Muscle Mustangs & Fast FordsNews & Views
Upgrade An EcoBoost Mustang With Factory Ford Parts and Keep Your Warranty Intact
Ford gave us an EcoBoost Mustang for the Woodward Dream Cruise hot rodded with parts from their own performance parts bins.
When it came time to travel to Detroit for the 2017 Woodward Dream Cruise, instead of renting the usual Hertz economy car we called our friends in Dearborn and they hooked us up with a Mustang for the week. Not just any Mustang mind you, but an EcoBoost automatic that had recently been outfitted with the full gamut of Ford Performance Racing Parts (FPRP).
The standard EcoBoost Mustang is a great car and when you stand on the gas and the boost kicks in, you’d never guess it only had four pistons under the hood. With 310 horsepower, the little 2.3L turbo four makes five more horses than the 1998-1999 Cobra that was the Mustang flag waver at the end of the previous millennium. The FPRP parts add another 25 hp and 70 lb-ft of torque to the package to make it a little more potent, but the main focus with the parts package is centered on handling and appearance.
In the name of a power increase, FPRP added a 50-state legal calibration kit with a cold air kit and performance air filter, plus a cat-back exhaust system. The calibration kit (part no. M-9603-M4) adds that 25 hp at 5,500 rpm and 70 lb-ft at 2,200, but it also has a 40 hp and 60 lb-ft average gain from 2,500 to 5,000, and 75/64 average gain from 5,500 to 6,800. At 6,000 rpm, it’s worth 100 hp over the stock 2.3, which loses steam north of 5,000 rpm. So basically, it makes more power everywhere, which means there’s no performance compromise like you see in some aftermarket modifications. The cal kit also allows you to change the rear gear ratio up to 4.09:1 and when used with an automatic trans like in our case, it optimizes the performance shift schedule.
But the package on this car is mostly about handling, with the addition of the Track Handling Pack (part no. M-FR3A-M8, $1,520) that has pre-assembled struts (no spring compressor required to install), lowering springs that lowers the car an inch, upper strut mounts, jounce bumper kit, sway bar kit, rear toe links, and toe link to knuckle bearings. The Handling Pack fits 2015-2017 GT and 2.3L EcoBoost coupes and in Ford’s words, “Gives a more aggressive-looking stance with a focus on handling and on-track performance.” The stiffer springs and shock/strut valving does make the ride a little bit harsher, but not in a bad way—it’s totally comfortable even on Detroit’s horrible, pock-marked road surfaces.
There are also some appearance related mods, such as unique wheel center caps, a radiator cover, Ford Performance badge, and a Ford Performance windshield banner that when combined with the aggressive-but-not-annoying exhaust note let everyone know this isn’t a standard EcoBoost Mustang. In Detroit, already a car-centric town especially during the yearly Woodward Dream Cruise, this White Platinum Mustang got more looks than we expected. I guess Detroiters know the factory hot rods when they see them.
Milan Dragway is a short drive from Detroit, so after covering the Mustang Memories show at Ford World Headquarters in Dearborn, we headed up there with Courtney Barber and her Project Road Warrior 1965 Mustang to face off against each other, just for fun. It wasn’t a true drag test, since we didn’t air down the tires or ice the intake, and barely had time to tech in before the fist round so the car was still hot from the drive up. So, it was more for fun than anything and the ETs reflect that. Plus it was a hot and humid Michigan summer day, not at all ideal for a day at the dragstrip when in search of good numbers.
Motor Trend’s numbers on a 2016 EcoBoost Mustang with a manual trans showed 14.5 seconds at 98 mph in the quarter-mile, and on this hot day at Milan with a totally un-prepped car, our FPRP-modified Mustang was about a half-second slower than MT’s tester. Also remember, the suspension package is aimed at handling improvements, which always detracts from the weight transfer and suspension action optimum for the drag strip. So don’t look at our numbers as a realistic measure of the FPRP parts—if we had more time to conduct a true test, it would have been noticeably quicker.
In summary, it was a sweet ride for the Dream Cruise, and the FPRP parts make a difference you can hear and feel. The performance suspension made the car nice and solid to drive, and in hindsight we should have made our track day on the road course at Gingerman instead of Milan to really get a feel for the FPRP parts. Next time.
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|FORD PERFORMANCE WHEEL CENTER CAP||4||$ 192.00|
|2015-2017 MUSTANG SHELBY GT350 AIR FILTER||1||$ 89.00|
|2015-2017 MUSTANG TRACK HANDLING PACK||1||$1,520.00|
|2015-2017 MUSTANG FORD PERFORMANCE STRUT TOWER BRACE||1||$ 239.00|
|2015-2017 MUSTANG 2.3L ECOBOOST PERFORMANCE CALIBRATION KIT||1||$ 699.00|
|2015-2017 MUSTANG FORD PERFORMANCE RADIATOR COVER||1||$ 105.00|
|POWERED BY FORD PERFORMANCE BADGE||1||$ 99.00|
|2015-2017 MUSTANG "FORD PERFORMANCE" WINDSHIELD BANNER||1||$ 50.00|
|2015-2017 MUSTANG 2.3L ECOBOOST CAT BACK SPORT EXHAUST SYSTEM - BLACK CHROME TIPS||1||$1,549.00|