Evolution of the Mustang

Mustang is Ford’s oldest continuously produced nameplate www.seektires.com (Ford might cite its F-series, but that didn’t bear the F-150 badge until a decade after the Mustang arrived). In its lifetime, Mustang has been many different cars: a reskinned Falcon, something closer to the Torino, a hideous and malformed mutant Pinto, and a Fox, the platform it shared with a variety of Fords, Mercurys, and even a couple of Lincolns across three decades. In its current form, though, Mustang has become something it flirted with from inception: great. We named the GT and Boss 302 to our 2012 10Best pantheon, and called the Boss “the best Mustang ever.” For 2015, Ford’s ungulate will undergo its most revolutionary redesign yet. We hear it’ll arrive Thursday, April 17, 2014, or 50 years to the day it originally went on sale. This should make for one helluva birthday. P. 24 Five Less Alive The five-cylinder is now an endangered species. P. 28 Stranger Danger How to share your car, and why you shouldn’t. Rennautos The menacing cars of Germany’s NASCAR. Powder Huff In Quebec, winter-tire use is mandated by law.


Dimensionally, the 2015 edition won’t differ much from the current car, but it will employ an all-new unibody. The next Mustang’s track, both front and rear, will be slightly narrower. Wheelbase looks to shorten up by less than an inch from today’s car. With more-stringent impact requirements pending during the car’s anticipated life cycle, overall length could creep up by the same amount the wheelbase shrinks to allow for suitable crash structures.

With the brief exception of the SVT Cobra  that appeared intermittently between 1999  and 2004, the Mustang has always relied on  a solid rear axle—and since the advent of the  internet, forums have been overrun with  calls for an independent rear. Hark, bathrobe  wearers, your cries have been heard. In  addition to reducing unsprung mass, the  2015’s multi link independent rear will allow  more space for the rear seat and cargo.  A strut setup will carry on up front, but with  new geometry. Performance models will  use aluminum lower control arms, while  stamped steel serves in the base car. Big sixpiston  Brembo brake calipers will be standard  on serious performance models, optional  on the semi-serious ones.


Unlike today’s Mustang, which sees only  limited export beyond the NAFTA zone,  Ford has decreed that its next-generation  pony car will be sold around the world. With  this in mind, powertrain choices will  expand significantly beyond today’s single  V-6 and three V-8 choices. We’ve even  heard that, for select markets in Asia, Ford  will offer a naturally aspirated inline-four.  Sounds screwy, we know. But Ford continues  to challenge convention with its engine  choices; who would have thought even two  years ago that V-6s would make up the  majority of F-150 sales?  The U.S. will get a four-cylinder, too—  the first in a Mustang since 1993. A turbocharged,  direct-injected 2.4-liter four will  relieve an upgraded version of today’s 3.7-  liter V-6 of its mantle as 30-plus-mpg champ.  Mimicking the EcoBoost’s role in the Edge  and Explorer, the 250-plus-hp four-cylinder  will be priced higher than the more powerful  base V-6 Mustang and be positioned as a balance  between sport and fuel efficiency.

The 2015 GT will keep the Coyote 5.0-  liter V-8, but don’t expect horsepower to  rise from its current 420. The delayed-intro  Boss 302 will see an extra six ponies coaxed  out of its engine, raising that figure to 450.  Ford is playing its cards very close to the  vest regarding the next Shelby GT500.  Underhood space in the 2015 Mustang will  be tighter than it is today, posing a problem  for the Shelby’s massive supercharged and  inter cooled 5.8-liter. Due to its height, the  5.8 appears to have been squeezed out. Its  662 horses will be tough to beat in the next generation  Shelby, if there is a next-generation  Shelby. But the GT500 has garnered  Ford a lot of press, and a twin-turbocharged,  direct-injected Coyote is a tantalizing concept  with the potential to match the 114  horsepower per liter of the 5.8.  Initially, the new Mustang’s transmissions  will carry over from today’s car, but an  eight-speed automatic will join the lineup  eventually. 


The 2015 edition of America’s original pony  car promises a marked mechanical improvement  over anything that has carried the  Mustang name, but its sheet metal wrapper  may concern loyalists. Last September, Ford  unveiled the Ev    os concept car at the Frankfurt  auto show. The automaker said at the  time that the sleek coupe represented “the  ultimate expression of Ford’s new global  design language.” Over the past several  months, the company has led us to believe,  through cryptic statements and innuendo,  that the Evos also telegraphs the form of the  next Mustang.

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To be sure, the Evos is one  highly attractive machine, but when you  look at it there’s little that makes you think  “Mustang.”  It won’t be the first time the model  eschewed its established visual language for  a cleaner, less brand-specific look. Although  devoid of any Mustang cues, the 1979 model  was well received by customers and journalists  alike—perhaps in large part because the  Mustang II that preceded it was so misshapen.  Slowly, though, original design elements  crept back in, culminating in a 2005  model chock-a-block with everything that  made the first Mustang so strong.  A Mustang that ignores its styling heritage  does so at its own peril. While the Evos  is a great statement and direction for Ford as  a whole, it is woefully short of the visual  candy that many people believe makes a Mustang a Mustang. Here’s hoping the clay  scrapers at Ford design keep this in mind. Read more about this at Which Car Magazine