The 2015 Ford Mustang finally makes the rear-end switch—and the SVO's back, at least in spirit.
The 2015 Ford Mustang heralds the sixth generation of this icon, and for the pony-car faithful it's a watershed moment. The Mustang is now fresh, advanced, plush, and technical, with more safety, too—a fitting 50th-anniversary tribute for a car that's as much a part of America as the original Model T.
Now a luxury coupe of the first order, with enough performance on the order sheet to muscle up to sports-car territory, the 2015 Mustang is fully free of its plebeian beginnings.
The Mustang isn't quite a knockout from all angles, even if all the traditional Mustang cues were mashed into the new pony car. With a low and wide stance, the Mustang's pretty and graceful canopy rest on muscular haunches, but the some of the details are a little soggy—the tilted taillamp panel, the hashmarks that hashtag the headlamps. Inside, there is a distinct aviation-inspired theme. Large, clear instrumentation puts vehicle information right in front of the driver in the roomier cabin, while improved ergonomics and tactile switches and knobs provide better control. The cabin's solidly laid out and more youthful than just about any luxury coupe, and richer-looking than the Camaro's cabin.
The looks are an evolution, but what's underneath the Mustang's body panels is truly a magnitude shift. Its new turbocharged four-cylinder delivers strong performance even though it underwhelms in its soundtrack. The GT's intensely strong 435-hp V-8 hustles best when it's amped up with a Performance Pack that includes a Torsen limited-slip rear end, summer tires, Brembo brakes and extra body bracing.
Drive this and the last Mustang back to back, and the new car's overwhelming sense of ride control and tracking and stability thoroughly outclass any of its ancestors. Credit goes to a wider track, a new independent rear suspension design, and to a lot of engineers looking to eradicate all the negative Camaro comparisons. They've succeeded.
The ultimate gift to Mustang fans? Launch control and line lock. The former lets anyone knock off impeccable 0-60 mph times, while the latter enables NHRA-grade smoky burnouts.
The Mustang's a cathedral compared to the cramped Camaro, but it's still a 2+2 at heart even though it's nearly the size of a Ford Fusion. Front-seat room is generous and not just for the segment; Recaro seats are bound to be a popular upgrade over the standard sport seats, as good as they are. The back seats are token gestures, the trunk's about the size of the one in a Cadillac ATS (hint: not very large), but the Mustang's spacious enough for two, anytime.
Down the track will be a new Mustang Convertible. Buyers of the convertible will appreciate the standard multilayer insulated cloth top that gives the car a more upscale appearance and a quieter cabin, according to Ford. The new top also lowers twice as fast as before, and has a sleeker profile when down.
The 2015 Ford Mustang hasn't yet been crash-tested by the IIHS, although that agency has assigned a 'good' rating in front-impact protection. In federal testing the Mustang earns top five-star ratings in all primary categories. Its list of high-tech features includes driver-adjustable stability, steering systems, throttle and transmission systems; standard Bluetooth and a rearview camera; and options for blind-spot monitors, adaptive cruise control, and a forward-collision warning system.
Base V-6 models don't offer much in the way of fun options; you'll have to pay into the turbo four to get bigger wheels and tires and a Performance Pack. The V-8 is where we'll catch up to you, or vice versa: with its Performance Pack and options like Shaker Pro audio turn the mid-$20,000 pony car into a $40,000 sports car we'd be willing to drive daily. Is it the equivalent of a $65,000 BMW M4? It depends: can that extra $25,000 go directly into a tire budget?