We don’t get the chance to drive modified Mustangs very often, let alone a boosted and bagged 2015 Mustang. So this week when Stage3Motorsports.com invited us over to throttle their project car around, well we were there in a heartbeat.
The car is a showcase for some of their hottest selling products for the 2015 Mustang. As you can tell from its stance, the Mustang fully bagged with an air suspension from Air Lift, their top-end digital system which allows for complete height and damper adjustments at all four corners.
For attitude, Matte black Ultimate Performance UP100 wheels finish off the look tucked in nice and tight. Sizes are 19 x 8.5 at the front with 245 section tires and 19 x 9.5 at the back with 275 section rubber.
Under the hood, Stage3Motorsports added a number of simple and inexpensive yet key mods starting with a free breathing JLT cold-air intake which of the variety available for the EcoBoost Mustang, they found to perform best.
The next step in the air charge management is the addition of a Full Race Freakoboost Intercooler Upgrade which offers more capacity and better cooling, which always makes more power.
Then on the backside of the boost, Stage3Motorsports added a TurboSmart Kompact Dual-Port blow-off valve which gives that classic sound people want, while diverting 50% of its flow back into the system to keep the computer happy.
For long term reliability and ease of maintenance, they added a UPR catch-can which serves to keep oil from blow-by in the PCV system from accumulating in the intake tract. A nice touch.
A custom tune using a COBB Accessport V3 Tuner dialed in a custom set of parameters to take advantage of the increased breathing and lower temperatures of the air-charge.
Baseline power on the Stage3Motorsports EcoBoost Mustang before any mods was 275 rwhp and 290 rwtq. The combination of mods and tune brought a gain of about 30 rwhp and 60 pound-feet of torque with now 350 at the rear wheels.
The first thing we noticed out of the gate on the test drive is how much more free this car feels than the stock EcoBoost Mustang. Add in a sound which is more pure and edgy than the stocker and you’ve got something quite interesting.
The JLT air-intake affords more turbocharger sound and of course the blow-off valve gives you that trademark puff when you shift. But there’s more than that. While Ford has engineered the sound of this engine through black magic, these mods overpower that and give it something more natural.
One of the surprising and pleasant takeaways is that the aftermarket tune is very drivable. Often these tunes come at a cost of the car behaving in strange ways in stop and go traffic, idle, and overall refinement. Here this car feel stock otherwise when you aren’t flogging it.
And flogging it you will because the extra power and torque is immediately noticeable off the line. Turbo lag is still there a bit, but feels less an issue with more torque on demand down low.
When it comes to the air-suspension, Stage3Motorsports used an Air Lift Air Ride Digital package here which allows for both damper adjustments and air pressure settings individually at all four wheels. With the dampers set on the stiffer side, the ride was firm and much like that of one with sport springs. It wasn’t as bouncy as I had expected.
The only mainstream mod the Stage3Motorsports 2015 EcoBoost Mustang didn’t have was an aftermarket exhaust. They said they are still searching for a system that offers just the right sound, but haven’t narrowed in on that perfect on yet.
Ultimate Performance UP100 19×8.5″ Matte Black Wheels
Ultimate Performance UP100 19×9.5″ Matte Black Wheels
BF Goodrich G-Force Sport-T Comp-2 245/45R19
BF Goodrich G-Force Sport-T Comp-2 275/40R19
COBB Accessport V3 Tuner
JLT Ecoboost Intake
2015 Mustang 2.3L EcoBoost Intercooler Upgrade
UPR’s Dual-Valve Oil Catch Can
Turbosmart’s 2015 Mustang 2.3L EcoBoost Kompact Dual-Port BOV Kit
Diode Dynamics Interior LED lighting package
Kicker KS654 6.5″ Speakers
Air Lift’s Air Ride Digital Suspension System for the 2015 Mustangs