Giv­ing the V8 a run for its money

Up­graded 4-cylin­der Mus­tang flexes mod­ern mus­cle

Metro Canada (Toronto) - - Wheels - Craig Cole Au­to­gu­ide.com

RE­VIEW

Au­to­mo­tive fa­nat­ics are sure to tell you that the only sort of en­gine that be­longs un­der the hood of a per­for­mance car like the Ford Mus­tang is a tra­di­tional V8.

But in the 21st cen­tury, ef­fi­ciency and re­spon­si­bil­ity mat­ter more than ever. Re­spond­ing to this sit­u­a­tion, Ford chose to of­fer an ef­fi­cient Ecoboost four-banger in the S550 Mus­tang when it launched sev­eral years ago, giv­ing cus­tomers an en­gine op­tion that’s still plenty ca­pa­ble but more in step with mod­ern times.

De­spite an acute lack of cylin­ders, Dear­born’s 2.3-litre turbo is well be­haved and sur­pris­ingly ro­bust, rated at 310 horse­power and 320 pound-feet of twist. The go-fast goons at Ford Per­for­mance, how­ever, were look­ing to high­light the af­ter­mar­ket good­ies. To this end, they dressed up a ’17 model-year coupe with a range of com­po­nents with the goal of im­prov­ing an al­ready good ma­chine.

The Mus­tang re­viewed here was gussied up with nearly $6,000 in Ecoboost-spe­cific good­ies. The most im­por­tant changes are func­tional, in­clud­ing a $1,953 track-han­dling sus­pen­sion kit, Ford’s $1,991 cat-back ex­haust sys­tem, as well as a re­tuned en­gine-con­trol com­puter and openele­ment air fil­ter, a combo that checks out at $932 — all fig­ures are es­ti­mates.

So, what do all those up­grades get you? The tune and in­take add 25 horses and 70 pound-feet of torque, bring­ing those to­tals to 335 and 390, re­spec­tively.

Fo­cus­ing on this car’s up­grades, one of the first things you no­tice is the en­gine sound ... it ac­tu­ally makes some! Ev­ery time you goose the throt­tle here, you’re re­warded with a burst of throaty in­take rum­ble.

Fo­cus­ing on the opposite end, En­gine: 2.3-litre tur­bocharged four-cylin­der Out­put: 335 horse­power, 390 pound-feet of torque Trans­mis­sion: Six-speed au­to­matic

Stock Fuel Econ­omy (L/100 km): 12.8 city, 9.5 high­way, 11.3 com­bined

the freer-breath­ing ex­haust sys­tem is also more as­sertive. It gives the car some bark to match its bite, all with­out dron­ing an­noy­ingly or get­ting tire­some on long drives. In short, it’s taste­fully ag­gres­sive.

Ac­cel­er­a­tion, even when equipped with a six-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion, is fast. The torque in this mod­i­fied Mus­tang Es­ti­mated Price: $46,000

LOVE IT

Factory war­ranty re­mains Makes nicer noises In­creased torque

LEAVE IT

Ride on the stiff side Still not a V8

starts low and hits hard, surg­ing you ahead.

If you’ve got a four-cylin­der Mus­tang, I’d rec­om­mend grab­bing that tune and Ford’s cat­back ex­haust sys­tem to en­joy a faster, more fi­nessed car. Hell, these changes might even be enough to make dyed-in-the-wool gear­heads think twice about get­ting a V8.

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