Down on cylinder count and charisma or not, the Ecoboost Mustang certainly isn't lacking in raw performance. 65kg lighter than a V8, the standard car has 317hp and 318lb ft of torque, the latter from 3,000rpm where the V8's 381lb ft requires 4,250rpm before really coming alive. Indeed, for all its apparent muscularity, in standard tune many will find the V8 GT Mustang a tad underwhelming, at least until you're well up into the rev range.
More ponies for your pony car
As you'll probably have already gathered this particular Ecoboost Mustang has had a bit of an additional tickle by the guys at Revo Technik. We've already videoblogged our initial impressions and if you've seen that you'll be aware of one very intriguing stat - the Stage 1 package lifts power to an impressive 360hp, but it's the 406lb ft of torque that really makes you sit up and take notice.
As you may well already know, the 2.3-litre four is related to that in the 350hp Focus RS. The Focus version gets a twin-scroll turbo and some additional cooling channels within the block but the engines are fundamentally similar, other applications for the Mustang engine including the Zenos E10 R.
'Chip' tuning for modern turbocharged engines and getting bigger numbers through tweaks to boost, fuelling and timing may seem like an easy win for the aftermarket, untroubled by the homologation numbers manufacturers have to hit. Or, er, not. In some cases.
Moving swiftly on, a quick chat with Revo's Peter Tranda reveals the work that goes into it. Peter says they're able to talk to all the sensors in the engine and fettle to their hearts' content. But everything they do is informed by a desire to both improve drivability and maintain a healthy safety margin to calm fears it'll go pop within a few thousand miles.
He also reports that although the single-scroll turbo is somewhat less sophisticated than the twin-scroll in the Focus RS application they actually spool up at the same rate, the main benefit for the Focus being a thicker and more resilient mid-range. The Focus also gets temporary overboost, taking it from 324lb ft to 347lb ft.
This is just the start though; a Stage 2 package with a bigger intercooler and a new downpipe and exhaust system developed with Milltek is capable of a safe 380hp, torque more or less the same but with a longer duration in the rev range. It also sounds much better by all accounts.
Half the fun?
This can only be a good thing. Because from start-up to shut-off there's nothing exotic about the noise the Ecoboost Mustang makes. It's a shame that for all the impressive power delivery this is the aspect we all fixate upon. But given a Mustang is most definitely a car to be bought with the heart perhaps reasonable.
It may not sound it but the engine feels properly muscular too. There's a turbocharged elasticity to the throttle response but sturdy mid-range on which to lean whether you want to accelerate in-gear or stir the stumpy little lever around the gate in search of more expressive bursts of speed. Weight and turn-in response to the wheel feel a little more decisive too, likely down to the suspension and wheels. On Revo's development car a serious looking Alcon brake kit addresses the fact Ecoboost Mustangs lack the GT's standard Brembos too.
In short the new Mustang has never struggled looking the part. The Ecoboost wasn't exactly slow out of the box but now it goes as well those looks implied. If Stage 2 can help address sounding and feeling it too then there could be hope for the four-cylinder Mustang yet.
FORD MUSTANG ECOBOOST FASTBACK REVO STAGE 1
Engine: 2,300cc 4cyl turbo
Transmission: 6-speed manual, rear-wheel drive, limited-slip differential
Power (hp): 360* (317@5,500rpm standard)
Torque (lb ft): 406* (318@3,000rpm standard)
0-62mph: 5.2sec* (5.8sec standard)
Top speed: 145mph (standard)
Weight: 1,655kg (with fluids and 75kg driver)
MPG: 35.3 (NEDC combined)
Price: £31,745 (basic list price for standard 2.3 Ecoboost Fastback manual; Revo Technik Stage 1 £499+VAT fitted)
*Revo Technik figures
[Sources: Revo Technik]
[Photos: Chris Teagles]