Turbo four-pot ponycar enters the MOTOR garage
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
FORD MUSTANG 2.3L HIGH PERFORMANCE