Thursday, November 13, 2014

Reading The Fine Print In The 2015 Mustang Catalog

A nicer place to live than my 2008.  This is an automatic-equipped car.  The shifter in the 6-speed that I sat in had a shorter
and smoother throw than my own 5-speed.

Got my hands on a 2015 Mustang brochure.  I won't get into options or packages that involve appearance, audio, and connectivity.  When it comes to these items, I am a Valley Girl: "What-evah." But I was interested in the Performance Packages for the 5.0 liter V-8 and the 2.3 liter 4.  The big news, of course, is independent rear suspension across the Mustang line.

Hotshoe guessed that the new car is slightly lower and wider than the old car, and it looks that way to me too.  But the dimensions are close enough to make no difference.  Wheelbase and length are unchanged.  The new car is an inch shorter and a not insignificant 3 inches wider.  As might be expected, the new car loses an inch of headroom but gains an inch of shoulder, hip, and legroom.  The cockpit seemed a bit tighter to me.  Given the similar interior dimensions, the best explanation is that the dashboard has been moved closer to the driver.  The ergonomics and quality of interior trim are better than my 2008 car.  Total passenger volume is unchanged, as is fuel capacity.  The trunk of the new car gains an insignificant cubic foot.  All this leads me to suspect that the internal unibody architecture of the S-197 platform remains essentially unchanged except for tweaking it to take the independent rear suspension mounting points.

On to the interesting stuff.  The 5.0 V-8 we looked at had sticky Pirelli P-Zero (summer only) tires.  The cost of the Performance Package option is $2500, which looks to be good value for money.  Here's a comparison of the Performance Packages of the V-8 and the I-4.

                                                                                      5.0 V-8                          2.3 I-4

larger front air splitter                                                   yes                               yes

strut tower brace                                                             yes                               no

larger radiator                                                                 yes                               yes

larger rear sway bar                                                        yes                              yes

heavy duty front springs                                                yes                              yes

oil pressure & vacuum gauges                                      yes                              yes

larger front calipers (6/4 pot)                                      yes                              yes  

19" X 9" front wheels  (255/40 tires)                          yes                              yes

19" X 9.5" rear wheels (275/40 tires)                         yes                               no

tweaked electric power steering                                  yes                               yes

adjustable ABS/stability control                                 yes                              yes

Torsen limited slip, 3.73 ratio                                     yes                              no

limited slip, 3.55 ratio                                                   no                               yes

Interestingly, the 2.3 turbo makes its maximum power (310) at 5500 r.p.m. and its maximum torque (320) at 3000 r.p.m.  It's a lower-revving engine than the V-8, who's corresponding numbers are 435 at 6500 and 400 at 4250.  It would probably be quicker away from a traffic light than the V-8 but for the 5% lower axle ratio.  But my hope that the 2.3 would be as fast at a track-day has been dashed.  Its more neutral handling and better front grip look to be quickly offset by the power of the V-8, if the latter is up to full song as it enters a straight.

Mustang being Mustang, there will soon be a "Laguna Edition" (or the like) of one or both models, at a hefty price premium.  It will post bigger handling and speed numbers, and rattle your fillings in the process.  Not to mention that both Performance Package models will be attacked by the aftermarket people.

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