A Car to Love: The 2015 Ford Mustang
Arguably the most anticipated car for the 2015 model year is a radically redesigned version of the venerable Ford Mustang, being released this fall to coincide with the original “pony car’s” 50th anniversary.
While the Mustang rides on an all-new platform and affects a lower, wider and sleeker stance than before, it nevertheless remains a rear-drive car, available in coupe and convertible versions, and retains many of its iconic design elements. These include its classic fastback profile with a “shark bite” nose and wide trapezoidal grille up front, “hockey stick” character lines at the side, a tall deck with tri-bar taillights at the rear and a twin eyebrow-shaped dashboard. Despite the addition of modern dashboard electronics, large round gauges and bucket seats continue to define the Mustang’s “2+2” passenger cabin.
The car comes powered by updated versions of the current model’s 3.7-liter V6 and 5.0-liter V8 powerplants, putting 300-horsepower/280 pound-feet of torque, and 435-horsepower/400 pound-feet to the pavement, respectively. They’re joined by a newly optional 2.3-liter “EcoBoost” turbocharged and direct fuel-injected four-cylinder engine that’s not only quicker than the standard V6 with 310 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque, but is expected to deliver economy car-like mpg (final figures were not available as of this writing).
All versions can be fitted with either a six-speed manual transmission that’s been engineered to deliver smoother shifts or a six-speed automatic with steering wheel-mounted padded shifters that afford manual gear selection.
One of the biggest changes to the revamped model – certainly one that sent enthusiasts’ tongues wagging when it was confirmed earlier this year – is an all-new integral-link independent suspension at the rear that replaces the previous generations’ solid rear axle (the basic concept of which dates back to the stagecoach and covered wagon era). The front wheels, meanwhile, ride on double-ball-joint MacPherson struts. Ford says the combination will set “new handling benchmarks for the car,” treating drivers to “world-class dynamics and ride quality.”
Ford has also imbued the new Mustang with a healthy dose of advanced chassis-control technology to deliver more sophisticated driving dynamics than in previous incarnations. These include an available Selectable Driving Modes system that allows the driver adjust the car’s steering effort, engine response and transmission and stability control settings via dashboard-mounted toggle switches to behave more or less aggressively as desired and as road conditions warrant.
Still, Ford has bred its latest pony to run free on an open road, with V8-powered versions including a new launch control feature that enables drivers to take off at maximum speeds from a standing start without unduly spinning the rear wheels and/or engaging a buzz-kill’s worth of electronic stability control. What’s more, V8 and EcoBoost four-cylinder models can up the ante with an optional Performance Pack that includes “summer” tires for enhanced cornering prowess (albeit at the expense of reduced traction over wet or snowy pavement) and the largest Mustang brakes ever built for quicker stopping abilities.
The new Mustang can be equipped with advanced amenities like push-button entry/start, adaptive cruise control that both holds the car at a set speed and distance from the traffic ahead, as well as a multimedia/infotainment system with full smartphone connectivity. What’s more, the car can be fitted with a Blind Spot warning system with cross-traffic alert for added safety; it warns the driver to the presence of other cars to the side and rear he or she might not be able to see in the side mirrors, as well as traffic approaching from either side when backing out of a garage or parking space.
And if that’s not enough, we can expect higher-performance Shelby GT models to follow within a year.