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Four-Cylinder Ford Mustang Extends 0–60-MPH Lead Over Turbo Chevy Camaro

The 2020 Mustang EcoBoost's High Performance Package increases its drag-strip dominance.

Having finally gotten behind the wheel of Ford's entry-level Mustang with its new-for-2020 High Performance Package, we can confirm that that package is aptly named. It really boosts the four-cylinder EcoBoost Mustang's general performance. The treatment also happens—using the manufacturers' claimed times—to widen the gap between the four-cylinder versions of the pony cars at the drag strip, slashing the Ford's zero-to-60-mph time to under five seconds.

Like the entry-level Mustang, the "base" Camaro uses a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, and it also offers the 1LE bundle, a de facto track package similar to the Ford's HPP treatment. Chevy claims that the quickest four-cylinder Camaro 1LE will run from zero to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds. That's quick, but the Mustang's way, way quicker—Ford has yet to release a specific number, but it tells us to expect a figure in the mid-four-second range (a time likely achieved with the 10-speed automatic transmission rather than the manual).

So, what's the deal? Sorry, Camaro die-hards, the four-pot Mustang already was quicker than the Camaro. In testing by our friends at MotorTrend, a 2018 Mustang EcoBoost with the 10-speed automatic transmission and the (not-High) Performance package (which includes a shorter final-drive ratio) scooted to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds, 0.1 second ahead of Chevy's claimed time for the Camaro.

The High Performance Package ups the baser Mustang's ante by borrowing the outgoing Focus RS hot hatch's version of Ford's turbocharged 2.3-liter engine. Even though, in the Mustang, the engine makes "only" 330 horsepower (compared to 350 in the Focus), that's still 20 ponies up on the standard EcoBoost Mustang's 310; every EcoBoost Mustang makes 350 lb-ft of torque. The Camaro's 2.0-liter turbo four only spits out just 275 horsepower and 295 lb-ft—the same as in non-1LE Camaro 2.0T models.

But while the HPP Mustang EcoBoost spanks the Camaro 2.0T 1LE in the run to 60 mph, the Chevy offers a middle ground that the Mustang does not: a V-6 engine positioned between the base four-cylinder and the uplevel V-8s in the lineup. That engine's power figures actually fall right on top of the mightiest four-cylinder Mustang's: 335 horsepower and 284 lb-ft of torque. And, well, sorry again, Chevy fans, because a V-6 Camaro (the last version MotorTrend tested was a manual-transmission 2017 model from before the Camaro's 2019 refresh) in 1LE guise ran to 60 in . . . 5.0 seconds flat, again behind the torquier four-cylinder Mustang EcoBoost with the High Performance gear. Not bad, four-pot Mustang, not bad at all.