2015 Ford Mustang Convertible First Look
Nicer, Faster Top, and as Few as 7 Seconds to Lower It
Ford will be dribbling out Mustang details over the next few weeks leading up to the car’s AARP-eligibility birthday party in April in New York, and this week we learned a lot more about the 2015 Ford Mustang convertible and a bit more about both models’ aerodynamics.
We already knew the top would be made of cloth, and now we know that cloth will be offered in Henry Ford’s Model T color palette: black only. The 2015 Mustang convertible's three-layer top has a smoother appearance when up, thanks in large part to the addition of a fourth bow and a 10mm “mattress pad” of foam between the bows and the outer layer. All models get a standard headliner that covers the entire mechanism. There’s one less seam to sew on the side rail area for a cleaner look, and the forward section is still made of rigid sheetmetal to form a “parade boot” tonneau appearance without the need for a separate boot. Two easily installed side panels cover the mechanism.
Speaking of the mechanism, this new one, developed in conjunction with supplier Webasto, is now purely electric. This makes it both quieter, slimmer, and simpler than the electro-hydraulic unit used until now. Naturally that top raises and lowers in almost half the time -- 7-10 seconds going down, 9-12 seconds going up. (The range reflects engine-on or battery-only operation.) Sadly, it only works at speeds below 3 mph. The switch for the top is still centered on the windshield header, but the two swiveling header latches are replaced by a single twist latch mechanism like the Camaro uses. A power pull-down mechanism was considered for complete one-button operation, but was deemed too costly. The 2015 Mustang convertible's new setup results in a much cleaner-looking header without the two unsightly latches. We are also assured that the seals against water and wind have been improved, in part by the adoption of the new folding top mechanism. No accessory wind-blocking device has been designed (yet).
Despite the extra bow, the “Z-fold” top now stacks in a much more compact space, so while the trunk lid is slightly lower than before (the floor is also a bit lower, thanks to the independent suspension), the luggage space is increased by 19 percent, from 9.6 to 11.4 cubic feet. The trunk opening is also wider and lower to lift over. The height of the folded top stands lower by 6.7 inches relative to the highest point on the 2014 top. This is great news for parade queens everywhere, who no longer will have to straddle a big gap nor squish between two high-projecting headrests. We are also assured that the mechanism is structurally supportive of reasonable parade queen mass. Riding to the parade with the top up, the royalty will find slightly less room for their updos than was available beneath the less sleek 2014 top, though we’re told the more compact top mechanism affords more room for shoulders and hips. No figures were provided.
Naturally, as with any new car, further advancements in structural engineering and greater use of high-strength steel create a 13 percent increase in torsional rigidity and a claimed reduction in windshield header shake on rough roads. The 2015 Mustang convertible's increased rigidity, along with the new independent rear suspension, is said to greatly improve ride and handling. Just be careful, as there are no fixed or automatically deploying rear roll-over bars, so you’ll want to be sure and keep the shiny side up.
The convertible has been accounting for 18 percent of Mustang sales to date, and it is the only convertible sold anywhere in the world by the Ford Motor Company, so that percentage may rise now that the Mustang is going global. For that reason, the company has invested a lot in this new convertible, and we can’t wait to see how it stacks up against arch-rival Camaro.