Turbo four-pot pony­car en­ters the MOTOR garage

Motor (Australia) - - LONG TERMERS -

SHAKE­SPEARE WROTE: “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” But what if the rose kept its name, looked the same but smelled to­tally dif­fer­ent? That’s al­ways been the co­nun­drum of the four-cylin­der Mus­tang. It looks like a Mus­tang and feels like a Mus­tang, but the cru­cial in­gre­di­ents of a mus­cle car, the grunt and the noise – aka the sweet smell of a rose – has al­ways been con­spic­u­ous in its ab­sence.

In an at­tempt to rec­tify this there is now the 2.3L High Per­for­mance, which re­places the Ecoboost as the four­cylin­der choice in the MY2020 Mus­tang line-up. To see if it’s wor­thy we’ve wel­comed a man­ual 2.3L HP to the MOTOR sta­ble for the next few months, which will then be­come a GT – with per­haps a quick fling in an R-Spec – to cover off the en­tire ’20 range.

Changes for 2020 are very mi­nor: four new colours – Iconic Sil­ver, Red Hot, Twis­ter Orange and the Grab­ber Lime you see here – and the op­tion of a Black Shadow Pack ($1000) which adds bon­net and side stripes, 10-spoke wheels and dark­ens the grille and guard badg­ing. More im­por­tantly, all new Mus­tangs come with a five-year/ un­lim­ited-kilo­me­tre war­ranty and fixed­price ser­vic­ing, the first four ser­vices cost­ing $299 apiece.

The 2.3L HP be­gan as an after-hours project among a few Ford Per­for­mance en­gi­neers who won­dered what a Mus­tang would be like with a Fo­cus RS en­gine. Pretty good, ap­par­ently, as just 10 months later the most se­ri­ous four­cylin­der Mus­tang since the 1985 SVO was born. On pa­per the per­for­mance boost is mod­est, out­puts ris­ing from 224kW/441Nm to 236kW/448Nm, but there’s more to the story.

A drop in com­pres­sion ra­tio from 9.5 to 9.37:1 al­lows the five per cent larger turbo to work harder re­sult­ing in a wider power band. Whereas

2261cc turbo in­line-4, RWD, 236kW/448Nm, 1705kg, $50,990 ABOVE If the car isn’t run­ning you can eas­ily spot a 2.3 HP by the off­set pony badge on the grille. I like it


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