By Franky Johnson
To the delight of South African motoring enthusiasts countrywide the launch of the Ford Mustang finally became a reality late last year.
The new Mustang is Ford’s most revered and recognisable nameplate, having become an automotive icon the moment it was launched in 1964, followed by more than 50 years of continuous production and over nine-million cars sold to fans around the world.
The latest Mustang, unveiled on 17 April 2014 to mark its remarkable 50th anniversary, is now finally available for sale in South Africa following the commencement of right-hand drive production for the first time at the Flat Rock Assembly Plant in Michigan.
The new Mustang has been a global hit since it was launched internationally last year, and was the world’s best-selling sports car in the first half of 2015. It is the world’s most-liked vehicle on Facebook (with more than eight million likes), and has made more than 9 000 appearances in television, music and video games.
The new Mustang is loaded with innovative technologies and delivers dazzling performance and style. It is available in a comprehensive line-up spanning six model derivatives, including the sleek and seductive Fastback, as well as the stunning Convertible.
In terms of powertrains, buyers have the option of a roaring 5.0-litre V8 or the all-new 2.3 EcoBoost engine that delivers an exceptional combination of performance and fuel economy. Notably, both engines can be matched to a choice of either six-speed manual or automatic transmissions, and there’s the option of both Fastback and Convertible body styles to suit every taste.
The clean-sheet design of the Ford Mustang Fastback and Convertible evokes the essential character of the vehicle, retaining key design elements of the classic Mustangs recognisable to car fans across the world, including the long sculpted hood and short rear deck, with a contemporary execution.
Several key design features define the Mustang, including its low roof height and wide stance, the sleek profile enabled by the steeply sloped windshield and rear glass, the contemporary execution of the iconic car’s signature trapezoidal grille and shark-bite front fascia, plus the famous three-dimensional tri-bar tail lamps
Ford Mustang Convertible drivers will appreciate the standard multilayer insulated cloth top that gives the car an upscale appearance and a quiet cabin. The top has a sleek profile when folded for sun-soaked open-air motoring.
Large, clear instrumentation puts vehicle information right in front of the driver in the roomy cabin with an aviation-inspired cockpit, while ergonomic and tactile switches and knobs provide intuitive control. The vehicle’s width and sophisticated rear suspension contribute to impressive shoulder and hip room for passengers and a usefully shaped boot space that can accommodate two golf bags.
The way Ford Mustang looks, drives and sounds is key to the visceral experience. The Mustang offers outstanding power options and an advanced chassis designed to meet the expectations of the most demanding drivers.
Ford’s acclaimed 5.0-litre V8 engine employs sequential multiport electronic fuel injection and variable camshaft timing to produce a hefty 306kW of power, along with a thunderous 530Nm of torque. As the most powerful and fastest-accelerating Ford ever sold in South Africa, this enables the Mustang 5.0 V8 GT Fastback Manual to sprint from 0 to 100km/h in just 4.8 sec.
The line-up includes the all-new 2.3-litre EcoBoost engine that brings state-of-the-art technology to Mustang, delivering turbocharged performance with outstanding fuel efficiency. This ground-breaking engine uses direct injection, variable cam timing and turbocharging to deliver impressive all-round performance with 233kW and 430Nm of torque on top – sufficient to achieve a remarkable 0-100km/h time of 5.8 sec for the 2.3 EcoBoost Fastback Manual.
Despite its dynamic potential, the 2.3 EcoBoost engine uses just 8.0 l/100km in the combined cycle, linked to 179 g/km CO2 emissions.
Both engines can be specified with a slick-shifting six-speed manual transmission in Fastback guise, or the option of the six-speed SelectShift automatic transmission (Fastback and Convertible). Combined with race car-inspired paddle-shifters on the steering wheel, the automatic gearbox delivers superb convenience and ultimate control.
The Ford Mustang features a perimeter subframe in the front suspension, which helps stiffen the front structure while reducing mass. This provides a strong foundation for predictable wheel control that benefits handling, steering and ride.
A double ball-joint front MacPherson strut system enables the use of large, powerful brakes. Both 2.3-litre EcoBoost and V8-powered GT Mustang models feature high-performance brake packages behind 19-inch wheels as part of the Performance Pack fitted as standard on all South African models. On the V8-powered GT models, six-piston Brembo front callipers ensure formidable stopping power.
The Performance Pack also incorporates a K-brace under the bonnet to secure the suspension strut towers to the bulkhead for improved stability, unique chassis tuning, a larger radiator, upsized sway bar on the Fastback, plus heavy-duty front springs.
At the rear is an all-new integral-link independent rear suspension. The geometry, springs, dampers and bushings all have been specifically modified and tuned for this high-performance application. Specially developed aluminium rear knuckles help reduce unsprung mass for exceptional ride and handling.
Lightweight materials include aluminium used for the bonnet, front wings, suspension, transmission and brakes. High-strength steels, laser welding and hydro-forming techniques contribute to the stiffer body for an enhanced driving experience and safety.
The new New Mustang features a significant number of innovative technologies, providing drivers with enhanced information, control and connectivity.
On a twisty back road or a weekend track day, the driver can use the toggle switches on the console to quickly adjust steering effort, engine response, and transmission and electronic stability control settings.
Using the Selectable Drive Modes, drivers are able to adjust the AdvanceTrac electronic stability control, throttle response, automatic gear-shift patterns and steering to match Normal, Sport+, Track or Snow/Wet settings. Selectable Effort Electric Power Assisted Steering enables drivers to choose a Normal, Comfort or Sport steering weight and feel.
To help drivers get the most from the car at the track, the Mustang also delivers Track Apps that can be controlled via the steering wheel and viewed in the instrument panel, including accelerometer, acceleration timer and brake performance, which measures braking time and distance from a set speed.
Available for the 5.0-litre V8 with manual transmission, the Launch Control system holds the engine at a pre-set value between 3 000 and 4 500 r/min with the accelerator fully depressed. When the clutch is released, torque delivery to the rear wheels is controlled for maximum traction and consistent standing starts. An electronic Line Lock system also available for the 5.0-litre V8 applies only the front brakes, allowing drivers to the warm the rear tyres.
All models are sold with a four-year/120 000km comprehensive warranty, five-year/100 000km service plan, three-year/unlimited km roadside assistance and five-year/unlimited km corrosion warranty. Service intervals are every 20 000km.