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Sixth Generation Mustang (2015 - Present) Page:3

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He was motivated by friends at SCT Performance to build an S550 Read More

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This 2016 Shelby GT350 is Third Stang in the Family

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Category: car reviews

Reviewing RTR’s 2017 Mustang Spec 2

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Ford Motor Company dropped the curtain on the 2015 Mustang on December 5th, 2013 in six different cities, on four different continents. It was a massive unveiling by any account, and marked the 50th anniversary of the famous pony car as well as the era of the "S550." Though production and sales would not occur until the following year, Ford was quick to get the word out about the new model and its many enhancements.

Whereas many of the previous generations in the modern era could easily be deemed a simple evolutionary design when it comes to the chassis, the 2015 Mustang, or S550 as the new platform was dubbed internally, is a considerable departure in utilizing an independent rear suspension (IRS) on all models. The simplicity and durability of the former solid axle gave way for better ride quality and world-class handling capability. Both the rear and front suspension were clean-sheet designs, an integral-link rear suspension was designed to equal or surpass the previous Boss 302, and the front uses a MacPherson strut arrangement with double-ball joints and twin lower links (rather than A-arms). The S550 retains the same 107-inch wheelbase as its S197 predecessor, and electric-assist power steering.

Prior to its initial launch, Ford announced several other improvements over last year’s offering in the performance department. A throwback to 1986, the S550 marked the return of a fearsome trio of engines – a turbo 4-cylinder, V-6, and a 5.0L V-8. This go-round, though, every engine offered over 300 horsepower, and was designed specifically for the Mustang. The 2.3L Ecoboost, 3.7L V-6, and Coyote 5.0L all received revisions to make them more potent than ever. And each engine was backed by either a 6-speed manual or paddle-shifted automatic transmission with matching improvements in shifting. The brakes are no slouch on the S550 either, as the V-6 Mustang uses a 2-piston caliper and 12-inch rotor combo, while the Ecoboost and GT have 14-inch rotors and 4-piston calipers. There is also a massive 15-inch rotor, 6-piston caliper for track rats available on the GT. Wheel and tire combos start at 17x7.5 with 235/55R17 on the V-6 and Ecoboost, and 18x8 with 235/50R18 on the GT (with larger wheels optional up to 19x9.5).

The 2015 Mustang is a departure from the retro styling that re-launched the brand in 2005, though it uses several design queues from older generations such as the C-pillar, which is reminiscent of a fastback. The defined B-pillar of the S197 has been traded for a seamless design that appears a modern take on the late ‘60s and ‘70s Mustangs. The front and rear fascia are devoid of the hard edges that made the S197 retro, and instead uses a more rounded approach. The wrap-around headlights flow into the flared and muscular fenders, which contribute to the wider body. By pushing the A-pillar back and adding space between the cowl and front wheels, the hood and fenders have been lengthened. The hood, roof, and decklid have all been lowered, which effectively sinks the greenhouse into the body and makes the shoulders much more pronounced. The front grille is a sultry, large open mouth, and the front fascia is now flush with the fenders. The rear end is appropriately capped off with angled tribar taillights, which are showcased by the blacked-out rear panel, and a diffuser below.

As modern as the exterior may feel, Ford intended to surpass those expectations in the interior and electronics. Track Apps, launch control, tire pressure monitoring, and a number of toggles for different driving modes – Normal, Sport, Track, and Snow – that are integrated with the stability control system keep the driver tuned into the performance. Meanwhile push button start, SYNC AppLink, MyKey, MyColor gauges, blind-spot monitoring, cross-traffic alert, remote starting and window-open are just a few of the many high-tech gadgets in which the 2015 is equipped. The style of the interior, though, is not entirely "techy." In fact, it has an aeronautical inspiration that even seems to borrow from the Ford GT with its toggle switches. Seating position is lower than the S197, and there is more hip and shoulder room for rear seat occupants. The trunk is also larger, and there is a wider pass-through from the rear seats.