Everything We Know About Ford’s Sixth-Generation Pony
Posted Dec 5th 2013 12:15PM
It’d be unwise to bet against the sixth generation of this legendary nameplate.
The 2015 Ford Mustang is assuredly the most anticipated new vehicle of the year. The redesigned Pony Car has been the subject of frantic gossiping and covert spy photos covering everything from the way it looks to the tech it will include, its performance, mechanicals and a bevy of other aspects of Ford’s performance icon.
And now, we’ve had our first look at it. In a closed backgrounder at Ford’s headquarters, we crawled over every inch of the new Mustang in an all-too-short look at the muscle car that will carry the company’s performance flag through the rest of the decade. We’ve now witnessed what is arguably the most comprehensive refit of the Mustang in its 50-year history. We’re still months away from our first drive, but after seeing it in the flesh and learning about its systems and mechanicals, it’d be unwise to bet against the sixth generation of this legendary nameplate.
You’ll find a range of images of the new car up top, and while we’d encourage you to look at those, try to reserve judgment until you can see Mustang in the flesh. Pictures often strain to capture a vehicle perfectly, and these first images don’t really do the details justice. Ford’s designers told us their inspiration came from a number of areas (Steve McQueen, a panther and a fist breaking through glass, to name a few) but most significant by far was the first-generation car. That 1964.5 Mustang heritage may be faint, but can be sussed in elements of the profile’s flow and in some of the detail work (more on that below).
The end result is a vehicle that looks noticeably more aggressive, athletic and planted.
The final design isn’t far off from what we were expecting, but in person, it’s easier to really grasp the ‘Stang’s new dimensions. The new car retains the current Mustang’s 107.1-inch wheelbase, and despite actually looking longer than the 2014 model in person, it’s one fifth of an inch shorter overall. The most dynamic change of dimension, though, is the width. The rear track has been stretched from 62.1 to 64.9 inches, and the car is 1.5 inches wider overall. Finally, it’s 1.4 inches lower than the today’s car. These might seem like incremental changes, but combined with the overall styling, the end result is a vehicle that looks noticeably more aggressive, athletic and planted.
The front end is highlighted by the Mustang’s trapezoidal grille. We only saw a GT model at our event, and can report that the grille-mounted driving lamps have been abandoned in favor of more traditionally mounted fogs in the bottom of the front fascia. The hood features an assertive power dome and functional heat extractors, while the headlights on the GT feature three LED “gills” reminiscent of the slats near the headlight housing on the original Mustang. Evos Concept inspiration is obvious in the fascia, but trust us, this isn’t anything close to a “Fusion coupe.” In fact, the Mustang takes on a true fastback shape for 2015, with a profile set off by a pair of vertical lines in place of the normal “hockey stick” crease, a noticeable set of haunches and that raked roofline. We’re curious to see how this new shape will transform to create the upcoming convertible model, too.
The back of the 2015 Mustang features a decklid that’s been lowered 2.75 inches, contributing to the fastback shape and giving the rear end a more planted appearance, while also allowing a lower opening for the rearranged trunk (it now accommodates two sets of golf clubs without folding the rear seats). The triple LED taillights and blacked-out surround are a graceful evolution from the current styling, while the rear end is further set off on the GT model with a stand-alone “GT” badge rather than the circular placard of the 2014 car. A body-color diffuser and a set of twin tailpipes round out the changes to the 2015 Mustang’s rump.
The triple LED taillights and blacked-out surround are a graceful evolution from the current styling.
Even the Mustang’s color palette has been tweaked with an eye towards showing off the new design. Gotta Have It Green is gone (your author shed a tear about this one), but it’s been replaced with a pair of bright, vibrant colors – Competition Orange and Triple Yellow Tricoat – as well as a darker, grayish green called Guard. We only saw these colors on small models inside Ford’s studio, so it’s difficult to say how they’ll look on a full-size car. The rest of the Mustang’s color lineup is unchanged.
The new exterior is nothing compared to the interior, though. Like Chevy and the Corvette, Ford hasn’t passed on the opportunity to completely redesign the Mustang’s cabin, giving it the look of a truly modern product. The material quality is hugely better, and the overall layout is more stylish and easier to figure out. A long strip of metal spans the width of the dash, and it is without a doubt the best-feeling item in the new cabin. Other dash materials include leather, complete with contrast stitching, and soft-touch plastics. The discount plastics of the 2014 car aren’t entirely gone, though, as there are still parts of the door panel and the transmission tunnel finished in the unpleasant stuff.
Ford’s design team talked about drawing inspiration from aircraft cockpits, and we can certainly see what they mean in the Mustang’s cabin. The shapes of controls on the center stack and the layout and style of the auxiliary gauges on the performance model, not to mention the instrument cluster, have a few aviation themes. Meanwhile, the text used has a certain military look to it, and the passenger side of the dash sports a Mustang plaque that wouldn’t look out of place on a rough-and-tumble Jeep Wrangler (that’s not a bad thing).
Passenger volume is up from 81 cubic feet to 84.5, with more leg, shoulder and hip room in front.
The center stack on the car we saw was fitted with the Blue Oval’s optional MyFord Touch system, the infotainment technology’s first appearance in a Mustang. Ford has wisely listened to the public and fitted the new model with a set of secondary analog controls for the HVAC and audio, suggesting customers will really only need to mess with the touchscreen for a few functions. Our subject was also fitted with the performance pack, and featured switches for the stability control settings, steering program and driving mode (think of a mix of the toggles on the Nissan GT-R and Mini Cooper). Also new is Intelligent Access with pushbutton start.
The steering wheel is slightly smaller in diameter overall, and features a wide assortment of buttons controlling everything from the audio system and Bluetooth to the TrackApps and instrument-cluster display. Proving that even the little things have received attention, the leather-wrapped wheel is now completely encased in dead cow, unlike the 2014 model, which saw strips of metal-effect plastic stemming from the wheel’s spokes at the three, six and nine o’clock positions.
The new cabin is also larger than the interior it replaces. Passenger volume is up from 81 cubic feet to 84.5, with more leg, shoulder and hip room in front, and more space across the board for backseat passengers.
The big news for 2015, though, is the Mustang’s three-engine lineup. That’s right, joining the range for the first time will be a 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine. The 3.7-liter V6 will remain as the base engine, while the GT will feature the beloved 5.0-liter Coyote V8. Ford has yet to release performance data (including final power numbers, 0-60 times, or fuel economy estimates) – don’t expect any of that to be announced until sometime next year.
The 2.3 is estimated to put out 305 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 300 pound-feet of torque between 2,500 and 4,500 rpm.
Ford assures us that both the V6 and V8 engines will be more powerful than their counterparts in the 2014 model. But the automaker also provided projections for each, showing figures identical to the current outputs, so it’s a fair guess that horsepower and torque figures for the six and eight won’t jump by much. The 2.3, meanwhile, is estimated to put out 305 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 300 pound-feet of torque between 2,500 and 4,500 rpm (Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2.0T owners, take note). We’d take these numbers with a suitably large grain of salt, as they are subject to change as certification carries on. What we do know for sure is that the EcoBoost Mustang will slot above the V6 model, just like the EcoBoost engine on the Ford F-150.
As for transmissions, Ford has resisted the urge to fit some exotic seven-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic or even a dual-clutch transmission to the sixth-generation Mustang. Instead, the Getrag six-speed manual gearbox from the current car will be carried over, and it will be joined by a six-speed automatic, which for the first time will feature genuine paddle shifters.
The suspension has been heavily revised, and out back, it’s all independent. Finally.
The Mustang’s new interior isn’t the only thing joining the 21st century – the suspension has been heavily revised. Out back, it’s all independent. Finally. Ford didn’t stop there, although it originally intended to. According to engineers, the original plan was to add the IRS while carrying over the current Mustang’s front suspension, but track testing revealed that the addition of an independent rear to the old front suspension didn’t create the sort of handling the team wanted. So Ford tweaked and tweaked, and the result is an all-new setup for the Mustang’s front end – a double-ball-joint independent setup with MacPherson struts in place of the reverse-L setup of the current car.
Ford has put quite a bit of work into the Mustang’s brakes, with the base car getting 12.6-inch front and rear rotors, with two-pistons calipers in front and single-piston units on the back. EcoBoost models will get the same setup if they aren’t fitted with the optional Performance Pack, which uses 13.9-inch front rotors and 13-inch rear rotors with four-piston front and single-piston rear calipers. V8 buyers will get the EcoBoost’s Performance Pack brakes as standard, while the uprated brakes on the GT sport Brembo branding and replace the front brakes with whomping 15-inch rotors and six-piston calipers. The brakes will be hidden by the customer’s choice of several wheel designs, ranging in size from 18 to 20 inches in diameter.
Ford is promising a range of new driving modes for the new Mustang, although representatives declined to go into specific details beyond confirming that there will be both snow/rain and performance modes which will tweak the throttle response, steering weight and stability control settings.
Ford confirmed that the convertible will have a fabric top, and that it will be all electric, rather than hydraulic.
Unlike the current car, which hides its only driver-adjustable feature – steering effort – deep in a menu, the new Mustang’s controls will be easily changeable on the fly, thanks to the center stack’s toggle switches we mentioned above. The other big electronic performance feature will be launch control, which we understand to only be available on the V8 models. Other new safety-minded tech items include available adaptive cruise control and available Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) with cross-traffic alert.
Ford even revealed a bit of information about the new Mustang convertible. We can confirm that it will have a fabric top, and that it will be all electric. The team is also promising quicker and quieter operation than what we’ve seen on the current ‘Stang. [UPDATE: Ford has just revealed the 2015 Mustang Convertible in Australia – check out the reveal on video and in photos here].
While what we’ve learned about the new Mustang is quite comprehensive, there are still a number of important things we’re still waiting to discover. These includes official power figures for all three of the car’s engines, along with performance metrics, official weights (rumors have pegged the new Mustang as slashing some 200 pounds of body fat) and fuel economy figures. Official pricing is high on the list of must-knows, too, but we’re likely months away from that information as the car isn’t expected in dealers until late 2014.
As soon as that information becomes available, though, you know where to find it.
UPDATE: When you’re done getting up to speed with our Deep Dive, check out all of our 2015 Mustang coverage from today’s worldwide launch events, including everything from more details and photos of the convertible to the Mustang’s new engine technology and an interview with Ford design boss J Mays – not to mention a brace of new videos including the car’s first commercial. Check it all out in our wrapup post.