This 2015 Ford Mustang
comes as a coupe or convertible in a variety of trim levels. Look down its long hood and you see the thin, raised twin hood bulges also found on the now-classic ($1-million-plus) 1950s Mercedes-Benz 300SL sports car hood.
The 300SL, derived from a race car, had an inline six-cylinder engine with 220 horsepower. The new Mustang can be had with a 300-horsepower V-6, a 310-horsepower turbocharged EcoBoost four-cylinder or a thundering 435-horsepower V-8 with an upgraded valvetrain and cylinder heads--and new intake manifold.
This is the first Mustang to offer four-, six- and eight-cylinder engines with at least 300 horsepower. All require only 87-octane gasoline.
Transmissions are an upgraded six-speed manual and reworked six-speed automatic. You can drive at 30 m.p.h. in town in sixth manual gear (not recommended) without the docile V-8 bucking, although it's a cruising gear only really meant for highway driving.
While the GT V-8 is clearly the fastest Mustang, the V-6 and EcoBoost engines provide strong acceleration. Not a weakling in the bunch.
Estimated fuel economy for the V-6 is 17-19 miles per gallon in the city (depending on the transmission) and 17 and 28 on highways. The EcoBoost four-cylinder delivers 21-22 in the city 25-26 on the highway. The V-8 provides 15-16 in the city and 25 on highways.
I found Mustang list prices to be different at various web sites and such, but they generally range from approximately $23,600 to $41,600.
I tested the sporty 155 m.p.h. GT coupe in Premium (more uplevel) form with the V-8 and stick shift because a coupe with a V-8 and manual transmission are largely what a traditional Mustang is all about.
The manual transmission shifts precisely, although the clutch has a long throw.
My test coupe, which had a $36,100 list price, featured the new Mustang's racy fastback styling and is lower and wider than its predecessor, with a wider rear track.
However, as with all Mustangs ever built, the 2015 model has a tight back seat best suited to children. Cargo room is decent for a sporty coupe and flipping the rear seatbacks forward greatly enlarges it. However, the cargo opening is rather high, and the cabin doesn't have many storage areas.
The interior is quiet and significantly upgraded. Gauges can be quickly read, and controls are easier to use. Console cupholders are nicely placed.
The new Mustang has an independent rear suspension, which replaces the old solid rear axle. New aluminum rear knuckles help reduce unsprung mass for improved ride and handling. The result is more ride comfort, better handling and more precise steering.
There's also a new double-ball-joint front MacPherson strut system to allow use of larger, more powerful brakes.
An advanced new stability control system is tuned to maximize the Mustang's dynamic capabilities.
For really serious drivers, there's $2,395 Performance Package with a stiffer suspension and upgraded steering, chassis and firm brakes that stop the car really quickly and surely--besides lower (40-series) tires on larger (19-inch) wheels.
My test car had that option besides a bunch of other stuff, including desirable $1,595 leather Recaro seats that really hold front occupants in place.
As with most past Mustangs, you can go crazy with desirable options. Other noteworthy extras on my test GT included $1,195 adaptive cruise control and $295 reverse park assist.
All Mustangs are well-equipped. For instance, backup cameras and pushbutton starters make driving a little easier.
My test GT Coupe Premier 's standard items included power windows, locks and heated outside mirrors with turn signals, dual-zone automatic climate control and a premium sound system. Safety items included a perimeter alarm.
For safety's sake, a new inflatable airbag restraint design provides the front seat passenger with knee air bag protection.
While the hatch has twin hydraulic struts to help raise it, the heavy hood is held open only with a prop rod.
Mustang fans should really check out the 2015 model, and higher-performance versions are set for 2016, providing an even greater model selection. It seems that Mustang development never stops.