After 49 years, you would think Ford would have figured out the formula for designing a new Mustang. Yet every fresh generation of the car since the '70s has drawn great concern from the fan base — and occasionally, those fears came true. This time around, Ford's corporate rule of building models for global consumption led to the most worry; would the new 'Stang lose some of its essential character while chasing new buyers?
Here's the answer: Yes, there will be right-hand-drive Mustangs, although they'll be a small portion of total output from the Flat Rock, Mich., factory. Yes, there's a new turbo four-cylinder engine option that will hearken back to the SVO days of the '80s. And the rear suspension finally joins the 21st century, dropping the cheap solid rear axle setup as pioneered by the Model T.
But Ford engineers and designers say their overarching goal with the 2015 Mustang was to preserve all the traits that have made the name a mainstay of American roads and drag strips for five decades — not remake the formula for audiences abroad.
"We designed this Mustang to be a Mustang, to be the next generation update of everything important, and then take it global," Dave Pericak, Ford Mustang chief engineer, told Yahoo. "We didn't decide to do a global Mustang, because that would be a different product."
Under development since 2009, the biggest change comes from the outside, where the new styling reflects the arrival of an all-new chassis. Despite selling 9 million copies, the Mustang has always been something of a corporate beggar within Ford, relying on parts from other models in a bid to stay affordable. For the first time, Ford gave the Mustang its own unique chassis, although rumors around Dearborn suggest it could eventually spawn a Lincoln sedan to shoulder some overhead costs.
The new Mustang rides lower to the ground, and takes a few cues from other Fords, but the thick grille, long roof slope to a short trunklid and sequential taillights all maintain the Mustang look. Inside, the changes seem less dramatic — a touch more brightwork, a standard push-button start, and better materials, but still a 2+2 seater with a fighter-like cockpit.
"We were trying to get that right mix of Mustang-ness versus modernity," said Moray Callum, Ford's chief of design. "People that know it as a Mustang will recognize it instantly, and those Read More »from 2015 Ford Mustang revealed as an American pony car with a passport