After Ford launches its thermonuclear attack in the pony-car wars with the forthcoming 760-hp Shelby GT500, the company also has retrained the lowest ranks of the 2020 Mustang corps. The upgraded four-cylinder EcoBoost model, which now offers a feistier turbocharged 2.3-liter inline-four exhumed from the defunct Ford Focus RS, along with transformative racetrack hardware.
It is the most agile version of today’s four-cylinder Ford Mustang. With handling components from the GT Performance pack and Focus RS engine underhood, the Mustang HPP blends muscle car-worthy straight-line speed with lightweight sports car-like handling. It has an impressive extension to the Ford Mustang’s historic performance portfolio.
The title “Mustang EcoBoost High Performance package” is accurate when talking about performance, but the only distinguishable feature on the exterior is an inconspicuous “High Performance 2.3L” badge on the side fender. The current Mustang EcoBoost’s standard turbo four-banger makes 310 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque.
The HPP Mustang pushes out peak torque between 2,500 and 5,300 rpm. Even better, the torque curve is flat from 3,000 to 4,000 rpm, and the engine can produce 90% of its horsepower at a sustained 6,500-rpm redline.
The Handling pack is more forgiving on a daily basis than the PPL2, yet similarly rewarding. It significantly improves driver engagement, thanks to adaptive dampers, hardier brake pads, and an even stiffer rear anti-roll bar. Stickier 265/40R-19 Pirelli P Zero Corsa4 tires on wider 19-inch wheels also contribute to additional cornering grip and steering fidelity.
That means there’s a ton of power no matter where you are in the rev range, and no matter the gear. Go hard in first gear and you’ll hit 40 miles per hour before you need to upshift to second. Ford says the HPP Mustang can accelerate to 60 mph in the mid-4-second range, on its way to a top speed of 155 mph — a 34-mph increase over the base Mustang, assuming you have the space to hit such a v-max.
Available features include dual exhaust, LED headlamps, keyless entry and starting, Sync infotainment, track apps, dual USB ports, satellite radio, rear-sensing system, dual-zone climate control, fog lamps, in-car Wi-Fi, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.
The 2020 Ford Mustang starts right around $27,000. The High Performance package costs $4995, which makes for an entry point of $32,760 for a manual-equipped coupe. The convertible equivalent costs $38,260, and the optional 10-speed automatic adds $1595 to either body style. The EcoBoost’s coupe-only Handling package is a reasonable $1995 by itself, but it’s handcuffed to both the High Performance pack and the $2000 Equipment Group 101A, inflating the starting price for a full-zoot EcoBoost Mustang to $36,755.