2020 Ford Mustang EcoBoost HPP First Drive
The respect afforded the 5.0 badges affixed to the flanks of Ford’s Mustang GT is deserving of the accolades it has gotten. However, there’s a new Mustang badge that will achieve the same reverence – the 2.3 High Performance. Ford’s latest creation is called the High Performance (Hi-Po) Package, and for $4,995 more than the base Mustang, it can be yours.
I’ve long been a fan of the design of higher-performing variants of the current Mustang and am on the record as having likened the look of the car to an affordable Aston Martin.
This also carries over to the interior of Ford’s venerable pony car, with quality materials and a thoughtful layout chief among its attributes. Yes, the optional Recaro seats should be tried for fit before you commit; but a Mustang interior is a beautiful place to be nonetheless.
The real story here is the engine, though. Ford’s engineers repurposed the outstanding 2.3-liter turbocharged four previously found in the now-defunct Focus RS. They then rotated it 90 degrees to feed a rear-drive powertrain and mated it to the buyer’s choice of a 10-speed automatic transmission or a six-speed manual. So configured, it generates 332 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque, along with one of the most delicious exhaust notes money can acquire.
Suspension modifications include a strut tower brace, wider and stickier tires, adaptive dampers, and a thicker and stiffer rear anti-roll bar. Accompanying that hardware are upgraded front brakes and an active exhaust system generously donated by Mustang GT.
The result of all of this is one of the most agile and entertaining iterations of the Ford Mustang ever offered. It’s quick off the line and fast too (although top speed is limited to 155) with both delightful throttle response and sharp steering. A true driver’s car in the strictest sense of the term, the High-Performance 2.3-liter Mustang came out of the gate with instant street credibility.
And yeah, I like it!
Pricing starts at $32,760.