2015 Ford Mustang GT Doesn't Sacrifice Poise for Power: First Drive
Sometimes you just have to be patient. Ford kept us waiting long enough before letting us drive the new Mustang, and my first turn wasn’t even in the coveted GT. Don’t worry, I was promised I’d get the GT and some fun canyon roads to play with after a lunch in Malibu. Finally. After spending all for a glorious SoCal Friday morning with the EcoBoost Mustang, I finally got a crack at the big V8 of the GT. Those who'd already driven had praised its performance, now I was going to see for myself. RELATED: See Photos of the 2015 Mustang GT
My stint at the wheel came in a GT without the Performance Package (stouter brakes, strut tower brace, 19-inch blacked out wheels, Torsen differential with 3.73:1 final drive, and front splitter than channels cooler air to the front brakes) but with the manual. Like the EcoBoost, the GT felt generally composed in cornering, with a flat stability that inspires assurance that the car won’t bite you in the ass and send you into the ditch. It feels almost too easy at times.
On the other hand, the GT (identified by the “5.0” badging on the fenders and the GT logo on the back) did feel more nervous in urban traffic. It was still less jumpy than the old car by a large order of magnitude, but it wasn’t perfectly solid. This could be my own fault for forgetting to switch out of “sport” mode after I was done with the twisties. Still, overall, both cars were generally well-behaved in traffic—neither would feel punishing as a daily commuter.
RELATED: See photos of the 2015 Ford Mustang EcoBoost
Big V8s are all about torque, of course, and the GT practically lunges out of corners and sounds fantastic while doing so. While the EcoBoost is an admirable performer, it’s likely that the GT will be the performance buy for most, thanks mostly to the 435 ponies and 400 lb-ft of torque that the 5.0-liter V8 pumps out. I’m all for a performance car that can be economical (the EcoBoost promises more than 30 mpg on the highway), but the GT reminds us that old-fashioned American muscle cannot be easily replaced.
Simply put, while the EcoBoost inspired confidence and fun, the GT doubled down on the entertainment without sacrificing any poise. When I got my chance to drive an EcoBoost with the Performance Package and the manual transmission back in L.A., I found myself missing the GT’s prodigious torque. My enthusiasm for the EcoBoost had dimmed—one Ford person said I’d gotten “torque drunk,” which was probably accurate.
RELATED: See photos of the 2015 Ford Mustang 50-Year Limited Edition
That’s the difference between the EcoBoost and the GT, though. Ford people told me that they expect the EcoBoost to be the volume seller, as it offers more power and creature comforts than the base V6 without the premium price of the GT. But every media member in attendance said they’d want the GT over the EcoBoost for its performance advantage, even though the EcoBoost acquitted itself well when pushed. That’s what torque does to a person.
Essentially, Ford has taken the old Mustang, enhanced its best attributes, addressed its most glaring flaws, and added another performance option to the mix. That’s a pretty solid formula, as the outgoing car was already a pretty balanced pony car that was easy to live with. Bringing the content level and interior design in line with modern times while upping the fun quotient is a recipe for success, and perhaps dominance, in a small segment in which buyers are fiercely loyal.
Your move, Chevy and Dodge.
RELATED: See Photos of the 2015 Ford Mustang GT Convertible
Engines: 5.0-liter V8
MPG: 16/25 (15/25 w/manual)
Price: $32,100 base
Gobs of V8 torque
Easy-to-use drive modes
Thirsty at the pump
A little nervous around-town
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