Sunday, December 21, 2014

A Morning full of 2015 Mustangs

And yes, I have a real favorite of the group I drove.
I'm going to date myself horribly in about 20 seconds.  My romance with the Mustang goes back to learning of a publicity stunt Ford did when they rolled out this car in 1964.  I read about the 'Stang in my Weekly Reader in second grade where they put this revolutionary sports car on top of the Empire State Building.  It was the Mustang.

I remember the magical day my friends saw our first Mustang in the little town in the UP of Michigan.  It was a big deal for a bunch of second graders.  I remember it well, it was cool overcast day and this brilliant Turquoise Mustang was flying down 2nd street in front of our house.  We all gasped and did the toot your horn arm signal and the driver obliged.

For Christmas that year my youngest brother got a metal pedal was a red Mustang and he tooled all around the basement until the snow left and he got to take out on the driveway.

Flash forward to my starting to drive.  I remember shopping new cars and I always wound up drooling over the Mustang's, convertibles and the SVT Turbo.  In 1986 I met a woman who stole my heart that I eventually married.  She had a 1984 Charcoal grey metallic Mustang LX Coupe.  That was a terrific car and it lasted us into the early years of our marriage.  We unfortunately had to get rid of it when child #2 rolled along as there was no way we'd get 2 car seats into it.  But I digress too much.

This last week I got to spend a morning driving 3 Mustangs.  1 GT, 2 Ecoboost, 1 manual and 1 automatic. All had the performance pack.  All had the latest technological goodies Ford has to offer on the Mustang.  Two even were equipped with the Recaro package.  Trust me.  Spend the extra for those seats over the basic seats offered even with the premium leather package.  There is nothing like settling in to a car and dialing in all the bolsters and such for a perfect fit for the car.  It was nothing short of amazing how comfortable those seats are.  They should be standard with the performance pack.
First up was the 2015 Mustang GT.  WOW.  With 435 horse power and 400 ft lbs of torque this car is a beast in the very best meaning of the word.  Blip the throttle and you are off, mash it and the traction control nannies step in and ensure a straight as an arrow run through the gears with an oh so very satisfying growl.

The version I drove had the performance pack on top of all the goodies found on the Mustang GT Premium.  Add in the Recaro seat package and I was in heaven.  Coddled and nestled into the car as one, even with an automatic tranny this car begs you to hit it hard.

I really liked the adjustable driving mode with this car.  You can chose from normal, snow/wet, sport and track to suit what you are doing at the moment.  Its done with a simple flick of the switch and voila your driving character changes.  Track pretty much disables all the nannies, on a wet road at 30 I flipped to that, punched it and got a nice fish tail going without trying.

Another adjustment available is for the steering. The options are pretty straight forward, comfort, normal and sport.  One is aimed at parking lot maneuvers with minimal effort, the other for just cruising and the latter for canyon carving. All good stuff and easily adjusted on the fly with a simple toggle switch in the center stack.

The amazing thing about all these adjustments is that you can have your canyon carver and still live with the car on a daily bump and grind commute.  The switch to independent rear suspension and redo of the front suspension to work in unison with that new rear end produced a car that is nothing short of amazing.  Set it all to normal and comfort and you are set for a cross country run or daily commute without ruffling a feather.  Set it to the more aggressive modes and you're ready to tackle Azusa Canyon and its glorious twisties and switch backs.  Point is Ford refined this car so its at home in both worlds.  Its still the hairy beast when you want it to be.

A pleasant surprise was the fuel economy numbers I achieved on my 20 miles loop. It was a good mix of urban, flowing freeway and bump and grind.  End result for the 5.0l V8 with an automatic is a pretty amazing 18.4 MPG.
Along with the bumper to bumper redesign of the car the interior was gutted and completely redone. Yes, it has a few retro touches that still tell you its a Mustang, but its different.  Things are integrated better with stunning, luxury touch materials that belie its pony car for the masses appeal.  Its immediate competition has a long way to go to get to this level of fit and finish and high end material feel.  More of a M Class for the masses and considerably cheaper.

My only niggle with the car is the tiny buttons on the steering wheel to control the center information stack or even the infotainment and sync.  Perfect for someone with with petite hands, not for fat fingers like me. At least there are redundant controls on the dash for the infotainment center, but you don't even need that with the voice controls of MyFordTouch with sync.  The latest version is much faster and more refined that the one used even a year ago.

I absolutely loved the Mustang Ecoboost with the Recaro package.  The weight difference in the front end is immediately noticeable over the V8 GT.  The car goes from meaty glued down performance to slot car darty with this engine tranny combo.  Much more fun to drive than the GT.

The Ecoboost with Recaro allows you to perfectly tune your seats to align you with the 3 pedals that control the fun factor of the car.  It was by far the easiest manual tranny car I have driven in ages.  Pedals were perfectly placed and balanced. It just begged you to step on it and row those gears flicking though the gates picking up speed with each shift.

This car too had the performance pack which I won't go into to much detail other to say with a manual tranny those options become even more fun.  Until you hit a traffic jam and bump and go traffic which is always my reminder why I don't want a stick if I live in the city and need to deal with jams on a daily basis.

Even with my spirited driving I turned in some impressive numbers with this 6 speed transmission Ecoboost Mustang.  27mpg is nothing to sneeze at when you have the same power as the Bullitt V8 of a few years ago.  Impressive results for a car with performance that runs with the 8's of a few years ago with a turbocharged Ecoboost 2.3l 4 cylinder. These results compare favorably with the EPA estimates of 22 city/31 highway/25 combined. Nice work Ford.
The final car in my rotation is the one I want for my daily driving.  Its the Ecoboost Premium but instead of the standard interior I'd opt up for the Recaro package and keep the performance pack that was on the car I drove.  The standard seats are good, but the Recaros are amazing and worth every penny.
The Ecooboost Premium with automatic transmission you do loose a little bit of the performance edge in the 0-60 run, or is it all imagined as you are shifting for yourself.  Since I don't have instrument testing I can't tell you for certain if its real or imagined.

All I can tell you is that this automatic is perfectly matched to the Ecoboost, not hunting for gears transparent in operation and will run through the gears at redline with no issues when lunging into the freeway from an off ramp stop signal.  I loved this car for its utility and practicality when I ran into an traffic jam and I reverted to bump and grind traffic with the other lemmings on the 405.  Much more comfortable than having to clutch in and out every 5 feet of movement over a couple of miles.

My only niggle with the Ecoboost is the fake sound track played through the speakers, fun when you are driving aggressively. Kind of annoying when you settle into cruise mode.  My suggestion is that you have it disabled when comfort and normal are chosen for your driving modes and on for the more spirited driving modes. I mean it really tells you nothing of what the engine is really doing, its that fake, just makes for a nice sound track when you are having some fun.

It really comes down to economics of the Ecoboost over the GT with a V8.  Gas is cheap now, but it won't be forever, especially with the guvs Cap and Trade tax going into effect in a few weeks on a gallon of gas.  The Ecoboost Premium with Automatic turned in a very respectable 25.2 MPG over the same course the GT turned in 18.4.  Over the course of the year that's a lot of Premium unleaded. Ad in the insurance premium difference between the two the Ecoboost makes more sense for me.  All the fun with some frugality works.

I priced out an Ecoboost Premium I want with the Automatic, Magnetic dark gray metallic paint and Recaro seats...$38.1K.  Anyone wanna be nice to me for Christmas?