Muscle Mustangs & Fast FordsNews & Views
Getting Closer to the 2015 S550 Ford Mustang GT
Shop Talk - Evolution Perfect
My first car in high school was a 1967 coupe with a modified 289ci, and I’ve owned a number of Fox-body’s ever since ranging from street rides to dedicated track cars. To this day I still own a Fox and a New Edge Mustang.
And while I've enjoyed them all, I always felt like there was room for improvement. Let’s face it—building a Fox to generate 500 hp to the rear wheels isn't difficult by any means and especially by today’s standards, but anyone who has actually built one will say that you virtually end up with a whole new drivetrain.
The pushrod 5.0L needs forged internals and a whole new top end with a power-adder (we’re talking street cars, so forgo the high-compression, all-motor powerplants). The T-5 will eventually go south and require a built AOD or Tremec. If you plan to successfully launch at the track with slicks, then you really need to address the 8.8 rearend, too. Then there are the S197s. Quite frankly, they’re great cars and simply incredible with minimal modifications.
This brings me to the new S550. Recently I got a little closer and a bit more personal with a 2015 Mustang GT and I loved it. The loaner S550 was a six-speed manual and came with the premium package, which included the six-piston Brembo brakes up front, 19-inch Ebony Black aluminum wheels, and a Charcoal Black and red interior. From the moment I closed the door, the all-new platform felt solid. And the interior had me reminiscing over my original ’67. I know, it’s completely different, but I certainly understand the vibe and I get it. However, once I hit the pushbutton start and drove down the street, this baby didn’t feel anything like the Mustangs I've been in before.
For starters, it’s unbelievably smooth and the power is quite deceiving. A quick stab of the throttle will get you moving out of the hole quickly with its 435 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque. A quick look in the rearview mirror and reality kicks in, letting you know to get off of the pedal. I also really enjoyed the selectable driving and steering modes. Driving modes gives you a choice between Normal, Sport, Track, and Snow/Wet, while the steering choices are Comfort, Normal, and Sport. My preferences were Sport on both settings. The Comfort setting on the steering felt way too loose for me, while the Sport mode gave me the steering feedback that I tend to like.
As for drivability, the S550 is very comfortable and I never felt fatigued during the long SoCal commutes. I was a little apprehensive on the blind spots, but between the Blind Spot Information System with Cross-Traffic alert and the rear camera, you could really drive confidently knowing all the new tech goodies are looking out for you. OK, then there’s the dual-zone climate control and seats. Whether you want the heated seats or A/C on, you can regulate the internal temps and never have to compete with your copilot for control over the HVAC system. And of course there’s the independent rear suspension setup. I will say there’s a section of the road near where I live that I absolutely can’t stand driving on. The summer heat and heavy trucks have paved their own path into the asphalt and tend to pull most cars all over the road—not so much with the S550, and that was comforting.
As I mentioned earlier about having room for improvements, if this car were mine I would simply add a supercharger and call it a day. You can easily make over 500 rwhp to the wheels and even push it further for 600-plus rwhp, all the while using this Pony as a daily driver. If you’re still on the fence on the S550, I strongly urge you to get into one and experience the new Mustang for yourself. I’m waiting on the EcoBoost-powered Mustang next, so I’ll share my thoughts with you shortly.