ASSOCIATE EDITOR GRAHAM KOZAK: Chalk it up to being the first car I’ve driven since the last bit of ice vanished from Detroit-area roads (or what’s left of them), but this 2015 Ford Mustang GT spoke to me in a way that previous ’15 models failed to -- really enjoyed driving around in it, really enjoyed how the six-speed played smoothly with the V8. The looks are growing on me, too; it’s not a radical departure from the previous generation, but I like the little things -- like how the fastback lines flow into the dramatically raked tail end.
All-around increased refinement levels and that independent rear suspension make me wonder, though: What, exactly, is theMustang? It’s not really a sports car, not really a grand tourer, not really a full-blown muscle car. A pony car, maybe, but what does that even mean?
I don’t think being a little tough to define is necessarily a problem here. When you’ve got a legendary name and 50-plus years of history to go on, simply being a Mustang is probably enough. It helps that the car is certainly capable of speaking for itself under the right circumstances -- and no, I’m not talking about the morning commute or an afternoon at the track.
On a pre-dawn sprint down miraculously traffic-free expressways, I experienced the simple pleasure of driving a powerful car quickly, and comfortably, and quietly. Even with the optional Recaros, I felt like I could have piloted the thing across the country. That’s a good feeling to have in a car.
You could you ask more from a grand tourer-ish vehicle -- maybe a few extra cylinders, a different sort of horse logo on the hood. But this is about as much elegance as you’re going to get for $44,385. I haven’t tried a Mustang equipped with the performance pack, which ought to tighten up handling with the addition of a strut tower brace, a bigger rear sway bar and what Ford refers to as “unique chassis tuning,” but I do wonder how that impacts everyday ride quality.
ONLINE FEATURES EDITOR JAKE LINGEMAN: I’m not going to harp on the price of this Mustang, because I did enjoy the modern trappings of a rearview camera, navigation, the Recaro leather seats and such. I’ll just say that as an enthusiast, wanting to get the most power as cheaply as possible, you could stick to the basic stuff and get out of the dealership for less than $40K.
Inside -- where you’ll be spending most of your time -- is a nice place to be. The Recaros are comfortable, though maybe a little less so than last year’s cloth versions. The touch points are mostly soft, and I like that Ford doesn’t make a lot of surfaces look soft when they aren’t. In this GT, there is what looks like a brushed aluminum piece on the dash, it’s probably plastic, but I don’t expect to touch it and feel softness. Stuff that looks hard is, like the center console, and stuff that looks soft, like the doors and door armrests are.
There are too many buttons on the wheel, in my opinion. I wish Ford could pare them down to the few that you really need. I like having the ability to adjust the gauges on the fly through the wheel, but I don’t think it’s necessary. The wheel’s also a little thinner than I like, which makes it feel a little dainty, or something.
The stickshift is better than the previous model, but the linkage feels the same or worse to me. A few times I was trying to make quick changes, just to miss a gate instead. I suppose if I had the car for more than a weekend I would probably get used to it. I love the notation for “ground speed” above the speedo, just a cool avionic touch.
I always like the pedal effort in Mustangs. The brakes only move an inch or two and the gas pedal has some pushback, which allows you to rest your foot on it without it falling to the floor. Same for the clutch pedal; it has enough effort to make you feel like you’re doing something, without becoming a chore in traffic.
This is a pony car, whatever that means, so it doesn’t turn on a dime like a Subaru BRZ or Alfa Romeo 4C, but even in normal mode, it’s relatively direct. Side note, as much as I love the adjustable steering, feel is less than what it used to be with EPAS. The fact that it won’t grab a tram line and run is a good thing, but at the limit, steering feel is a tad dull.
This car, and this class of car, has the right weight and suspension to feel sporty, but not punishing, on normal streets. Those Pirelli all-season tires soak up some of the bigger bumps, though I found them wanting to understeer on the moist roads this morning. Oversteer, on the other hand, is predictable and fun, at nearly any speed. Stickier tires would make it a better handler, but probably more nervous in the kink of a turn. Still, get the performance package.
You can feel the new independent rear suspension working when you’re on the throttle in a turn. I’ll say it again; it feels less horsey than the old solid setup. Doesn’t buck like a bronco.
Power is thick from the 5.0-liter Coyote engine at any rpm. My favorite thing is to only push it halfway for a while, and then floor it. You almost forget how fast it is with the throttle wide open. It feels faster than it is.
The more I look at the sheetmetal, the more I like it better than last year’s, which is the one I own. Like Graham said, the raked back end is slick; I love the painted diffuser, too. The whole package just looks sleeker, more modern. I can’t wait until the new Chevy Camaro comes out and we can test them back to back. Now both have IRS and both are about the same weight.
The 2015 Ford Mustang GT Premium Coupe will contain the 5.0 liter V8 engine.PHOTO BY FORD
EDITOR WES RAYNAL: These Recaro buckets would be the first thing to go. Standard Mustang buckets are fine. Next would be the adaptive cruise control. I can modulate the cruise control just fine on my own, thank you. There; I just whacked $2,790 from the sticker.
As has been oft written, the new Ford Mustang’s refinement levels are off the charts high compared to the outgoing car. It feels much tighter, the steering is much improved and reacts immediately now. It’s overall much better.
The engine is just a sweetie, revving smoothly and evenly and sounding great the whole time, while the ride/handling mix is way better than the live-axle car -- the front and rear ends now feel like they’re on the same car and communicate; not always the case before. This car feels much more settled.
The car looks good to my eye, it is Mustang enough but contemporary as well. Not trendy -- always a good thing. This is a nice update.
Options: Rapid spec equipment group 401A including Shaker Pro audio system with 12 speakers, HD radio, memory driver seat and mirrors, BLIS blind spot information system including cross-traffic alert ($1,795); Recaro leather seats ($1,595); adaptive cruise control ($1,195); 19-inch premium painted aluminum wheels ($995); voice-activated navigation system ($795); premier trim w/ color accent group ($395); enhanced security package ($395); reverse park assist ($295).
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