2015 Ford Mustang GT CoupePosted on October 6th, 2014
Iconic pony car maintains its youthful stride
By Nina Russin
Fifty years ago a man named Robert McNamara came up with idea of a new performance car based on the compact Ford Falcon. It took some time to twist Henry Ford II’s arm, but eventually that car, equipped with a 289-cube V-8 engine emerged as the Mustang.
Both the car and its creator became legendary: the Mustang as the original pony car, and McNamara as President John F. Kennedy’s secretary of defense. And both had checkered careers. During his tenure with Kennedy, McNamara became known as the man who escaladed the US presence in Vietnam. He spent the rest of his life coming to terms with the moral consequences.
The Mustang fared well in the 1960s, evolving into the mighty Boss Mustang styled by Larry Shinoda. But tightening emissions controls in the 1970s left Ford’s pony car an anemic shadow of its former self. In 1973 Ford introduced the Mustang II to coincide with the first oil embargo. Equipped with the base inline four-cylinder engine, it couldn’t get out of its own way.
To their credit, Ford engineers stayed the course and by the 1980s, a beacon of hope emerged in the form of a new five-liter Mustang. First introduced in 1982, the high-output engine breathed new life into the pony car. By the end of the decade, the Mustang had accrued a loyal following of performance buffs and equally burgeoning crop of aftermarket providers.
It took another decade for stylists to rediscover the car’s heritage and give the new Mustang a distinctive face. By the onset of the new millennium there was no doubt that the Mustang, a car like any other, was here to stay.
With legends such as Jack Rousch and Carroll Shelby leading the charge, the Mustang gained muscle at an alarming rate. The question was not whether the Mustang was a great car, but what Ford engineers could do to make it any greater.
The best Mustang ever produced
Engineers answered with an all-new GT for the 2015 model year. Not a Boss, Rousch or Cobra, the new Gran Turismo is just that: a great touring car that’s not at all shabby on the track. It is every bit a muscle car but at the same time, every bit modern. That’s not an easy marriage.
Designers gave the coupe a panther-like stance by making the car lower and wider. With its bulging muscle car hood and heritage fastback, the new car is also slipperier in the wind tunnel.
Power for the GT comes from a 435-horsepower V-8 engine. With 400 foot-pounds of torque, it car literally shake the pavement free of its foundation.
But power alone does not make the new Mustang special. The new GT is also the most refined variant in the car’s 50-year history. A four-wheel independent suspension consists of MacPherson struts up front and independent coil springs in back with stabilizer bars on both axles. A new perimeter subframe up front enhances torsional rigidity for better steering feedback. Ventilated disc brakes stop the car in firm, linear fashion.
Gearing for the six-speed manual transmission is perfect: a smooth but powerful launch in first gear, the ability to do easy second-gear starts on slick roads and a large overdrive gear for cruising on the highway. A short-throw shift lever makes it easy to snap between the gears, and all gears have enough range to prevent the driver from having to shift constantly in traffic.
Front-to-rear weight balance is also exceptionally good, which surprised me giving the fastback styling. A new launch control feature on manual transmission models uses sensors from the stability control system to deliver a firm, hard start on the track.
The big hood scoop in front does impact visibility but this is, after all, a muscle car and hood bulges are part of the muscle car lexicon.
Steering is also spot on, with plenty of assist at lower speeds but solid on-center response on the highway. At a time when numb-feeling EPS systems are flooding the market, it’s a refreshing change of pace.
The Mustang is a two-plus-two meaning it can seat four passengers in a pinch, two comfortably and ideally one: the driver. Optional Recaro seats are heavily bolstered for time on the track but are also surprisingly comfortable, with good lower lumbar support. The driver’s seat adjusts pretty far upward so I was able to see the front end of the car. The same option package includes wheel locks for the 18-inch alloy rims. I would highly recommend the investment for anyone who plans to park their car in urban areas.
Available infotainment technologies include Ford Sync, MyKey and standard track apps, plus the available Shaker audio system.
The 2015 Ford Mustang GT comes with front, side, side curtain and driver’s knee airbags, four-channel antilock braking, traction control, stability control, tire pressure monitoring, SOS post crash alert and MyKey.
Ford’s factory warranty includes five years of powertrain protection and five years or 60,000 miles of 24-hour roadside assistance.
Like: The 2015 Mustang GT is the most refined iteration of the car to date, with exceptional power, performance ride and handling.
Model: Mustang GT
Base price: N/A
As tested: N/A
Horsepower: 435 Hp @ 6500 rpm
Torque: 400 lbs.-ft. @ 4250 rpm
Antilock brakes: Standard
Side curtain airbags: Standard
First aid kit: N/A
Bicycle friendly: No
Fuel economy*: 15/25 mpg city/highway
Comment: *The Mustang is engineered to run on 87 octane unleaded gasoline.
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