ROAD TEST EDITOR JONATHAN WONG: There’s a shocking level of refinement in this 2015 Ford Mustang GT. Refinement isn’t something you normally associate with a muscle car, but here it is. Refinement is found not only in the way it rides around town with the new independent rear suspension, but in the cabin that’s stylish and composed of upgraded materials.
The biggest news is that independent rear suspension that is noticeable after traveling over only a couple miles of Michigan pavement. For those of you who don’t live in the area -- it's atrocious. Midcorner bumps no longer upset the car, and ride comfort has been improved. Our test car wasn’t equipped with the optional performance package that adds firmer suspension tuning, heavy-duty front springs, a strut-tower brace and summer tires which explained our test car's softer ride characteristics. There’s noticeable body roll through corners and there’s OK grip from the 19-inch all-season Pirelli P Zero Nero tires. The adjustable steering is nice, letting you pick what type of steering feel you want for whatever your situation, ranging from lighter for normal driving to weightier and more responsive for those times you want to have a little fun.
As equipped, our test Mustang GT is greatly suited for regular driving, though. The suspension smoothes road imperfections nicely, the cabin is well-isolated from wind and road noise and is spacious enough for front-seat passengers. Things are still tight in the back seats, but adults should be all right for short rides.
The enthusiast in me is a little let down by this car because I’ve always seen the Mustang as the more athletic-behaving muscle car of the bunch being more eager-feeling than the Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger. It’s as if the refinement to the Mustang has taken a bit of its drive character away from it. But to the majority of customers, this softer and more comfortable Mustang GT is probably right for them. Lucky for me, there’s that aforementioned performance package that costs $2,495. In addition to the suspension stuff, it also includes a larger radiator, a thicker rear antiroll bar, Pirelli P Zero summer tires, six-piston Brembo front brakes, and specific stability and ABS tuning, Torsen rear axle and a gauge package that adds an oil pressure and vacuum gauges. I’m going to have to drive a GT with that equipment installed before I come to final performance judgment on the new Mustang.
No complaints about the 5.0-liter V8, though. The 435 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque is a very healthy amount of grunt to have under the hood. The growl of the V8 doesn’t quite penetrate the cabin as much as it used to, but under wide-open throttle, you’ll still hear enough of the soundtrack getting in. Power builds nicely throughout the rev band and throttle response is good. The six-speed Getrag manual is easy to work with, featuring medium-length throws. The clutch is a little heavier, but still comfortable to modulate.
When I first saw the new car in pictures, I wasn’t quite feeling the look, but after seeing it in person and spending a little time with it, I like new sheetmetal. In pictures, it’s difficult to pick up on a lot of the lines, particularly in the rear three-quarter area. The car is a looker -- my favorite in front of the Challenger and then the Camaro. It’s still instantly recognizable as a Mustang, but it’s different enough for my tastes.
The inside design is definitely more interesting to look at it, and materials are upgraded on the major touchpoints with hard plastics only used on lower portions of the dash and the center console tunnel. The regular seats are built for wider individuals, so I was sliding around a bit, but an extra $1,595 would get me the Recaro sport seats and solve my problems. I have come to terms with Ford’s central touchscreen controls for infotainment functions and can work my way through them quite efficiently now.
The new Mustang is definitely better suited to please a broader group of people with its new comfort and quality levels. I just need to saddle up in a GT with the performance package to see firsthand if it ticks the right boxes for the driver in me. I’m pretty confident it will, though.
The 2015 Frd Mustang GT Premium Coupe is remarkably quick around the track.PHOTO BY JOSH SCOTT
ASSOCIATE EDITOR JAKE LINGEMAN: I’d say the new Mustang GT is 20 percent better than the current model overall. It is way more refined than the outgoing model. It’s quieter inside, which could be good or bad. It’s much smoother over the average road imperfections, and the interior quality is far ahead of the last gen. It feels more like a grand touring car than a sports car now, seriously.
That refined ride does lead to a little more body roll than the 2014, but the bouncy, solid-axle rear-end feel is long gone. It soaks up bumps on the road course where the old car bounced laterally.
The MyFordTouch system with navigation is a nice option, but if you’re just looking for something to track, then I’d say toss it and save the money. You always have your phone on you, anyway.
The gearbox in the new Mustang doesn’t feel as sturdy as the last model, and the distance between the first and second gear gate and fifth and sixth gear gate is longer than the old car. I’m sure a new buyer would get used to it quickly.
To me, the profile and rear view of the new 'Stang is way better than the old one. The front view, I’m not too sure about. Oh, and the Mustang logo that’s projected onto the ground when you unlock it? That’s sweet.
It’s faster than the old model shod with summer tires, too. We found that out during our Best of the Best testing. But it doesn’t feel faster. The last gen feels raw compared to the new one. Raw and mechanical. They do both have electronic power steering, though.
The sixth-gen is really a great car. I’m just ruined because I got such a great deal on my 2014 model. Optioned like mine, a new one would be about $37K. That’s actually about what mine was before the discounts. Look for a good deal, or maybe even that EcoBoost model, because that’s quite peppy, too.
EDITORIAL INTERN BRAD WILEY: America’s favorite pony car gets, arguably, the best revamp to date. Certainly the most anticipated. Nearly every inch of the new Mustang was reworked to cut weight or add structural integrity, and it shows.
The exterior does a great job of paying homage to the past, all while keeping the 'Stang relevant for the future. And rightfully so, with the Dodge Challenger, Chevrolet Camaro and BMW M235i all fighting for consumer dollars. As an extension from the past, the iconic running horse is embedded in the grille and triple-cell lights round out the rear. As it sits, the lowered hood and rear deck lid exploit the car's stance. Its wider, thicker profile offers more room inside, while creating a very trackable footprint. And the vented cowl hood looks great, too.
Our tester, under the GT Premium guise, was filled with a list of standard features, but one that stuck out the most was the leather seats. After driving the new Mustang for over a few hundred miles, both on and off the track, my back never ached. I’d swap them into my 2004 Mustang in a heartbeat. Everything else in the interior is a mix of soft-touch materials and stitched leather. While the difference between the regular GT and the GT Premium is nearly $4K, I think it's well worth it.
The Boss-inspired V8 engine under the hood is a robust powerplant. With 435 hp on tap, it makes quick work of around-town errands. There is just something about the V8 rumble that epitomizes the muscle car feel. No, this Mustang GT doesn’t produce the hellacious 707 hp found in the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat, but it still manages some respectable numbers on the track.
We headed out to Michigan International Speedway to see just what this pony could do. Right out of the box the Mustang chewed through a quarter-mile in 13.1 seconds at 113.3 mph; doing so with a six-speed manual, all-season tires, and an unprepped track surface. After making a dozen or more runs (See our 2014 Ford Mustang GT vs. 2015 Ford Mustang story) the car never broke a sweat. It was amazing how confident the Mustang is off the line, even with the independent rear suspension. Acceleration is firm, and the six-speed gearbox worked flawless with fantastic gating returning a 4.4-second 0-60 mph time. Shift distance is longer than I’d prefer, but I’m sure the aftermarket community will have a replacement soon.
The entire Mustang lineup gets a bump up in the brake department, and while our tester did come with some big brakes, it wasn’t the performance brakes available in the performance package. The brake pedal was firm and responsive that is nothing like carbon ceramic brakes, but we managed to idle the 3,700-pound car from 60 mph in 118.4 feet.
Handling is great and the double ball-joint front end aids in keeping things flat and composed. While I’m more of a straight-line guy, this sixth-gen Mustang did everything that I wanted. It’s certainly the most comfortable driving Mustang that I’ve had my hands on yet.
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