For the 2020 model year, Ford Australia will be fielding a more high powered and aggressive version of the entry-level Mustang. Called the High Performance, it replaces the less popular EcoBoost variant while retaining many of its core ingredients.
“The High Performance 2.3L helps extend Mustang’s already broad appeal,” said Kay Hart, Ford Australia and New Zealand President and CEO. “With distinctive looks, increased equipment level and bold colour choices, the turbocharged model is a welcome addition to the line-up, bringing a freshness to the range while still being pure Mustang.”
The car itself seems to mostly mirror the High Performance Package that was announced in April for the North American market’s four-pot Mustang. That 2.3-litre turbocharged four-cylinder is now bumped up to 236kW and 448Nm thanks to some fettling by Ford Performance, an increase of 12kW and 7Nm.
To achieve this, they’ve added a larger 63mm twin-scroll turbocharger lifted from the Focus RS along with some engine management work to also accommodate the revised gear ratios for both the automatic and manual transmission versions.
While Ford does cite the hot all-wheel drive Focus as template for the increase in engine output, bear in mind that the RS hatch still produces 25kW and 27Nm more. Still, that doesn’t the detract from the fact that these uprated power figures are indeed welcome.
“It’s not just the power gains over the previous 2.3-litre engine,” said Carl Widmann, Chief Program Engineer, Ford Mustang. “It’s the broader torque curve that delivers 90 percent of peak torque between 2,500 and 5,300 rpm. Plus, horsepower holds stronger up to the 6,500-rpm redline – enabling more usable power and torque.”
It’s also worth noting that the North American variant of the Mustang EcoBoost with the High Performance Package produces 10kW more power. Why that extra bit of grunt has been lost in its journey Down Under is a little puzzling, though perhaps it’s due to the lack of an upgraded cooling system.
A thicker 32mm front stabiliser bar has also been fitted to improve front end response, while the rear stabiliser bar has been similarly beefed up from 21.7mm to 24mm. In many ways, the lighter nose made possible by its smaller displacement aluminium engine and consequently superior 53/47 weight distribution make the lower tier Mustang the most agile.
Apart from its revised mechanicals, the incoming Mustang High Performance will add new cosmetic upgrades such as decals that call back to the turbocharged Mustangs of the 1980s, new graphic treatments, individual badging, and new 19-inch alloys wrapped in Pirelli P Zero Corsa tyres.
Additionally, the car also received a revised front grille design, the more pronounced front splitter from the 5.0 GT and a new set of exterior colours that includes the pictured Twister Orange and Grabber Lime.