Our EcoBoost four had a distinct advantage on the twisty mountain and canyon roads over which we drove it. In addition to it being 100 pounds lighter over the nose because of the missing four cylinders, the EcoBoost Mustang we drove came with the optional Performance Package, loaded with, among other things, body stiffening componentry. In short, get the V8-powered Mustang GT if your goal is stoplight drag racing dominance; get the EcoBoost four if you want to autocross or canyon carve. But in either case, get the Performance Pack -- it’s worth its weight in reinforced parts.
Not since the Corvette Stingray has an American muscle car stirred as much anticipation as the 2015 Ford Mustang. Ford's newest pony has more horsepower, greater refinement and a first-ever ...
Now, let’s look at the 2.3-liter EcoBoost four. (Yes, we know, the Mustang had a four-banger way back in the 1970s and '80s. It was even a 2.3 liter. Forget about that engine.) This one is very sophisticated, not just by those ancient standards, but by the standards of any four-cylinder on the road today. Ford is proud of this small-displacement masterpiece and not just because it helps meet ever-more-stringent fuel economy standards, though offering 32 mpg combined mileage is certainly part of it.
The EcoBoost makes an impressive 310 peak hp through the use of twin independent cam timing, direct injection and a dual-scroll turbo bolted right onto the engine block. Ford says that makes for “a very useable setup.” The night before we drove it, Ford also said the EcoBoost in the Mustang has a broad torque band and no lag on the turbo. Scrutinizing a cutaway on an engine stand, it sure looked like an efficient package. While this engine is shared with the Lincoln MKC, where it sits transversely, it is refined to take advantage of its longitudinal orientation in the Mustang, with longer intake runners.
The EcoBoost 2.3-liter engine found in the 2015 Mustang is a far cry from the four-cylinder Mustangs from the 1970s-80s.PHOTO BY FORD
The best way to verify Ford’s claims was to take one out and wail on it. We did our wailing on some of our favorite canyon roads. These were shorter, tighter and a gear or two lower than the roads over which we drove the 5.0-liter Mustang GT V8 earlier in the day. This was ideal territory for the EcoBoost Mustang -- especially ours with its Performance Pack. That pack offers almost the same equipment found on the V8-powered GT: higher spring and damper rates, bigger rear stabilizer bar, 3.55 Torsen differential, front four-piston Brembos with 352 mm rotors, and bolt-on structural components to further stiffen the chassis. In addition, you get 255/40R19 summer tires, which keep gripping quite a bit longer than the standard all-season tires. Taken together, the pack brought the Mustang to a higher -- and faster -- level.
Behind the wheel, as in the GT, you’re again impressed with how much more refined the car is to drive -- so smooth and so fun. Compared to older Mustangs, the inputs from the suspension are easier to take and easier to use in positioning the car in turns. With this new Mustang, particularly in Performance Pack trim, there's a delightful communication between the front and rear ends and between the road and the driver that inspires confidence. While we did get the GT’s all-season M&S tires to break loose both in front and in back, apart from some minor slip here and there, the EcoBoost Mustang's summer rubber stayed in place. Barreling through the canyons, the car was predictable and stable no matter how hard we pushed it.
The all-new 2015 Mustang features a refreshed engine lineup, revised drivetrain, a clean-slate platform and a fully independent suspension. Let's take a closer look at the key technical ...
We kept thinking the whole time we were driving what this might mean for the Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ. In four-cylinder trim and with the Performance Pack, the turbocharged Mustang could make for a strong competitor to those two sporty cars.
Prices for the new Mustang range from just over $24,000 to a little over $40K. We’ll certainly have more stories on this exciting pony car crowd pleaser, but for now know that the two we’ve driven are promising, indeed.
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