By on April 15, 2019

Image: Ford

Wishing your Ford Mustang EcoBoost boasted a little more top end? Get ready to trade it in. In the lead-up to the New York Auto Show, Ford has unveiled a new pony car that draws inspiration — and power — from a fondly remembered hot hatch.

Buyers of the 2020 Mustang 2.3L High Performance Package get more than a nifty badge to announce their status; they also gain 20 horsepower and bits borrowed from the Mustang GT Performance Package. Buyers of 88-horsepower, Fox-bodied four-cylinders could only dream of this stuff.

While torque remains the same at an estimated 350 lb-ft, adding the High Performance Package sees the Stang’s output grow to 330 horsepower, up from the stock EcoBoost model’s 310 hp. You’ll need to feed it premium fuel to achieve these figures.

Image: Ford

The Blue Oval wants the public to know it spends its nights tinkering in the garage, looking for ways to make life more enjoyable for you, the consumer.

“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, in a statement. “When our team got the chance to try this specially built engine in a Mustang, we immediately agreed, ‘We have to do this.’”

Capturing consumer attention, as well as the title of “most powerful domestic four-cylinder sports car,” were other motivators. Ford claims the new package is the product of a five-man endeavor that took place in the Ford Performance garage over the span of 10 months.

Image: Ford

Offered this fall on the EcoBoost coupe and convertible (with either 10-speed auto or six-speed manual), the 2.3L High Performance Package sees the entry-level Mustang borrow the 13.9-inch front brake rotors and 255/40 R19 rubber of the brawnier GT Performance Package, plus its aero add-ons. It’s not a straight engine swap, either. Ford Performance took the Focus RS mill as a starting point, tuned it for a broader torque curve, then added a 63-millimeter twin-scroll turbo compressor and larger radiator.

Following Ford Performance’s intervention, the engine delivers 90 percent of peak torque across a 40 percent larger swath of engine speed (2,500 to 5,300 rpm), keeps more power on hand while approaching the redline, and bumps up the Mustang’s top speed by 10 mph (to 155 mph) when compared to a Performance Package-equipped EcoBoost model. Recalibrated power steering and an alloy strut tower brace, as well as the addition of a 32-millimeter sway bar up front and tubular 21.7-millimeter bar in the rear, should aid drivers who take their Mustang to track day.

Image: Ford

Should all of this prove insufficient, 2020 Mustang EcoBoost coupe buyers can upgrade further to an EcoBoost Handling Package. This collection of kit adds half-inch wider wheels (9×9.5) shod in 265/40R Pirelli P Zero Corsa4 summer rubber, semi-metallic brakes, MagneRide dampers, Torsen 3.55:1 limited-slip rear axle, and a beefier solid rear sway bar (24 mm). Again, this package is only offered to coupe buyers, regardless of transmission choice.

Four-cylinder selection aside, the 2020 Mustang line benefits from standard FordPass Connect, which allows owners to keep tabs on their vehicle (and start it, when automatic-equipped) remotely, while base EcoBoost models gain new 17-inch aluminum wheels slathered in silver. Paint options expand to include Grabber Lime, Iconic Silver, Red Hot Metallic Tinted Clearcoat and Twister Orange.

Expanding the Mustang buffet at both the top and bottom ends just might help Ford stem some of the volume loss seen in recent years. Mustang sales shrunk 7.4 percent in the U.S. last year, with the first quarter of 2019 showing an 11.7 percent volume decrease. The model’s peak post-recession sales year came in 2015.

[Images: Ford]

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

54 Comments on “Ford’s Focus RS Is Gone, But Its Soul Lives on in a Slightly More Potent Mustang...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I wouldn’t really want a badge on my Mustang extolling a 2.3L engine. Take that as you will.

    • 0 avatar
      jdmcomp

      Agreed, but since it is just held on with tape removal should be no problem. I have debadged lots of cars just because I like a cleaner look.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        I like the badge. It’s a little bit of a call-back. It reminds me of the badges that Ford used on air cleaners back in the 60s.

        I understand the desire for a V8 I really do, but stop hatin’ on the turbo 4 just because it isn’t what you would choose. I’d leave the badge on just so the kids know they got beat by a Turbo 4 Mustang.

        • 0 avatar
          FormerFF

          Having driven a four cylinder Mustang at a track day, I’d say that the 170 pounds saved by the turbo four is a worthwhile tradeoff from the V8’s additional power and weight, especially considering the four’s torque curve.

    • 0 avatar
      Fred

      What you need is the sticker I had on my SVO “I could of had a V8”

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      Agreed…It should wear SVO Badges

      • 0 avatar
        cimarron typeR

        Agreed, and should only come in white with matte black hood

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        SVO badges would be a reminder that 2.3 turbo Mustangs have a history of holding their value worse than Mustangs with no engines at all. You can buy a cherry storage-mile SVO for $5100. Then all you need to do is swap in a Windsor V8 and a differential that doesn’t look like it came off a riding mower. $5100 might buy a 200K mile GT with a history of abandonment from the same year. Another $5,000 might get it into paint. Another $5,000 might get you an interior as nice as the garage-stored SVO’s. Another $5,000 might get you the brake and chassis upgrades. Or you can throw away the SVO’s turbo engine and raise the car’s value three-fold.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          @ToddAtlasF1 – It’s “historic” ignorance that’s kept the SVO prices on the bargain side of the lot. Thank god. The dummy I got mine from (a minty, low miles, original), had the shifter on backwards (super long-reach!), he was an owner of a transmission shop (!) too, the turbo waste-gate was missing the (actuator) clip and wasn’t building any boost at all.

          It was still a reasonably quick, fun car, on the zero-boost test drive. So he took a Colt Vista Wagon, and a Charger turbo 2.2 automatic, both with high miles, average cond, mid ’80s for trade, since pregnant wife. The SVO was her daily.

          It’s like Mustang GT of its day that can actually turn/stop on a dime, and give you change.

          But don’t get crazy, contemporary Mustang GT’s don’t usually (or ever) “cross the line” at over $20,000 at auction, but SVOs do, recently and despite this widespread ignorance.

          bringatrailer.com/search/svo/

          bringatrailer.com/search/1986+mustang+gt/

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            The most recent one went for $5500. I thought it was $5100. Good luck finding a garage-kept 57K mile GT for that. The only reason not to buy one is the tiny differential that came with the tiny engine. Swap that, and you have the best-equipped Fox Mustang to start your V8 project for the price of a 2.3 88 hp automatic in the same shape.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Show any four-eyed Mustang GT selling at auction for over $20K. Not happening, not even close, they’re way too common, nothing compelling, etc.

            The 7.5 is tough enough, except for repeated, hard launch drag racing on slicks. My ’79 5.0 Mustang had the 7.5, 4.10:1 gears, posi locker, and sideways on the 1-2 shift constantly (street tires).

            In fact, all Mustangs, including the GT only came with the 7.5 rear end, until the ’87 model year. No exceptions. I wore out the rebuilt (bone stock) 302 engine in my ’79, from driving the thing like it was stolen for several years and not a peep from its 7.5 rear.

            But those that know will harvest the 2.3 from various turbo Fords for Hot Rod projects, sand rails and more. With factory all-forged internals, high nickle blocks, etc, it’s no Pinto motor.

            Good for 500+ HP on the stock long-block. A few hundred more with o-ringed heads, studs, billet pistons, etc.

            Factory boost was the highest of any turbo4 of its day, essentially doubling the HP of the base 4. Yeah it didn’t exactly set the world on fire, but it’s one of the few bright spots coming out the Malaise Era.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            The $5,500 SVO isn’t bad for the price, and the charcoal gray re-spray looks good, but no SVO came in charcoal gray originally. The wear on the interior is normal and it was obviously a daily driver at some point. Its many mods look tasteful enough for me, but the purist will balk.

            The original wheels are included but the pony wheels are a real detractor.

            The devil is in the details though. It’s missing the Marchal foglights, exhaust tips, and side molding on the quarter panels (behind the wheel wells). The original matte finish on the deck spoilers, spats, mirrors, etc was painted over.

            I like it since it’s far enough from original or mint to keep on modifying it, maybe a Volvo head, bigger turbo, and thrash on it daily, or abuse it every chance I get. The selling price was a fair deal for what the highest bidder got (and didn’t get).

        • 0 avatar
          Steve-O

          I disagree. I just sold my un-modified, bone-stock 1984 SVO for $8,000, quickl. I may have gotten more if I held out. It wasn’t perfect, but a good example of the breed.
          SVO prices are going up but obviously the SVO caters to a specific buyer, the ones who appreciate what it is.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            That’s decent money for a car almost no “enthusiasts” know about and grossly misunderstood. I only (test) drove one on a chance encounter and only then, knew I had to have one.

            Besides driving impressions, definitely the loudest turbo I’d heard on a car, and I’d driven about every ’80s turbo4 car (with manual trans) made in the era, but had been underwhelmed.

  • avatar
    jdmcomp

    Lets hope Ford has sorted out the problems with this engine, it has made headlines with failures again and again.

    • 0 avatar
      wayneoh

      Can you elaborate on this statement ?
      What sort of failures ?
      Thanks.

      • 0 avatar
        wayneoh

        Never mind, googled it myself. On Focus RS Forum, they have 52 documented blown headgaskets. All 2016 and 2017 models with one 2018. Apparently the Supplier shipped Mustang ecoboost head gaskets instead of the ones used on the Focus RS. ( slight difference in cooling passage ) and it wasn’t caught during assembly.

        https://www.roadandtrack.com/car-culture/buying-maintenance/a14510137/ford-focus-rs-head-gasket-issues/

  • avatar
    Jeff Weimer

    An asymmetrical hood scoop and biplane rear wing would be…[chef’s kiss].

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Can’t wait until my Son leaves the rear-facing car seat behind. Daddy’s choices on vehicles are really going to open up.

  • avatar
    Grenade

    All that work on the engine only nets 20 HP, and 0 TQ? Why go to all the effort of using the RS engine if you’re not going to utilize the hardware? Maybe they are laying the foundation first, then eyeing a HP bump for next year?

    They could have cashed in on more retro-goodness by naming this the SVO mustang, including an off center hood scoop, bi-plane wing, and new wheels (reminiscent of the SVO wheels).

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      The “New SVO” would not surprise me if seen at the next SEMA.

      • 0 avatar
        Fred

        It would me. I had one and loved it, but it sold poorly and I doubt anyone at Ford is brave enough to reintroduce it, except maybe as a show car.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          Yeah but manufacturers love “retro” graphics jobs on modern vehicles. Like Jeep doing up a Gladiator with 70s graphics for the Easter Safari.

          Doesn’t mean they’re going to offer it.

    • 0 avatar
      johnny_5.0

      Ford Performance had a tune/intake for the 2.3 Ecoboost Mustang. Peak gains were similarly small and unimpressive. But gains in other parts of the curve were much larger, something like 75hp average from 5500 rpm to redline, and around 100hp at 6000 rpm. That’s a nice gain, especially up top where most of Ford’s turbos fall on their face.

    • 0 avatar
      stuckonthetrain

      +1 – those interested in a pricey-ish turbo Mustang probably have positive associations for the SVO.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    This is a real Rube Goldberg contraption, let’s get rid of the Unstressed V6 and replace it with not just a turbo 4, but a tiny turbo 4 that has similar output to a V6. Genius.
    Outside of trying to sell an engine with more parts to fail to keep steady income from parts for years to come, nothing has been accomplished.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      oh look, it thinks it’s still 1965. Turbocharging is a solved problem and has been for decades.

      • 0 avatar
        SPPPP

        Hmm, yes, but it still stings when your turbo grenades due to an easily clogged oil feed screen (Subaru), or stops boosting because the wastegate bushing fails (BMW), and so on. These failures are expensive. At least the Mustang’s turbo seems to be relatively easy to access, so if these problems do come up, it should be a little less expensive to fix.

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          Has Ford had issues with turbos blowing up? With all of the ecoboost trucks on the street I’d like to think I’d have heard about it. For all of the issues and recalls that could be cited, it would seem they get this part right.

          • 0 avatar
            SPPPP

            For something like this, Ford wouldn’t issue a recall unless they were dragged kicking and screaming by the Feds. Too expensive. Wait and let the consumers pay for it.

            Overall, it seems like Ford’s history with the Ecoboost turbos is relatively good. Either they aren’t failing too often, or Ford is being proactive about replacing them when they fail. Otherwise, I think we would hear a lot on the topic.

            Still, failures do happen. Anecdotes of Ecoboosts with early turbo failure, multiple repeated turbo failures, and so on can easily be found using Google search. But it’s not really suitable for statistical analysis.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            But why Art? The V6 offers similar power, similar fuel economy, a much cheaper package, it is significantly more reliable by virtue of less components to fail, and an engine platform that can be expanded on well past the point these will need all forged internals.
            I’m not suggesting that the turbos have had issues blowing up, I’m merely pointing out the fact that like all other components on a machine they wear out over time. Turbos, intercoolers, etc – are not an issue on a N/A engine.

            What benefit does this offer over a V6?

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            Did people hear about Triton spark plugs blowing out? About exhaust manifolds cracking, exhaust manifold studs snapping, timing chain tensioners failing, clogged oil passages, the huge cost of coil pack replacements every 100K or so, etc…? About F250 brake lines rusting and snapping in climes where the last non-Mazda Japanese car to rust was built in 1983?

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            I don’t think you people understand how recalls work.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        Jim, I see that I’m not talking simple enough for you. I’m not really sure how to dumb down my points any further so you’ll have to forgive me.

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    This is a joke right?

    5 “engineers” took 10 months to put a 20HP tune on the secretaries Mustang?

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      no, 10 months do design the stated modifications, and to do validation testing to ensure the engine could maintain those power levels and do so for at least 10 years/175,000 miles.

      Billy Bob down at the tuner shop doesn’t need to worry about any of that, if he flashes a tune which grenades the engine, too bad, so sad.

  • avatar
    DearS

    Good performance overall. I like NA v6 (in theory) more but with Honda 4 cylinders making 500hp easily, I can see why turbos.

  • avatar
    ObviouslyCarGuru

    Great little motor, without all the deadly problems the GM 4cyl turbo has had. great job by Ford to wring some extra performance out of it without it spontaneously combusting, unlike a lot of those wretched GM turbos.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I’d personally rather have the Camaro V6 experience if I was buying a notV8 pony car, but even sporty car buyers seem to to prefer torque surfing over winding out a tachometer so Ford probably has the right idea.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    I also must be in the minority – prefer to wind out an engine to get power instead of low-end torque.

    for example – back-to-back the 2003 S/C 1.6L MINI is a lot more fun to drive than the 2009 T/C 1.6L MINI engine.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Don’t get me wrong. I’m not anti-torque or anything, I like having it available for use. But, on a lot of these modern turbo engines, low-end torque is really their only virtue. That’s probably fine in a CUV, but in a sporty car I want more than that.

  • avatar
    tylanner

    A RWD 4-CYLINDER!

    You can’t not have fun…..and it shouldn’t take much for it to beat its doubly endowed big brother.

    Sign me up! (for this car in the appropriately depreciated used market)

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      You can get mine off lease. Just know I’ll have treated it as the 2 year rental it is.

      I can’t imagine a used anything wearing a performance pack as a good used buy, let alone a Mustang, Camaro, or Challenger. These things are going to be rode hard and put up wet, as the car gods intended.

      • 0 avatar
        jack4x

        Ironically, the more expensive and special the edition, the more likely to be owned by an old man who drives to weekend car shows and nowhere else.

        A relatively affordable performance pack like this Ecoboost is where I would worry the most.

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    I’m not a fan of buying any turbo performance vehicle used. Not sure why I felt NA are any safer buy used ,though. Maybe if it’s an automatic , no chance for overrevs, skip shift issues

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Honestly I have a mental block about even buying a “plain” R/T Charger/Challenger used. I’m probably too stuck thinking about my misspent youth.

      Oddly no issue with buying a lower mileage Corvette of any generation as long as it was from the original owner. Probably because so many guys stick them in the garage and barely explore their performance capabilities.

  • avatar
    kjhkjlhkjhkljh kljhjkhjklhkjh

    Quote “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,”

    6800 rpm is *NOT* a high revving marvel… not even close.

    8000 rpm would be a “Marvel”
    7500 rpm would be “insane”
    7000 rpm would be “above average for a domestic turbo 4”

    but 6800?…my 2010 SHO-TT runs GIANT PISTONS (comparatively) that run to 6500 at the rev limiter… 300 more with smaller pistons and NEWER coatings internally … puuuuleeezzze

    • 0 avatar
      conundrum

      You must be talking in some code – haven’t a clue what you’re on about, and not sure you do either.

      The marvel is that Ford has managed to massage the old Mazda MZR L engine rather in the manner of George Washington’s axe as seen in 1908. Four new handles and a new metal head. It’s a long stroke chuffer forced to rev. If you want to see what the original engine was like, you can rent a Fusion and marvel at the 2.5 liter NA version. Hills become mountains with that engine.

  • avatar

    I was very pleasantly surprised by a rental Mustang with the four turbo when my CTS made its last trip to the shop…. In car ergos are excellent. The four ran up to 20 indicated pounds of boost. The engine note wasn’t sexy BUT the performance was amazing, and even a mostly base car had good handling. Having owned a 400 Firebird in my formative years, yes, I get what a Murican Muscle Car is supposed to be, but looking from the year 2019 the four cylinder mustang is a good car. I thought seriously about a mildly optioned up version, and I’m not a Pony fanatic-the lack of rear seats was the nope decision.

    Also drove the same engine in the Focus RS….same, just more of it. You can get power out, but they don’t feel like a six, or an eight…it’s always going to be somewhat crude, I don’t care how fancy your motor mounts and countershaft balancers are, which is why a 2.0 is not adequate for luxury cars or high end performance.

    At a lower price point, I’m OK with turning up the wick and holding on !


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • kjhkjlhkjhkljh kljhjkhjklhkjh: I’m just saying, if you say “High reving Marvel” and that limit is...
  • redgolf: I’ll have to warn my friend who owns one of these Farts, I mean Darts, seems he had a previous issue...
  • Gedrven: I didn’t say they were unnecessary – smog and climate change are facts whether we like them or...
  • ravenchris: Black with a tan interior. I like the inside and outside. Like Raevoxx said, 2.5 turbo and 8-speed wet...
  • FreedMike: I’ve found the “you aren’t going anywhere” threshold for a FWD sedan is about a...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributors

  • Timothy Cain, Canada
  • Matthew Guy, Canada
  • Ronnie Schreiber, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States
  • Mark Baruth, United States
  • Moderators

  • Adam Tonge, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States