After 50 years and more than 9 million Mustangs sold, Ford faced one of the toughest questions in the automotive world: How do you redesign an icon?
To create an all-new version of the Mustang — perhaps America’s most iconic and popular performance car — Ford’s designers and engineers had to balance respect for the Mustang’s heritage with changes that bring it into the modern age for 2015. The result is what you see here: a drastically different car that remains every inch a Mustang.
FOR A NEW WORLD
For better or worse, the previous generation Mustang is in many ways a relic from an earlier era. Its solid rear axle, heavyweight feel and muscle- car styling would have looked right at home in the 1960s. The new generation Mustang changes that. While the look is still heavily influenced by the early Mustangs — a good thing, in my opinion — there are changes under the skin that make it a much more modern vehicle than its predecessor. The Mustang’s old-school rear suspension design has finally been dumped in favor of an integral-link independent rear suspension, which should greatly improve the ride and handling. It also gets some new electronic goodies such as adaptive cruise control and Ford’s Blind Spot Information System with cross-traffic alert. Its cabin also looks like a nice improvement over the previous design, making more use of soft-touch materials, classy looking stitching and a prominent digital display that is neatly integrated with the dash layout. As a whole, the changes to the Mustang make it a more up-to-date car without sacrificing the essence of what the ‘Stang has always been: a fun, stylish car for the masses and enthusiasts alike.
Ford’s designers seem to have gotten the balancing act right on the new Mustang’s body. It’s got a completely new look with a sleeker, slipperier, cleaner shape overall, but it’s still instantly recognizable as a Mustang at first glance. To my eyes, the new Mustang looks slightly more like a sports car and slightly less like a muscle car. Its hood appears longer and lower, making it more evocative of the original Mustang that had a hint of European flair to its design. Taken as an entire package, though, there’s nothing European about it. It’s a very in-your-face design, one that’s classically American without being overly reliant on retro styling. For a car that is turning 50 years old — making it one of the world’s longest cars in continuous production — it looks like it has a whole lot of life and excitement yet to come.