July 18--Ford is confident the decision to go with an all-new platform for the 2015 Mustang will pay off in the performance enthusiasts want.
At the Ford test track in Dearborn Thursday, engineers provided the numbers buyers want to know: horsepower and torque, as well as details of a new suspension, larger brakes and other features designed to make the 2015 model stand out from past pony cars.
"This is the greatest, best performing Mustang we have ever had," said Raj Nair, head of global product development. "For the sixth-generation Mustang we knew we had to beat every other Mustang we'd done."
For 2015 the car is lower and wider with a choice of three engines.
The entry-level 3.5-liter V6 gets 300 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. A new 2.3-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder EcoBoost engine generates 310 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque. That engine is currently made in Valencia, Spain, but Ford is preparing to also make it in Cleveland.
The 5-liter V8 has been improved to generate 435 horsepower -- up 15 -- and 400 pound-feet of torque, an increase of 10. Those figures are close to the special edition 2012 Boss 302.
When the Mustang team started on the 2015 model five years ago, the industry was in distress and lacked resources. The initial plan was an evolution of the underpinnings of the current Mustang, but it was discarded and replaced by a new platform to accommodate the technologies of the 2015 model.
"We set lofty performance targets knowing it would be a global vehicle," Nair said. This Mustang will be sold around the world for the first time. It goes on sale in the U.S. this fall and is built at the Flat Rock assembly.
"There were a lot of different ways we could have gone with the vehicle," Nair said.
The car is wider but every effort was made to keep it from getting heavier to preserve its power-to-weight ratio which is a key performance measure because a car is quicker and more nimble if each unit of horsepower has fewer pounds of car to propel.
The 2015 model weighs 3,524 pounds, just six pounds more than the lightest 2014 Mustang. The body is 25 pounds lighter, said Tom Barnes, vehicle engineering manager. The hood and front fenders are made of aluminum. Every component was looked at to reduce weight that could offset the larger brakes and independent rear suspension.
Another performance marker: 52% of the car's weight is over the front axle (53% in the case of the Mustang GT), which improves handling.
Nair said the team also kept cost down to retain the Mustang's position as an affordable car. While fuel economy figures are not yet released, it could deliver the Mustang's best mileage to date.
The big move was the decision to switch to an independent rear suspension. Then, to accommodate larger brakes and improve the steering, ride, handling and overall balance, "we realized we needed to take another look at the front end," said Brent Clark, vehicle dynamics supervisor. A new front suspension was engineered.
"We haven't looked back since. It was definitely the right thing to do," Clark said.
Contact Alisa Priddle: 313-222-5394 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @AlisaPriddle
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Original headline: 2015 Mustang performs better than predecessors
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