How Did Ford Give The Mustang EcoBoost The Twisting Force Of A V8?

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Thanks to a new calibration kit announced this week by Ford Performance, the 2015+ Mustang EcoBoost can now be made to spit out up to an extra 25 horsepower and 70 lb-ft above the stock numbers, equating to 335 horsepower and an awe-inspiring 390 lb-ft of torque. This is accomplished through nothing more than a cold-air intake and an ECU calibration.

How is it possible that a four-cylinder, displacing less than half the volume of the 5.0-liter Coyote V8, could come within 10 lb-ft of that engine with so little modification? Road & Track recently spoke to Ford Performance Parts Product Manager Jesse Kershaw to find out.

According to him, “there’s opportunity left in the base calibration” on the Mustang EcoBoost. “We can be a little more aggressive with some of the spark, and we can make the assumption that the customer will always use premium fuel.”

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Premium fuel is less prone to detonation than lower-octane fuels, which allowed Ford Performance to alter spark and fuel maps for more power, as well as increase boost pressure, according to Road & Track. The division also has a leg-up on aftermarket tuners simply because it’s an in-house organization.

“We have access to things in the software that the typical aftermarket would not,” Kershaw told R&T. “When we send out our calibrations, all of our stuff is encrypted because we don’t really want to see the aftermarket where we’re going and what we’re doing.”

Although the new Ford Mustang EcoBoost calibration kit increases fuel consumption slightly, it’s 50-state emissions legal, and the factory warranty remains unaffected. Mr. Kershaw says that Ford did simulated 60,000-mile tests on the kit, and found no observable impact on engine durability.

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We’ve wondered before whether the Ford Mustang EcoBoost mightn’t be a better drivers car than the Mustang GT by virtue of its lower curb weight and less-forward weight bias. Now that the engine can be made to produce almost the same torque with so little effort, that argument just became a bit stronger.

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Written by Aaron Brzozowski

Aaron Brzozowski is a writer and motoring enthusiast from Detroit with an affinity for '80s German steel. He is not active on the Twitter these days, but you may send him a courier pigeon.

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