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2015 Ford Mustang GT First Test

Ponycar Cure for a Broken Heart

Christian Seabaugh
Sep 17, 2014
Photographers: Courtesy of the Manufacturer, William Walker
It's often said that the cure for a broken heart is to just suck it up and get back out in the game. That's often easier said than done, as most folks would rather drown their sorrows in a pint of ice cream (or beer) after a breakup. I've been fortunate enough to not have to deal with real heartbreak since high school, that is, at least, until last week, when my dear companion of five years left me. I sold my first car, a 2000 Ford Mustang GT, last Monday. I was resigned to living a life full of sorrow, thinking things would never be the same again…until this bright yellow 2015 Ford Mustang GT showed up at our doorstep.
There's nothing like getting over old love with new, better love. And, boy, is the 2015 Mustang GT better than my old New Edge Mustang GT -- and the more recent Mustang GTs that have come since. The key to the new Mustang's greatness is beneath its gorgeous new sheetmetal. First there's the pony's beating heart: a 5.0-liter V-8, which procures 435 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque, thanks to the old Mustang Boss 302's valves, springs, connecting rods, and more. Then there are its legs: its new independent rear suspension, the first on a Mustang since the Terminator Mustang Cobras from the turn of the century.
Now for what you've been waiting for: the new 2015 Mustang GT accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds, and gallops through the quarter mile in 12.8 seconds at 112.2 mph. That's just a tick slower than the last performance-pack-equipped 2013 Mustang GT we tested. The old S197 model ties the 2015 model in a race to 60 mph and completes the quarter mile a tick faster at 12.7 seconds, with a 111.7 mph trap speed. Big six-piston Brembo front brakes help the new Mustang come to a stop from 60 mph in 107 feet, a yard shorter than the outgoing model.
Photo 2/136   |   2015 Ford Mustang GT Front Three Quarters 08
Though the 2015 Mustang may not separate itself from its predecessor much when it comes to straight line performance, thanks to its new suspension and optional performance package, the Mustang tears it up on our handling track. The new Mustang GT rips 'round the figure eight in 24.7 seconds, pulling 0.84 g average in the process. That's not only quicker than the last Mustang GT (25.0 seconds at 0.77 g average), but it's also a better performance than the last Mustang Boss 302 (24.7 seconds at 0.78 g average) we tested. Though it managed a higher average g on the figure eight than the Boss 302 -- which we'd still feel confident calling the best Mustang ever -- the 2015 Mustang didn't feel as nimble or competent as the Boss; it didn't feel like the front and rear ends were talking to each other. Turning in off-throttle resulted in moderate push (understeer from the front end), which needed to be corrected with the throttle. This, in turn, caused a bit of slushy oversteer that, while manageable, slowed the GT down a bit. While that's not bad per se, we were expecting a bit more from the new IRS-equipped Mustang.
So why isn't the new ponycar faster than the old one, or handle as well given its horsepower and torque bump and new suspension? One word: weight. The new Mustang GT weighs in at 3814 pounds, a 196-pound increase over the last similarly equipped Mustang GT we tested. While that extra weight is unnoticeable on the street, it does rear its ugly head during limit handling and performance driving.
Photo 9/136   |   2015 Ford Mustang GT Front Three Quarter In Motion
While the Mustang GT might not have lived up to our high expectations on the track, it more than makes up for it on the street. On the road, the new Mustang GT is perhaps the most livable yet. For starters, it rides worlds better than its immediate predecessor. While the last Mustang was easily upset by pavement imperfections and pitched fore and aft a lot on poor pavement, the new Mustang just eats up the road. And unlike our limit-handling tests showed, the Mustang GT appears to handle pretty well too. Turn-in is sharp, and steering feedback is good especially with the steering in Sport mode. The Mustang's tendency to want to be driven around corners with the throttle only appears while hustling through corners. Speaking of throttle, the Coyote V-8 remains one of our favorite V-8s in the business with gobs of usable power and a willingness to rev. If only Ford would open it up a bit more and let it sing -- I'm willing to bet that an aftermarket exhaust system will be the first modification 2015 Mustang buyers make. The gearbox is pretty wonderful too, though I found myself missing fourth gear somehow on multiple occasions while moving quickly. The Brembo brakes also proved themselves worthy of slowing the Mustang's mass, though their grabby-ness takes some getting used to.
Photo 19/136   |   2015 Ford Mustang GT Engine Cover 02
Pricewise, our 2015 Mustang GT Premium tester's $46,380 sticker represents what would happen if you rolled into your local Ford dealer and ticked every option box. Some of the more notable options include the new-for-2015 Adaptive Cruise Control with Collision Mitigation package, which retails for $1195, and the imaginatively named Rapid Spec Equipment Group 401A, which includes blind spot warning with rear cross-traffic alerts and a premium audio system, for $1795. If it were our money, we'd skip just about every option, instead going for the $1595 Recaro seats, and the GT Performance Package, which is a bargain at $2495 given it includes six-piston Brembo front brakes, different chassis and stability control tuning, a Torsen rear differential with 3.73s, and web spoke wheels. We can live without some of the luxury and tech goodies, but those performance options aren't to be missed.
The new 2015 Ford Mustang GT may not fully live up to the high expectations many had, given its similarities to the old Boss 302, but it represents a marked improvement over the last-generation Mustang GT and shows us the ponycar's bright potential in its 50th year of consecutive production, especially considering a hot new Mustang GT350 is just around the corner. Even more important, the new 2015 Mustang GT proves itself the perfect rebound from a broken heart, and for that I'm forever grateful.

2015 Ford Mustang GT
BASE PRICE $32,925
PRICE AS TESTED $46,380
VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, RWD, 4-pass, 2-door coupe
ENGINE 5.0L/435-hp/400-lb-ft DOHC 32-valve V-8
TRANSMISSION 6-speed manual
CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 3814 lb (54/46%)
WHEELBASE 107.1 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 188.3 x 75.4 x 54.9 in
0-60 MPH 4.4 sec
QUARTER MILE 12.8 sec @ 112.2 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 107 ft
LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.96 g (avg)
MT FIGURE EIGHT 24.7 sec @ 0.84 g (avg)
EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON 15/25/19 mpg
ENERGY CONS., CITY/HWY 225/135 kW-hrs/100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 1.06 lb/mile
Photo 20/136   |   2015 Ford Mustang GT Ford Mustang Ecoboost Front End 02

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