You barely need one hand to count the automotive nameplates that have lasted more than the half-century milestone that America’s original “pony car” is marking this season. Ford fans will have reason to celebrate along with the Detroit maker: an all-new Mustang is being rolled out for the occasion.
As with the original 1964 1/2, you’ll have a choice of either coupe or convertible, and the look is familiar as the new Mustang maintains the distinctively muscular appearance of the original, which was unveiled by then–Ford president Lee Iacocca on April 13, 1964 at the New York World’s Fair. But the 2015 Ford Mustang is far from a retro-mobile. There are new LED running and tail lamps, for one thing, and a very modern interior. Anchored by a large new LCD infotainment display, it is the most lavish and technically sophisticated ever offered on the pony car.
One of the most significant updates is out of sight, but won’t be out of mind once you’re behind the wheel. The 2015 model is the first mainstream Mustang to be equipped with an independent rear suspension, or IRS. That translates into a sportier ride and solid road grip. It also better positions Mustang against competitors like the revived Chevrolet Camaro.
The Mustang Convertible, in particular, gets some much-needed enhancements, notably a new canvas top that adds a fourth bow to improve aerodynamics, eliminate that awkward “hungry horse” look and make it easier to fold away. It also translates into a 19 percent larger trunk—something weekend travelers will quickly come to appreciate. Ford engineers also simplified the task of unlocking the top, switching from two latches to one—though Ford surprisingly still didn’t opt for the latch-less automatic design offered by many other manufacturers.
The 2015 Mustang GT maintains the classic 5.0-liter V-8 churning out a hefty 420 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque. The base-model Mustang won’t be a stone pony, however, with its 3.7-liter V-6 rated at 300 horesepower and 270 pound-feet—numbers that would have been impressive on the GT not that many years back—while topping 30 mpg on the highway. For those demanding even more power, you won’t have to wait long for new coupe and convertible versions of the Boss and Cobra packages. Ford insiders are hinting that we’ll eventually see versions of the seventh-generation Mustang nudge into 600 horsepower territory.
But the big powertrain news for 2015 is the introduction of a new high-performance turbocharged 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine, a nod to the dramatic shift in technology reshaping the performance world. Ford has big aspirations, planning to make the new pony car a truly global model, the EcoBoost engine, new IRS rear and sleeker top expected to enhance its appeal outside of North America. Clearly, after a half-century, Ford intends to prove the new Mustang is more than a one-trick pony car.