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Ford Mustang EcoBoost Performance Review: How Are the Warranty-Approved Performance P

Automotive fanatics are sure to tell you that the only sort of engine that belongs under the hood of a performance car like the Ford Mustang is a traditional V8. According to them, anything less is simply unacceptable. But in the 21st century, efficiency and responsibility matter more than ever. Gasoline isnít getting any cheaper plus environmental concerns are top of mind as … Continue reading Ford Mustang EcoBoost Performance Review: How Are the Warranty-Approved Performance Parts?

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Automotive fanatics are sure to tell you that the only sort of engine that belongs under the hood of a performance car like the Ford Mustang is a traditional V8. According to them, anything less is simply unacceptable.

But in the 21st century, efficiency and responsibility matter more than ever. Gasoline isnít getting any cheaper plus environmental concerns are top of mind as industry, governments, and private citizens alike work to use natural resources more responsibly.

And if those reasons werenít enough, not everyone needs the awe-inspiring power dished out by a V8, nor do they want to spend more money up front or on insurance. Responding to this situation, Ford chose to offer an efficient EcoBoost four-banger in the S550 Mustang when it launched several years ago, giving customers an engine option thatís still plenty capable but more in step with modern times.

Sacrilegious or Shrewd?

Despite an acute lack of cylinders, Dearbornís 2.3-liter turbo is well behaved and surprisingly robust, rated at 310 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of twist. Further improving performance, itís been bolstered for model-year 2018, with torque output swelling to 350.

It goes without saying, or, as the case may be here, reading, that EcoBoost powerplant is not as stirring as whatís found between the front fenders of GT models, but itís still pleasant enough you wonít feel like you cheaped-out and bought some cut-rate generic brand.

For those who went the sensible route and acquired a four-cylinder Mustang, you neednít leave it the way it came from the factory. The go-fast goons at Ford Performance offer a passel of aftermarket parts that enhance this modelís look, feel and expedite its already respectable acceleration.

Modified Mustang

Even though an updated 2018 version has already launched, the folks in Dearborn were looking to highlight the aftermarket goodies available for their venerable pony car. To this end, they dressed up a í17 model-year coupe with a range of components with the goal of taking an already good machine and making it even better.


To highlight whatís available in the vast Ford Performance parts catalog, which includes a huge range of items from crankshafts and wheels to overhaul kits and turnkey engines, the Mustang reviewed here was gussied up with nearly $4,600 (est. $5,911 CDN) in EcoBoost-specific goodies, though itís important to note that installation is not included in that figure. Prices vary based on where you live and whoís doing the work, so make sure to factor that into your budget if you decide to upgrade your car.

Running down the list of aftermarket parts, this Mustang is equipped with things like a strut-tower brace, radiator cover and new wheel center caps. But most the most important changes are functional, including a $1,520 (est. $1,953 CDN) track-handling suspension kit, Fordís $1,549 (est. $1,991 CDN) cat-back exhaust system as well as a retuned engine-control computer and open-element air filter, a combo that checks out at $725 (est. $932 CDN).


If youíre curious, these components were installed on a very base Mustang, one equipped with just three options: an automatic transmission, a wheel and stripe package, as well as White Platinum paint. Out the door, it cost a very reasonable $29,680 including $900 for destination and delivery (est. $40,000 CDN).

POOOOOOOOOOWER!

So, what do all those upgrades get you? The tune and intake add 25 horses and 70 pound-feet of torque, bringing those totals to 335 and 390, respectively. While no performance bump is mentioned, the freer-breathing cat-back exhaust system could add a skosh to those totals as well.

Naturally, those increases are welcome, but perhaps best of all this vehicleís three-year/36,000-mile factory warranty is unaffected by these enhancements, provided the parts are properly installed.


Also of note, these upgrades are legal in all 50 states, even California, where fun has been outlawed for decades. Also, theyíre available at most Ford dealers and from many third-party distributors so getting your hands on them should be no trouble.

Real-World Results

But focusing on this carís upgrades, one of the first things you notice is the engine soundÖ it actually makes some! Stock EcoBoost Mustangs quietly grumble as they go about their business, but in comparison, every time you goose the throttle here, youíre rewarded with a burst of throaty intake rumble, though youíll still never confuse it with proper V8 music.

Focusing on the opposite end, the freer-breathing exhaust system is also more assertive. It gives the car some bark to match its bite, all without droning annoyingly or getting tiresome on long drives. In short, itís tastefully aggressive.


Acceleration, even when equipped with a six-speed automatic transmission, is fast. The torque in this modified Mustang starts low and hits hard, surging you ahead. No, it doesnít have the explosive top-end pull of Fordís 5.0-liter V8, but around town, it pulls like a diesel. During my week with the car, I even had a bit of trouble getting traction in cold weather since thereís so much twist on tap. Remember, 390 pound-feet is only 10 less than provided by a 2017 GT model.

Further enhancing performance, the gearboxís performance has been optimized with firmer, faster-feeling shifts.

Naturally, with this package fuel economy will take a hit since the engine is making more power and youíll undoubtedly be dipping deeper into the throttle more often, but according to the trip computerI averaged more than 21 mpg in heavy-footed driving, just three less than what the window stickersays this car should deliver.


I was pleasantly surprised by this Mustangís overall performance, but one part of it thatís not quite as nice is the chassis. It drives remarkably well, but I just found it too stiff for use on weather-beaten Midwestern roads. Thereís no need for such a starchy suspension setup unless you live on Mulholland Drive or go racing every weekend. I would have been fine with a touch more compliance, though the one-inch drop does give the car an aggressive stance.

For drivers like me, Ford also offers a street-handling suspension kit. Itís a few hundred bucks cheaper ($1,119 [est. $1,438 CDN]), lowers the car about the same amount and is a touch softer for better day-to-day livability.

The Verdict

The assortment of Ford Performance parts highlighted here breaths a little more excitement into Dearbornís four-cylinder pony car. And thatís good news for owners of 2015 to 2017 EcoBoostMustangs because all these components install without issue. As for the substantially updated 2018 model that just launched, itís unclear right now what enhancements will be offered, but stay tuned.


Feeling like a cohesive package, Iíve been pleasantly surprised by this suite of factory-backed upgrades, especially the engine recalibration kit. If youíve got a four-cylinder Mustang, Iíd recommend grabbing that tune and Fordís cat-back exhaust system to enjoy a faster, more finessed car. Hell, these changes might even be enough to make dyed-in-the-wool gearheads think twice about getting a V8.

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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 01-05-2018
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While the cheering for this engine and drivetrain will undoubtedly ring in Ford's halls for many a year, and I laud the efforts to reduce emissions and increase economy wholeheartedly, I have a rather pointed question to ask:

How will this engine be running in 50 years?

I'm not a fan for the simple reason that it's overstressed, unrebuildable, and utilizes parts that simply won't be around, because many of them are one-year-only bits and pieces. You can rightly point out that it will last longer than a classic V8 (not a modern one), but that's largely due to modern fuel injection.

IMHO, these are expensive disposable drivetrains that require a lot of very specialized equipment to work on. Maybe I'm old fashioned, but if it's a car I truly love, I'd want to be able to drive AND keep it, while maintaining it myself.

I don't think too much of the EcoBoost stuff at all.

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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 01-05-2018
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IMHO....nothing but PR on an engine that (as far as EB goes) is a disposable engine (because of repair costs), one that as it gets aged will have substantial increased maintenance costs (if you consider coked up turbo's a maintenance item like Ford does).... and in the real world has less MPG than NA engines producing comparative power........


yeah, I buy into the PR stuff 100%
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