Donald Farr
Former Editor, Mustang Monthly
March 1, 2004
Photos By: Courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Added as standard equipment are one-touch up/down power windows, power mirrors, keyless entry and power locks, heated rear window, and interval wipers. Audio systems range from the standard CD player to the 1,000-watt Mach powerhouse with subwoofers in the trunk.

Powertrains. The big news for the GT is its three-valve 4.6L modular engine with 300 hp, 40 more than last year's two-valve 4.6. With two intake valves and one exhaust valve per cylinder-24 valves total-to provide more efficient combustion, the GT also has reduced emissions and improved fuel economy. Electronic throttle controls, higher compression, and variable camshaft timing also contribute to the horsepower increase. With all-aluminum construction, the three-valve 4.6 weighs 75 pounds less than a comparable cast-iron design.

For the '05 V-6 model, a 4.0L, 60-degree, single-overhead-cam engine replaces the previous 3.8L, 90-degree, pushrod powerplant. Inherently smoother and more compact, the 4.0 SOHC churns out 200 hp and 235 lb-ft of torque, gains of 7 hp and 10 lb-ft over last year.

Five-speed manual transmissions are standard in both models, with the GT getting the stout Tremec 3650, while the V-6 comes with the Tremec T5. Both benefit from improved shift quality with a new shift linkage that provides quick gear engagement and a solid feel. For the first time, the optional automatic is a five-speed; the 5R55S provides a combination of off-the-line acceleration and good highway fuel mileage, with a new transmission-control computer communicating with the engine electronics 10 times faster than before.

Exhaust. For the first time in the Mustang's 40-year history, the muffler(s) won't be in front of the rear axle. Instead, for 2005, the muffler is behind the rear axle, right in front of the rear valance. According to Thai-Tang, the placement provides a slightly different exhaust tone, but you can still expect a "balance between powerful and sporty" sound from the GT.

Safety. Ford is touting the '05 Mustang as the safest Mustang ever. The "safety cage" has been strengthened, and the car comes with Ford's Personal Safety System with weight-sensing technology for the passenger side (the airbag is turned off if no or low weight is on the seat) and a front structure designed for offset impacts. Side airbags will be available as well.

Availability. The '05 Mustang was officially introduced at the New York Auto Show in January. However, Job 1 for the coupe is scheduled for September 7, with the convertible following in February 2005.

Cobra. Information about the SVT Cobra has not been released. Speculation is that the four-valve Cobra model will take yet another hiatus, returning in either 2005 or 2006. With 390 hp in 2003-'04, we can't wait to see what SVT boss John Coletti has up his sleeve for the next Cobra.

Specialty models. Rumors are flying about a possible Shelby GT350 or perhaps even a Boss model at some point in the future. About the Shelby, Thai-Tang would only say that the recent partnership agreement between Shelby and Ford opens the door to something in the future. Ford's Vice President of Design, J Mays, has stated the Boss name is in litigation, so that could prevent the return of a Boss 302, which would be especially intriguing with Ford Racing's 5.0L (302ci) Cammer engine. According to Thai-Tang, both Saleen and Roush were given early access to the '05 Mustang so they could initiate development of their special Mustangs.

Aftermarket. Performance parts for the '05 Mustang should be available as soon as the car goes on sale in the fall. Thanks to Ford's alliance with the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA), many aftermarket companies were provided specifications, measurements, and even access to prototypes so they could begin developmental work on '05 Mustang components. At the SEMA Show last November, manufacturers were invited to a closed showing and inspection of the '05 Mustang.