First Look – 2015 Ford Mustang

Enough of a Mustang change to unseat the best-selling Camaro?

It’s safe, it’s predictable, and an example of what happens when a Detroit Three company thinks it can take an iconic American car global, adding some additional sales – it’s hoped – in Europe and Asia. The 2015 Ford Mustang continues the current look with what’s said to be an all-new platform for the original all-American pony car. However,  to the casual observer the Mustang might appear as a nice freshening with a new grille and taillights.

The stance is wider with a slight reduction in roof height, and larger rear fenders and track. The wheelbase is the same. However, this is not the radical change the last Camaro underwent, one that leapfrogged it into outselling the Mustang.

To be sure, the new  Mustang fastback and convertible models keep the design themes –  long sculpted hood and short rear deck – that goes back to 1964. Ford is calling it a “contemporary execution,” and among the millions of Mustang faithful, it might be enough or more than enough to keep U.S. sales going of the Flat Rock, Michigan built car. Overseas is another, open, matter.

Underneath there are three revised powertrains – a more powerful 5-liter V8, a 3.7-liter V6 and a controversial four-banger, the latest 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine.

Mustang GT continues with the rumbling 5-liter V8, now with an upgraded valvetrain and cylinder heads that yield more than 420 horsepower and 390 lb.-ft. of torque. A new intake manifold improves low-speed breathing for better fuel economy, idle stability and emissions, it’s said.

The Mustang EcoBoost engine uses direct injection, variable cam timing and turbocharging to deliver what is projected as segment-leading fuel efficiency, if anyone cares in this type of vehicle. A unique intake manifold and turbocharger housing are part of the design with output projected at more than 305 horsepower and 300 lb.-ft. of torque.

With what will be at least 300 horsepower and 270 lb.-ft. of torque from the standard 3.7-liter V6, this looks to be the smart shopper’s choice, particularly people who remember Ford’s last, failed, foray into offering a turbocharged four-cylinder Mustang.

The transmissions appear to be carried over, with new steering wheel-mounted shift paddles for the automatic.

Mustang has all-new front and rear suspensions. A new perimeter subframe helps to stiffen the front structure while reducing mass, providing a better foundation for more predictable wheel control that benefits in theory handling, steering and ride, according to Ford. This new double-ball-joint front MacPherson strut system also enables the use of larger, more powerful brakes.

At the rear is an all-new integral-link independent rear suspension. The geometry, springs, dampers and bushings all have been specifically tuned for this high-performance application. New aluminum rear knuckles help reduce unsprung mass for improved ride and handling.

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About Ken Zino

Ken Zino is an auto industry veteran with global experience in print, broadcast and electronic media. He has auto testing, marketing, public relations and communications expertise garnered while working in Asia, Europe and the U.S.
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