Evan J. Smith
January 27, 2014
Photos By: Courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Fifty years. That's how long Ford's been producing America's favorite ponycar.

Can you believe it? It debuted on April 17, 1964, and its history is storied. From the streets to the track, the Mustang is a winner. There's hardly a group of owners more dedicated to a specific brand, make, or model, so it's serious business when Ford tools up a new Stang.

"The Ford Mustang inspires passion like no other car," said Raj Nair, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development. "The visceral look, sound, and performance of Mustang resonates with people, even if they never drove one," he added.

Ford recognizes the importance of its Mustang, and that's why the heart and soul of Dearborn resides in the 2015. Based on the styling and a barrage of technology, the '15 looks to be a superstar. Improvements come in power, handling, economy, safety, connectivity, and for the first time ever, it will be sold globally.

Ford tells us there are over 200 Mustang clubs worldwide, including Iceland. The Ford Mustang Facebook page has nearly 6,000,000 Likes, and you can find a Mustang or Ford event virtually every weekend.

The latest fastback and covertible models, dubbed S550, follows the S197 and Fox platforms, each of which had lengthy runs and helped to grow the legions of fans. Yet with any all-new Mustang comes a radical departure in styling and chassis, and the 2015 Mustang is not immune.

The hype surrounding this Mustang is colossal, the commentary is reaching epic proportions. Renderings were everywhere and speculation was viral, as enthusiasts demanded what this Mustang should encompass. Ford, in turn, used the power of the Internet to extend its reach, thus providing a global debut for its global car, which we're sure many of you witnessed on December 5.

We caught a glimpse last fall and were pleased with the style, technology, and upgraded powertrains—but we were surprised at the same time. The '15 screams Mustang—but it's not the look many were anticipating. Like most, we expected the styling to reflect the Evos concept car (which most of the renderings were based on), but Ford tossed us a curve. The next-gen Mustang maintains beloved classic cues, all with creatively sculpted lines and unmistakable clarity.

The 2015 Mustang is aggressive in all the right places. Its presence is strong, its lines and proportions fitting for the time.

Shown side by side, you'll see the evolution from the 2014 to the 2015, but also the touches from the current Ford styling, especially in the blunt nose. "We crafted this car with the goal of creating a contemporary interpretation of Mustang," said Jim Farley, executive vice president of Ford Global Marketing, Sales, and Service and Lincoln. "An American automotive icon that symbolizes optimism and freedom for millions of people around the world."

Equally impressive are the mechanical and technological changes, such as the new front and rear suspensions. The Mustang now features a perimeter subframe, designed to "stiffen the structure, yet reduce mass, and provide a better foundation for more predictable wheel control that will benefit steering and ride." Of course, there is the addition of the IRS and 300-plus-horsepower, Ecoboost, 2.3L four-cylinder.

Mustang Style

It's critical that Ford get the Mustang right, considering it will now sell worldwide, but Ford says the Mustang team didn't compromise. The 2015 Mustang is aggressive in all the right places. Its presence is strong, its lines and proportions fitting for the time. It makes a statement, but it's not offensive.

"This car is the essence of Ford on a good day," said Farley. "We're connected to the brand, and with that, the team pursued the actual vehicle." This essence is evident in the long nose fitted to a wide, low body that is hunkered down and ready for action. The stance is predicated on where the tires are in relation to the body structure, and for 2015, the A-pillar is moved rearward 30 mm, so there is a longer hood, though the wheelbase remains at 107 inches. Proportionally, the roof is lowered 38 mm, the hood is lowered 32 mm, and the decklid is dropped an amazing 70 mm.

Ford added 11 mm between the cowl and the front wheels, the wrap-around headlamps blend with current styling trends, and the grille opening is clean with a large mouth. The styled fascia is also clean, and there's no longer a defined bumper. With longer fenders, the A-pillar (and greenhouse) is set rearward, and there is a sharp bodyline running the length of the fenders at the top. There is a cowl bump in the hood, with lines that mimic the fenders.

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While hardly retro, the '15 was enhanced with touches from the '69 Mustang. Gone is the defined B-pillar—the side glass flows neatly into the quarter windows, which kick up at the back. Ford chose not to go with the familiar C-scoop. Instead, the new Stang is defined with sharp, almost drastic bodylines that define the sides. The wider track allows for kicked-out wheel openings, which give it a mini-widebody effect.

Up top, the C-pillar (or sail panel) produces the sporty fastback design that extends deep into the decklid. Mustang fans will rejoice as the tail is much more nicely shaped than the outgoing car. It's striking from the rear, especially the shoulders at the top of each quarter-panel. The tribar taillights fit neatly in a blackout cove that is angled sharply forward. This produces the aspect of speed, even at rest. Down below is a faux diffuser, and now the backup light is molded into the lower portion of the fascia. Ford also used a thin third brake light mounted at the top of the backlight (rear glass) to maintain a clean look.

"The Mustang has universal appeal," said Nair, "Not just in the US, but around the rest of the world. My favorite car is the Boss 302 and we wanted to get that level of balance in the total lineup." Mustang will be sold in Europe (Germany, United Kingdom, France, Switzerland, and so on), plus China and Australia. These are all new markets, and those customers have various wants and needs.