Since 2011, Ford has offered Performance Packages for the Mustang. These packages bundle together popular mods to give enthusiasts a way to make their pony car perform better right from the factory.
For the S550 era, Ford offered Performance Packages for both the GT and EcoBoost Mustang. The EcoBoost’s Performance Package evolved into the High Performance Package (HPP). The GT gained a second Performance Package (PP2) in 2018, but lost it again in 2021. Those who want that package are now better off with the 2021 Mach 1, the spiritual successor to PP2.
If you’re looking to buy an S550 Mustang, it’s good to know how these packages stack up. Depending on what options you’re looking for, you may be better off buying used or adding some mods on your own.
GT Performance Packages
The GT’s performance packages have become more well-defined in the S550 era. Most of the upgrades improve handling, which is why they’re popular for those tracking their Mustangs.
2021 Mustang GT Performance Package
Since Ford retired the Performance Package 2 for 2021, GT buyers only have one performance pack option this year. But it still includes a ton of top-level upgrades that make the $6,295 sticker price worth it.
The 2021 Performance Package adds stickier Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires. It also includes added stopping power thanks to the Brembo six-piston brake calipers. Here’s a full list of this year’s Performance Package features:
- 19” x 9” (front) and 19” x 9.5” (rear) Ebony Black painted aluminum wheels
- 255/40R10 (front) and 275/40R19 (rear) summer tires
- Brembo six-piston front brake calipers
- Engine-spun aluminum instrument panel
- Gauge pack
- Heavy-duty front springs
- Larger radiator
- Performance rear wing
- Black painted strut-tower brace (Previously Silver)
- Torsen differential with 3.73 axle ratio for manuals, 3.55 axle ratio for automatics
- Unique chassis tuning
- Unique stability control, EPAS, and ABS tuning
- Upsized rear sway bar
Mustang PP1 vs PP2
The GT’s performance package was so popular Ford introduced a second version in 2018. Sadly, the Performance Package 2 was only available for three years. It includes the upgrades from the Performance Package (PP1), plus some notable additions:
- Standard MagneRide suspension
- Stickier Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires
- Track calibration
- More aggressive wheels and offset
The aggressive wheels and tires along with the track calibration result in a rougher ride. But for track driving, the added stiffness makes the car even more dialed-in. Though the PP2 was roughly $2,500 more than the PP1, it definitely added more than enough value to justify the expense for track drivers.
For autocross drivers though, the PP1 was often the better pick.
The major deciding factor for many was the addition of MagneRide. MagneRide could be added to the premium GT or EcoBoost, but for those already planning to get it, the PP2 seemed pretty worthwhile.
2018-2020 Mustang GT Performance Pack 1 vs 2
Mustang EcoBoost High Performance Package
Most drivers get pretty excited about having more performance for less money. The EcoBoost Mustang already capitalizes on this, offering impressive horsepower for a four-cylinder. Ford introduced a package in 2020 that makes the EcoBoost even more formidable.
The High Performance Package (HPP) was designed for autocross and track events. It’s Ford's answer to Chevy's Camaro Turbo 1LE. The MSRP of a base EcoBoost Mustang with HPP is almost identical to the EcoBoost Premium. For Mustang owners more interested in performance than creature comforts, the HPP is a great deal. Of course, it can be added to EcoBoost Premium for those who want both.
Ford calls the EcoBoost HPP “the most powerful four-cylinder sports car offered by an American automaker.” With a mid-four second 0-60 mph and a top speed of 155 mph, this pony is specifically designed for autocross. You can get the HPP with either the 10-speed automatic or 6-speed manual transmission.
HPP Performance Improvements
The HPP began with an engine swap of the Focus RS’ 2.3 liter EcoBoost into a Mustang. The Mustang HPP doesn’t quite match the discontinued Focus RS’ 350hp and stays equal in torque, with 350 lb-ft (the same as the base EcoBoost).
The real performance benefits come from the handling and the way the torque is delivered. Mustang chief engineer Carl Widmann noted that the HPP offers a “broader torque curve that delivers 90 percent of peak torque between 2,500 and 5,300 rpm, which is 40 percent wider than the base EcoBoost engine.”
The most notable features of the High Performance Package include:
- Larger 63 mm twin-scroll turbocharger
- High-performance cylinder head from Focus RS
- Die-cast aluminum block from Focus RS
- Larger radiator
- Performance calibration with five selectable drive modes
- Brakes from Mustang GT with 13.9-inch front rotors
- Brake-cooling ramps from GT Performance Package
- 3.55:1 limited-slip rear axle
- Fully active quad-tip exhaust system with signature tuned sound
- Alloy strut tower brace
- 19” x 9” machined-face aluminum wheels
- 255/40R summer tires
HPP Appearance and Style
The High Performance Package replaces the performance package for EcoBoosts and is available on both base and Premium models. Unfortunately, selecting the HPP means other packages won’t be available. These include the Black Accent Package, Carbon Sport Package, Wheel and Stripe Package, and the Pony Package.
The HPP makes up for the lack of style options, though. It includes its own exclusive exterior styling cues that play into its track-focused theme.
- Black front splitter from Mustang GT
- Blacked-out grille with offset pony tri-bar emblem
- GT-style gas cap rear emblem with running pony
- 2.3L High Performance fender flare badges
- Magnetic Gray side mirrors
- Magnetic Gray raised blade rear spoiler
- Hood stripes
- Engine-spun instrument panel with oil pressure and turbo boost gauges
- Serialized dash plaque with High Performance logo
EcoBoost Handling Package (HPP-Only)
There’s also an EcoBoost Handling Package, available as an option only on High Performance Package Mustangs. Designed to increase lateral grip and stopping power, this is a great add-on for autocross. Its features include:
- Semi-metallic brakes
- Specially-calibrated MagneRide dampers
- TORSEN 3.55:1 limited-slip rear axle
- Wider 19” x 9.5” premium painted aluminum wheels
- 265/40R Pirelli P Zero Corsa4 summer tires
- Thicker 24mm solid rear sway bar
DIY Performance Pack
If you already bought an S550 and missed out on one of these performance packages, you’re in luck. You can find almost all of these parts on the aftermarket and customize your own performance package.
Whether you’re most drawn to a more powerful engine, a sharper appearance, or a great sounding exhaust, you can pick and choose what you want. Check out these mod guides and how-tos for help and inspiration with customizing your S550.
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