Life of a jobless car lover
Ford recently announced that the all new 2015 Mustang would be released as a global platform, meaning that you will be able to walk in to a Ford dealership and order a right hand drive Mustang right from the showroom floor. Normally this would mean very little to anyone but fans of the American Muscle car genre. Petrol guzzling V8, live rear axle and the type of handling that was praised on European cars 25-30 years ago seem to keep that fan fare to a minimum.
What’s interesting about the 2015 model, apart from being RHD, is that Ford believe that this is a car worthy of competing in a market they have left vacant since the Capri bowed out in the late 80’s. What makes now the time or this the car?
Lets start with the most obvious feature, the engine options. All throughout it’s 50 years of existence Ford have offered a range of V8’s depending on the trim level you so desire. It has also always had a 6 cylinder option available at a very affordable price. What most people don’t realize, even those in the US, is that the 6 has been outselling the bent 8 for quite some time, fueling an ever growing need to keep the 6’s numbers up (MPG and Power) at a respectable level to ensure the Mustang name doesn’t slip away from the “Pony Car” persona that it has spent so many years building. In the US the formula will continue along this well marketed track of a few 5.0L V8s and a surprisingly quick 3.7L V6 coming in at just over 300bhp. It’s the third option that has everyone cocking their eyebrow in Fords direction with the introduction of the 2.3L turbocharged EcoBoost 4 pot, the very same engine found in the Focus. Initial reports have the output at a peppy 305bhp but as the release date draws nearer and the rumor mill keeps hinting at a new Focus RS which would be taking the same engine to a “yes please!” 350bhp, I would say that anywhere between there is feasible.
This isn’t the first time Ford have put a Turbo 4 into the Mustang. The “Fox Body” Mustang of the 80’s (below) ran a 267bhp engine in the range topping Turbo GT for 2 years (83-84) but with news of Ford looking to make the Mustang FWD with no V8 option the purists could take no more, writing to Ford in enough numbers to ensure the next design stayed true to its roots.
With Europe and the UK not getting the V6, leaving only the V8 and the EcoBoost 4, the latter coming in at around the £30,000 mark. This puts it directly in the sights of the new BMW4 Series, Mercedes C-class and the Audi A5. Or is it?
To get one of these at around £30K you are opting for the “Poverty Pack”. Sure you get a 2.0L petrol or diesel but its going to have less than 200bhp. If you want to match the Mustang down the on ramp to the Motorway you are going to have to part with no less than £40K, with only the BMW 435i offering the option of a clutch and DIY gear selection.
The most interesting aspect of the 2015 model is the long overdue change to Independent Rear Suspension (IRS), finally retiring the old Live Rear Axle. The home soil battle with long time foe “Chevy Camaro” and their track focused models (z/28 and the 302 Boss) getting hotter and hotter over the past few years and America’s shift to lap times instead of just ¼mile times as a measuring stick mean the handling capabilities of this new model are going to be a focus point for a lot in the industry. Now I’m not going to be as brash to say that this new Mustang will be able to outshine Germany’s finest, BUT, I do think it will close the gap more than most will be willing to admit.
When you put Ford’s “Evo Ethos” design language together with a “start from scratch” model of thinking that incorporates a global platform, I would say that they might be off to a good start. Perhaps bolting on a set of “BMW-esque” quad headlights and sending out whispers of a Capri return would have been better way to reach the masses.