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2015 Ford Mustang: all the details

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IOL mot pic jul18 Ford Mustang 2015 1

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Fastback variant is as unmistakeably a Mustang as it is a 2015 model.

Dearborn, Michigan - nearly all the words and music emanating from the Ford publicity machine about the 2015 'international' Mustang (and there has been plenty) has focused on the new version's looks and heritage - as well it should; the designers have done a fine job of combining the two in a car that is as unmistakeably a Mustang as it is a 2015 model.

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The new Mustang was also the star of Ford's first African 'Go Further' promo at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg, ahead of its official debut in South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa in 2015.

Ford SA's Jeff Nemeth said at the opening of Go Further: "The Mustang is out of the stable and here in Africa.

"The One Ford plan means that we can finally bring a global Mustang to our local fans. This car is incredibly special to us as we celebrate the brand's heritage by bringing in the best it has to offer right now."

But now we come to the nuts and bolts of it.

Ford has finally revealed details of the engines that will be offered in the new Pony Car - each with a choice of manual or auto transmission and (absolutely!) rear-wheel drive.

They start with the 3.7-litre V6, carried over from the previous model with a slight downgrade from 225kW to 221kW and backed by a healthy 380Nm. This becomes the de facto entry-level model, since it makes less power than the four-cylinder turbo.

However, at just over 1600kg, it's only about 12kg heavier than the 2014 model despite the extra mass of its independent rear suspension (the first on a Mustang) stiffer sub-frames and more rigid bodyshell.

FIRST-EVER TURBO MUSTANG

The all-new 2.3-litre Ecoboost - the first turbocharged engine ever offered in a standard Mustang, and reportedly developed specifically for this car, has direct fuel-injection, dual independent variable camshaft timing, model-specific intake manifold geometry and a four-into-two exhaust manifold built into the cylinder head that separates the exhaust paths of the inner and outer pairs of cylinders into the two inlet passages to the turbo.

That reduces mixing losses and produces almost as clean a response as a much more complex and expensive twin-turbo set-up, with longer exhaust-valve overlap for reduced pumping losses and lower fuel-consumption.

All of which is good for a rip-snorting 228kW and 435Nm; Ford doesn't mention any performance figures but it does say that a 2015 2.3-litre fastback with manual transmission weighs in at only 1605kg - just two kilograms heavier than the equivalent 3.7-litre V6 model - so it should be at least as quick and conceivably slightly more so.

THE REAL DEAL

But let's face it, a Mustang isn't a Mustang without a big rumbling V8 (When last did you see an original 1960s Mustang with the standard 2.8-litre straight-six engine?) and Ford has done itself proud with this one.

The Mustang GT's five-litre mill has been upgraded to 320kW and 544Nm, using lessons learned in developing the special-edition 2012 Mustang Boss 302, with bigger valves and stiffer valve springs in new cylinder-head castings with revised porting to provide a straighter path to the valves, sinter-forged conrods and a rebalanced, forged crankshaft for durability at high revs.

And Ford mentions, almost in passing, that the GT is good for 250km/h flat out, so that bit about high revs isn't just marketing.

SHIFTING GEAR

The six-speed manual 'box in the 2015 Mustang has a revised shift linkage for easier, more precise engagement, and the gear lever is has been moved closer to the driver (and further from the cup holders!) for obstruction-free shifting.

The six-speed automatic now has paddle shifters and rev-matching downshifts as standard issue; internally it has a new, lighter casing with cast-in stiffening ribs to compensate for thinner walls, uprated clutches and, believe it or not, it's set up to run hotter than the previous model, thereby reducing friction.

Pricing in United States will start from $24 425 (R261 000) when the car goes on sale in North America later this year; South African prices will be announced at the local launch.


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