The 2024 Ford Mustang EcoBoost's 4.5-second sprint to 60 mph makes it the quickest four-pot 'Stang we've tested thus far.
That said, we never tested the last generation's 330-hp hi-po with an automatic, but we're pretty confident the 2024 would put up a serious fight.
The EcoBoost we tested came equipped with the $3475 High Performance package with summer tires and upgraded brakes.
Welcome to Car and Driver's Testing Hub, where we zoom in on the test numbers. We've been pushing vehicles to their limits since 1956 to provide objective data to bolster our subjective impressions (you can see how we test here).
When a flashy new Ford Mustang shows up at C/D headquarters, loaded with performance-specific upgrades, you know we must subject it to some lively acceleration testing. Now that we have, it appears we have a new king of the hill. With a recorded 60-mph time of 4.5 seconds, the 2024 Mustang EcoBoost is officially the quickest four-cylinder Mustang we've had the privilege of testing.
Drag Strip Mode Is Gold
We noticed a few interesting things during our examination. Over multiple attempts, the Drag Strip drive mode proved worth its weight in gold, saving a tenth or two on the way to 60 mph. As testing director Dave VanderWerp puts it, "Drag Strip mode really bangs home the shifts." The EcoBoost also chirps its tires on the one-two upshift, which is a fun little flourish.
Now, it's worth pointing out that there's a small asterisk involved—Barry Bonds style. While this EcoBoost absolutely trounced the manual 2020 model we evaluated as part of a comparison test, beating the stick to 60 by half a second, there is a missing variant that could give this 2024 a run for its money. We weren't able to test the outgoing generation's Performance Pack-equipped, 330-horsepower, automatic-transmission variant, which is as closely matched to the 2024 model as any before it. The last EcoBoost automatic we tested, a 2018 model with 310 hp, was just a tenth quicker than the Performance-Pack manual at 4.9 seconds to 60.
Stacking Up Stangs
Other points of comparison favor the Mustang too. The new Stang continued its motive-force routing, besting the 2020 in the quarter mile with a 13.2-second run at 103 mph, with the previous manual at 13.6 seconds at 102 mph and the automatic coming in at 13.4 seconds at 100 mph. In the opposite direction, our EcoBoost Performance Pack's brakes clamped down from 70 mph in 149 feet, barely edging past the 2020 model's 153-foot stop. The gulf widens slightly at 100 mph, where it takes the 2024 EcoBoost 293 feet to stop, versus the 2020 EcoBoost's 308 feet.
When it's time to turn, the tide changes; the 2024 EcoBoost fared worse on our 300-foot skidpad (0.95 g versus 2020's 1.02 g). But that's because the previous car had far more serious tires; Pirelli P Zero Corsa PCZ4s versus P Zero PZ4s on the 2024 model, and the new model's 255/40R-19s are slightly narrower than the 265-width Corsas, too.
While the latest EcoBoost may not pack the same 330 horsepower as the outgoing Performance Pack model, the four-cylinder Mustang did receive some powertrain bumps for 2024. The turbocharged 2.3-liter inline-four under the hood makes 315 horsepower (up from 310) and 350 pound-feet of torque. This is good, because its curb weight is also up slightly; at 3812 pounds, it's 62 more than our 2018 automatic test car. Sadly, the manual transmission is no longer offered on EcoBoost models this year, but as we've seen above, the 10-speed automatic is plenty good on its own.
Performance Pack Explained
So, what's in this mysterious Performance Pack? Throw Ford $3475 and it'll boost your Mustang's street cred with wider wheels and Pirelli P Zero PZ4 tires, MagneRide adaptive dampers, beefier Brembo brakes, extra bracing in the engine bay, and a 3.55:1 Torsen limited-slip differential. Oh yeah, it also adds the "drift stick," which is a proper lever for the electronic parking brake that lets you get up to even dumber stuff than you otherwise would.
A final fun fact: This spec of 2024 EcoBoost is only one second quicker to 60 mph than a 2023 F-250 SuperCrew 4x4. Be careful who you try to race for pinks, folks.
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