The Ford Mustang Boss 302 has four cylinders and 134 hp on me, but I’m slowly reeling him in. I brake later and accelerate sooner, pushing our Four Seasons 2015 Ford Mustang EcoBoost as hard as I can around the track to gain ground on the Boss. Soon enough, I’m right on his tail, and the Boss 302’s driver waves his hand to let me pass.
It’s hardly fair to conclude from this that our EcoBoost Mustang is faster than a Boss 302. I’m in the novice group at an open track day, and the Boss 302’s driver, a friendly guy named Max, has never driven on a racetrack before. But it’s still a solid endorsement of the grip and braking offered by the optional Track package fitted to our 2015 Ford Mustang EcoBoost.
Standing out from the crowd
Long before the track goes hot and we start lapping, our Competition Orange Mustang attracts attention. Other drivers want to know if it’s the V-8, just like everyone else. But whereas on the street folks obsess over the exhaust note and straight-line performance, my fellow track rats seem more impressed when they learn I’m here in “just” the four-cylinder turbo. They applaud the bold color choice and marvel at the sixth-gen Mustang’s sleek shape. Then they go back to checking the oil, brake fluid, and tire pressures on their own cars. With so few miles under our Mustang’s belt, there’s no need for major maintenance, so I do a cursory check of tire pressures and suction-cup my iPhone to the windshield so I can log my times with the Harry’s LapTimer app.
Forget the Eco; let’s have some Boost
When we head out onto the track, I soon find myself at ease blasting the 2015 Ford Mustang EcoBoost around GingerMan Raceway, a 2.2-mile, 11-turn circuit I’ve frequented in much meaner machines. I toggle through the Mustang’s driving and steering modes and ultimately settle on the middle “Sport” setting for the steering assistance and the Track driving mode, which provides the quickest throttle response. Although the 2.3-liter turbo-four engine has plenty of low-end torque to get out of corners, boost drops off above 6,000 rpm, and I find myself short-shifting before the redline. Third and fourth gears are sufficient for this track, with the Mustang just breaking into triple digits on the longest straight.
As I lap again and again, my confidence in the car’s stability and grip builds. The immense traction of the Pirelli P Zero tires, coupled with the aggressive limited-slip differential, allows me to apply power earlier and earlier through corners. No matter how eager I am with the throttle, the tail stays planted; this is a car you can lap all day long without fear of unexpected oversteer. In fact, the front tires give up the fight first, with the left front tire protesting when I push too hard around the track’s long, sweeping, right-hand turns.
The large Brembo brakes inspire confidence, too, responding progressively to stabs at the firm middle pedal. They encourage me to stay on the throttle just a bit longer on the back straight, where I hit triple digits before braking hard for a 90-degree right-hander. It’s only toward the very end of the day’s lapping that the brake pedal starts to go soft. I back off the pace for a few laps to cool down the brakes, and then carry on without a hitch.
As I head home from the track at the end of the day’s lapping, I’m grinning with satisfaction about how well our Four Seasons pony performed. The 2015 Ford Mustang EcoBoost might only have four cylinders under the hood, but it’s hugely capable and rewarding on a racetrack. It’s got enough grip and power to keep any car enthusiast entertained at the track, even though it’s not the wild, 435-hp Mustang GT. And the upshot to that smaller turbocharged engine? I averaged 30 mpg on the highway to and from the track. Try that in a 5.0-liter V-8.
Something you don’t often hear about is what a car needs before and after going to a track. It’s pretty important. Before I set off for GingerMan, I took the 2015 Ford Mustang EcoBoost for its first scheduled oil change. The service was free as part of the car’s warranty and included an inspection of the tires and all the cars fluids — the racetrack is not where you want to find out you’re low on something.
After its outing, we changed the Mustang’s brake fluid. The brakes worked fine in street use, but the tough track work may have boiled the fluid and introduced air bubbles. A fluid flush at the Ford dealership set us back $99.15, a small price to pay for peace of mind.
- Body style 2-door coupe
- Accommodation 4-passenger
- Construction Steel unibody
- Base price (with dest.) $30,125
- As tested $36,700
- Engine 16-valve DOHC turbocharged I-4
- Displacement 2.3 liters
- Power 310 hp @ 5,500 rpm
- Torque 320 lb-ft @ 3,000 rpm
- Transmission 6-speed manual
- Drive Rear-wheel
- EPA Fuel Economy 21/32/25 (city/hwy/combined)
- Steering Electrically assisted
- Lock-to-lock 2.2 turns
- Turning circle 37.8 ft
- Suspension, Front Strut-type
- Suspension, Rear Multilink, coil springs
- Brakes F/R Vented discs
- Wheels 19-inch aluminum
- Tires Pirelli P-Zero summer
- Tire size 255/40R Y 19
- Headroom F/R 37.6/34.8 in
- Legroom F/R 44.5/30.6 in
- Shoulder room F/R 56.3/52.2 in
- Wheelbase 107.1 in
- Track F/R 62.3/64.9 in
- L x W x H 188.3 x 75.4 x 54.4 in
- Passenger capacity 84.5 cu ft
- Cargo capacity (rear seats up/down) 13.5 cu ft
- Weight 3,532 lb
- Weight dist. F/R 52/48%
- Fuel capacity 15.5 gal
- Est. fuel range 496 miles
- Fuel grade 91 octane (premium unleaded)
- Front and rear independent sport suspension
- Limited-slip rear axle
- Front and rear disc brakes
- Selectable drive modes
- Leather-trimmed seats
- Heated and cooled front seats
- Tilt-and-telescopic steering column
- SYNC touchscreen display with MyFord Touch
- Push-button start
- Universal garage door opener
- Satellite radio connectivity
- Track apps
- USB/iPod interface
- Cruise control
- Front daytime running lights
- Air conditioning
- Heated, manually folding mirrors
- HID projector headlights
- Automatic headlights
- Rear diffuser
- 60/40-split folding rear seats