Only an exclusive club of automotive brands has endured so honestly as Ford’s Mustang. Year after year, generation after generation, the original pony car excites drivers with exhilarating performance and beautiful bodies. After tearing up roads for 45 years, grandchildren of early buyers are now enjoying their own Mustangs. This tradition takes a turn for the best in 2010 as Ford recently introduced the next-generation Mustang at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
Said Mark Fields, Ford president of The Americas, “More than 9 million customers have made Mustang one of the world’s most beloved automotive and cultural icons. Making sure this modern legend lives up to their expectations has been a driving force for the team, which went to great lengths – gathering customer input everywhere from race tracks to Main Streets in cities throughout the U.S. – working to create the best Mustang ever.”
Design is a blend of the current model, classics, and the Italian Giugiaro show car from a couple of years ago. The front is more aggressively refined, with the first new Mustang emblem since the original in ’64; V6 and GT models have differentiated front ends. Headlamps and turn signals are combined into one unit, inspired by the ’70 Mustang. Fog lamps on V6 models are in the bumper, but remain in the grille on GTs. Side profiles are sleeker and correct for the next decade. Faceted taillamps include back-up lights, “sequence firing” LED turn indicators, and give the impression of the traditional three-barrel design. All of the sheetmetal, except for the roofline, is new.
The Mustang was successful like the Beatles were popular. Ford figured it would sell around 100,000 in the first 12 months of production. It sold 10 times that number in the first 18.
The pony car is easy to define. It was small by Detroit standards, with sporty styling. It had a back seat for your kids and a usable trunk for your stuff. And the rear wheels were driven by an engine — ideally a big V-8 — mounted up front where God and Henry Ford intended.
In describing the new Mustang’s new forms, Ford group vice president of Design, J Mays, stated, “The best Mustangs have always been the ones that connect young America with the spirit of the times – and the 2010 does exactly that. The new Mustang is close to the magnetic center of the original, fully loaded with the swagger you’d expect, but with modern refinement and attention to detail like you’ve never seen in a muscle car.”
“Overall, it shows great attention to a small detail, and that’s indicative of many parts and systems on the 2010 Mustang,” said Tom Barnes, vehicle engineering manager. “Together, they all make a big difference.”
A host of other customer-generated improvements can be found on the 2010 Mustang, including:
Correcting a gripe of the current model, the interior was upgraded with fresh design and higher quality materials. The dashboard and center console are a coherent whole and flow together better. Seats, armrests, and dashboard are upholstered in softer materials; large analog gauges, twin cowl dash design, and sporty three-spoke steering wheel remain as a testament to the Mustang’s heritage. Dash and ambient lighting can be changed through a spectrum of 125 colors while Microsoft Sync is now available to give Mustang drivers access to voice-activated calling, navigation, satellite radio, and real time weather forecasts. Early designers never dreamed of the technology found in the new car’s interior.
Swagger must be backed up with performance – the Mustang will deliver a powerful whomp from base V6 and V8 engines. By spreading experience from the popular Bullitt edition, the GT’s 4.6-litre V8 will increase output to 315 horsepower – connected to the road through a refined suspension system. Engineers still haven’t coughed up a world-class independent rear suspension, but they have done everything possible to control its behavior. Four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, traction control, and electronic stability control are standard to keep all of the horses running in the right direction.