Mark Houlahan
Tech Editor, Mustang Monthly
April 1, 2009
Photos By: Drew Phillips

The Bullitt program, as well as Ford Racing's foray into the Miller Cup FR500S Mustangs, lent its expertise to the new 2010s with further powertrain improvements such as larger exhaust tips (3-inch on the V-6 and 3-inch on the V-8), a short-throw performance shifter (topped with a polished aluminum shift knob on Premium models), and induction and exhaust sound tuning. We have to admit the exhaust does sound good, even for Ford having to stay within drive-by sound limits and manufacturing hurdles. The 2010 is so much quieter now with all of its newly added insulation and wind tunnel tuning that Ford saw fit to add an induction noise transfer system to the engine. It's essentially a small hose and diaphragm affair that pipes the engine's induction noise into the cabin. Hokey? Maybe, but it does give the casual owner the sound he or she paid for. On the other hand, we see this as another Fox Mustang air silencer type of part that'll get yanked off by the true performance owner in the first week of ownership or as soon as the twin-screw gets installed.

Ford kept its five-speed automatic and five-speed manual setups the same into the 2010 model, but we're willing to bet there will be six-speed autos on the horizon (along with rumored new powertrains in 2011 or 2012). We'll just have to wait and see if our hunches are correct. Ford also saw fit to install its industry-leading capless fuel fill system, which debuted on the Ford GT supercar and is slowly making its way across the entire Ford product line.

Better Handling, Too
While more power is nice, you need a chassis and suspension that can handle it. To that end, Ford's engineers started with the enhanced Bullitt chassis as the basis for the new Mustang GT. "We adjusted the springs, stabilizer bars, and shocks to better balance the ride, steering, and handling for all models, which results in a more engaging driving experience," said Vehicle Engineering Manager Tom Barnes. "The 2010 Mustangs feel more controlled for steering and handling, yet retain a good ride balance."

For the first time Ford has included its AdvanceTrac stability control package in the Mustang. The AdvanceTrac system works with the antilock brake and traction control systems to keep the Mustang on the road in the most adverse situations by constantly examining steering rate, vehicle yaw, road speed, and more. But don't worry--you can still turn it off for those nice smoky burnouts (as we did in our Red Candy Metallic Track Pack GT--p. 67), and the GT package offers a Sport mode to make you look like a hero on those track days.

The Mustang's wheel and tire packages are extensive for the 2010 with no less than seven offerings. The base wheel is upsized to a 17-inch wheel and the GT wheel is now an 18-inch, while all wheel offerings now ride on Pirelli tires. P-Zero Nero all-season tires are used for most packages, with a 19-inch Pirelli dry traction summer tire available later on in the year. 19-inch wheel packages also get a strut tower brace, as the 19-inch wheel puts that much more cornering force through the chassis. "You're getting the best-handling, best-balanced Mustang ever as the base GT," said Chief Nameplate Engineer Paul Randle.

Performance options include a 3.73 axle package that includes the aforementioned gears, recalibrated AdvanceTrac, and performance front brake pads (from the Bullitt) for only $495. Even better is the Track Pack, which has a whole grocery list of goodies, including upgraded front and rear brake pads, GT500 sourced front and rear sway bars, GT500 lower rear control arms, retuned struts and shocks, 19-inch Pirelli summer tires, 3.73 gears, carbon-fiber friction plates in the Traction Lok differential, and recalibrated AdvanceTrac, ABS, and traction control. The Track Pack even includes 19-inch wheels exclusive to the option group, all for $1,445.