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Media Drive: 2015 Ford Mustang 2.3L EcoBoost & 5.0L GT

A local Phoenix tradition has been raised with Ford and the Phoenix Automotive Press Association. Due to limited supply and the high volume of journalist, each year Ford holds an open house that allows us to view their latest and upcoming products.  This year, they brought something special along with them… the all-new 2015 Ford Mustang. And actually, they brought two new Mustangs; a 2.3-liter EcoBoost and a 5.0-liter V8 GT.

2015 Ford Mustang 5.0L GT

With the new Mustangs parked before us, we stood there for a minute admiring its sleek new aggressive design. In fact, it’s a little intimidating. The beastly long nose, growling nostrils and chiseled face had us a little nervous to what Ford had in store for us. The fastback roof line, and bellicose rear fascia was very taunting to other keen motorist, there was no doubt that this was an all-new Mustang.

Once behind the wheel, there is a sense of theatrical-ness, the engine start button for example looked like something out of Top Gun. And those stainless steel switches, they may not fire any rockets, but they sure add a sense of occasion when you turn on the hazard lights. Our two sampled Mustang’s carried two separate packages. The 2.3L EcoBoost coated in a flamboyant Triple Yellow paint had a black leather interior, heated and cooled seats, and dual-zone climate control; in addition to the optional enhanced security package, adaptive cruise control, and Navigation system. The 5.0L V8 GT Mustang was more subtle than the EcoBoost in Ruby Red paint and not as many options with the Recaro Racing Seats and Rear Park Assist.

When it comes to interior quality, Mustangs haven’t always been the greatest at the final fit and finish. There isn’t much difference with this new generation. The interior cabin uses a good mix of interior trim to break up the hard plastic. The series of buttons throughout the center console and steering wheel is somewhat overwhelming, considering we only had 30 minutes to play with, we didn’t bother testing functionality. What we can tell you is that in both the EcoBoost and GT, the ride was surprisingly comfortable – even with the Recaro Seats, cabin noise was minimal, and even for a coupe there was good visibility all around.

The Mustang uses 3 all new engines; 300hp/280lb-ft of torque 3.7L Ti-VCT V6, 310hp/320lb-ft of torque 2.3L GTDI EcoBoost 4-cylinder, and the monstrous 435hp/400lb-ft of torque 5.0L Ti-VCT V8.

First, let’s talks about the 2.3L EcoBoost – that’s the one in Triple Yellow. At 310 horsepower, it makes it more powerful than the V6 version and much more economical at roughly 32 mpg highway. This sample came with the six-speed automatic transmission and to be honest we had our doubts. However the figures speak differently. Zero to 60 in just over 5 seconds leaves us with our foot in our mouths. Acceleration is surprisingly quick and utterly smooth, the six-speed transmission is effortless, responds to your needs through the steering wheel paddle shifters. There is some weakening engine noise at higher rpms that reminds you this is a 4-cylinder.

With an all-new chassis, the Mustang is lighter and stronger – this goes to show in the performance segment. Engaging Sport Mode, will adjusts the throttle responsiveness and transmission mapping – it will hold the gears longer for better acceleration when coming into and out of turns. The steering is snug and precise; you get a sense of where the wheels are at, at all times. You can adjust the steering settings between Sport, Sport+, and Track Mode to advance your driving needs.  And when things get too out of control the brakes work just as good.

But let’s get to that 5.0L V8 GT shall we! At 435 horsepower, it is quite the lean mean fighting machine. From the moment you push the starter button and slide it into first gear, your testosterone levels increase by nearly 1000%. The sound simply put is epic! it will put hairs on your chest. And when it comes down to driving it, it’s as easy as driving a Fiesta ST. With 400lb-ft of torque being transferred to the asphalt from the rear wheels, zero to 60 is achieved in 4.5 seconds and a top speed of 146 mph.

Without getting too aggressive in our driving style, the 5.0L V8 shows great promise in its performance attributes.  While the clutch comes off a bit stiff for normal driving conditions the gear shifts are short and smooth for rapid changes. At idle, the sound of the 5.0L V8 is angry and aggressive, it’s hard not to set off without leaving other motorist deaf. It wants you to misbehave – and that’s were Ford has done things right. The chassis feels superb – handling is spot on – just be careful not to kick out the back end – we had to be! When it comes to ride quality, it’s about what you’d expect from a sports car – the ride is firm and choppy but manageable on everyday basis.

Ford has done right by this all new Mustang. The 2.3L EcoBoost gives a good balance of efficiency and performance dynamics that any auto enthusiast can enjoy while not breaking the bank. Our tested Triple Yellow 2.3L EcoBoost was a pre-production Premium model that starts at $29,170, after a few options it brought it up quick to just over $36,000. However, if fuel efficiency isn’t your thing the 5.0L GT starts at an affordable $32,100 – our tested Ruby Red GT after some options came to a rough total $35,600 – you can’t find cheap entertainment like that anymore.


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