with the V-Eight, with the HPP and the guide transmission it returns an EPA-estimated 20/27/23 mpg metropolis/freeway/mixed, which outpaces the V-Eight’s 15/24/18 mpg with the guide. For the eco-minded, that could be sufficient of a promoting level to sway you in a single path or the opposite.

However if in case you have your coronary heart set on the GT and its massive V-Eight, I don’t assume that the EcoBoost with the HPP can change your thoughts. That’ll get bolstered after you hear the exhaust be aware from the brand new lively exhaust system. The usual EcoBoost doesn’t sound nice, however at the very least it’s not so loud that it bothers you. The lively exhaust is not any buddy to the HPP engine, both; it makes it sound coarse and unsightly, in stark distinction to the great soundtrack offered by the GT’s 5.Zero-liter V-Eight.

However if you would like a nimble Mustang that places an emphasis on dealing with, presents higher gasoline financial system and stays rewarding to drive, then the HPP is true up your alley. It’s a enjoyable automobile to drive that rewards you as you study to drive it higher.

Automobiles.com’s Editorial division is your supply for automotive information and evaluations. According to Automobiles.com’s long-standing ethics coverage, editors and reviewers don’t settle for items or free journeys from automakers. The Editorial division is impartial of Automobiles.com’s promoting, gross sales and sponsored content material departments.

L.A. Bureau Chief Brian Wong is a California native with a mushy spot for convertibles and free parking. He’s based mostly in Los Angeles. E-mail Brian


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