Tuesday, April 1, 2014

2015 Mustang: 11 Things You Didn’t Know, And Two Things Ford Won’t Tell Us

2015 Black Ford Mustang

2015 Black Ford MustangThere’s a lot of “New” worth digesting when it comes to the 2015 Mustang–from the rear axle to the 2.3L EcoBoost, all the way down to a fundamentally different chassis (S550). We’ll walk you through some of the commonly known differences from the 2014 Mustang to 2015, as well as some of the cool features and performance aspects you might not have known about.

There are a few takeaways from key interview with Ford’s chief engineer in charge of building the 2015 Mustang, Dave Pericak. To start with, it’s well known that the newest Mustang was built in a way that’s meant to not only pay homage to the past classics, but also to mark a new chapter in the car’s development as a global vehicle. The 2015 Mustang is powerful, modernly styled and yet, still distinctively a Mustang. It’s everything Ford wanted from their flagship ponycar. The last question that begs an answer is whether or not the S550 is what you, the the car’s existing fan base, desires. There’s little doubt this car will be successful and sell units, but in gaining a new demographic of buyer, will they invaluably alienate those who have stood loyal to the Mustang for so many years?

Here are some of the more noteworthy comments from Ford and other sources over the past year–10 things you might not have known about the New Mustang.

The 2015 Mustang’s IRS & Performance Goals

2015 Mustang GT Convertible 1

1. Benchmarking against the Porsche 911 & BMW M3:Ford wasn’t very shy about what cars they were measuring the 2015 Mustang against. The known list may be short, but it was certainly an impressive one–the likes of the Porsche 911 and BMW M3 set a specific and aspirational goal, one that Ford intended to exceed. Without being said, it’s fairly obvious that the 2015 Mustang would be measured against the Camaro, but to take on the heavy hitters from Germany required an entire shift in thought and approach. And that’s exactly what Ford has said they’ve done in developing the 6th generation of America’s greatest ponycar.

This new focus around building only “aspirational vehicles” calls for a level of engineering that puts the Mustang at or above that of the toughest competition and, for the time being, Ford is claiming success in this category. According to Ford Chief Engineer Dave Pericak:

Again, not trying to be the 911, but reaching beyond. And we used the BMW M3 (E9X) we beat it with our Boss 302 on the track.

2. The 2015 GT can beat the 2013 BOSS 302: What’s impressive is that the 2015 Mustang GT is said–according to the same interview with Dave Pericak–to have the speed and quickness to beat the 2012-2013 Boss 302 around the track.

3. The 2015 GT uses parts from the BOSS 302: In fact, the new GT has many of the same parts internally as the Boss 302, a on a lighter, shorter and wider platform. Even if the GT receives only a mild bump in horsepower when compared to the S197 Coyotes, there will undoubtedly be a significant performance upgrade over the 2014s, you’ll just have to look past simple power ratings to see it.
2015 Ford Mustang IRS Suspension4 & 5. Independent Rear Suspension and a new front suspension: With that aside, back to talking about the IRS. Early in the car’s development, it became clear to the Ford engineers that the front suspension they’d borrowed from the 2014 Mustang GT was not going to be able to keep up with the abilities of the new IRS. This called for a redesign of the front suspension geometry that resulted in a double ball joint and full subframe construction in the front of the car. This, according to Ford, has resulted in a more precise, accurate feel and improved all-around handling.
6. No solid rear axle (SRA) as an option: One thing not addressed is how this new IRS will fair on the drag strip. It’s been announced that the production 2015 Mustangs will not come with a solid rear axle, not even as an option on anything less than the Cobra Jet.

That’s Right, No More Solid Rear Axle

The IRS has officially replaced the solid rear axle that has been a mainstay for the Mustang since its inception. Despite a temporary experiment with IRS in the 1999-2004 Cobras, a solid rear axle can be found under virtually every production Mustang pre 2015. Those days are over. IRS has replaced the SRA and Ford will not be looking back. They’ve also gone on to say that it would take a “significant tear-up” to try and even get an SRA under the 2015, requiring re-piping of the exhaust and likely cutting of the floor. No worries says Dave Pericak, the 2015 Mustang’s IRS will be battle tested and able to stand up to the demands of the drag strip after all:

we know our customers love to go out and drag race in the weekend and we’ll make sure it’s all durable.
2015 Mustang Cobrajet Rendering7. The 2015 Cobra Jet “could” have an SRA: This still leaves one to wonder about the 2015 Cobra Jet. As a dedicated race car that already has a 9″ rear, it’s highly unlikely Ford will mess with such a proven straight track performer as the Cobra Jet. We’ve also heard rumors of an upcoming “body in white” Mustang from Ford Racing that would be outfitted with a 9″ rear and quite possibly be leading to a SRA conversion kit for other S550s, but we’ll have to wait and see if Ford takes it that far. At the least, they’ll probably throw a 9″ in the 2015 cobra jet.

(4) Improved Driving Modes – Snow/Wet, Normal, Sport and Track

8. New driving modes: The new GTs are getting two more driving modes than previously available, thanks again in part to the Porsche 911. After spending a good bit of time testing the 911, the conclusion was that investing in fine-tuning different driving modes for vastly different circumstances was an important aspect in building a top of the line ponycar. The result was four driving modes–snow/wet, normal, sport and track–that provide peak performance for the given scenarios.

The 2015 Mustang is Still Going to Lose Weight

 9. S550 will be lighter than the S197: It has been said that the GT may receive a 200lb weight reduction, though Ford has been very tight lipped with anything regarding weight specs. An earlier “leak” had some model losing as much as 400lbs off what a comparable S197 would scale in at. If that’s the case, expect those trimmings to be saved for the top-of-the-line Shelby model.

3 Engine Options

10. The EcoBoost 4 cylinder is faster than the V6: Apparently, the V6 was re-tuned to lose 5HP over 2014 models. Again, not confirmed, but it would make sense. The 4 cylinder is supposed to be the premium model–as revealed by a leaked Ford survey–and in order to appeal to those other than gas conscious buyers, also had to has to have a desirable amount of power.

2015 Mustang 4 Cylinder 2.3L Engine Photo 3

11. The V6 will not be sold outside of the US: And this might be bad news for the future of the V6. Ford may only keep the V6 around until they are ready to offer the EcoBoost V6 in its place, or until sales numbers no longer justify building one. Even if Ford keeps the V6 around for the foreseeable future, it will only be sold here in the states, per Dave Pericak:

the V6 will stay in the US, except for some minor export markets. Generically, when we export to Europe and the other countries, it will be the 2.3-liter EcoBoost and the 5-liter V8  ”

The Two Things Ford Won’t Tell Us:

1. Final Weight: While we’ve heard “strong” rumors to the effect of the GT losing ~200lbs and the Shelby possibly losing 400lbs, but these are, at the moment, unconfirmed by Ford. With the Blue Oval engineers still dialing in the final weight specs and the Brass not yet ready to give the public an exact number, we can only hold our breath and hope we’ll see some kind of a significant weight reduction, as many enthusiasts have been calling for.

2. Exact Horsepower Numbers: As of right now, the unconfirmed numbers have the EcoBoost 4 cylinder at 305HP, the V6 dialed down to 300HP and the GT somewhere in the range of 435HP from the factory. Like the weight specs, these numbers have not been confirmed by Ford, but have surfaced in a number of rumors and mentions lately. Like the car’s weight, they’re still getting these numbers finalized before making news.

Photo Credit: JC Design

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