AW Cover Story - 2005 Ford Mustang

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by TriShield, Oct 5, 2004.

  1. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    Mane Street USA: The original Pony Car gallops into the 21st Century

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    NATALIE NEFF

    The Mustang lives. After 40 years—25 of them with no big changes—the original pony car gets its long-awaited redo. No, the 2005 Mustang is not a perfect car. We’d change a few things if we could, and we’ll tell you exactly what. But we are thrilled the ’Stang is still kicking.

    Why do we care so much? After all, there are plenty of cars to satisfy an enthusiast’s itch, from the M3 to the 350Z to the Boxster. Besides, we’ve survived for the last couple of years without a Camaro or Firebird. Surely a world without this American icon would be acceptable, no? Perhaps, but would you want to live in it?

    Bloodlines count for a lot; they proffer a credibility earned only by the passing of time. And with the Mustang, its history is our history, we lovers of cars and the people behind them. Our wealth and wars, our booms and busts are writ in its sheetmetal. We won’t rehash it all for you here, but the talking points go something like: April 1964, Shelby, GT350, Mach 1, Bullitt, GT500, Cobra Jet, Boss, Cleveland, Trans-Am, Super Cobra Jet, Mustang II, Ghia, King Cobra, 5.0, SVO, Cobra, SVT, 4.6, Cobra R... Put together, that litany speaks to one lusty love affair. The rollout of the ’05 assures that affair will continue.

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    The new design is stunning in form and perfect in its interpretation and execution of Mustang-ness—and (surprisingly) not the caricature that are so many designs from the House of J. From the side, the long hood and rear deck, sloping fastback, protruding upper lip and scooped flanks—all hallmarks from the original edition that have survived over the years—look fresh in their 21st century interpretation. Even the shrunken-looking rear quarter-window mimics the vents found on the old fastback.

    The rear end borrows the original’s taillight design with its vertical lenses in triplicate flanking a centrally placed round badge; the front end returns to a forward-leaning honeycombed grille design and wide-set trapezoidal headlights.

    The story continues inside the car, where the four round vents and instrument cluster sit in line under dual squared-off dash hoods, a three-spoke steering wheel and a vintage Mustang hub-mounted emblem defining the driver’s side. We particularly like the instrument panel, its dual gauges rimmed in chrome. We can do without, however, the "industry’s first available color-configurable instrument cluster." Adjusting it takes far too long with too many pushes of the buttons. Perhaps we wouldn’t mind if it used a simple dial.

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    Pretty as it is, there’s not much of a power or performance story here. In a lot of ways the 2005 picks up right where the current car leaves off
    , only now there is more of it: The Mustang has grown in every dimension, with a few extra horses tossed in to more than offset the weight gain. Now on a 5.8-inch-longer wheelbase, overall length grows by 4.8 inches compared
    with the 2004 model. It stands 2.3 inches taller, with a 0.8-inch-wider body carrying a 2.4-inch-wider track. All that extra sheetmetal translates into more heft at the curb, 61 pounds in the V6 (to 3351) and 136 in the GT (to 3483). Despite that, the GT’s power-to-weight improves to 11.61 pounds per horsepower vs. the current car’s 12.87.

    The base car does get a new engine, an overhead-cam 4.0-liter V6 (replacing the 3.8-liter pushrodder) that puts out 17 more hp and 15 more lb-ft of torque, to 202 hp and 235 lb-ft. The GT, however, settles for the same 4.6-liter V8 it has had since 1996; new three-valve heads give the V8 40 extra horses and 18 lb-ft of torque, up to 300 hp and 315 lb-ft for 2005. A five-speed automatic replaces the four-speed box, while the GT uses the same manual tranny as the current car, a five-speed unit with almost identical gear ratios.

    As much as we love the design, it looks like a plastic injected-molded toy with its silvery decals peeled off. The lines are all there, the proportions are right, but the front end needs some jewelry, as does the rear, perhaps a bit of brightwork or a paint detail. The flanks rely on one element, that faux scoop, for the entire statement. There’s nary a pinstripe in sight, and any chrome you see is relegated solely to badge duty. Message to Ford: Monochrome themes, like ovals, can be taken too far.

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    Inside, with so much right going on, we find it disappointing that Ford cheaped out on details. Rap just about any surface and you’ll bruise your knuckles; pull on the steering column stalks and you’ll fear that they’ll break. The door-mounted speaker covers won’t likely survive long, either: They’re positioned exactly where you want to push the door open with your foot. Most of the finishes do look acceptable—we’ve seen far worse graining, some in "better" cars. We’d suggest a little soft-touch material would go a long way, especially toward imparting a quality of craftsmanship and a respect for the owner’s hard-earned cash.

    All of that we can deal with. What we can’t comprehend is Ford continuing to equip the first 21st century Mustang with a live rear axle.
    We understand that an independent rear suspension—like the one found on the most recent SVT Cobra—costs more to design and build. Somehow the competition, like the Pontiac GTO or even the Nissan 350Z, squeezed it into the price of admission. One explanation from Ford: A full 25 percent of Mustang owners customize their cars, and the solid rear allows for a much easier change-out of gears. Another: It makes for better drag strip performance. We don’t buy it.

    On the track the Mustang definitely feels livelier than the outgoing model, with a satisfying throttle-driven rear-drive feel. And you can have a ton of fun at the track, as we did for a day at GingerMan Raceway in western Michigan. Steering is crisper than before, and the chassis was easy to set up into turns with a lift off the gas and quick flick of the wrist. There was plenty of power to pull us out of the final, hard right and back onto the long frontstraight. That improved power-to-weight definitely makes itself known at the top end. Braking deep into the first turn produced little drama, and set the car up nicely for the 90-degree left.

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    Granted, at $19,410 the base Mustang is considerably less expensive than the Z car (at $27,030), but the $24,995 sticker for the GT warrants an independent rear. You know it’s coming on the Cobra, after all.

    The Mustang comes with an acceptable standard-equipment list for its sticker. Among other things, V6 models, which account for 70 percent of Mustang sales, come equipped with air, power mirrors, doors and windows and an in-dash CD player. They also get four-wheel disc brakes—11.4-inch vented fronts and 11.8-inch rears—behind 215/65R-16 tires on aluminum wheels.

    GTs get bigger brakes—dual-piston calipers on 12.4-inch vented discs in front, 11.8-inchers in back with four-channel ABS—as well as 235/55ZR-17 tires and a stainless-steel dual exhaust. Options include traction control, an interior upgrade package and a two-tone color scheme, side airbags and a better stereo system.

    All told, the Mustang offers a handsome package wrapped in a historic nameplate, its provenance not dimmed by some of its shortcomings. With that, we’re set for another 40 years. And those tuners have a new starting point.

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    2005 FORD MUSTANG GT

    ON SALE: Now
    BASE PRICE: $24,995
    POWERTRAIN: 4.6-liter, 300-hp, 315-lb-ft V8; rwd, five-speed manual
    CURB WEIGHT: 3483 pounds
    0 TO 60 MPH: 5.5 seconds (est.)
     
  2. M5_Elite

    M5_Elite New Member

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    :ugh: I see Highschool girls :ugh:
     
  3. Shiva Chaos

    Shiva Chaos i see boobies!

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    i want it. cobra i mean.
     
  4. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    It's not a very flattering preview, that's for sure.

    I wonder what the real road tests and reviews are going to be like when they start rolling in. :eek3:
     
  5. Thats the first negative review ive seen..
     
  6. MrBonus

    MrBonus Et Tu, Brute?

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    No Cobra or turbocharged Falcon, no care. :eek3:
     
  7. LocoStrange

    LocoStrange New Member

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    Nice mufflers :ugh2:
     
  8. Shiva Chaos

    Shiva Chaos i see boobies!

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    i found someone started a torrent for the Discovery Channel movie of the recent Mustang
     
  9. Damn it Bobby

    Damn it Bobby .

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  10. midnite

    midnite OT Supporter

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    :yum:

    ill take my solid rear axle thank you very much :fawk:
     
  11. damitssam

    damitssam Guest

    25k for a decent car? HELL YA
     
  12. Shiva Chaos

    Shiva Chaos i see boobies!

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    that would rock so much.
     
  13. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    It should come that way in the first place.
     
  14. Shiva Chaos

    Shiva Chaos i see boobies!

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    i wish. The mustang community was super pushy on keeping the solid rear.

    that and I think SVT had a hand in keeping it that way.
     
  15. midnite

    midnite OT Supporter

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    It would be nice if it was an option. I feel the solid rear should still be offered though.
     
  16. 92Coupe

    92Coupe OU Still Sucks

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    I still don't like the plain hood and boring rims, but I can't wait to see them with nice rims and a few light mods. :bigthumb:
     
  17. Shiva Chaos

    Shiva Chaos i see boobies!

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    I had this debate with a gear head at my work. He liked the solid rear because it was less prone to changing the camber of the drive wheels in a turn/squat :dunno:
     
  18. Short Bus

    Short Bus Beep beep!

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    Great car for the money. :dunno:

    Also, despite the automotive press, props to Ford for listening to their customers and going with the live axle anyway. Those who care about that probably aren't interested in a Mustang anyway, and the rest of the customers probably couldn't tell the difference.
     
  19. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    I don't see too many regular Mustang GTs out there tearing up the tracks.

    Holdens and GTOs run into the 10s on their stock IRS, as does the Corvette. The Ford Falcon has IRS and those run in the 10s with no issues either, one of them goes 200MPH as well. Pretty much every car worth a damn has IRS, and enjoys the benefits of much better handling with detriment to quarter mile performance.

    It's simply Ford being cheap, and giving SVT something to tout as an "improvement" on their next Mustang.
     
  20. Tool

    Tool Erect Member OT Supporter

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    The IRS that they put into the cobra is more for luxury than anything
     
  21. Short Bus

    Short Bus Beep beep!

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    That's another good point. On a perfect, groomed track surface the solid rear isn't as much of a performance liability as most would think.
     
  22. Short Bus

    Short Bus Beep beep!

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    I think you're nit picking because you prefer GM and need a reason to rag on a Ford.
     
  23. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    I can tell you your quite wrong, and that a live truck axle on a performance coupe in 2005 is unacceptable, especially when nobody else uses them on their performance cars.

    If it's a motorhead's wet dream, why doesn't the SVT model come with a live axle as well? Those are the Mustangs everyone races.
     
  24. Shiva Chaos

    Shiva Chaos i see boobies!

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    no he has mad hard on for the Falcon turbos :o


    and i swear if I see more of them in Dearborn, i'm going to take pics of them for him.
     

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