A few basic bolt-on upgrades can boost the 2.0 EcoBoost to around 300whp. This can be achieved with tuning, a cold air intake, downpipe upgrade, larger intercooler, and E85 fueling. To make things better, all of these mods will run you less than $2,000.
In this guide we’re going to discuss each of these modifications in-depth, covering their performance benefits, cost, and more. Additionally, we’ll discuss some important differences between the Gen I and Gen II engines from a performance standpoint.
1st Gen vs 2nd Gen EcoBoost
Ford began rolling out the 2nd Generation of these engines in 2016. Due to a few updates it’s generally the more capable engine for tuning and modding. A few notable updates for the 2nd gen 2.0 EcoBoost include:
- Twin-scroll turbo
- New aluminum block
- Re-designed cylinder head
- Higher compression ratio
- Fueling upgrades
In general, with similar mods the 2nd gen engines will pick up more power and torque. It’s not a huge difference, but with full bolt-ons it may add up to 10-20whp. Both engines have plenty of potential with a few bolt-on upgrades. The point remains, though. If you’re looking for aftermarket potential the 2nd gen EcoBoost is probably the best bet.
5 Best 2.0 EcoBoost Performance Upgrades
We’ll break down the above 2.0L EcoBoost bolt-on upgrades in-depth throughout the rest of this article. We also provide useful about power gains, cost, and more.
1) ECM Tuning
A tune or tuner for the 2.0 EcoBoost is the foundation to making more power. It offers the best bang for the buck on an otherwise engine. A tune alone can offer gains around 20-50whp and 30-70wtq. These are excellent power gains, especially considering a tune only runs about $400-600.
Tunes also allow you to extract the full potential from other performance upgrades. Other bolt-on upgrades simply don’t offer max performance without the help of a tune. This is because a tune properly adjusts for the additional air-flow, fueling, etc.
Compared to some other EcoBoost engines the 2.0 doesn’t have a big selection of tuning options. However, there are still plenty out there. It’s important to look for a tuner from a reputable and trusted company. Otherwise, which tune is right for each person can vary. Definitely consider a tune that has good support and room for swapping flashes/maps in the future, though.
HP Gains: 20-50whp (40-70wtq)
2) Cold Air Intake Upgrades
Combining a tune and intake is a popular choice. It makes sense since adding boost and power requires more air-flow. However, the stock intake is actually pretty efficient from the factory. Small gains of 3-7 horsepower are possible with a 2.0 EcoBoost performance intake upgrade. It’s possible to pick up more power with full bolt-ons on an aggressive tune.
The stock intake can usually handle the air-flow demands with a conservative tune only and no other mods. In these cases the 2.0L EcoBoost might only gain a few horsepower. Biggest power gains from an intake upgrade will be seen by those running a tune, downpipes, FMIC, better fueling, etc.
That said, an upgraded intake does add some awesome turbo and induction noises. If not for the small power gains we think an intake is a good mod for the sounds too. An intake upgrade also adds an aesthetically pleasing aspect to the engine bay and is easy to install.
HP Gains: ~3-7whp
3) High-Flow Downpipe Upgrades
Downpipe (DP) upgrades are one of our favorite mods for any turbo engine. The downpipe bolts directly to the turbocharger. It’s the most important part of the exhaust post-turbo. 2.0 EcoBoost downpipe performance upgrades will yield more power than any other part of the exhaust behind the turbo.
Back-pressure behind the turbo is not good for power or performance. The closer to the turbos the worse back-pressure becomes for power. A stock 2.0L downpipe uses a bulky catalytic converter. Its good for emissions reasons, but not so much for performance.
Upgrading the 2.0 EcoBoost downpipe comes with many benefits outside of just horsepower. A few of those benefits are:
- 5-15whp (10-20wtq)
- Quicker turbo spool
- Safer/healthier for turbo and engine
- Louder exhaust
Power and torque gains from a DP upgrade are pretty solid. Quicker turbo spool will add more low-end torque and give you a bigger kick back into the seat. Additionally, reducing back-pressure is generally healthier for the engine. It can lower EGT’s and stress on the engine and turbo. Top that off with a louder exhaust – one that’s not obnoxiously loud – and its easy to see why an upgraded downpipe is a great mod for the 2.0L EcoBoost.
Cost: ~$150-600+ (high-flow usually start at $500+)
HP Gains: ~5-15whp (10-20wtq)
CV Fabrication (CVF) offers a few awesome performance upgrades for the Focus ST 2.0 EcoBoost. What we’re looking at here is the CVF 3″ stainless steel catted downpipe. The DP includes a 400 cell catalytic converter, so emissions testing shouldn’t be an issue. It’s mandrel bent and TIG welded with a flex section, so the quality of this downpipe is excellent. At $425 it’s among the cheapest catted ST downpipes around.
Price: $425 ($403 with code TUNINGPRO)
Buy Here: Ford Focus ST 2.0 High-Flow CVF Downpipe
4) Larger Intercooler
Front mount intercoolers are another great bolt-on performance upgrade for the Ford 2.0 EcoBoost engine. The stock intercooler is effective on stock vehicles or with a very modest tune. However, start adding boost and the stock FMIC quickly becomes overwhelmed.
In turn, the engine begins heat soaking as IAT’s climb above standard levels. Essentially, heat soak means the turbo is running so hot the intercooler can no longer effectively cool the charge air. In turn, the engine will pull ignition timing to prevent any pre-detonation (plus hot air is less dense). Point is – heat soak leads to quite a bit of power loss.
That said, an FMIC upgrade alone isn’t going to add too much peak horsepower. Rather, the biggest benefit is consistent performance and a healthier engine – especially during back-to-back pulls, track days, or canyon runs. Some benefits of 2.0 EcoBoost performance intercooler upgrades include:
- 5-10whp (similar torque)
- Consistent performance
- Reduced chance of pre-detonation
On glory runs an upgraded intercooler might only offer about 5-10whp, if that. However, after beating on the car and engine for a while it can prevent massive power loss. Losing 10, 20, 30whp on a stock intercooler isn’t impossible.
- CVF Intercooler Upgrade (for Ford Focus ST)
- Steeda Front Mount Intercooler (for Ford Fusion)
- CX Racing FMIC (for Ford Escape)
As with the downpipe discussion, we really like CVF and they have a great intercooler for the Focus ST. It’s a great intercooler with proven results and supports up to 670hp. There are a lot more options that we simply don’t have the space to list. It’s a little complicated since the 2.0L Ford EcoBoost is in many different models and fitment varies. We’ll have an intercooler post in the near future so we can expand on the technical details and list a lot more options on the market.
FMIC Price: ~$400-700
FMIC HP Gains: 5-10whp (consistent performance – helps prevent power loss)
5) Fueling: E85, Race Gas, Methanol
We won’t spend quite as much time on this topic, but it’s a very important one. Quality fueling is incredibly important if you want to maximize the 2.0 EcoBoost engines performance. It also helps reduce the chance of engine knocks along with many other benefits.
We highly recommend running 91 or 93 octane at the very least. If you have easy access to higher quality pump fuels then all the better. Turbo engines love octane since it helps mitigate the chance of engine knocks. That means you can safely run more boost and more power.
For those truly wanting to maximize power and engine health then you’ll want to consider E85 or methanol injection. Race gas is a solid option too, but we’ll skip that for now and focus on E85 and methanol injection.
What we ultimately recommend is running an E85 blend with the appropriate tune. Something like E30 fueling will offer notable benefits over standard pump fuels. Ethanol fuel has an incredibly high octane rating; somewhere in the ballpark of 108 octane with full E85. Of course, effective octane rating won’t be that high if you’re only running E30.
However, it’s still a huge improvement over 93 octane. E85 also burns much cooler and requires more fuel be injected. All of this adds up to a very happy engine that’s less prone to engine knocks. That means you can run more aggressive ignition timing and turn up boost, which means good power improvements for the 2.0 EcoBoost. E30 blends with a proper tune can unleash an extra 10-15+whp. A lot more power is possible with an upgraded turbo or other major upgrades.
Methanol injection is another solid fueling option. It’s actually a totally different system, though, so we don’t recommend this for beginners. You’ll need a full water-methanol injection (WMI) kit. You also have to source methanol and mix it with the water. This is another topic we’ll expand on in the future.
Anyways, methanol is considered a highly flammable and high octane fuel. It offers similar benefits to E85, but has one major advantage. E85 puts a lot more demand on the fueling system. Since methanol runs off its own tank, pump, etc it actually reduces demand on the fuel system. Power gains are similar to that of running an E30 blend, if not a bit more.
Engine Power Limits
In the BMW world, the above mods are typically considered full bolt-on (FBO). Everyone has slightly different ideas of the term FBO, but we like to think of it as the above mods. On a turbo car a tune, intake, downpipe, FMIC, and quality fueling are typically the recipe for big power gains.
With all of these mods the Ford 2.0 EcoBoost is capable of about 300-320whp and 340-360wtq. That’s a good amount of power for a pretty small turbo engine. It’s also probably plenty of power for most. Of course, an upgraded turbo and other mods can take the 2.0 EcoBoost even further but that gets expensive. Turbo mods are expensive and then you start adding in fueling mods, internal upgrades, etc. and costs skyrocket.
The 2.0L EcoBoost engine is often overshadowed by its larger siblings like the 2.7 and 3.5 EcoBoost engines. However, it provides good performance and plenty of aftermarket potential. In fact, with a few bolt-on mods for less than $2,000 the 2.0 EcoBoost can make 300+whp and 350+wtq.
A tune is a great starting point as it offers 20-50whp alone. It’s also the foundation for maximizing performance from other bolt-on mods. Downpipe and FMIC upgrades come with tons of benefits outside of just horsepower. Performance intake upgrades for the 2.0L EcoBoost are also a good choice, but don’t offer quite the same power as some of the other mods.
Finally, high-quality fueling is extremely important if you want to get the most out of the turbo inline-4. It’s a good idea to run 91 or 93 octane at the very least, but even that’s fairly poor fueling. E85, race gas, and water-methanol injection are all great fueling choices to take the 2.0 EcoBoost to the next level.