Like so many great performance cars, it started with a naughty engine transplant. Meet the Ford Mustang Ecoboost High Performance Package, a four-cylinder ‘Stang with a chunky power upgrade that appears to be the of an errant Focus RS engine and some bored Blue Oval workers.
“Following an experiment with a Focus RS engine swap, the Mustang team leveraged Ford’s quickening product development times to accelerate and complete the 2.3L High Performance Package in under 10 months,” Ford proudly exclaims.
Thus the cheapest, 2.3-litre ‘Stang, which possesses 286bhp in UK spec, now produces almost 330bhp. Still not quite as much as that RS (and further still from a Mountuned RS), but good for 0-60mph in less than 5.0secs nonetheless.
It’s been quite a project, too, with members of Ford’s US team flying over to the Valencia plant where the company’s 2.3s are made to help specify a whole new iteration of it, with a new cylinder head and larger turbo.
For a relatively modest power gain – around 20bhp if you compare it to a US-spec Ecoboost – it seems rather a lot of work, but its engineers claim the new breadth of its power delivery is more impressive than some slightly larger numbers on a spec sheet.
Complementing its bigger lungs are some reinforced suspension components, larger brakes and an active quad-tip exhaust, while you can opt for the High Performance Package with both six-speed manual and ten-speed automatic gearboxes. There are blacked out grilles and splitters and a light smattering of High Performance badges to ensure onlookers know it’s no ordinary four-cylinder ‘Stang passing by.
Whether this translates into a tacit admission the non-V8 Mustang is a bit meh or it’s simply engineers doing some good old fashioned engineering, we’re not sure. Could a lift in power, noise and poise stop you from defaulting to the full-strength 5.0-litre, though?