It’s safe to say that the 2015 Ford Mustang is one of the most anticipated cars of 2014.
Few models stay around for 50 years, and the ones that do accumulate a loyal fan base, and strong opinions about what is and is not proper for such a hallowed vehicle.
With the new Mustang, which will reportedly be revealed December 5, Ford needs to balance evolution with tradition. It needs to change the ‘Stang enough for it to stay relevant, while keeping it recognizable.
Will Ford succeed? Will the 2015 model be stuck in the past, or a high-tech ride that’s a Mustang in name only? Here’s what we know so far.
Since Ford went retro with the Mustang’s styling back in 2005, it’s been hard to picture the car as anything other than a 1960s throwback.
So when Ford began hinting that the 2015 Mustang would be based on the Evos concept from the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show, the Internet was abuzz.
Related: 2015 Ford Mustang GT review
However, the production version will probably have more in common with the current Mustang than with the Evos.
The biggest visual change may be new headlights designed to echo the Fusion’s. This would give the Mustang a more updated look and tie it more closely to other Ford models.
There’s nothing wrong with the current Mustang, but it would be nice to see Ford change things up a bit. Final judgment will be reserved for the genuine article.
The 2015 Mustang’s powertrain will probably attract less controversy than its styling. Ford introduced a entirely new engine lineup for the 2011 model year, so it seems likely that most if not all of the hardware will carry over.
That means buyers can expect a 3.7-liter V6 in the base model or the 5.0-liter “Coyote” V8 in the GT.
Things might get more interesting further down the line, though.
Ford will install a 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine in certain models. This may be the basis for a reborn SVO performance model, or a way to appeal to European buyers. Either way, it should help Ford’s Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) score.
On the other end of the scale, rumor has it that Ford is also working on a twin-turbocharged V8 codenamed “Voodoo.” This engine could make up to 600 horsepower, and will likely power a range-topping performance model.
Expect a bit of Mustang sacrilege in the suspension department. We now know from images of the leaked Autoweek issue from Photobucket that the 2015 Ford Mustang will be virtually the same size as the current generation but will be two inches wider in the rear and 200 pounds lighter over all. Weight savings comes from a new, aluminum rear fenders.
The current Mustang is virtually the only new car with a solid rear axle, an antiquated setup favored by pickup trucks and Conestoga wagons. Ford is expected to finally replace it with an independent rear suspension setup.
The solid rear axle is better for drag racing, and was common back when rear-wheel drive cars were the norm, but times have changed.
The Mustang needs to be more than just a drag racer; it needs to hang with the foreign competition on tracks that have curves. A more sophisticated suspension system will also yield better ride quality, and will be better able to handle the power of the inevitable high-performance Mustang variants.
The current Mustang’s interior is more than a little retro, so Ford will have to pull off the same balancing act as with the car’s exterior styling.
Ford’s most recent interiors have been dominated by tech; just look at the single dial flanked by two screens in the Fusion and the current Edge. Hopefully the current Mustang’s round analog gauges won’t be crowded out by displays of less-vital information.
The 2015 Mustang will also probably get the ubiquitous MyFord Touch infotainment system. It’s already offered on nearly every other vehicle Ford makes and the 2014 Mustang is already offered with the more basic Sync voice control system.
MyFord Touch has never been popular with drivers or journalists, but it still finds its way off dealer lots frequently.
The stereotypical Baby Boomer Mustang buyer probably won’t want to futz with MyFord Touch, but younger buyers might find it more attractive.
Of course, there won’t be just one 2015 Ford Mustang.
As with past Mustang generations, part of the fun will be choosing from an entire stable of models, each with its own personality and purpose.
The core of the lineup will almost certainly be a V6-powered base model and a V8-powered GT, from there, the sky’s the limit. The GT will be offered with 15-inch, six-piston Brembo brakes for improved stopping capacity.
So Ford may be swapping one legendary name for another with this one.
Other performance models may include the SVO mentioned above, and a mid-level model to replace the dearly departed Boss 302.
This model could keep the Boss name, or could go by GT350, another name Ford has shown interest in lately.
In addition to the factory models, expect post-title packages from Shelby American, Saleen, and Roush, and other tuners following the new Mustang’s arrival in showrooms.
That will take place sometime next year, just in time for the car’s 50th anniversary. The 2015 Mustang will be officially revealed December 5, and will make an appearance at the Detroit Auto Show shortly after that.
UPDATE: We added new, leaked photos and a few details, including curb weight savings and Brembo brake upgrades for the 2015 Mustang GT.