CHARLOTTE, NC – I never touched the steering wheel or pedals, and total time spent in the passenger seat of an all-new ’15 Ford Mustang was five minutes.

So it’s stipulated WardsAuto is in no position to pass judgment on the car or its new powertrain until media drives are offered in the coming months.

But there’s enough excitement about the re-engineered pony car that even riding shotgun can be noteworthy.

Mustang engineers offered rides in the new Mustang to journalists who came here recently for a Ford Performance event at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

From the passenger seat, the all-new 2.3L EcoBoost sounds and feels convincing enough, propelling the car with gusto through three laps on a short handling track about the size of a football field in the Charlotte Motor Speedway parking lot.

The automotive market is suddenly flush with high-output 4-cyl. engines with forced induction. Audi, BMW, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Ford, Hyundai, Jaguar, Kia, Lincoln, Mercedes, Mitsubishi, Subaru and Volkswagen all have 2.0L turbos, some newer than others.

Only Subaru has something larger, the 2.5L turbo in the WRX STI, which carries over its 305 hp and 290 lb.-ft. (393 Nm) of torque for the refreshed ’15 model.

Ford says it will divulge output numbers for the 2.3L EcoBoost around September. Until then, the automaker merely promises at least 305 hp and 300 lb.-ft. (407 Nm) of torque.

That’s probably a low-ball estimate. Count on Mustang numbers more in line with the Mercedes CLA45 AMG, which wrings out 355 hp and 332 lb.-ft. (450 Nm) from a 2.0L I-4 turbo.

It’s worth noting the 3.7L V-6 in the ’14 Mustang, which essentially carries over, makes 305 hp and 280 lb.-ft. (380 Nm) of torque.

That V-6 represents the new Mustang’s base model. That means customers will have to pay more for two fewer cylinders with the promise of better fuel economy and more power.

We look forward to testing the 2.3L in the Ward’s 10 Best Engines competition this fall, and rest assured we will monitor closely its fuel consumption.