2015 Ford Mustang gallops into a new era
LOS ANGELES, CA- The launch of the 2015 Ford Mustang is arguably the most awaited automotive event of this year.
Since bowing at the New York Auto show in April, the amount of publicity it has drawn has been unlike any other on the 2014 auto show circuit.
The Mustang is not just a ?halo? car for Ford, it is THE halo car for the whole company and that includes the F-150 pickup.
In production for 50 years, Ford decided to make a statement with the new Mustang and they definitely did.
That statement begins with the shape.
While the 2015 Mustang looks similar to the car it replaces, it is actually a clean-sheet design in a convertible and a return to the iconic ?fastback? styling of the original 1967 version.
The new car is lower but wider. The fastback visually benefits thanks to the steeper rake of the windshield and rear glass.
Under the skin is an all-new suspension system starting with a double ball joint MacStrut system that allows larger brakes, in fact the most powerful discs yet fitted to a Mustang.
The rear gets an all-new integral-link independent rear suspension. The geometry, springs, dampers and bushings all were specifically modified for the higher power of the 2015 engine lineup. New aluminum rear knuckles help reduce unsprung mass for improved ride and handling.
Buyers will have a choice of three engines starting with the legendary 5.0-litre V8 on the topline Mustang GT. It produces 435 hp and 400 lb/ft of torque, making it the most powerful production Mustang ever. Next up is a 3.7-litre V6 with 300 hp and 270 lb/ft of torque. New for 2015 is the Mustang EcoBoost with 2.3-litre direct injection turbo inline four-cylinder with a very healthy 310 hp and 320 lb/ft of torque.
Ford claims it is the first manufacturer to offer four-, six- and eight-cylinder engines on one vehicle, all of which offer 300 hp or more and run on regular fuel.
Each of the three engines has a unique grille that only allows in as much air as each specific engine needs. On the 2.3-litre engine, active grille shutters close at higher speeds to reduce drag.
Drivetrain layout is front-engine, rear-drive with a limited slip differential. A six-speed manual transmission is standard with a six-speed automatic with paddle shifters optional.
Adding to the fun is the Performance Package on the EcoBoost and GT models with bigger brakes and beefed up suspension settings. It is recognizable by its blacked out ?Ebony? wheels.
There were no 3.7-litre models at the press launch in Los Angeles, but lots of 2.3- and 5.0-litre fastbacks with a mix of transmissions and trim.
Frankly, the 2.3-litre EcoBoost with Performance Package and manual stood out especially in dark blue coupled with the black wheels that gave it a sinister, stealthy look.
The Recaro seats were a very snug fit. The interior has the signature twin brow instrument panel. The IP face is genuine aluminum not faux and gauges and dials that are legible and simple to work, with a backup camera standard on all models.
On certain versions, there is a Mode toggle switch on the lower centre stack that allows the driver to set launch speed at a choice of rpms or lock up the front wheels and do burnouts at will.
My co-driver did nothing silly like that but we drove the car hard up from LA into the Cleveland National Forest along Highway 2. Forget the Pacific Coast Highway. If you want to enjoy a drive in California take CA2 and you will be rewarded.
The 2.3-litre is so easy to drive at any speed. On the freeway, it cruised along in sixth being remarkably quiet, thanks in no small part to the muffling effect of the turbo.
Heading up into the mountains we pushed it. No matter what gear, there was more than enough torque on tap.
With the big Brembo brakes, slowing was progressive and solid.
At first, I found trouble hitting the clutch pedal squarely with my left foot brushing the brake. But after a few miles, I was in sync.
One neat thing is the placement of the centre console cupholders slightly more aft than usual. This was done to give the driver greater hand/arm movement freedom with the shifter.
But the best part was the mileage. We averaged (US) 29.1 mpg. In the 5.0-litre GT manual we also drove, the previous drivers had really pounded the car with the average fuel consumption registering (US) 12.7 mpg.
Now to be fair to them, this was a press launch where the object of the vehicle is to test it to the limit. In real life, the 2015 Canadian five-cycle fuel numbers listed as fairly accurate.
The one thing the GT did have was that deep rumble and high-speed howl you can only get on a big V8.
On the other hand, the great fuel economy and power of the 2.3-litre can only make me wonder what the Mustang would be like the 3.5-litre EcoBoost V6 and you just know Ford has some lurking behind the engineering walls in Dearborn.
For the base Mustang EcoBoost, fuel numbers are 10/6/7.5L/100 km city/highway for the manual and 126.96.36.199L/100 km for the automatic. For the base Mustang they are 13.5/8.3L/100 km for the manual and 12.6/8.9L/100 for the auto. On the GT, consumption is 14.9/9.5L/100 km and 15.2/9.7L/100 km respectively.
With three engines, two body styles, three brake sizes and two transmissions, a buyer has a lot to choose from when it’s time to ?pony? up to the cash register.
The base car runs from $24,999-$29,999 for the fastback or convertible respectively. Price range of the EcoBoost is $27,999-$38,999. And the GT runs from $36,999-$47,999. There is also the limited run 50th Limited Edition at $52,899. This does not include the $1,600 shipping fee.
The last thing of note is anyone can drive one of these cars, no matter which engine, meaning your grandma can drive one to bingo and then humble the kids at the light.
With yesterday?s iconic styling and tomorrow?s technology, this is the best Mustang ever.