It comes down to numbers with a Mustang EcoBoost. Has to, because sex doesn’t really come into it. So have a squiz at the numbers at work here once Mustang Motorsport has got through with the EcoBoost ’Stang.
For starters, the 350 thing refers to the horsepower which, in a metric world equates to a claimed 261kW. In turn, that equals 0-100 in six-dead and the quarter mile time now starts with a 13. That was once a supercar’s skill set. Even now, they’re handy numbers.
If you want to replicate this car, you’ll see from the specs (see breakout) that you’ll need an extra $21-plus grand to do so.
But if you can do without the LED light upgrade, the decals, trim, body kit and stuff like the cue-ball gear-knob, then the same level of straight-line performance can be arranged for little more than six-large.
That includes the cat-back exhaust and dump pipe, Roush cold-air intake, a front-mount intercooler, blow-off valve and colder spark plugs to better cope with the extra boost.
There’s also an optional further tune to make 24psi work as well as giving the thing adjustable launch control, and, best of all, flat-shifting by killing the engine’s spark when you dip the clutch.
Ideally, we reckon you’d also add the locally developed adjustable suspension and the Michelin Cup 2s, and the V8 Mustang’s six-piston front calipers wouldn’t hurt either. Even then, however, you’re still not talking a million bucks.
But you are into the realm of decent lap-times and the MM EcoBoost will give a stock Mustang V8 a real run for its money. And it feels that way, too, although there’s no escaping the fact that this isn’t a V8 Pony. That starts with the noise.
Sure, the MM car is loud and a bit rude, but hearing that jockey’s voice coming from a prop-forward will, I think, never stop feeling a bit weird. Same goes for the chorus of whistles, toots, parps and woofles as the compressed air finds new and exciting places to exit.
The alternative view, of course, is that the EcoBoost is a boosted four-banger and proud of it, which is handy because there’s absolutely no way of driving it that hides the fact that it’s boost pressure, not cubic inches, that is the key to it all.
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The Shockworks suspension, adjusted for the track, is a revelation, too. And with less mass over the front cross-member, the EcoBoost feels a bit livelier through the tiller than the V8 versions. Same goes for the brakes; with more or less the same hardware as its R727 big brother, this Turbo-’Stang hauls up hard, though the smaller front tyre (compared with the V8 MM car) meant that its ABS limit is a fraction lower.
And fitting the R350T with the same Michelin Cup 2s in a 20-inch fitment, while it sounds a bit over the top, gives the thing some real side-step. That would help account for its lap time that was more than a second quicker than the other EcoBoost at Winton on the day.
The R350T is also a car that you’d be much happier throwing a novice track-dayer into. It lacks the outright tyre-shredding urge of the V8s here, but its tactility and balance would be great teaching tools.
And the flat-shift thing is fun all day, even if it takes a bit of getting your head around the first few times.
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Only the need to short shift to get around a lack of top-end muscle spoils the fun a bit, but that only underlines the need for corner speed of which there was plenty, better than all but its stablemate, in fact.
WARREN LUFF SAYS:
“It’s a huge amount of fun out on track. You can see that a lot of time and effort has gone into the suspension of this car.
“It definitely feels like it could cope with another 150kW with the amount of grip the rear of the car has got.
“The overall chassis dynamics are really impressive and the improvements to the engine give it that little bit more punch out of the slow-speed corners.
“Even the little finishing touches like the Roush Motorsport gear lever really finish off the retro look well.”
MUSTANG MOTORSPORT ECOBOOST MM-R350T SPECS
0-100km/h: 6.03 seconds
0-400m: 13.92 seconds
80-120km/h: 3.3 seconds
100-0km/h: 38.14 metres
Lap Time: 1:37.9 seconds
Apex km/h: 85.02km/h
Lap V-max: 172.36km/h
400m V-max: 170.15km/h
Engine: 2261cc inline-4, DOHC, 16v, turbo
Gearbox: 6-speed manual
Suspension: struts; anti-roll bar (f); multi-links, coil springs, anti-roll bar (r)
Brakes: 380mm ventilated/slotted two-piece discs, 6-piston calipers (f); 330mm slotted two-piece discs, single-piston calipers (r)
Wheels: 20 x 9.0-inch (f); 20 x 10.0-inch (r)
Tyres: 265/35 ZR20 (f); 295/30 ZR20 (r); Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2
PARTS AND PRICES
R350T Kit: $21,000
Optional Extras: $9500
Total Mods Cost:$30,500
Vehicle Cost: $45,990
Total Cost: $76,490