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.
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