Amie Williams
Associate Online Editor
February 27, 2014

When the covers came off of the 2015 Ford Mustang, it sent the Mustang world reeling. Celebrating 50 years this coming April, the Mustang is used to change, but it’s a big deal being America’s iconic pony car. Changes were in order for Ford’s quest for a global Mustang, and while many people immediately loved it, some were skeptical. Soon aftermarket renderings flooded the web convincing people that this muscular Mustang is no joke.

Not only does the new Mustang come with three engine options (2.3L EcoBoost; 3.7L V-6; and 5.0L V-8), it sits on a brand-new platform with a sleek body built for aerodynamics. This Mustang is the first Ford to use front-wheel aero curtains aiding airflow across the front wheels. At higher speeds, this Mustang’s front and rear stay planted to the ground due to the carefully-designed body.

“Even with the classic, forward-leaning shark-bite grille and a more aggressive stance for the new Mustang, the aerodynamics team has made it slice through the air better for increased fuel efficiency while also keeping it planted to the road at higher speeds,” said Dave Pericak, Mustang chief engineer. “The best part is that they met the challenge of creating the sleekest Mustang yet without resorting to a characterless teardrop shape.”

With performance, we know that aerodynamics play a crucial role with increased speed. It requires eight times the horsepower at twice the speed to overcome drag, so even the smallest of changes can have a huge impact when it comes to performance and fuel economy.

“With the new Mustang, we spent about twice as much time running aerodynamic simulations and doing wind tunnel tests than the previous Mustang,” said Carl Widmann, aerodynamics engineering manager. “Major advances in our computational fluid dynamics capability let us test the effect of design changes and give feedback to the studio in less than 48 hours so they had more opportunity to try out different styling ideas.”

Vertical slots are installed on the front fascia to guide air from the front through the openings in the wheel well and over the wheels and tires as smoothly as possible. The air becomes a wall-like skirt reducing drag.

Temperature Management

The Mustang’s grille allows air through to cool the engine instead of through the sides and over the body increasing drag. A unique grille is available on each of the Mustang models to support individual powerplant needs.

Another function includes active grille shutters for the 2.3L EcoBoost engine to increase fuel efficiency while operating at high speeds, giving the engine extra cooling. Shutters can completely cover the grille and send air over the car instead of through the engine bay. Grille mesh has been redesigned to help reduce air resistance and decrease wind noise.

Planting Power

If opting for the ’15 Mustang, the 5.0L V-8 can reach a top speed of 155mph, so making sure that the car can stay planted at high rates is critical. These new Mustangs come with splitters and air dams below the front fascia, minimizing air flow underneath the car. The GT also sports a pair of vents within the hood that also help plant the front-end to the pavement.

“We worked closely with the vehicle dynamics engineers that are tuning the chassis to make sure our experimental results for lift correspond to what they feel on the car when driving at the track,” said Widmann. “They provided us with some great feedback that we incorporated into our efforts in the tunnel, and the results are definitely noticeable when driving at high speeds.”

With a wider rear end, the roofline sits lower and total air resistance combines both the front as well as drag coefficient. The new Mustang reduces drag force by 3 percent and handles better on the road with less wind noise from inside the cabin. While traveling at highway speeds, the three percent less drag provides 1% better fuel efficiency.

More about the 2015 Mustang here.