Ford Mustang (Mk6)


Debut: 2014
Maker: Ford
Predecessor: Mustang Mk5 (2005)



 Published on 3 Oct 2014
All rights reserved. 


It is hard to imagine the "One Ford" policy finally expands to Mustang. For 50 years, Mustang has been the symbol of "pony cars", a breed that lives only in the America. It offers more performance per dollar than the coupes and convertibles found elsewhere, but it is also accompanied with an outdated styling, low-rent interior, poor refinement and, well, a live-axle rear suspension. In other words, it is a living dinosaur. Ford could have kept it just the way it is, but its visionary former CEO, Alan Mulally, saw the sales trend was declining, especially in recent years when more and more young drivers shift from traditional coupes to small SUVs or crossovers. How to stop the declining trend? Globalization could be the answer. If Ford could make the 6th generation Mustang appealing to the new generation of American motorists and simultaneously satisfy the needs of the rest of the world, its volume could be significantly boosted. By the way, this could also answer the long-standing complaint that Ford lacks a sporty coupe in the international market since the demise of Capri.



So here comes the first global Mustang. It will be available to Europe as well as Asia for the first time ever. At the first glance, it looks far more modern than the old dinosaur, yet it has lost few of its traditional genes. There is still a clear visual link to the Mk5 Mustang and, surprisingly, even more so to the original, 1964 model. This is evident from the shape and size of its front grille, its 3-vertical-bar taillights and flat taillight panel, the horizontal waist line as well as the recessed door skins. Nevertheless, it is by no means a retro design. On the contrary, its proportion is thoroughly modernized, with a sleeker front end, broader shoulders and fastback roofline – though it keeps using a trunk lid instead of liftback. The sleek proportion and the rear diffusers add a sophistication you can't imagine on a pony car. While it is not exactly a wind-cheating design, it no longer feels working against the laws of physics. I think the new style will be welcomed by European motorists.

Size-wise, the new Mustang keeps the overall length and 2720 mm wheelbase of the old car, but its modernized proportion means it is 38 mm wider and 35 mm lower. Kerb weight has been increased by 30-60 kg because of the added sophistication, most notably the changeover to independent multi-link rear suspensions (finally!). The Mustang has to keep its low pricing strategy, so it could not afford weight saving measures beyond the aluminum bonnet and front fenders. This means its chassis construction is conventional. The front suspensions are implemented by MacPherson struts. Steering is assisted by electric motor as in any modern cars, and you can alter steering effort (accompanied with throttle response and ESP intervention) across 4 modes. For more demanding drivers, there is a Performance package which provides Torsen LSD, bigger brakes, stiffer suspension setting and sportier wheels/tires etc. Just don't expect adaptive dampers, active differential or 4-wheel-drive option. The Mustang does not pretend to be an Audi.



There are 3 engines on offer. At the bottom of the range is a 3.7-liter 24-valve V6 carried over from the old car, though it is deliberately re-rated from 305 to 300 hp to avoid embarrassing the mid-range 2.3 Ecoboost. The 2.3-liter Ecoboost is a long-stroke (94mm stroke x 87.5mm bore) four-cylinder turbo. It reminds us the Mustang SVO sold in the mid-1980s, whch was also a 4-cylinder turbo. However, the new engine is much more advanced, featuring direct fuel injection, twin-continuous VVT and a quick-acting twin-scroll turbocharger – the latter is a first on Ford's Ecoboost engines (though commonly used by BMW). It produces a remarkable 310 hp and 320 lbft of torque, 40 lbft more than the V6 and is available 1000 rpm earlier. This allows it to employ taller gearing. It might not be as smooth as the V6, but its lower fuel consumption is very important to the sales in Europe, where every gram of CO2 counts. Both the 3.7 V6 and 2.3 Ecoboost can be mated with 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic gearbox.

At the top of the range is Mustang GT, powered by the familiar 5.0-liter 32-valves Coyote V8, now tuned to 435 hp and 400 lbft of torque. Mating with it is an improved Tremec 6-speed manual. Because of the slightly increased weight, the new Mustang does not enjoy any advantages in performance against its predecessor, unless at higher speeds where its superior aerodynamics starts taking effect. The V8 is capable to sprint from rest to 60 mph in mid to high 4-seconds range (depending on surface grip and whether you allow a 1-foot rollout exemption), while the 2.3 Ecoboost is good for low-5-seconds. They are still pretty fast, but with new pocket rockets like BMW 228i and M235i, we are no longer so sure if the American pony car can return the highest performance for the buck.



One thing the new car does quite well is the interior. The dashboard design is conventional but also unmistakably Mustang, with plenty of flashy plastics, bezels and silver toggle switches to remind you this is an American performance car. If you are used to the Mustangs of the old, you will be amazed that the materials and assembly quality on the new car have been vastly upgraded to European level – well, not quite the level of BMW or Audi but it would be decent to compare with cars from European mainstream brands. Yes, you can find cheaper hard plastics at lower level, and the switches might feel flimsy and not well damped, but this is easily forgivable if you look at the price tag – in the USA, the Mustang starts from only $25,000 for the Ecoboost or $32,000 for the V8, plus $4,000 for the aforementioned Performance package; In the UK, it costs £28,500 and £33,000 respectively with Performance pack included. The front seats offer plenty of space for tall drivers. Not so great is the rear bench, which is suitable to kids only. Considering the car’s size and long wheelbase this is quite disappointing. Look at the slopping C-pillar and you will understand why. You can't have a sporty appearance and roomy rear seats simultaneously. If you put the latter on higher priority, turn to BMW 2-Series.

So how does the new Mustang feel to drive on the road? It is a mixed experience. In terms of ride and handling, it is definitely a big improvement from the old, solid-axle-suspended Mk5. The new body shell feels a lot more solid. The multi-link rear suspensions now keep the rear wheels perpendicular to the ground regardless of bumps, so you no longer worry about mid-corner bumps deflecting the car from the path. As a result, grip and traction are enhanced, and the handling becomes more predictable. Composure is also improved by the independent suspensions. There is less pitch and dive. In terms of ride, the car fitted with Performance pack suffers from a poor low-speed ride, though on highway it improves considerably. However, the Mustang still fails to be described as agile or responsive. It feels overweight and runs into understeer earlier than expected. In fact, the old Boss 302 felt livelier to drive, something we didn’t expect. The electrical power steering is accurate enough, but it is quite slow and numb, no match with the more sophisticated EPS device found on BMW. Switch to Sport mode adds weight but not feel.


The long-stroke 2.3 Ecoboost engine is the most disappointing. While its output looks good on paper, it actually concentrates strongly at the mid-range, i.e. from 3000 to 5000 rpm. At low rpm, its throttle response and turbo lag are poor by today’s standards. Above 5500 rpm, its output tails off dramatically and signals the end of fun time, so you tend to upshift early and let the mid-range torque plays. It lacks the flexibility and sweet-revving manner of many modern turbocharged fours, including the smaller one fitted to Focus ST. Moreover, the boomy, swooshy sound it makes is quite disgusting. Ford has tried to mask that noise with an artificial exhaust note playing through speakers, but the effect is limited.

The 5-liter V8 is much better. It revs much more smoothly and eagerly. Power is delivered linearly across its 6500 rpm bandwidth. Throttle response is instant. Although the exhaust note is curiously quiet, its quality remains. Because of the linear delivery, the punch it offers doesn’t feel as strong as the numbers suggested – certainly not in the league of the Corvette’s small block or Chrysler’s 492 Hemi, but it is a rewarding companion to work with. The Tremec 6-speed manual is more polished than before, though its gearshift is still a bit notchy.

Overall speaking, the Mk6 Mustang is a mixed bag. While its modern style raises our expectation a lot, it handling and performance cannot keep up. The IRS is a welcomed change but its benefit has not been properly optimized. The V8 is still a recommendable choice, because there is still nothing else offering a V8 at such an affordable price and with such a modern package (certainly not Chevy Camaro or Dodge Challenger). The new 2.3 Ecoboost is a lot worse and best to be avoided. Unfortunately, it is supposed to be the sales leader of the bunch. The ingredients are certainly good, but Ford seems to lack a skillful chef to turn them into a delicious main course. What a pity.
Verdict:
  2.3 Ecoboost and 3.7 V6
  5.0 GT
 Published on 5 Nov 2015 All rights reserved. 
Shelby GT350 / GT350R


Carroll Shelby passed away, but the GT350 name lives on.

You might remember the original Shelby GT-350 which debuted 50 years ago. It was the first and until now the only Mustang that drives like a sports car. Its racing version, GT-350R, was equally successful on race tracks. That’s a sharp contrast to its pony car basis. In other words, it was the most “un-stang” Mustang.

Fast forward to 2015, the legendary model finally gets a worthy successor. Like the original, the new Mustang GT350 – now losing hyphen but is still associated with the Shelby moniker – doesn’t seek more power from a big block V8 or supercharging but a higher revving V8. Its redline is an amazing 8250 rpm, compared to 7000 rpm on the regular Mustang V8 GT. Making this possible is a lightweight flat-plane crankshaft – yes, the same trick as Ferrari V8s (read more info from AutoZine Technical School). The new engine is derived from the standard 5.0 V8 but is bored out to 5.2 liters. There’s still no direct injection or variable intake system, but the compression ratio is high enough at 12.0:1. In addition to the high revving nature the V8 manages to break the barrier of 100 hp per liter. It releases 526 horsepower at 7500 rpm, while maximum torque is 429 lbft at 4750 rpm.



This power-biased characteristic is unusual for a Detroit V8. While it is not short of torque – actually more than a Ferrari 458, the twisting force increases linearly from 2500 rpm to the peak 4750 rpm and then keeps almost flat until 7500 rpm, unlike the bottom-concentrated torque curves of GM or Chrysler’s V8s. This might not suit standing-start heros, but keen drivers should be delighted as the linear delivery means the performance is easier to access in the real world. Drive it on a track and you will be glad that the 8250 rpm redline allows you to skip upshift in many occasions. The wide power band gives you more freedom.

Thanks to the lightweight crankshaft, the V8 has very sharp throttle response. Its rev rises and drops quickly. It also sounds very different from the usual Detroit V8s. The exhaust note is far rawer, busier and louder. It’s not the same as Ferrari V8s though, as the crankshaft arrangement is different (0-180-0-180 degree on one bank, versus Ferrari’s 0-180-180-0 degree), the intake system is different (a single plenum instead of two) and exhaust system is also different. The noise is the most distinctive feature of the GT350.



The fast-spinning V8 is hooked up to a Tremec 6-speed manual and Torsen LSD. Gearshift is a little lighter than the Getrag box on standard Mustang. The clutch is even lighter, probably light to the extent of unnatural for a performance car. Slicing through the close ratios, you can guide the GT350 from rest to 60 mph in about 4 seconds, while top speed is estimated to be 180 mph. Not exactly supercar level, but good enough to rival a BMW M4 or Cayman GT4.

But the engine is not the only different part, of course. GT350 can be a GT350 because it is built to excel in corners and on race tracks. Therefore the chassis and aero are all modified. The reshaped front end with deeper air dam, underbody trays and rear diffusers enable the car to claim positive downforce. The new aluminum bonnet has extra openings to help removing hot air while relieving aero lift. The front fenders are aluminum as well, and they are flared out to house the wider front track. Ford said the carbon-fiber grille surround helps reinforcing the front structure. Under the skin, new front suspension aluminum uprights are employed to accommodate wider wheels and enable lowered suspensions. The loss of suspension travel can be compensated with the addition of magnetorheological adaptive dampers – the first time on a Ford. Stiffer springs and suspension bushings are used. The brakes are not ceramic but look at this spec.: Brembo 6-pot and 4-pot monobloc calipers, 394 mm and 380 mm floating iron discs with aluminum hats. The tyres are fat Michelin PSS.



On the road, the GT350 is much more agile than the standard Mustang GT, although it is actually heavier on scale. The brakes are sensational, the tires offer bags of grip and body control is tidy. The retuned electrical power steering provides pretty natural feel for its kind. The nose of the car is mostly obedient. There’s a touch of understeer when pushed, just as its 54:46 weight distribution suggested, but the linear engine power allows you to adjust its attitude to neutral and mild oversteer, all under your control. Its handling is more analogue than the turbocharged M4 thus is more fun to drive. A Cayman GT4 is sharper, more agile and more precise in controls, but it is a thoroughbred sports car. Neither rivals could match the GT350 for sound though. In terms of drivability, the magnetic dampers give the Mustang a compliant ride in Normal and Sport mode, whereas Track mode is best reserved for tracks.

If you regularly join track days, then the track version GT350R should be opted. This car adds a bigger front splitter, rear spoiler, stiffer suspension setup, fatter and grippier Michelin PS Cup 2 tires and lightweight carbon-fiber wheels (it’s the first mass production application), losing rear seats and 60 kg in the process. Starting at US$50K and $64K respectively, the GT350 and GT350R are cheaper than European cars with comparable power and performance. That’s always the case of Detroit iron, but this one feels more European than many European cars, in particular the 8250 rpm V8.
Verdict:
 Published on 21 Nov 2017
All rights reserved. 
Mustang facelift 2017


Revised Mustang edges further away from its roots of pony cars.


Ford sold 150,000 Mustangs last year, 45,000 of which were sold outside its home country. The globalization has been proved a wise decision as it successfully defended its market share against SUVs. For comparison, Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger sold just 75,000 units and 67,000 units, respectively. The gap between Mustang and its rivals is likely to widen further following the 2017 facelift.

You can easily distinguish the facelifted Mustang from the outgoing car. Its nose is made slightly sleeker, more like the GT350, thanks to a curvier bonnet and a lower mounted front grille. The headlamps are now full-LED, while the front bumper is heavily revised. At the back, the main difference lies on the V8 GT, which has switched from dual to quad-exhaust pipes. Overall, this remains to be a good-looking big coupe. It has strong presence, no matter move or stationary.

As for mechanical changes, the new car has dropped the long-serving 3.7-liter V6 but improved both the 2.3-liter Ecoboost and 5.0-liter Coyote V8. The four-cylinder sees no changes in hardware, but its rewritten ECU adds 30 lbft of overboost for up to 20 seconds, a trick benefited from the experience of Focus RS. The V8 gets more comprehensive modifications. Firstly, it replaces cast iron liners with plasma transferred wire arc spray coating like the GT350. This not only reduces friction but also enlarges its bore slightly from 92.2 to 93mm, resulting in a capacity increase to 5038 c.c. Secondly, its port fuel injection has been upgraded to dual-mode (direct + port) injection. Accompanied with more knock sensors adopted, this enables its compression ratio to be raised from 11.0:1 to 12.0:1. Besides, the engine also gets slightly larger valves, new intake manifold and a lighter plastic oil pan. As a result, its redline is extended by 500 rpm to 7500 rpm, horsepower is lifted by 25 to 460hp at an exotic-sounding 7000 rpm, while max. torque is improved by 20 lbft to 420 lbft. The V8 also gets an optional variable exhaust whose Sport mode opens a valve to enhance exhaust note.



The Coyote V8 is quite high-tech now, and it sounds angry.


On the road, the V8 certainly sounds angrier in any modes other than “Quiet”, a new mode designed to avoid waking up your neighbours in the morning. Approaching to its redline, it sounds even closer to a NASCAR V8! This makes the 2.3 Ecoboost sounds dull and its mid-range-concentrated power delivery uninspiring. If you buy the Mustang, it has to be a V8!

The Tremec 6-speed manual gearbox has received closer ratios and new synchronizers, coupling to a dual-mass flywheel and twin-plate clutch. The result is smoother and crisper gearshifts and an easily modulated clutch. Meanwhile, the 6-speed automatic has been replaced with the new 10-speed automatic co-developed with GM (another version already used in Camaro ZL1). Though not as involving as the manual, it works brilliantly in its own right, delivering smooth and quick shifts. Moreover, it adds a Launch mode that will take the car from 0-60 mph under 4 seconds, claimed Ford.

Predictably, the suspension has been retuned with new dampers, anti-roll bars and bushings, but the most effective change has to be the optional magnetorheological adaptive dampers, taken from the GT350. As the Mustang is a big and nose-heavy coupe, it needs the adaptive damping to tighten its body motion in corner, and smooth out its ride in other occasions. It is a must-have option. Steering feel remains a bit numb, but the revised suspension gives the car sharper turn-in, edging closer to the territory of GT350.

Not much change is found inside. There are some subtle revisions to trims, seat materials and padding to address the criticisms about its interior quality. A new feature is the optional digital instrument, which is a 12-inch TFT screen whose graphic is switchable, including a track mode with lap timer. However, adding all the options and performance package to the V8 could push its price beyond $50,000, not what you would call pony car pricing. Then again, the Mustang feels less pony car than ever.
Verdict:
  2.3 Ecoboost
  5.0 GT
Specifications





Year
Layout
Chassis
Body
Length / width / height
Wheelbase
Engine
Capacity
Valve gears
Induction
Other engine features
Max power
Max torque
Transmission
Suspension layout

Suspension features
Tires

Kerb weight
Top speed
0-60 mph (sec)
0-100 mph (sec)
Mustang 3.7 V6
2014
Front-engined, RWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4783 / 1915 / 1382 mm
2720 mm
V6, 60-degree
3726 cc
DOHC 24 valves, DVVT
-
-
300 hp / 6500 rpm
280 lbft / 4000 rpm
6-spd manual (6-spd auto)
F: strut
R: multi-link
-
235/55R17

1599 kg (1601 kg)
149 mph (limited)
5.5 (est) (5.5*)
(13.4*)
Mustang 2.3 Ecoboost
2014
Front-engined, RWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4783 / 1915 / 1382 mm
2720 mm
Inline-4
2261 cc
DOHC 16 valves, DVVT
Turbo
DI
310 hp / 5500 rpm
320 lbft / 3000 rpm
6-spd manual (6-spd auto)
F: strut
R: multi-link
-
255/40ZR19

1602 kg (1598 kg)
149 mph (limited)
5.5* / (5.2*)
13.3* / (14.4*)
Mustang 5.0 GT
2014
Front-engined, RWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4783 / 1915 / 1382 mm
2720 mm
V8, 90-degree
4951 cc
DOHC 32 valves, DVVT
-
-
435 hp / 6500 rpm
400 lbft / 4250 rpm
6-spd manual
F: strut
R: multi-link
-
F: 255/40ZR19
R: 275/40ZR19
1680 kg
155 mph (limited)
4.5* / 4.6**
10.4* / 10.8**




Performance tested by: *C&D, **R&T





Year
Layout
Chassis
Body
Length / width / height
Wheelbase
Engine
Capacity
Valve gears
Induction
Other engine features
Max power
Max torque
Transmission
Suspension layout

Suspension features
Tires

Kerb weight
Top speed
0-60 mph (sec)
0-100 mph (sec)
Mustang GT350 (GT350R)
2015
Front-engined, RWD
Steel monocoque
Steel, aluminum
4798 (4818) / 1928 / 1377 (1361) mm
2720 mm
V8, 90-degree
5163 cc
DOHC 32 valves, DVVT
-
-
526 hp / 7500 rpm
429 lbft / 4750 rpm
6-speed manual
F: strut
R: multi-link
Adaptive damping
F: 295/35ZR19 (305/30ZR19)
R: 305/35ZR19 (315/30ZR19)
1720 kg (1658 kg)
est 180 mph (est 174 mph)
4.3* / 4.3* (3.9* / 4.0** / 3.9***)
9.1* / 8.9* (8.6* / 8.9** / 8.5***)
Mustang 2.3 Ecoboost
2017
Front-engined, RWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4788 / 1915 / 1379 mm
2720 mm
Inline-4
2261 cc
DOHC 16 valves, DVVT
Turbo
DI
310 hp / 5500 rpm
350 lbft / 3000 rpm overboost
6-speed manual (10-speed auto)
F: strut
R: multi-link
-
255/40ZR19

1606 kg (1603 kg)
149 mph (limited)
est 5.2 (est 5.0)
-
Mustang 5.0 GT
2017
Front-engined, RWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4788 / 1915 / 1379 mm
2720 mm
V8, 90-degree
5038 cc
DOHC 32 valves, DVVT
-
DI
460 hp / 7000 rpm
420 lbft / 4600 rpm
6-speed manual (10-speed auto)
F: strut
R: multi-link
Adaptive damping
F: 255/40ZR19
R: 275/40ZR19
1680 kg (1693 kg)
155 mph (limited)
est 4.3 (est 4.0)
-




Performance tested by: *C&D, **R&T, ***MT





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GT350 / GT350R



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