2015 marks the Mustang’s 50th anniversary and Ford has promised that with the occasion will come a revolutionary redesign. Speculation has since abounded about what this will mean. Will the silver pony finally start getting ugly again? We don’t know yet, and we certainly hope it won’t end up looking like one of the esophagus-clinching renders we’ve seen, but last week some photo-savvy spies caught a test mule rolling around, and this confirmed a feature the new Mustang will probably get: independent rear suspension.
For camo the mule simply (and cleverly) wore the current Mustang body, so we won’t expect a wheelbase change, but the rear axle was noticeably absent. Officially, Ford is still mulling whether or not to keep the LRA, but if we could afford to bet in this economy, we’d drop a Hamilton on the IRS. It’s a nearly unprecedented move for the original pony car. In its five decades of being awesome (we’re counting the early ‘70s, here), the only factory Mustang to receive an IRS was the 1999-2004 SVT Cobra.
So like any good double rainbow observer, we’re asking, What does it meeeeeen? Well, it will certainly mean better handling and a better ride on the track, and it means straight-line racers will be a bit miffed. So is Ford favoring a ‘Ring-eating track setup over a good ol’ Mercian’ drag racer? Perhaps. The LRA was, after all, everyone’s favorite complaint about the latest Boss.
But even the crustiest, most rubber-sprayed, chain-tire-smoking quarter mile fan has to admit that Ford’s following the market on this one. The Camaro, the Corvette, even the Abrams-aping Challenger all have IRS. It’s the next logical step for Dearborn. It only makes sense. But it also makes an ending. The Mustang was the last American sports car to come with a live rear axle.
So should you rub ashes on your forehead and mourn in sackcloth, begging the mountains to fall on you? Is the muscle car finally dead? That would make a saucy headline, but no. Heck no. American muscle is alive and well, still promoting the huge, the heavy, the frighteningly powerful, and the loud in both styling and exhaust. The Detroit-designed impractical sports car will march on, it will just grow up a little. It might even start living up to the “Grand Tourer” in “GT.”
But speaking of the practical, under the deluge of questions surrounding the photo leak, Ford has thrown us an unrelated scrap: the 2015 Mustang will be the first to feature an EcoBoost 4 banger. A four cylinder? In a Mustang? It certainly isn’t the first we’ve seen. Nor is it even the first turbo. The SVO was sold from 1984-1986, and only made 200 hp, but any Stang fan will tell you this was a huge improvement over standard.
The 2015, however, will likely get Ford’s 2.0 EcoBoost, which is currently rated up to 275 hp. It’s working well enough for the Focus ST. No, this four-pot won’t conquer everything in sight, but it will be lighter and should prove pretty good fun. Now someone call Ford and tell them to plug in the EcoBoost V6 from the F-150, instead.
All of this does indeed close a door for the Mustang, but it’s not an unwelcome change. Many fans have been clamoring for IRS for years, and EcoBoost is just a good, tested system. Now to take a break from all these Mustang articles. Unless we get more news this week.
What do you think? Is Ford cutting ties with their fanbase by dropping the LRA? Would you prefer an IRS? What about the turbo? Blasphemy or brilliance?