Europeans are ecstatic about the Ford Mustang finally – and officially – coming (back) to the continent. Significant technical changes were necessary though, to make the new Stang suitable for the old world. We travelled to Texas to have a go in the 2015 Mustang, and Ford was kind enough to roll out two test cars. Something turned out to be very wrong though.
Nothing was wrong on Ford’s part, let that be clear! And not on our part either, because we knew exactly what was going to be on offer. We headed to the Texas Motor Speedway to drive the 5.0 V8 with both a manual six speed and an automatic six speed. What was actually wrong here, is the fact that European politicians are obsessed with CO2 emissions. And even so, that they rather endanger an entire industry – and millions of jobs – to defend their hollow statements made during election time. For that reason a V8 – in their minds – is like an environmental terrorist attack or even a crime agains humanity. Not the kind of engine then, that will become a best seller anywhere outside the USA. That roll is reserved for the four cylinder 2.3 Ecoboost. With tax systems based on CO2 emissions the Ecoboost will be the popular model in Europe, but we honestly couldn’t care less. Wrong or politically incorrect as it may be, we went for the real deal. When in Rome, do as the Romans do…
The sixth generation Mustang receiving independent rear suspension is revolutionary, but Ford did much more to make a significant difference. The front suspension is redesigned and the front subframe is stiffer and lighter than before. This all adds up to a much improved handling, transforming the car into an impressive package altogether. Just after a few miles the term Gran Turismo comes to mind. And we are not talking about the computer game here, because the Mustang is actually a pretty impressive grand tourer so it can wear its GT badge with pride. The new suspension is a perfect match for the V8 with 435 bhp and 400 pound-feet of torque. After having experienced both transmissions the manual came out as a clear winner, but that doesn’t mean the auto shifter is bad. It does its work very well with smooth up and downshifts and even when we try to squeeze every last bit of power out of the V8, it is spot on. The manual is simply more engaging and with this new generation being even faster than the last Boss 302, you just want that extra level of involvement.
The interior is very well put together and has a nice mix of modern creature comforts and historic references. The seats are comfortable with plenty of support and the steering wheel offers the right amount of feedback for high speed driving, but doesn’t overload you with information when cruising. The faster you drive, the more information you seem to get and that goes for the rest of the chassis as well. A traditional V8 is the only right choice then, because no other engine – except for a V12 maybe – can have have two such different personalities without becoming schizophrenic. Bad news for most European customers then, because it is the V8 that will be punished by ridiculous tax regulation, forcing them to opt for the new Ecoboost. The good thing however, is that the Mustang can spread its wings and reach even bigger (global) audiences than ever before. And lets be honest: that was the sole purpose when Ford released the Mustang in 1964. That makes this sixth generation pony car the best Mustang ever and not just as a car, but as a business case as well. So maybe it is just us being old fashioned or even wrong, but some things should never be changed.