Tom Crosby: All new 2015 Ford Mustang retains iconic heritage
Driving the eye-catching ruby red new 2015 Mustang GT convertible down the interstate creates anxiety for any driver hoping to travel under police radar. The engine growl alone creates a predatory feeling that makes your foot twitch slightly downward on the gas pedal and the response is so smooth you are immediately in speeding ticket territory.
Ford continues to evolve its 5-decade old iconic Mustang, one of the most beloved sports cars ever, with sales nearing 100 million since it was launched with great success in 1964 as a 1965 model.
This year marks the sixth major makeover. Perfection comes with persistence. The evolution of this four-wheeled automotive pony keeps classic touches, like the tri-fold rear tail lights, the chrome logo with the flowing mane Mustang running clockwise, elongated hood, short rear deck and stylish character lines creasing the hood and sides like a fine sculpture. The Mustang is now 1.5 inches wider and 1.4 inches lower, aiding aerodynamics to keep wheels glued to the pavement, the windshield is more sharply raked, rear fenders are flared more outward and the sheet metal character creases are different. Even with changes, it remains one of today’s most recognizable cars.
Three engines in eight models with four, six or eight cylinders all 300 horsepower or more. We test-drove the top-of-line 5.0-liter V-8 premium convertible with 435 horsepower and enough torque with the flawlessly shifting 6-speed automatic with manual steering wheel paddles to easily leave rubber patches – without intent – on the macadam. Handling is intuitively responsive and the ride smooth on 18-inch aluminum wheels using all-new front and rear independent rear suspensions. Our tester added over $6,000 in options, the most impactful being adaptive cruise control, voice-activated navigation, reverse park assistance and upgraded audio.
The ruby-red paint job cost $395. Inside, the cockpit design was airplane inspired, with switches for driving modes (normal, sport, track, mud/snow) and cowled gauges with sharp graphics. Chrome accents mesh with black leather seats and materials. The 5X8 inch dashboard screen includes four home information tidbits – entertainment, climate, navigation and phone – and Ford’s SYNC with MyTouch offers a plethora of information choices and customization, including smartphone apps. Seatback settings are manual and the coupe’s rear seats scrunch adults. Map pockets are best reached with doors open. Automatic top down takes less than 10 seconds and conversation is still audible. It doesn’t take up space in a shallow but ample-sized trunk.
LIKES: Power, handling, ride, looks, quiet DISLIKES: Rear seating, tight map pockets
BOTTOM LINE: Iconic, powerful, looks great, performs great, still a winner
MUSTANG GT CONVERTIBLE PREMIUM 2015
Base price w/destination charge $42,625 ($48,690 as tested)
Vehicle weight 3,705 lbs.
Wheelbase 107.1 inches
Length 188.3 inches
Width 75.4 inches
Engine 5.0-liter, DOHC, super-charged V-8
Horsepower 435-hp at 6,500 rpm
Torque 400 ft.-lbs. at 4,250 rpm
Transmission 6-speed continuously variable w/manual paddles
EPA Rating 16 mpg city/25 mpg hwy
Range 16-gallon tank, premium recommended
Performance 0-60 in just over 4 seconds
Tom Crosby is a former journalist and communications director for AAA Carolinas. He has been reviewing cars since 1996, and has been active in traffic safety issues for more than 30 years.