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Ford Mustang 4-Cyl. EcoBoost: The Future Of Muscle Cars?

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By Dave Ashton

It would be great if we could all afford and run the top line of muscle cars with their insane power levels. However, sometimes reality bites and we want muscle car credentials, just without the need for the top end power. Ford thought of this in 2015, with the four-cylinder, turbocharged 2.3L EcoBoost.

This has proven popular with Wards Intelligence data saying that in the first six months of 2019, 53% of Mustangs were sold in the US of the four-cylinder types. The other Detroit muscle builders also had the same idea, like the older Dodge Charger SE and newer SXT having a 3.6-liter V-6 Pentastar engine. In the case of the Charger engine, producing 292 horsepower and the SXT Plus trim having 300HP.

Much of the Ford powertrain has been adapted from the Ford Focus RS hot hatchback. Things like engine mounts have been adapted, but for the core engine workings like the compression ratio, bore and stroke, come from the Focus RS. The additional benefits from the Eco boost are a redesigned quad-tip exhaust system, new turbocharger with 22 psi (1.5-bar) of boost and 5% larger twin-scroll compressor.

V8 fans may scoff at the four-cylinder Mustang, but the 2.3L still has more umph than the 2005 Mustang with its 4.6L 300HP V8. There’s also plenty of torque with 350 lb.-ft. and a more linear acceleration curve. In other words, far more grunt than you would expect from a four-cylinder unit. The power also nicely transfers through a 10 speed automatic or six speed manual transmission.

At roughly a starting price of $33,000, the EcoBoost High Performance for example, has the brakes from the Mustang GT, aluminium rims, summer tires and a 3.55:1 limited-slip rear axle. There are also different packages available like the Handling Package for $1,995, which include tasty extras like calibrated magnetic suspension dampers, larger solid rear sway bar and fancy, painted rims.

Okay, a four-cylinder will never have the street cred. of a V8, but the four-cylinders serve multiple purposes. A more cost-effective way to enter into the wild world of the muscle car, making muscle cars more accessible and simply having a cheaper car to run on a daily basis. The V8s are still top of the heap, but it’s also nice to know there are variations out there for all pocket sizes.


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