How 2020 Ford Mustang 2.3L High Performance Package Came To Be

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Ford has a long history of small groups of designers and engineers with the desire to build something special actually building something special. The original Mustang came to be thanks to a small group of people at the automaker aiming to build a “working man’s Thunderbird.” And the people behind the 2.3L High Performance Package for the 2020 Mustang wanted to bring more performance to the entry-level pony car. After all, plenty of performance is already available for the mid- to high-end Mustang customers via the Mustang GT, Mustang Shelby GT350/GT350R, and soon the 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500… but the outgoing EcoBoost Performance Package – which the 2.3L High Performance Pack replaces – left gobs of untapped performance.

The hopped up 2.3-liter high performance package for the 2020 Ford Mustang started as a “passion project” by a team that wanted to see what would happen by swapping the Focus RS engine into the Mustang, according to Ford. After the experimental engine swap was complete in the Ford Performance garage and the Mustang was driven, the team says that it knew it had to build the car.

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And since Ford has been working to improve (shorten) its design-to-approval process, the 2.3L High Performance Package was approved for production in only ten months, including efforts to get a new version of the 2.3-liter engine built. The package isn’t merely a new tune that cranks up the horsepower and torque. Instead, it uses a 5 percent larger 63 mm twin-scroll turbocharger and a larger radiator. The team also put special effort into tuning the new engine to work in harmony with both the Ford 10-speed SelectShift automatic and 6-speed manual transmissions.

The result is an entry-level pony that has a very broad torque curve: peak torque of 350 pound-feet comes in between 2,500 and 5,300 rpm – 40 percent broader than what’s available in the regular Mustang EcoBoost. The engine delivers 143 horsepower per liter for a total of 330 – 20 more than the standard Mustang EcoBoost. But the special package doesn’t stop there.

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The 2.3L High Performance Package also brings several features to the entry-level Mustang straight off the Mustang GT, including larger brakes, a more competent suspension system, and various aero components. And since the Mustang EcoBoost is lighter than the V8-powered Mustang GT, it has a near-perfect 53/47 weight distribution. Ford explicitly says that the 2020 Mustang with the 2.3L High Performance Package is perfect for enthusiasts and weekend autocrossers.

The package can be taken to the next level with a new Handling Package, which features specially-calibrated MagneRide dampers, a 3.55:1 limited slip rear axle from Torsen, and wider wheels with sticky Pirelli PZero summer tires.

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The 2.3L High Performance Package is offered on both the Mustang Fastback coupe and Mustang Convertible models, but the optional Handling Package is offered only on the Fastback coupe and requires the presence of the 2.3L High Performance Package. Pricing has yet to be unannounced for both packages.

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Written by Shane McGlaun

Shane is a car guy with a fondness for Mustangs and off-roading.

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One Comment

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  1. Honestly, Ford is off to a good start with this setup. However, it’s only a good start. Mercedes Benz currently has a 2.0L AMG CLA45 that pumps out 375hp/350 and an upcoming AMG A45 that pumps out 415-421hp with a 7-speed DCT. Ford’s Ecoboost is a 2.3L, I see no reason why the refreshed mustang can’t have a base ecoboost that puts out 370hp/385tq and a performance ecoboost 2.3L that puts out 405hp/415tq with the 2.3L. I don’t care if it steps on the toes of the 3.0L twin turbo V6, that’s honestly irrelevant. This new mustang needs to be one of the top performing 4-cylinder turbo cars out there but still be affordable. Honestly, I feel ford should ditch the whole interior design of the mustang. It’s super dated. Although I do appreciate the nod to the past, the Camaro dash layout it way more attractive. Honestly I would take the steering wheel from the Focus RS and put that in the mustang with alcantara on the top and bottom, a redesigned 12″ digital instrument cluster, a “double bubble” dash design (still retro but a little more modern and aggressive) a floating infotainment receiver, round HVAC vents, a more sweeping center console, Focus RS or ST style recaro front seats (best recaro seats in a Ford EVER!), B&O stereo system, a nicer auto shift knob for the 10-speed and this car should have a 7-speed DCT as an option. The car should have the E-LSD, a lightweight driveshaft, GT350 spec axles, Magnetic ride with an optional performance pack Level-2 suspension setup, heavy duty cooling, Brembo brakes, performance wheel and tire options and a few other things. Although the current mustang is plenty aggressive, it is time to start pulling away from the 1960’s retro just a little bit. a modern rendition of the 87-93 Fox body taillamps with black red and clear housings would be cool out back while still keeping the overall fastback look to the car. a different rear diffuser that still allows the use of quad tail pipes, different rear spoiler options such as something styled similar to the Fox body Saleen spoiler (not the big bi-wing ricer thing), a molded aero-package (like the 87-93 GT but shaped for a sleeker design of the new car which should be an evolution of this one but more modern). Loose the DRL “gills” but honestly i wouldn’t change the front up too drastically. I’d make the foglamps and foglamp openings more like the GT350 setup and the new car would get a different hood, closer to that of the 94-98 style hood with vents on the side of the cowl. a slightly more coke bottle shape with fenders flared out like the GT350 and the GT500 but not as wide and without the front heat extractors would be what i would do with the 2021 mustang. I would then have Ford Performance collaborate with Roush and Mountune to create two Roush Packages, the RS425 and RS445 and of course above the ecoboost cars would be the Gen-4 Coyote powered 5.0L GT pushing 495hp, a Cobra and a Cobra R, replacing the need to be retired GT350 and GT500. a Targa top option needs to be available as well.

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