Better handling and fresh aero combine with a Focus RS-inspired engine tune

When Ford gave the Mustang an independent rear suspension for the sixth-gen 2015 model year, many critics labeled it as a strong move into bona-fide sports-car territory. The Blue Oval is once again moving the needle by changing up the EcoBoost ‘Stang’s Performance Package, which now includes revised suspension bits, updated aero, and critically, more horsepower. With 330 ponies under the hood, has the four-cylinder Mustang evolved the nameplate beyond its muscle car roots?

Looking A Gift Horse In The Mouth

New Performance Package Pushes the 2020 Ford Mustang EcoBoost to 330 Horsepower
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Like countless other good ideas, the updated 2020 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Performance Package started as the pet project for a bunch of engineers. The concept was simple - how would the Mustang handle the turbo 2.3-liter four-cylinder from the Focus RS? Apparently, rather well, as Ford eventually signed off on it as an official package option to help celebrate to arrival of the Mustang’s 55th anniversary.

Going from design to approval in less than 10 months, the new Performance Package is offered as an upgrade for the entry-level EcoBoost Mustang.

With the newly tuned 2.3-liter engine under the hood, Ford claims it made the “highest-performing production four-cylinder Mustang ever.”

New Performance Package Pushes the 2020 Ford Mustang EcoBoost to 330 Horsepower
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The heart of the matter is under the hood, where you’ll find a die-cast alloy block mated with a high-performance cylinder head. There’s a new spec for the twin-scroll turbo too, including a 63 mm compressor, which is 5 percent larger than that of the outgoing model. The Package also includes a bigger radiator, as it did for the outgoing 2019 model year.

All told, the Performance Package now bumps the EcoBoost Mustang to 330 horsepower, making for “the most powerful four-cylinder sports car offered by an American automaker,” according to Ford.

New Performance Package Pushes the 2020 Ford Mustang EcoBoost to 330 Horsepower
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Regardless, the package adds 20 horsepower over than the standard 310-horse EcoBoost Mustang (which also comes with a turbo 2.3-liter four-cylinder, by the way).

However, 330 horsepower is still 20 horsepower down compared to the Focus RS’s spec. It’s also 130 horsepower less than the V-8-powered Mustang GT.
Engine Ford Performance-tuned 2.3-liter engine
Horsepower 330 HP
Torque 350 LB-FT
0 to 60 mph 4.5 seconds
Top Speed 155 mph

In terms of peak torque, the 2020 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Performance Package holds steady, with 350 pound-feet on tap to match the standard EcoBoost Mustang and last year’s Performance Package.

However, the delivery of that 350 pound-feet is closer to the Focus RS, with a much fatter curve to play with compared to the standard EcoBoost Mustang. Thanks to the new tune, the ‘four makes as much as 90 percent of available twist between 2,500 and 5,300 rpm, a 40-percent gain compared to the standard EcoBoost. We have yet to drive it, but something like that is sure to make the 2.3-liter Mustang feel much beefier, squirting off corners with the same enthusiasm as a larger displacement engine.

New Performance Package Pushes the 2020 Ford Mustang EcoBoost to 330 Horsepower
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Properly motivated, the 2020 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Performance Package can hit 60 mph in about 4.5 seconds. That’s just a few tenths slower than the Mustang GT’s 0-to-60 mph time of 4.3 seconds, and over half a second quicker than the standard EcoBoost Mustang’s 5.1-second 0-to-60 mph time. It also more or less matches the Focus RS’ time of 4.6 seconds.

Top speed is now uprated with the new Performance Package, and clocking in at 155 mph.

That’s a 10-mph upshot compared to the previous 2019 EcoBoost Performance Package, and a full 34 mph faster than the standard base-level EcoBoost Mustang. It also matches the restricted top speed of the V-8-powered Mustang GT, but it’s 10 mph slower than the Focus RS.

It’s also worth mentioning that Ford will offer the 2020 Performance Package with support for both the 10-speed automatic transmission and six-speed Getrag manual, both of which come with unique tuning to make the most of the extra power and fatter torque curve.

Performance Comparison

Model 0-60 mph Horsepower Torque Top Speed
2019 Ford Mustang EcoBoost (standard) 5.1 seconds 310 hp @ 5,500 rpm 350 lb-ft @ 3,000 rpm 121 mph
2020 Ford Mustang EcoBoost (Performance Package) 4.5 seconds 330 hp 350 lb-ft 155 mph
2019 Chevrolet Camaro Turbo 1LE 5.1 seconds 275 hp @ 5,600 rpm 295 lb-ft @ 3,000 rpm 145 mph
2019 Ford Mustang GT 4.3 seconds 460 hp @ 7,000 rpm 420 lb-ft @ 4,600 rpm 155 mph
2018 Ford Focus RS 4.6 seconds 350 hp @ 6,000 rpm 350 lb-ft @ 3,200 rpm 165 mph

Not Just For The Straight And Narrow

New Performance Package Pushes the 2020 Ford Mustang EcoBoost to 330 Horsepower
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More power is nice, but the 2020 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Performance Package is more than that - it also includes a host of chassis, suspension, and aero bits to make sure it’ll go around a corner, too.

It all starts with the ‘Stang’s fully independent suspension, which now gets a 32 mm sway bar in front, and a tubular 21.7 mm bar in back, as well as an alloy strut tower for even more front-end stiffness. For reference, the previous Performance Package included just new front springs and a larger rear sway bar.

The 2020 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Performance Package also includes larger four-pot calipers and 13.9-inch rotors in front, the same spec as the Mustang GT.

The previous Performance Package also came with larger rotors and four-pot calipers.

The rest of the spec is a carryover from the 2019 model year, and includes:

  • new power steering tuning
  • new ABS tuning
  • new stability control tuning
  • a 3.55:1 limited-skip rear axle
  • package-specific 19x9-inch wheels
  • high-performance 255/40 summer tires
New Performance Package Pushes the 2020 Ford Mustang EcoBoost to 330 Horsepower
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If you want to maximize your Mustang’s potential in the corners, Ford is also offering the EcoBoost Handling Package, which throws in semi-metallic brakes and new MagneRide dampers, plus more rubber thanks to 19-inch aluminum wheels that are a half-inch wider than the ‘19s you get with the Performance Package. Wrapping the Handling Package’s fresh rollers is a set of super-sticky 265/40 Pirelli P Zero Corsa4 summer tires.

The Performance Pack’s Torsen 3.55:1 limited-slip diff is included in the Handling Package as well, while a larger 24 mm solid rear sway bar replaces the Performance Package’s 21.7 mm unit.

If you want the Handling Package, you can only get it on the coupe, while the Performance Package is offered on the coupe and the convertible.

The Right Style To Match

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To help is stand out from it’s more basic brethren, the 2020 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Performance Package adds a new black front splitter, plus a new belly pan and brake cooling ramps, both of which are sourced from the Mustang GT Performance Package.

You’ll also find a metallic gray hood stripe, Magnetic gray side mirrors, a rear blade spoiler, and an active exhaust system with quad tips. The nose is outfitted with a new blacked-out grille, while “2.3L High Performance” badging is found in the flanks.

While we doubt any of the aero upgrades actually help a whole lot in terms of “real” downforce, they certainly add a tasty aesthetic all the same.

New Performance Package Pushes the 2020 Ford Mustang EcoBoost to 330 Horsepower
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Moving into the cabin, the Mustang’s retro-tastic layout is spruced up with an aluminum instrument panel, which includes gauge readouts for oil pressure and turbo boost - just like the outgoing Performance Package. There’s also a serialized dash plaque in case anyone doubts your car’s authenticity.

How Do I Get One?

New Performance Package Pushes the 2020 Ford Mustang EcoBoost to 330 Horsepower
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Ford will offer the 2020 Performance Package for both the EcoBoost fastback coupe and the EcoBoost convertible this fall.

No word on pricing, but for reference, the current 2019 Mustang EcoBoost Performance Package is $2,495, which brings the Mustang’s price tag up to about $29,000 before adding more options. If we were to guess, the new features and engine tune will probably add at least a few thousand bucks, bringing the final price tag to about $31,000.

Should I Get One?

New Performance Package Pushes the 2020 Ford Mustang EcoBoost to 330 Horsepower
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The 2020 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Performance Package makes for an interesting proposition. While it isn’t as obvious an answer as the classic V-8 Mustang GT, it may do well to tempt buyers who want extra performance from their Pony Car, but either can’t afford a GT, or simply don’t want a V-8 engine.

I can practically hear you yelling through my monitor - “Who the hell would prefer a four-cylinder Mustang?!”

Well, a lotta folks, actually. Nearly half of all Mustang sales are with an EcoBoost engine under the hood, with stuff like fuel prices and insurance costs making the ‘four-powered option far more attractive to some.

With that in mind, it makes sense that Ford would want to give the EcoBoost a little extra optional muscle. However, the really big reason can be found in the Chevy camp.

2019 Chevrolet Camaro
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Chevrolet Camaro Turbo 1LE

Late last year, Chevy added its 1LE track pack to the turbo four-cylinder Camaro, and clearly, Ford took notice. The Bow Tie’s package includes:

  • upgraded suspension
  • Brembo four-pot brake, with 13.6 discs in front and 12.4-inch discs in the rear
  • upgraded cooling
  • new limited-slip rear diff
  • 20-inch wheels wrapped in Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric tires

Chevy only offers the package on coupe models with a six-speed manual transmission, so the EcoBoost Performance Package is definitely the more accessible in that sense, as you can get Ford’s package on both the coupe and convertible, and with either a six-speed manual or 10-speed automatic.

The Ford option is also more powerful, as the Camaro Turbo 1LE produces 275 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, 55 ponies and 55 pound-feet less than the Blue Oval. The end result is a much-slower 5.1-second 0-to-60 mph time and lower 145-mph top speed, which is 0.6 seconds and 10 mph slower than the specs on the Mustang.

However, the pricing difference remains up in the air until Ford confirms the 2020 Performance Package’s MSRP. For now, the Chevrolet Camaro Turbo 1LE starts at $30,995.

2019 Chevrolet Camaro
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Regardless, we’d certainly love to see these two battle it out on the track, possibly on an autocross course. Ford even specifically mentioned autocross in its press release, so you can see what it’s going for here.

If the new package did indeed transform the Mustang into a sharpened cone-dodger, we’d be delighted, but we’ll believe it when we see it. We originally didn’t include the Mustang on our list of best autocross cars because it tended to be a bit nose-heavy and a bit archaic in terms of handling dynamics. Granted, the sixth-gen’s independent suspension made the Mustang more of a sports car, but the end result was still definitely a dragster in our mind.

New Performance Package Pushes the 2020 Ford Mustang EcoBoost to 330 Horsepower
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These upgrades could change our minds on that, especially when you consider the EcoBoost is about 160 pounds lighter than the V-8. Perhaps all it needed was more torque, stiffer suspension, and better tires.

What do you think, dear reader? Would you get the Mustang with the latest Performance Package? Let us know in the comments section below.

Further Reading

2018 Ford Mustang High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Ford Mustang GT - $35,095

Read our full review on the 2018 Ford Mustang.

2018 Ford Mustang RTR
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Read our full review on the 2018 Ford Mustang RTR.

2019 Chevrolet Camaro Exterior
- image 776734

Read our full review on the 2019 Chevrolet Camaro.

Muscle Car Melee – Mustang vs. Camaro
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Muscle Car Melee - Mustang Vs. Camaro

2016 Ford Focus RS – Driven Exterior High Resolution
- image 718773

Read our full driven review on the 2016 Ford Focus RS.

.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 sway bar up front and a tubular 21.7-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.

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