New four-cylinder Mustang has muscle

WORTH WAITING FOR: The 2015 Ford Mustang convertible is unveiled in Sydney.
WORTH WAITING FOR: The 2015 Ford Mustang convertible is unveiled in Sydney.

Ford's new four cylinder Mustang engine option has more power than the hottest V8 in the original car from 1964.

At first the offering of a four cylinder entry point engine for New Zealand to go with the range-topping 5.0-litre Coyote V8 would seem anaethema to Mustang fans.

But the numbers for the new Mustang, which was unveiled overnight, say it should not be looked at that way.

The larger engine, known as the 5.0-litre Ti-VCT V8, as we'd expect will have a lot of horsepower on tap, with 313kW at 6500 rpm and 529Nm of torque available, but the little engine is the big story.

The new 2.3-litre EcoBoost engine - called the ''2.3-litre GTDI I4'' has been developed specifically for Mustang. The intake manifold and turbocharger housing are optimised from the previous 2.0-litre unit familiar to New Zealanders in the Falcon, Focus and Mondeo to provide better breathing and higher output in the Mustang.

With a projected 227kW at 5550 rpm and 407Nm of torque (US spec), Ford says the EcoBoost engine fits the bill for the Mustang.

Those numbers mean in fact that the least powerful of the new Mustangs produces more horsepower and torque than the hottest of the two 4.7-litre V8s on offer in the original Mustang.

That so-called ''289'' unit made 199kW in 1964, so even if the customer opts for the four-cylinder unit in 2014 they'll have a quicker car than the quickest you could get 50 years ago.

Both the EcoBoost four and the V8 work through a six-speed manual or automatic transmission, the latter with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

Among the other big news for the new car, is the use of modern suspension all round, now the double-ball-joint independent MacPherson strut and tubular stabiliser bar front set-up is accompanied by a fully inderpendent rear end.

It uses integral-link independent  suspension with coil springs, solid stabiliser bar, and twin-tube dampers in the fours or mono-tube dampers for the V8.

Amid all the hype of last night's launch, from what I've seen, there really is a substantial car breaking out, and in its convertible form in particular, a car that can compete with far more exotic brands.

While most Mustangs have been power first, style later sort of designs, there's a subtle elegance about the new car that will attract people not previously attached to the brand.

Having said that, there are still all those Mustang styling cues, like the shark nose, lidded ''eyes'' side scoops and three-lens vertical tail lights, to light up the eyes of Mustang fans.

So get saving Mustang fans, the new car will be launched in its home market in April to coincide with the Mustang's 50th birthday, we'll probably be looking at a 2015 arrival and from what I've seen, this is a car worth waiting for, especially the convertible.