Detroit – Ford Motor Company revealed plans this week for a total redesign of its upcoming 2015 Mustang. Long rumored to be the year that the iconic nameplate received a total makeover; Ford representatives confirmed today that the 50th anniversary of the car will be unlike anything ever seen in Mustang history.
Ford Executive Vice President of Product Design, Dan Buttrehm headed a presentation at the Ford Concept and Design Center highlighting many of the cars new features.
“What we were looking for was a synergy that brought the current design even further into the 21st century,” Buttrehm stated. “We wanted an evolution of the current retro look combined with the dynamics of daring innovation and engineering that will further solidify the vehicle as the pinnacle of driving excitement.”
Ford released two preliminary photos of the car which is currently being tested. Buttrehm noted that the design is 90% final with some final touches and cosmetic changes to follow.
The vehicle is expected to have Ford’s Ecoboost four-cylinder as the base engine along with higher output versions of the current 3.7 liter V6, 5.0 V8, and the 5.8 V-8 in the Shelby GT500. The new engines will bring over 400 horsepower to the V6 model while the 5.0 and 5.8 V8’s will move to 500 horsepower and a blazing 700 horsepower respectively.
The rear suspension, long a point of contention among Mustang faithful, will also be changed. Gone is the single arm suspension, now fully replaced by an independent system which will greatly increase handling and maneuverability. This change, coupled with the new all-wheel drive system, will give the vehicle a greater turning radius and allow 90 degree cornering safely at speeds of over 70 mph.
Trim levels will also change slightly. And 2015 will see the return of the Bullitt and the Boss models. All models will now come standard with Ford’s revolutionary new LED lighting system for all internal and external lighting. Seats have been designed by Recaro and will be exclusive to the Mustang family. The interior has been redesigned with an emphasis on comfort along with driving convenience. While some driving enthusiasts have been worried that the cockpit is going to be too ‘soft’, Ford Interior Concept VP Olivia Dosetbehst stated that enthusiasts should not concern themselves with such trivialities. She also stressed that the changes will only enhance the value of the vehicle.
“We studied the current vehicle and found that the interior materials are sorely lacking in key areas that consumers stated made the car feel inferior to the competition. Mustang is the halo vehicle for the Ford Motor Company and the most recognized name brand of any vehicle in the world. Therefore we knew that the interior should reflect the high standards we expect from such a legend. Gone are the hard plastics on the dash, pillars, and doors. These have been replaced with soft touch materials which are highly eco-friendly. Even the leather is cultivated from cows which have been raised in a nurturing environment and hand fed the finest grains before they are killed in the most humane way possible. Ford is proud that 100 percent of the animal is used for various purposes, and nothing is wasted in our mission to provide fine leather seats and steering wheels.”
Dosetbehst noted that the redesign also should appeal to many demographics that Ford has found would not be considered the typical Mustang buyer. “I think one of our most surprising finds was just how varied our customer base was with the car,” she said. “We all know that many buyers of the car are men between the ages of 20-45, and young women; with the ratio of performance models to economy models evenly balanced between men and women. What we also found was that some groups were under-represented in the stats even though they comprise a high number of buyers for particular models.
“White men represent the majority of Mustang owners across all models except for a few small instances. For example, we were surprised to learn that the largest demographic of Shelby models seem to be purchased by younger homosexual African-American males; while lesbians are the highest segment of Boss model owners. The redesigned interiors, while not developed exclusively for these segments; do highlight design cues that will cater to their needs as well as all other people.
Larger shift knobs in both standard and automatic configurations have been designed for a better grip during extreme driving situations. These knobs are also removable in case you want to change one out for a different size or shape. Seats on all trim levels now benefit from a memory foam style bottom cushion to allow for excellent comfort on long trips and help reduce pain or swelling on the backside. The instrument panel has been replaced with a single LED screen which is multi-configurable to be able to display the status of any system the owner desires. It will also be able to play videos streamed from the internet as long as the vehicle is either parked or the cruise control is engaged.
The vehicle will also incorporate Ford’s next generation driver assist system MyTouch which will allow for voice commands to control anything from rolling down the windows to operating the 1000 watt radio and navigation system.
The Mustang will also ride on a completely new chassis made of a combination high-strength aluminum and carbon fiber blend. This will increase rigidity over 200 percent and be 10 times stronger than the current steel system in place. Buttrehm noted that the new chassis will be exclusive to the Mustang brand and shared only with future Mustang models, such as the four-door coupe and the compact utility vehicle to be released in 2017.
The new Mustang is expected to debut at the Detroit International Auto Show in January of 2014.