5 Reasons Why the 2015 Mustang GT is Ford's Greatest Muscle Car
The 2015 Ford Mustang has been on the road for more than a year now and while I am a bit late to the party in terms of a run-of-the-mill review, I wanted to highlight the key features of the new Mustang GT that make it so good in so many ways. Had I written a full, traditional review, I would have gone on and on about how much I liked pretty much every aspect of the next generation Mustang, including the styling. In fact, my only two complaints about my Mustang GT test car are that I do not like the Guard exterior paint and I don’t like the lack of real, useful rear seating space. However, my opinion on a new shade of green is simply my personal preference (I would prefer a lighter green, like Gotta Have It Green) and the Mustang rear seating space shouldn’t count against it, since the rear seat in the Chevrolet Camaro is no more spacious.
That is all of the bad that I have to say about the 2015 Ford Mustang GT, so if you tuned in to hear me complain about the styling or the new independent rear suspension setup – you are out of luck. I loved my time in the new Mustang GT and I fully understand why this new generation Mustang is leading to massive sales numbers. The car is remarkable both as a muscle car and as a sports car, as the 2015 Mustang has the capabilities and characteristics of a proper muscle car while being far more refined for those who want a touch more comfort during their muscle car driving experience.
Today, I bring you the 5 most crucial factors that make the 2015 Ford Mustang GT superior to similar versions over the past half century, and while much of this seems like common sense to those in the know – these are the factors that should be stressed to buyers who are considering a new muscle car, but who don’t have a world of experience in the segment.
#5 - Just Enough Technology – There is a huge push in the modern auto industry to pack as much technology into a car as possible, but there are a few problems with that approach. First, all of those items add cost and that drives up the price and second, many of the modern high tech goodies add weight, which is obviously a problem in a performance car like the 2015 Mustang. However, Ford knows that they have to keep up with the expectations of the industry so the 2015 Mustang has plenty of modern technology to offer, but the Motor Company added those features without pushing the price or the curb weight through the roof.
On the outside, the 2015 Ford Mustang GT is minimally high tech, but the simple addition of the new LED-trimmed HID headlights and the sequential LED taillights gives the new Mustang a super-modern look.
On the inside, the 2015 Ford Mustang GT Premium is very well appointed, with the big, bright touchscreen that controls that sound system, the navigation, the climate system and the hands-free phone system with Ford’s Sync system. Below that touchscreen there is a spread of simple buttons and knobs for the sound system, the climate control, the heated/cooled front seats, push-button start, traction control, drive modes and steering mode – all in one tidy center stack.
Speaking of the drive and steering modes, the 2015 Ford Mustang GT has toggle switches that allows you to switch to stiffer, more responsive steering and stiffer, more responsive throttle input along with disabling the traction control and enabling the launch control system with the push of a button.
Finally, while the big speedometer and tachometer are traditional analog designs with old school styling, the new Mustang includes the ability to change the color of the gauge faces (which I absolutely love) along with the rest of the interior lighting. Between the large main gauges is a small driver information screen that includes a collection of additional gauge options, performance acceleration and braking timers, launch control, line lock, fuel economy numbers, navigation information sound system information and other basic vehicle information.
The 2015 Ford Mustang GT Premium might not blow your mind with modern technology, but the high tech lights on the outside combined with a great driver information center, one of the best infotainment systems on the market and my favorite custom lighting package on sale today – the Mustang GT Premium offers everything that it needs…and a little more.
#4 – Remarkable Handling – One of the biggest discussion points on the 2015 Ford Mustang was the decision to go to a full independent rear suspension (IRS) setup. IRS allows for a smoother ride and improved cornering, but it can sometimes have a negative impact on straight line acceleration. Basically, early IRS systems caused traction problems, which made some of those models harder to get down the drag strip. With drag racing being so popular among Mustang owners, Ford wanted to improve the handling without compromising the ability to tear down the quarter mile drag strip. The result of their efforts is an independent rear suspension setup that allows drag racers to get away from the line, but for those folks who want their muscle car to hammer the turns – this new suspension setup is a dream come true.
The vast majority of my area in Milford, Michigan is covered with straight, flat roads that are currently being resurfaced, so I had a chance to experience the ride quality of the 2015 Mustang GT in some of the worst conditions possible. The suspension allows you to feel the road, but it also does a great job of muting the roughness in the roads. More importantly, this new system affords the Mustang GT awesome handling properties in any normal driving condition. When I headed to an area with tight, quick turns, the 2015 Mustang GT can quickly transition from a mid-right turn to a mid-left turn without a great deal of body shift and when pushing through a hard turn, the body roll is surprisingly minimal.
On longer, sweeping turns, you can power into the turn hard until the back end walks out and many in higher speed cornering situations, the new Mustang will walk the back end out before the nose begins to push outwards. In a situation like a highway on-ramp, I found that you can accelerate hard enough through those long turns to be way, way past any posted speed limit in Michigan by the time that you hit the highway and in tight turns, it won’t corner like a tiny, lightweight sports car – but it will keep pace with any high volume muscle car ever sold by the Big 3 (excluding models like the Camaro Z28, ZL1 or Shelby Mustangs).
#3-Remarkably Refined – I am the proud owner of a 1972 Dodge Demon 340 and I enjoy the “muscle car shortcomings”, such as wind noise when the windows are up, a super stiff ride that translates to awesome short times and a ride designed to transfer weight to rear wheels as quickly as possible. Oddly, if you drive many of the muscle cars from the 1990s, you will find that they have many of the same issues as my ’72 Demon, but the day of the noisy, rough muscle car is gone. Many people don’t do any racing so for them, they care about performance while also wanting levels of ride quality that we have not seen before in a muscle car.
The IRS system in the 2015 Ford Mustang GT Premium does a beautiful job of delivering the ride quality that the average driver expects. Honestly, I could also consider the level of refinement something to criticize, as the 2015 Mustang GT lacks the basic harshness that I expect from a muscle car, but I know very well that there is nothing wrong with a car that sounds like a muscle car and performs like a muscle car while offering a gentler ride in any condition. It is very quiet when blasting down the highway, with very little wind noise of road noise making it into the cabin. Even the exhaust system of the 5.0L V8 is relatively quiet under normal driving situations – only roaring when the Mustang GT is stretching its legs.
When driving this car around town at low speeds, someone who doesn’t know any better might not have any idea that the 2015 Ford Mustang GT is one of the industry’s best sports cars, and that is a true testament to just how great the ride quality is in the newest generation Mustang.
#2 -The Interior Rocks-While I have mentioned the interior throughout the first few portions of this review, I have to focus for a second on the interior of the 2015 Ford Mustang GT Premium. Some critics have complain that is isn’t flashy enough, but I find this cabin to be a perfect fit for the newest Mustang. The dash has a very classic look with all of the high tech gadgets packed into the tidy center stack with a dual hump dash design similar to classic Mustang models. This design allows for lots of leg and knee room for the driver and the front passenger and the leather heated/cooled power seats are very comfortable – with slight bolsters holding your butt in place during stints of hard cornering. They don’t hold you as tight as the optional Recaro seats, but the average buyer will far prefer these Premium leather seats for their high level of comfort.
I love the look of the new Mustang GT’s center stack, especially where they have the toggle switches for the traction control, steering feel and drive modes, along with the push button start in bright red and silver. I love the ability to change the interior lighting color scheme with the buttons on the steering wheel, I love the simplicity of the Track Apps with their performance timers and, most importantly, I love the way the Mustang positions me relative to the road; providing a low, sporty seating position but not low enough that you find yourself climbing in and out.
The 2015 Mustang GT Premium has the kind of cabin that you could spend driving across the country and love every second of the trip.
#1 - Easy to Drive, Fun to Drive – What struck me the most about the 2015 Ford Mustang GT is how easy it was to drive. My test car had the 6-speed manual transmission and I while I have extensive experience driving manual transmission vehicles, I found this clutch and shifter among the easiest to work so if you aren’t 100% comfortable with shifting your own gears, the Mustang GT should make for an easy learning experience. When you add in the launch control system that is always active when in Track Mode (which I absolutely love), the new Mustang GT is always poised and ready to blast off to 0-60 times in the low 5 second range.
Granted, if you are a skilled driver and can get well into the 4 second range, but if you have absolutely no experience launching a manual transmission car, the new Mustang’s launch control system will allow you to pull consistent 5.1 0-60 times simply by side-stepping the clutch with the accelerator floored – provided that you can get through the gears. That brings into account my first point about how easy the clutch is to master and the shifter provides easy lines from gear to gear, making high speed shifting easier than some other models.
I found that I enjoyed the Sport steering mode and the Track driving mode the most, as the steering feel of the Sport mode is really the best, while the Track mode affords the new Mustang GT the sharpest throttle response, while also cutting back of the input of the stability and traction control systems. This drive mode system is ideal for learning the characteristics of the new Mustang, with the helpers pulling you in when things get a little too crazy, but once you have gotten a feel for the abilities of the new Mustang, turning the stability and traction control off in Track mode turns the new Mustang into a real beast that will happily smoke the tires and kick out the back end – while being able to rein it in with authority when you want to get the car back under control. With 435 horsepower and 400lb-ft of torque, the new Mustang GT can get moving in a big hurry, but the stability and traction control systems make the car very drivable for new drivers, with the ability to adjust things when those drivers get a feel for their muscle car.
If you want a new performance car that is comfortable enough for every day driving, packed with all of the tech goodies that have become commonplace in all new vehicles and offering enough performance to keep up with just about anything on the road outside of the supercar segment – the 2015 Mustang GT Premium is one car that you have to go drive before making your next purchase. The next generation is a remarkable combination of muscle car fun and modern civility, making this the most comfortable Mustang ever without compromising one bit of performance feel.