Vital Stats

Engine:
Turbo 2.3L I4
Power:
305 HP / 300 LB-FT
Transmission:
6-Speed Auto
Drivetrain:
Rear-Wheel Drive
Curb Weight:
3,450 LBS (est.)
Earlier this week, Ford invited us to Charlotte, NC, to ride in an all-new 2015 Mustang fitted with its turbocharged 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder. It's the first forced-induction, four-cylinder ponycar for the Blue Oval since the sun set on the 1986 Mustang SVO. We jumped at the opportunity, as only a handful of people have ever been in the passenger seat of this new car, and most automotive media won't get as close as we did until this fall.

As we revealed in our Deep Dive, Ford will slot this new turbocharged four as premium powerplant between its naturally aspirated 3.7-liter V6 and the naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V8. At last mention, the automaker said the direct-injected, all-aluminum engine will develop 305 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque, returning the best fuel economy of the three powerplants in the process. History buffs will note that those figures are appreciably stouter than the 200 horses and 240 lb-ft that the '86 SVO realized out of the same displacement, and the latter's figures were hugely impressive at the time. On paper, the new EcoBoost four looks to be a good fit for most owners who want to balance performance with efficiency – we were eager to see how it felt from the passenger seat.

Riding Notes
  • Ford is continuously polishing its final product. The Mustang we rode in was a prototype, still in need of some final tweaks. Its interior was mostly complete, but many of the surfaces were lacking texture or constructed with the incorrect material – standard prototype fare.
  • A manual and a traditional automatic transmission will be offered at launch, with both containing six gears. While the standard trans is a carryover, the automatic has been upgraded with paddle shifters and is driver configurable with four different electronic modes (Normal, Sport, Track and Snow/Wet) that alter shift points, traction control and throttle response. Our test car was equipped with the automatic.
  • The steering effort may also be adjusted between three different settings (Comfort, Normal and Sport), thanks to its new electrically assisted rack.
  • Our car was optioned with a Performance Package that will be a must-have for enthusiasts. It includes firmer dampers and higher-rate springs (take a closer look and note that the 2015 model already rides a bit lower, with tighter wheel well gaps), chassis bracing, upgraded front bushings and stiffer sway bars (by about five percent). More capable four-piston brake calipers are fitted to the front axle over 13.8-inch ventilated rotors, while the rear brakes retain a single-piston sliding caliper over 13.0-inch ventilated discs. The package does nothing for the engine, but a new 3.55 rear axle ratio (replacing a 3.31) will make it feel a bit quicker. Lastly, a set of 19-inch alloys wrapped in performance-oriented Pirelli PZero rubber (255/40R19 at all four corners) improves grip.
  • Off-the-line acceleration wasn't tire-chirpingly quick, even in the sportiest setting, but once the engine was under full boost – we noted a bit more than 15 psi on the analog dial between the center HVAC vents – it started to pull strongly, wanting to stretch its legs. (Ambient temperatures were in the mid-90s, with equally high humidity, both of which work against a turbocharged powerplant.) The short autocross course limited the driver to just second gear, with the shift from first to second arriving smoothly. Our pilot demonstrated shifting in both automatic and manual modes, which features nifty rev-matching throttle-blips, and it never felt sharp, harsh or tiringly aggressive.
  • As is nearly always the case with a four-cylinder engine, the new 2.3-liter lacks the ultimate smoothness of a six or eight. At this stage of tune, however, it's no better or worse than the racket emanating from BMW's new four. There was a notable intake and exhaust note, both pleasantly tuned, but we couldn't catch any turbo whine in our short jaunt (Ford didn't allow us to pry open the hood and view the intake design). This Mustang's siblings will each have much better lungs, while the four will require some acclimating.
  • One big advantage a four-cylinder holds over a six- or eight-cylinder is reduced mass. During the parking lot autocross, the new Mustang felt impressively agile and light. There was very little body roll, even during extreme maneuvering (the car in this picture is cornering aggressively). Under heaving braking, the new chassis and sporty underpinnings – independent rear suspension and all – seemed to successfully resist the urge to dive or become unsettled. There was a bit of front-end push in the tightest sections, but applying the throttle quickly moved the weight rearward, extinguishing the understeer (the front of the coupe felt lighter than the rear, which would indicate good balance). We'd be willing to bet that the four will be the most nimble in the family.
  • It's likely that Ford sees even more potential in the idea of an EcoBoost Mustang – new spy shots and video revealed earlier today suggests that the company may be working on a model with even higher performance, though its cylinder count remains unclear.
In a nutshell, we climbed out of the passenger seat in Charlotte impressed. Three quick laps observed from the passenger side are no substitute for a thorough test drive, but we've sat right seat in hundreds of vehicles, with the majority of those being far less competent. Climbing behind the wheel of the 2015 Ford Mustang for ourselves can't come soon enough.


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  • 178 Comments
      lendersmith
      • 7 Months Ago
      Kudos Mike, - always great articles, but particularly for usually responding to peoples posts and questions in real time.
        Michael Harley
        • 7 Months Ago
        @lendersmith
        Thanks, lendersmith! If I am not on the road, I typically try to read/reply to everything as quickly as possible — nice to hear that it is appreciated. - Mike
      Fadic4
      • 7 Months Ago
      "It's the first forced-induction, four-cylinder ponycar for the Blue Oval" that's funny Because the mustang is the only ford that doesn't have any ford logos lol.
      Bertman
      • 7 Months Ago
      While the turbo-4 is certainly interesting, what I would like to see is the V6 Ecoboost used in the Tarus/F150 dropped in that car. Heres a suggestion: Make it an SVO project; GT500= supercharged 5.0 V8 GT350= ecoboost 3.5 V6
        Justin Campanale
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Bertman
        The GT350 should be a Z28 competitor. 500 hp out of a tweaked 3.5 Ecoboost.
          k_m94
          • 7 Months Ago
          @Justin Campanale
          I don't think the 3.5 ecoboost is any lighter than the V8 once you consider the two turbos and intercooler. I'd rather the GT350 had a 500hp naturally aspirated V8. Either a very high revving (like the Boss 302) 5L or bored/stroked to a higher displacement. They could maybe make a lighter 3L V6 ecoboost with 400hp and call it the SVO or something.
          Bertman
          • 7 Months Ago
          @Justin Campanale
          @k_m94: You are missing my point; the GT500/GT350 moniker would refer to the fact that they are both forced induction engines, with their own unique power curve characteristics. Tying the 500/350 the engine displacement is convenient, but it works. Better than calling it "Ecoboost", IMHO. I love what Ford did with the Boss 302, and I think they should continue what they started there. They should do exactly what you suggested, but there is no need to change its name. They should still call it the Boss 302.
      jayvelliot
      • 7 Months Ago
      3,600lb estimated wtf? The V8's weigh in around that much...would love to see this car lose about 400lbs
        icemilkcoffee
        • 7 Months Ago
        @jayvelliot
        Yeah. That seems to be way too heavy. I thought the turbo 4cyl was supposed to save weight.
      Neez
      • 7 Months Ago
      Current base V6 already gets 29-30mpg. What this going to get, 35 mpg?? That would be awesome, have your cake and eat it too.
      psarquis
      • 7 Months Ago
      It's good to hear that this won't be the reincarnation of the Mustang II.
      wafflesnfalafel
      • 7 Months Ago
      How about we drop that motor in an awd focus?
      jonnybimmer
      • 7 Months Ago
      I can see the aftermarket having a field day over these which is great because other than the often-forgotten Hyundai Genesis Coupe, the US market is completely absent of any RWD turbo four cyl. cars. Hopefully if these Ecoboost models become hot-sellers, others will be more serious with their turbo RWD considerations (lookin' at you Nissan). My biggest concern though is what the price difference between the Ecoboost and the GT will be because if the 5.0 is only $1-2k more, fewer will "settle" for the Eco trim.
        graphikzking
        • 7 Months Ago
        @jonnybimmer
        The 370z has gotten WAY too expensive. Just like the GTR. In 2005 I bought a fully loaded Touring Roadster for $36,900 (sticker price with Nav, Bose, 6 speed manual-cheaper than the auto, heated leather seats, power seats etc was $37,500). At the time they were VERY tough to come by. Now the same car is $50,310. You do get cooled seats, 19" wheels instead of 17/18" options back then but still it's $12000 more in just 8 years (33% increase in price). No way Nissan can keep the 370z around AND make something smaller to compete with Mustang/Genesis. The Mustang/Genesis match/beat the performance of 370z so if nissan makes a smaller, cheaper car that matches their more expensive car it wouldn't make sense. Last, take a look at a 2005 Z4 roadster. For some reason it was 4 times the size trunk as my 350z has. My buddy had one, it looked smaller in every dimension but when we popped the trunks (he had run flats) it was astonishing how much more space he had. He could easily fit 2 golf bags. Needless to say, mine usually went in his car because I would have to remove clubs, fumble around to get it into the trunk etc. Just completely not designed well at all.
          Justin Campanale
          • 7 Months Ago
          @graphikzking
          The Z's price was halfway acceptable when the 2005-10 GT had a boat anchor 4.6 V8. Fast forward to 2011 when the V6 makes as much as the old V8 and the V8 makes as much as an M3, and the Z's price looks ridiculous. If I'm going to buy a $50k 300 hp car, I'd just get a stripper 4 series with sport package and leather.
          XT6Wagon
          • 7 Months Ago
          @graphikzking
          370z pricing stopped making sense in 2011 with the new Mustang GT above it, and the Genesis Coupe below it. Hell a Nismo 370z was MORE EXPENSIVE than a Boss 302.
          jonnybimmer
          • 7 Months Ago
          @graphikzking
          I was referring for a return of the Silvia, though I 100% agree with you and the Z.
          Chris
          • 7 Months Ago
          @graphikzking
          Justin, I'm genuinely curious as to why so many love to hate on the 4.6. Is it as impressive as the new 5.0? Of course not, but it's not as though it would stop say a 2005-2010 Mustang GT from beating one of the old 5.0s from the 80s and early 90s. Furthermore, there are plenty of aftermarket upgrades that can make them very impressive in their own right. I can understand the discontent when they made the switch back in 1996 when the Mustang lost some power, and gained a more complex and physically larger modular V8 than the old pushrod 5.0, but in the 14 years that ensued, they were more than able to compensate for the initial hurdles of the transition. In that time, the Mustang gained nearly 100 horses, and the aftermarket was there for those who wanted more.
        ferps
        • 7 Months Ago
        @jonnybimmer
        The 228i may actually be the closest competitor to this Mustang.
      BipDBo
      • 7 Months Ago
      I love this Mustang. If I bought this though, I would seriously miss the utility and the head room for my kids in the back seat of my hatchback. I would really like to see Ford take this platform, and built a four door RWD sedan and wagon. Call it the Falcon since the original 1964 Mustang was taken from the Falcon. Give it some styling cues from the 1964 Falcon, which was a good looking car. It would be a little bit heavier and slower than a Mustang, but I don't think too much so. I'm sure that the Aussies would welcome a Mustang-Falcon to replace their current model. A Mustang based,RWD, four door Falcon wagon with stick shift and a 3 seat rear bench would be the perfect car for me.
        Fonin
        • 7 Months Ago
        @BipDBo
        a mustang based falcon would get my dollars and i'd be waiting in line at the dealer to make a deposit.
      domingorobusto
      • 7 Months Ago
      I'd be VERY surprised if the 4 cylinder version was 3600 lbs. The current GT Brembo cars are just over 3600 lbs with a Coyote on board while the V6 cars are closer to 3400 lbs, and Ford was going on and on about how they were trying to drop weight. I'd be very surprised if the EB came in over 3400 lbs. That being said, I'm actually very excited about this model. I've owned a turbo 4 cylinder Mustang in the past, a 1984 Turbo GT (basically an SVO lite), and had a 2.3 turbo powered 78 Fairmont for a time as well. Those engines responded extremely well to light mods, for example I had a Holset HX35, FMIC, and a Megasquirt on the Fairmont and was making a little over 300 whp. Based on how well the 2.0L EB engine responds to light mods in the Focus ST, I expect it won't be difficult to get this larger version over 400 hp with light mods. I can't wait to try one of these.
        Michael Harley
        • 7 Months Ago
        @domingorobusto
        After consulting with a few experts, I lowered the estimated curb weight to 3,450 pounds. - Mike
        Gorgenapper
        • 7 Months Ago
        @domingorobusto
        5.0 V8 for me. I want to try a NA RWD car this time around, probably in about 3 to 4 years when the incentives kick in and they've had a few years to work out the bugs.
      JaredN
      • 7 Months Ago
      A lot of auto journalists have complimented the 2015 Mustang's styling. Some have said it looks much better in person than in pictures. I hope that is true, because every time I look at pictures of the 2015 Mustang I'm underwhelmed. Yes, it looks like a Mustang, but it is just too retro for my taste. I wish they had taken more a chance and moved the design a bit further forward.
        Michael Harley
        • 7 Months Ago
        @JaredN
        It looks better in person, especially in these two colors (although I favor the lighter yellow, as it shows off the lines). The objective was to give it a sleeker fastback shape. - Mike
        Chris
        • 7 Months Ago
        @JaredN
        That begs the question of why stray so far from such a good thing, that being that so many still love the look of the S-197. I can attest to this personally as my 2006 GT coupe still gets a lot of compliments to this day, despite the fact that there's a ton of them on the road and that people have had nearly a decade to notice them. That speaks volumes about the Mustang's styling in my book. I think this new Mustang is a nice blend of modern, retro, and distinctively Mustang.
      Carpinions
      • 7 Months Ago
      I'll have to see this Mustang in person to say whether or not I like it. I thought I did, but the more I see it in pics, the most awkward it appears. Some of the front 3/4 pics here make the rear end look absolutely massive in proportion to the front. I'm also not sure how well the car-skating-on-black-pan thing is working out. I realize those are likely for aerodynamics, but they are also stylized to a degree, and the body appears to be floating on top of something in some of the pics, and the plastic seems obtrusive in others. I'm also surprised how heavy this car apparently is. I expected it to be lighter, but if it's this heavy *with* a 4, turbo or not 3600 lbs is a big deal. Ya ya, I know the Camaro is a few hundred heavier, but the next one likely won't be given (in part) its size reduction. In the end this generation may be defined stylistically by the colors it looks best in, which for me would be the darker colors. From rear angles the yellow one actually has a slightly exotic air about it, but it doesn't maintain that throughout. Anyhoo, that's how this car strikes me.
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