Steve Turner
Former Editor, 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
May 1, 2009
Photos By: E. John Thawley III, Courtesy of Ford Motor Company
At night the '10 Mustang's new LED sequential taillights provide an instantly identifiable visage for your opponents to get used to seeing. Even this angle has grown on me, and it will be interesting to see what the aftermarket has in store for the back of these cars. In fact, our pre-production tester was actually damaged in transit and outfit with a more aggressive lower valance from Ford Accessories.

About halfway through the trek, I was able to swap cars and score another Grabber GT setup with the optional 3.73 gears. Ah, such a reliable modification. It definitely perked up the car's responsiveness, and today's electronic throttle control has come a long way since '05. Disengaging the traction control and dropping the hammer resulted in plenty of spin, followed by adequate thrust. The stock shifter is pretty good these days as it was-like much of the gear on the new car-benchmarked off our old favorite, the Bullitt.

As much as I dig the new interior, the stylish new seats in the latest car are not quite as comfortable as the prior-model seats. It might just be that I'd spent a few hours on a plane before wheeling the '10, but the seats seemed a bit flat and firm. Your mileage may vary, but I'm anxious to drive one again without the coach-seat warm-up.

The twisty street drive was a mere appetizer for the following day's romp around the Streets of Willow at Willow Springs Raceway. This small, tight course really works the car's handling without letting you get up to brake-melting triple-digit speeds too often. Amazingly sure-footed, the '10 GT's secret weapon-its spankin' new Electronic Stability Control, which offers On, Sport, and Off modes. With the ESP in full On mode, the '10 fools you into believing you are an excellent driver; moving it to full Off reveals that you really aren't as good as you think you are. My favorite setting is the Sport mode, which gives you enough rope to allow some fun antics, but reels you in before you get into trouble.

Here's a full look at the new Cold Air Induction system on the '10 Mustangs. Ford engineers were confident enough in its design to challenge the aftermarket to beat it. I can't wait to see that battle to unfold. The Three-Valve sports Bullitt-level 315 horsepower, and if you select 19-inch wheels or order the Track Pack, you get the new strut-tower brace to reduce chassis flex.

After learning the lay of the track in the base GT, I made the move into the Track Pack-equipped GT, which gets 3.73s, carbon-fiber diff plates, GT500-spec sway bars, stiffer rear springs, specially tuned dampers, Bullitt-spec brake pads, GT500-spec lower control arms, 19-inch wheels, and Pirelli Pzero 255/40-19 summer rubber. All I can say is wow. This is like a stock Mustang that's received an aftermarket suspension upgrade. I'm sure there's still room for improvement, but the Track Pack is a really aggressive handling upgrade right off the showroom floor. Couple those upgrades with the ESP, and this car is going to be fun at the first track day you can find.

Speaking of traction, I followed up my laps on the Streets by digging in for our burnout cover shot. Keeping the car still and wasting the rear tires is fun, but the '10 needed a lot for rpm to keep from wheelhopping like a jackrabbit, so the drag racers are going to want upgraded lower control arms.

In the end, the more time I spent in the '10 Mustang, the more I liked it. The saggy but angular rearend still bothers me, but from inside the cabin, it's one of the best Mustangs yet. As a gadget freak, I simply adore the new Sync system, especially with the nav, and the more integrated MyColor and Ambient Lighting is slick. Combine those features with all the new interior upgrades, and your time in traffic will be a lot more fun.