5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
2010 Mustang First Drive - Pack Ten
It Has The Same Chassis Underneath, But The '10 Mustang-Especially With The Track Pack Option-Feels Like A Whole New Car
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.
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.