Photos by Group Editor Mark Gearhart
By now you’ve seen the photos of the 2015 Mustang. What you may not have been fully filled in on yet however is the tech details. We attended the 205 Mustang Technical Briefing and press event in Los Angeles this morning. Aside from snapping a slew of new photos of the car that was on hand, we had a chance to get some more details on the technical side behind the 2015 Mustang as well as interview Ford executives on hand.
Highest Tech Mustang Ever
The 2015 Mustang will offer the highest level of electronic tech ever presented on a Mustang, both in terms of driver aides and in terms of creature comforts. This Mustang features the standard bells and whistles you’re familiar with like power locks, and windows, along with many that were previously only available on high end models if even on Fords at all.
- Real time tire pressure monitoring lets drivers know exactly the pressure is of each tire on the car.
- Rain sensing windshield wipers.
- Blind Spot Information System with Cross Traffic Alert.
- Launch control on all trim levels.
- Keyless entry with push button start is standard.
- Track Apps will be available.
- Heated and cooled seats.
- Selectable drive modes for Normal, Sport, Track and Rain/Snow.
- Selectable steering modes that are separate from the stability control settings.
- Adaptive cruise control.
- Tilting and telescoping steering wheel
A global Mustang means a car that has to ride and handle better than any before it, as the car competes against not just it’s domestic competition but some of the best driver’s cars around the world for sales.
The Friendly IRS
We talked with Ford Vice President of Global Product Development Raj Nair about the car’s new suspension systems. Nair tells us that unlike the last time Ford put an IRS in a Mustang this car was designed from the ground up utilize an Independent Rear Suspension system. “From the beginning we were able to design the rear end of the car for an IRS. An integral link IRS which gives us a lot better geometry, a lot better control, allows us to package bigger brakes, and really so much capability that we really needed the double ball joint front suspension as well to balance the car.”
The rear suspension makes use of aluminum knuckles, as well as aluminum lower H-arms to save weight and provide correct geometry. Toe links at the bottom and upper camber links up top are set for optimum control and dynamics from the factory. We have yet to see these parts from under the car, although the diagrams make it appear as though they are non-adjustable.
Additionally in his presentation, Nair said that the springs, bushings and dampers for the IRS system are Mustang specific parts. We asked about the ring gear diameter, is this the fabled 8.8 that has served the Mustang since 1986, or has then been replaced with something new? Nair says that the specifics will be released soon, and simply told us “it will be plenty capable.”
Out In Front
With regard to the front suspension, this is a major change in direction from what Mustang owners have been accustomed to for the last 35 years. Gone is the traditional lower A-arms. They have been replaced with a double ball-joint MacPhereson strut arrangement. This system utilizes a lateral link coming from a rearward angle connecting to the bottom of the spindle, and a Tension link coming from a forward angle connecting to the top of the spindle.
In our interview with him Nair says “We’re really happy with the double ball-joint MacPhereson. The double ball joint gives us really good geometry, as well as allows us to really package a lot bigger brakes on all the models. So we’re pretty pleased with the front suspension.”
We weren’t able to get a clear answer on adjustability of the front and rear suspension. Nair told us “Obviously with an IRS you’re going to be able to get more geometric control of the rear, but we’re pretty stable in how we’re setting the suspension with the new body structure, new capability, and manufacturing. So depending on what you’re going to do for tuning obviously, but coming out of the gate it’s going to be pretty good on it’s front and rear geometry.”
The 2015 Mustang will hit showrooms with four different wheel options. The smallest diameter wheel is an 18-inch design with five split-spokes and a machined finished. Stepping up from there is a 19-inch premium wheel with machined finish in 10-spoke layout. A first from Ford is the gloss black 19-inch wheel, offered in a unique 10-split-spoke design. Last is another first for Mustangs, a factory 20-inch wheel, in split five-spoke design with machined finish. The car at the press event wore the 19-inch gloss black wheels with 255 rubber on the front and 275 rubber on the rear. We noticed there was ample room for much larger tires, and we’re sure the aftermarket will quickly oblige.
Two transmission options will be available in the 2015 Mustang. The Getrag six-speed manual has been revised to allow for smoother shifting and we hope greater durability. A new shifter design and new bushings improve shifter throw in the six-speed and the shifter has been moved closer to the driver for an improved driving experience.
A six-speed automatic will also remain in the lineup. This is also a revised version of the transmission that’s currently available. A revised case will give better strength and lighter weight through the use of reinforcing ribs and a ball-bearing supported output shaft. The frictions have also been redesigned, and this transmission will operate at higher temperatures for improved friction characteristics.
Customer demand has also allowed for the inclusion of steering wheel mounted paddle shifters on all automatic equipped Mustangs. The icing on the cake for automatic owners though is the rev-matching downshift feature, which should make driving a little more fun if you like carving through winding roads, cornering hard, or hitting the auto cross or open track.
Under The Hood
Behind every great Mustang is a great engine package, and quite frankly the lineup that the S197 platform leaves us with are going to be legendary. Two engines will carry on with revisions for the 2015 Mustang. Final power numbers were not available at press time for these engines, although we will have them as soon as they are available. This is likely due to final verifications for emissions compliance and certification of the power numbers before they’re released.
The 3.7 V6 remains the base engine for the Mustang, we suspect that it is getting some tweaks to make it more emissions compliant for the coming model year. We also hope that those tweaks will improve power output. Nair tells us to expect at least 300 hp, and 270 ft-lbs from the base model engine. “Now even the most accessible Mustang delivers performance customers respect,” said Nair in his presentation.
No doubt the 3.7 will continue to be the fleet favorite as well as that of those who just want a Mustang for a styling statement rather than a performance car.
Making it’s way to the mid-line engine position is the new 2.3 liter EcoBoost. This is likely to be the gem of many Mustang enthusiasts who prefer handling and balance to brute force horsepower. The four-pot mill will deliver at least 300 hp and 305 ft-lbs of torque when it hits the streets.
Those impressive power numbers for it’s small size are due to the high-tech features used by the EcoBoost 2.3. Features including a unique turbo and intake manifold design. This engine will utilize a high flow cylinder head with integrated exhaust manifold, and likely a twin scroll turbo allowing it to spool faster at lower RPM’s. Additionally the 2.3 liter’s block is made from die-cast aluminum with a structural ladder frame. Main caps are integrated for improved strength. The rotating assembly is all forged, and this engine also benefits from piston cooling jets. A balance shaft has been incorporated as well to reduce NVH.
Those staples of EcoBoost engines both direct injection and variable cam timing will also be part of the 2.3. The oil pan is a deep sump, cast aluminum design with high performance driving in mind. It features baffles to keep oil around the pickup even during high performance driving.
Running On All Eight
Picking up where the 2014 Mustang GT left off, the 5.0 Coyote engine returns for 2015. Using lessons learned from the BOSS 302 program Ford engineers have revised the Coyote significantly. The now famous 5.0 will receive a new top end treatment as well as a rebalanced forged crankshaft. Different pistons will also play a role to make room for larger intake and exhaust valves in the revised, better flowing cylinder heads.
Revised camshafts will also contribute to the power picture. Mid-range response and power should be better thanks to new mid-lock camshaft phasers controlling those new cams. The intake manifold has been changed as well. While it will appear close to the same aesthetically, it is functionally all new. This was done to improve idle, drivability and emissions characteristics. It also improves low end power. Charge motion control valves in the intake will increase turbulence at low RPM and resulting in better response and more complete combustion.
During the presentation Nair said that the 5.0 will produce more than 420 hp, and more than 390 ft-lbs of torque. How much more was not even hinted at. If the success of the BOSS 302 engine was any indication we’re hoping for at least 440 hp, if not over 450. Only time will tell when the final numbers are released.
We asked about the possibility of an EcoBoost version of the Coyote to fill the gap between the GT and a possible Shelby model. Nair would not comment, telling us that he only wanted to focus on the three engine lineup that is going into the 2015 Mustang. No word yet on a specialty model, what the 2.3 equipped models will be known as, or when the exact on-sale date is. The only thing that is certain is that the 2015 Mustang brings more technology in terms of performance, handling, horsepower, and creature comforts than any variation of the breed before it. We can’t wait to get behind the wheel.
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