Join Date: Feb 2007
Edmunds: 2010 Ford Mustang First Look
By Daniel Pund, Senior Editor, Detroit Email
Date posted: 11-17-2008
Does anybody remember laughter? — Robert Plant
Remember when we were all talking about the return of the muscle-car wars? You know, the 2010 Chevrolet Camaro, 2009 Dodge Challenger and 2010 Ford Mustang locked in a V8-powered, testosterone-saturated, mustache-stroking, smack-talking, bitch-slappin', patch-laying death match? That was great. Good times. Way better than the housing/financial/automotive apocalypse that's now upon us.
Well, put your troubles behind you, brother, because the new Camaro and the updated Mustang are just around the corner and the Challenger is waiting for them. We're going to party like it's 1929! Or 1969. Or, whatever.
Anyway, there's a new Mustang in town and it's 28 percent meaner-looking.
From 40 paces, the 2010 Ford Mustang looks a lot like the retro-inflected 'Stang that we've been seeing for about four years now. The rough size of the car is the same and so is the styling silhouette, since it's built on the same underpinnings as the current car.
From 20 paces, though, it's obvious that every panel (apart from the roof) has been changed in advance of this car's coming-out party at the Los Angeles auto show. (The 2010 Mustang actually goes on sale early next year, around the same time as the Camaro.) And despite a new retro-inspired haunch over the rear wheels, the overall effect of the restyled look is much more modern. Why exactly the buying public loves angry-looking cars we'll leave to the head-shrinkers.
The 2010 Ford Mustang looks leaner, although it actually gains a few pounds. It looks lower, although it's not. With headlights trimmed in black chrome (at least on the GT model) and a squatter, all-black grille, the look is sinister. Even the pony mounted to the center of the grille is finished in black chrome.
A sharply defined power dome on the hood of both the GT and the V6 models suggests a massive increase in the force beneath. This is merely styling, though; there's really no more power offered. The flank of the new Mustang is more carefully sculpted than the previous car, as the body appears to be shrink-wrapped over a skeleton. The new haunch adds some visual weight to the rear of the car. From certain angles, there's a bit of a suggestion of the Nissan GT-R's rear flank in the new Ford, too.
Ford has also replaced the horridly cheap, plastic-clad Dumbo-ear outside mirrors of the current Mustang with nicer-looking mirrors with body-color caps. Although your eye might not pick it up, airflow likes the new shape better. Ford tells us that the 2010 Mustang V6 has 4 percent less aerodynamic drag than before, while the additional use of a belly pan beneath the engine bay of the Mustang GT produces 7 percent less drag than before. In addition, the 2010 Mustang GT has 23 percent less aerodynamic lift over the front wheels than the current car.
Tucking the windshield wipers under the hood and moving the antenna to the rear of the car helps make it look less cheap, we think. Wind noise is down 12 percent, according to the Ford engineers. Also, the designers managed to remove the windshield-washer squirt nozzles from the surface of the hood. Judging by how many times company representatives referred to them as "ugly warts," we're guessing they're particularly proud of this move. It should at least make it easier to apply hood stripes.
Now Less Cheesy
The Ford guys have always hated hearing that the interior of the Mustang felt and looked cheap. This is because they knew it was true.
As a result, a fair amount of effort has been devoted to improving the interior by using better-quality materials. In particular, the instrument panel looks nicer, with a new one-piece design that Ford says has reduced squeaks and rattles by 33 percent (and here we didn't even know that you could quantify squeaks and rattles so precisely).
They've redesigned the center console also, giving it a smooth, attractive arc.
Two different interior upgrade packages will be available with the 2010 Ford Mustang. The Premium package brings leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with aluminum spokes, bright aluminum trim for the dash and ribbed door-panel inserts. The Premier package adds higher-grade leather, an aluminum shift knob for the lever of the manual transmission, and the choice of red, blue or "Cashmere" accent colors to go with the black interior. A navigation system will be optional, as will the Sync 2.0 entertainment and information system (using an 8-inch screen), a power-adjustable driver seat, aluminum pedals and even a rearview camera.
If you're wondering why we've waited this long in the story to mention mechanical upgrades to the Mustang, it's because they are considerably less substantial than the body and interior improvements.
Both the V6 and GT get bigger wheels and tires. The V6 comes with 215/60R17 BFGoodrich tires on 17-inch wheels as standard equipment and 235/50R18 Pirellis on 18s are optional. The GT comes with the Pirellis and 18s as standard equipment, while 245/45R19 Pirelli tires on 19s are optional. Later in the 2010 model year, Ford will offer a performance package that'll come with 19-inch summer tires and will carry unique suspension tuning and a 3.73:1 rear-axle ratio (previously available only on the Bullitt model).
Ford engineers reckon that a GT with the all-season 19s will generate 0.90g on the skid pad. The 19-inch summer tires are supposed to be good for 0.93g. Every Mustang GT with 19-inch wheels also comes with a strut-tower brace.
Ford hasn't made any radical changes to the basic suspension setup (i.e., there will be no independent rear suspension). Nevertheless, new front suspension struts come with bigger pistons for more precise damping control, the springs are stiffer and the antiroll bars are different. Ford claims the combination of the new chassis setup and the new tires offers better grip in both the dry and the wet, a more neutral handling balance, less body roll in the corners and improved braking. We'll see soon enough, when we get our butts in the seat.
All 2010 Ford Mustangs will come standard with traction and stability control systems. The GT has an intermediate sport setting that should allow for some modest tail-wagging fun.
Ford says the weight of the GT increases by only 15 pounds and the V6 is up only 35 pounds. And Ford hastens to add that the Mustang is still very much lighter than "our new competitors." Judging by the last Mustang Bullitt we had on our scales, we reckon the '10 Mustang will weigh about 3,500 pounds. This makes it about 500 pounds lighter than a Dodge Challenger R/T and about 400 less than a Chevy Camaro SS. Still, the R/T and particularly the SS will have much better power-to-weight ratios.
And that's because....
The GT's 24-valve, SOHC 4.6-liter V8 gets just a small boost from 300 horsepower to 315 hp and a bump in torque from 320 pound-feet to 325 lb-ft. This is thanks to a new cold-air intake system. Redline also rises to 6,500 rpm from 6,250 rpm. If these numbers sound familiar, it's because they are the same numbers that the '09 Mustang Bullitt makes.
If that's not enough juice for you, Ford Racing will offer a dealer-installed supercharger package that will push power above 400 hp. You can go ahead and forget about the so-called 6.0-liter Boss V8. According to our sources, using this motor would have required some heavy modifications to the Mustang's front end. A twin-turbocharged V6 that makes more than 350 hp is in the works for the Mustang's future, we're told.
Meanwhile, the standard Mustang carries the same iron-block 4.0-liter V6 as before and it makes a frankly pitiful 210 hp, at least 90 hp less than the Camaro V6. The five-speed manual transmissions are carry-overs for both the V6 and GT.
Don't expect the price of the 2010 Ford Mustang to rise much above that of the '09 version, especially because Chevrolet has been surprisingly aggressive in pricing the 2010 Camaro (a base V6 starts at $22,995). The 2009 Mustang V6 starts at $20,790, and the 2010 model should continue to undercut the Camaro by a couple thousand dollars. (It's going to need to, considering the performance differential between the two.) We wouldn't expect the price of the 2010 Mustang GT to go much over the $27,570 base price of the current car. At $28,000, the GT would be roughly $3,000 cheaper than the 422-hp Camaro.
The 2010 Ford Mustang will be available in coupe, convertible and sunroof-equipped versions from the start of production. The Camaro will not, of course. Also, the Mustang comes standard with turn signals that light sequentially like the 1968-'70 Shelby Mustangs. So, there's that.
"Let the rest of the world dream of Ferraris, Lamborghinis and dinky little British two-seaters. In this country speed doesn't look like that." Got SS?