Ford introduces new, less expensive high-performance Mustang for 2020

The hottest Mustang for 2020 - and the hottest one Ford has ever produced - is the new Shelby GT500. Want horsepower? There's 760 coming out of the supercharged V8. And the rest of the car and chassis are able to provide racetrack performance with ease.

But, its base price is about $75,000, if you can find a dealer willing to part with a limited inventory for that amount. Oh, and gas mileage? Pretty dreadful, though most who end up with this car won't care.

There's another hot Mustang that's been introduced for 2020, and it goes about things differently. It has half the cylinders, is half the price, and on the street, offers most of the driving fun.

It's the new Mustang EcoBoost with the optional High Performance Package. Ford decided those with a lower budget threshold might want to experience factory performance in a different way.

The 2.3 liter turbocharged engine gets a power bump to 332 horsepower, less than half that of the mighty GT500. But unlike that big bruiser, you can shift your own gears in conjunction with a clutch pedal, old-school style. The 6-speed manual is standard, while a 10-speed automatic is optional, just like on most other Mustangs. (The GT500 gets its own special racing-style dual clutch automatic.) The package is available on any base Mustang model for an extra $4,995, which means if you avoid other options, the car can be had for about $33,000.

And the EcoBoost High Performance Package looks the part. Most people who see it won't know it's the "half-price" muscle car, and not the full-zoot track killer with the Shelby snake. Besides, depending on where and how you drive it, they won't really get to eyeball it much anyway.

This isn't the first time Ford has done something like this with the Mustang. Back in the mid-'80s, they trotted out the Mustang SVO. Instead of a V8 like the GT, the SVO got a turbocharged four cylinder making V8-like horsepower, and a more sophisticated chassis. Sound familiar? It didn't sell particularly well, as it was more expensive than the GT with its rumbling V8.

But 35 years later, there may be a new market for a car like this, in a time of better technology and increased carbon footprint awareness. This giant-slayer of a Mustang may sound a little different, but the driving fun is right on point.
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