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by Mircea Panait , 20th February 2015

Before Ford rejuvenated the Mustang family to its full potential with the SN95 generation, we were given the Fox Body Mustang. Built between 1978 and 1993, this is probably the least desirable pony to date. However, it’s necessary to highlight something about the disastrously styled third-generation ‘Stang.

I’m referring to the 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that introduced force-feeding into the iconic pony car’s engine lineup. Until this 132 HP motor came, Mustang customers were given two choices: vee-six or full-on V8. Over the years, the 2.3 was uprated to 205 HP despite being very flawed.

Reliability issues included premature turbo failure due to insufficient lubrication. Heck, some owners experienced engines igniting themselves because of this fault. Nevertheless, FoMoCo engineers ditched turbocharging technologies for the most popular American nameplate of them all after the third-gen was phased out of production, but the recipe made a comeback.

With the 2015 Ford Mustang, R&D people and strategists pondered whether a four-banger is acceptable to act as the mid-range motor for the S550 and guess what - it happened. Alas, the 3.7L V6 now acts as the entry-level engine, while the 5-liter Coyote V8 flanks the 2.3-liter EcoBoost and trumps it performance-wise. But you know what? The 2.3L EcoBoost is more interesting than the classically correct V8 mill.

With 315 horsepower and 300 lb-ft (407 Nm) at your right foot's disposal, nobody can say that’s a tad on the underpowered side of the deal, more so if you take into consideration that a 2015 Ford Mustang EcoBoost with the six-speed manual tips the scales at 3,523 lbs (1,598 kilograms). It pains me to say this, but despite its grunt, most enthusiasts don’t talk about the motor’s oily bits.

As such, let us proceed with our simple guide of the 2.3 EcoBoost four-cylinder motor. Ford says that the engine came to fruition for those drivers that are looking for best-in-class fuel efficiency and outstanding performance. If we were to be frank, the EcoBoost matters because it blends small displacement with a flat and broad torque curve. In plain English, that equates to effortless pulling from zero RPM to the redline.

At the heart of the 2.3-liter powerhouse is a low-inertia twin-scroll turbocharger. True to what the “less is more” idiom suggest, using one turbo is more efficient than a twin-turbo setup, more so when you employ twin-scroll technologies. The cylinder head integrates the exhaust manifold that separates the inner and outer banks of cylinders into each inlet passage to the turbo.

Vector in the intelligent design of the intake manifold and the charger’s housing to get optimized breathing, lower CO2 emissions, better fuel economy and a high output. The exhaust pulses are kept separated from the next cylinder in the firing order, thus deleting mixing losses and maximizing the pulse to the turbocharger’s wheel. This apparently simple solution translates to superior torque delivery and get-up-and-go when you hit the gas pedal.

The separated exhaust ports configuration also enables the exhaust valves to stay open longer for reduced pumping losses, which ultimately improves fuel consumption. Does that even matter for the S550 Mustang owner? We doubt it, especially when gas prices are as low as they are at the present moment. With these being said, we’d like to point out a number of other performance and economy-enhancing solutions used by the 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine.

Based on the second generation 2.0L EcoBoost I-4, the 2.3-liter variant of the breed is currently used by the 2015 Lincoln MKC, 2015 Mustang and by the jaw-dropping 2016 Ford Focus RS. Of course there are subtle differences between the three, but many oily bits are shared. The forged-steel crankshaft, piston-cooling jets, as well as the steel piston ring carriers are almost interchangeable.

Last but not least, all 2.3 EcoBoost variants utilize high-pressure die-cast aluminum cylinder blocks with ladder-frame bearing caps, forged-steel connecting rods, as well as a deep-sump die-cast aluminum oil pan.

A Simple Guide to the 2015 Ford Mustang 2.3-liter EcoBoost Engine - autoevolution
 

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Good find, so what's different about the Focus RS engine vs the Mustang variant?

Both use a low-inertia twin-scroll turbo, but the RS has a larger compressor on the turbo, which would explain the higher HP number thrown around by Ford.

The RS also has high-tensile cast iron liners in cylinder block, the cylinder head is an upgraded alloy to withstand high temperatures, and the head gasket can handle more heat.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
That's a good question. Not much info being put out for the FoRS 2.3 EB by Ford. More aggressive ECU mapping? I read an article from Motor Trend that the FMIC on the FoRS is larger than the Mustang EB set up and the FoRS has a less restrictive intake and exhaust. Anxious to see what else is different between the two mills.
 
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