First Drive – 2015 Mustang GT, Roaring Muscle Fastback Classic

by Tony West and Daryl Payne
2015 Mustang GT on the ACC track
2015 Mustang GT on the ACC track

The new Mustang has been selling like hotcakes in the U.S. and making major waves overseas. An upscale muscle car design has reenergized the namesake and attracted new buyers. The 2015 Mustang GT 5.0 has a sexy new design- low slung, and sleek with a long shark nose and sporty hood vents. Along with a cool lighting scheme in the front and back, the 19 inch black alloy wheels and a roaring engine turn heads.

The whip is more than worth its $36k sticker price offering more interior tech and higher efficiency than previous years. We reviewed the new GT on a beautiful fall week in Chicago and Olympia Fields, IL. Then Motorsports Correspondent Daryl and former dragster Tom Badgley, whipped it around the track at the Autobahn Country Club in Joliet and got to sample the Electronic Line-Lock and Launch Control.



Striking Refined Fastback Design

The base model Mustang is hot to death. The GT 5.0 is an instant stunner. The whip knocks the muscle car segment on its rear with a sporty fastback design and perfect upgrades and a throwbacks. The 2015 Mustang GT is lower and little wider with HID headlamps and LED tail lights in a tri bar design that makes it distinctive at night. The whip maintains the long sculpted hood and short rear deck, Mustang’s signature, but takes out the front and rear bumper shelves, and uses a unified side glass with the B-pillar hidden behind the rear quarter glass to give it a more contemporary shape.

2015 Mustang GT
2015 Mustang GT

The 2015 Mustang GT also has an updated trapezoid grille with active shutters. And the shark-bite front fascia, is bigger and more pronounced. A hood cut-out adds muscle power and swag.

Many of the coolest design cues aid aerodynamics and efficiency. The sleeker more aggressive shape of the GT helps it slice through the air like butta. Vertical fins in the outer edge of the front fascia channel air from the front of the car to openings in the wheel wells.

And each Mustang engine gets a unique grill that allows in only as much air as that powerplant needs.  Unique spitters cool the brakes, and air dams minimize air under the car.   The vents in the hood that help keep the front end down.

2015 Mustang GT
2015 Mustang GT

Air resistance overall is decreased because of the fascia design and drag coefficient. Drag force of the new Mustang is down by 3% and efficiency up 1%. And the power-to-weight ratio has also been improved.

The cool new Mustang GT also has muscle lines in the hood and side adding to its aggressive stance. Dual exhausts with bright tips, a rear spoiler, and optional 19 inch Ebony Black painted alloy wheels with Pirelli 255/40R19 Y-speed tires give it supercar swag. I also liked the power side mirrors, heated with the Mustang pony logo that shines on the ground when I parked.




Contemporary Classic Interior

The interior of the 2015 Mustang GT features classic elements mingled with new technology. The 4-seater’s long profile adds abundant front legroom and virtually no rear legroom. Editor Sommer is 5.5 and she enjoyed the seat back with little legroom left for a rear passengers. The standard Mustang GT has heated leather trimmed 6-way power front seats with optional Ebony Recaro leather seats and graphite trim. Also cool is the chrome accents and ambient glow.

2015 Mustang GT interior
2015 Mustang GT interior

The driver-focused cockpit of the Mustang GT was designed like a jet, with controls at the steering wheel, a nifty 8 inch touchscreen, and center gauges that display performance stats. Throwback rocker switches are now chromed-out.

I loved how the simplistic design of the interior evokes classic Mustang. GT logos sit on the scuff plates, and a Mustang plaque sits above the glove box. I also dig the nostalgic rocker switches and the graphite trim.

2015 Mustang GT interior
2015 Mustang GT interior

The steering wheel has controls for the multi information display, phone, audio, and cruise control- too cumbersome for this sporty whip. The multi information display shows average mpgs, range, outside temperature, cruise control and Driver Assist controls. Track apps are also available via the multi info display like launch control, brake performance settings, electronic line-lock, the acceleration timer, all-time best ratings, and a gauge mode.

Aluminum pedals, a chrome trimmed shifter, and control knobs are also dope.

Daryl had issues with no lumbar support for the front seats, which should hug the body in this sporty whip. The driver’s seating is so narrow an overweight person would be uncomfortable. The interior is also missing grab handles.

The rear of the Mustang is sad- virtually no legroom, light or ventilation. The Mustang GT should’ve had a sunroof to help keep the interior cool. The whip would heat up like an oven at the feet and at the low hanging roof when idle, or after a highway ride. And despite many noise reduction upgrades there is still too much wind noise in the cabin with the windows up or down.

The Mustang GT has standard remote keyless entry, push button start, and Sync with MyFord Touch. MyKey allows parents to limit top speed and audio system volume for their teen drivers. The whip also has a standard Shaker Pro audio system with 12 speakers, and has a cool backup camera for the 8 inch touchscreen.



Efficient Powertrain – Muscle Car Performance

The best part of the 2015 Mustang GT is the highly developed performance of its new 5.0 liter V8 engine. The V8 engine couples perfectly with the 6 speed manual gearbox. The V8 engine in the Mustang GT has a ton of upgrades that help it breathe better like larger intake valves, exhaust valves and a revised camshaft. Sinter forged connecting rods are lighter and more durable for high rpm operation.   New cylinder head castings and revised port provides a straighter path to the valves for less restrictive intake and exhaust flow. And a rebalanced forged crankshaft support higher rpm operation.

The V8 in the 2015 Mustang GT cranks out an impressive 435 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque, and a top speed of 155 mph! The throaty exhaust gave me chills and attracted hotties nearby. Variable camshaft timing now has a greater range of adjustment available thanks to mid-lock phasers.

Adding efficiency is a new charge motion control valve in the intake manifold that partially closes off port flow at lower engine speeds.

2015 Mustang GT
2015 Mustang GT

All the upgrades to the GTs V8 engine contribute to its 19 mpg combined EPA (15 mpg city/ 25 mpg highway) and to its impressive 8.52 lbs/horsepower ratio.

The Mustang GTs refined powertrain make it ideal for highway, the city and the track. In city driving the whip has smooth even torque delivery and dynamic handling. On the highway, the fastback attacks the road, then evens out with a broad band of torque and effortless shifting. Fully-independent front and rear suspension is phenomenal, stronger and lighter than ever before, keeping the car balanced at 100+ mph speeds and coasting over rough terrain.

Sport mode in this sporty whip has more fluid steering, quicker shifting, and agile handling. Comfort mode is great for low-speed driving.

The Mustang GT offers a 6 speed manual gearbox that has new shift linkage for easier engagement and improved precision. The 6 speed manual is trained-to-go, rocketing from 1st or 2nd gear, but still great for city driving. I also like how I could brake in 3rd gear, and how the GT would be patient as I downshifted, holding my speed, but then power up for me to upshift. Full torque is available in 3rd gear, and the exhaust purr is just enough to create a slight rumble in the bay.

Daryl thought the transmission was a little clutchy at times, with a longer gear ratio than expected.

The sexy new Mustang GT offers other performance perks like retuned springs, bushing, and monotube dampers, refined ABS tuning, limited slip differential at the rear axle, an engine oil cooler, and fluid electronic power assist steering. The Performance Package adds a 3.73 Torsen rear differential.

2015 Mustang GT on the ACC track
2015 Mustang GT on the ACC track

Electronic line-lock, an industry first, gives drag-racers an edge. With the electronic line-lock enabled, when the driver releases the brake pedal, the hydraulic control unit for the stability control system will keep the front brakes locked while releasing the rear brakes. So drivers can ready up on the drag strip spinning and warming the rear wheels. Plus with launch control, the driver can catapult with max torque.

Along with fantastic independent suspension, the 2015 Mustang GT offers Brembo brakes with floating iron calipers.

We took the 2015 Mustang GT to the Autobahn Country Club track in Joliet, IL and Daryl and former racer Tom Badgley took its muscle car monster performance to the extreme.   Daryl whipped the Mustang at a modest 80 mph on the track, and its torque balance didn’t degrade even on turns. The whip was agile, and turning fluid. The trans, brakes, suspension, and the 400+ horses took good care of Daryl as he coasted.

Then, Tom Badgley took the GT to speeds above 120 mph unleashing a beast. Launch Control was enthralling, and at mega high speeds the GT cornered tight, and held the power through kinks and straights, hills and tight turns. And the Brembo brakes were phenomenal.

The only problem with taking the whip on the track was not getting out of it fast enough not to faint from heat exhaustion. With air blasting, there is virtually no relief from the hot engine bay especially in the back seat.

With new upscale flair, the 2015 Mustang GT attracts new demographics. It’s sexy and powerful, sleek and efficient, perfect for stunting in the city or ripping the road. Fully loaded, the 2015 GT costs, $45,060. I wish it had a sunroof, and more rear room, but that’s minor compared to all it offers. Sport muscle whips can’t compete.

2015 Mustang GT
2015 Mustang GT

Check out behind the scenes photos from our First Drive with the 2015 Mustang GT on our Facebook page.

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