Saturday, October 25, 2014

First In-Person Look: 2015 Mustang

Above: 2015 Mustang suspension.  In front, "nothing to see here, folks, move along," except that a strut tower K-brace
is standard on the 2.3 liter four-cylinder turbo, GT Performance Package, and all convertibles.  In back, the geometry
reminds me of my own Honda Civic Si and some other designs.  Ford claims that it reduces nose-dive and squat in
braking and acceleration.  The hub carriers and lower links are aluminum, reducing unsprung weight.

Below: You get a bigger (stiffer) rear bar on the four-cylinder turbo Performance Package and the GT coupe, and a
still bigger one on the GT Track Package.  Probably the biggest rear bar and its brackets could be bought over the
parts counter and bolted into the turbo four: dial out some understeer!

You can't see much of the new i.r.s., and how its geometry works, even if you lie down on the showroom floor and
embarrass your salesman (if not yourself).

The new Mustang with independent rear suspension looks to be a very nice car, and an improvement on the S-197 in both handling and looks.  (That is, over the 2010-2014 car; I still prefer the looks of the 2005-2009 "retro" S-197.)  But it's still big, and heavy: a pony car, not a sports car.  And I got a sticker shock.  My dealer's 4-cylinder turbo, not heavily-optioned, has an MSRP of $34K.  His V-8 GT, which has a $400 paint job, 19-inch wheels, a rear-view camera, and navigation, has an MSRP of $41K.  The latter is about 18% more than the MSRP for my lightly-optioned 2008 V-8 GT convertible.

So I won't be spending my children's inheritance for improved handling.  But if I were, the turbo four coupe with light aftermarket wheels, summer-only tires, and the biggest rear stabilizer bar would intrigue me as a wannabe Tail Of The Dragon slayer.  I was shown some text in in-house promotion materials to the effect that Ford has altered the steering geometry to improve feel.  Hmmmm...  Lack of steering feel has been a complaint of mine about Ford products (including my own Mustang) for decades.  The 2.0 liter turbo four in Hotshoe's Focus ST is powerful with good driveability, and a similar engine over the front wheels of the new Mustang removes maybe 200 lbs. of weight where it needs it the most.

Above and below: the 2.3 liter turbo version.  The 2015 car remains way too "Origami" for my taste, with creases all
over the place.  It doesn't have the clean, retro, lines of the 2005-2009 car, but it's better than the 2010-2014 car.
One exception is the "true fastback" roof line and quarter window, which work quite well.

Above and below: the 5.0 V-8 GT on my dealer's showroom floor.  From the front and rear, the 2015 Mustang is a
Cookie Monster: better than the 2010-2014 S-197, but not as delicious as my own "retro" 2008 car.  Or
Watchtower's 2009 Bullitt--the best-looking modern Mustang of them all.

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