When the Mustang was introduced in the mid-1960s, performance cars were just starting to appear, and while youth-oriented, it would be a couple of years before Ford’s pony car would receive big engines and handling packages that it is known for today.
So, there were many six-cylinder, two-speed automatics Mustangs in those early days, and they were considered a “secretary’s car.” Throughout its life the Mustang has always offered basic small-engined cars in addition to its performance line-up.
When Ford dropped the V6 option in the present generation Mustang and replaced it with its turbocharged Ecoboost four, it offered a few more horsepower but was a far cry from the stout 5.0-liter GT.
But there’s a new 2020 version with a 330-horsepower version of the little four-cylinder, and with the GT-inspired handling and suspension package, offers anything but a secretary’s car. The car is built in Ford’s Flat Rock assembly facility in Michigan, and the engine comes from Ford’s Valencia engine plant in Spain.
Handling and power make this new-for-2020 package take a back seat to nothing in its class and price range. Even the engine sounds authoritative, not easy for a four-cylinder unit. Expect zero to 100 kph in just under five seconds.
The handling and cornering ability of this new Mustang leaves little to be desired. It goes where you aim it with little body roll. Brakes are very strong, and with the shifter paddles, the automatic responded with crisp and taut shifts.
As with other performance cars, ride comfort suffers with stiff suspension and 40-series tires, there is a back seat, but in name only. This version of the Mustang is available only with the coupe.
With its firm suspension and gumbo tires, this Mustang handles very well and would be an excellent track day car. Ford has taken the DNA from its killer Focus RS and built a surprisingly agile and quick car. Although it doesn’t have the V8 sound of its GT big brother, it offers a unique roar of its own which lets you know this is not a secretary’s car.
Price, base: $37365, as tested: $54,365 (includes $6500 for high-performance package, $2600 for handling package, $1000 for B&O sound system)
Engine: 2.3-liter inline four, turbocharged, aluminum engine block
Power/Torque: 330 hp/350 ft-lbs
Fuel Mileage: 9 – 12 L/100kms
Drivetrain: 10-speed automatic (six-speed manual standard), 3.55 final drive, MacPherson struts and stabilizer bar suspension on front, integral link with coils and stabilizer bar on rear, 352 by 33-mm vented disc brakes on front, 330 by 33-mm solid discs on rear, 265/40R19 Y-rated Pirelli Zero Corsa tires.
Specifications: Wheelbase 2720-mm (107.1 in), weight 1665 kgs (3671 lbs), passenger volume 2344 liters (82.8 cubic feet), cargo volume 382 liters (13.5 cubic feet), fuel tank capacity 58 liters (12.75 gallons).