C/D Road Test - 2005 Ford Mustang GT

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by TriShield, Dec 1, 2004.

  1. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    PRESIDENTIAL TOWER, GREAT AGAIN, NY
    Mr. Ed sidesteps the glue factory to become Secretariat. Well, almost.

    [​IMG]

    BY JOHN PHILLIPS
    PHOTOGRAPHY BY AARON KILEY
    December 2004

    It doesn't happen often, but the hens in the henhouse sometimes kill the fox. That's apparently what happened over at Henry's glass henhouse in Dearborn.

    Of the 2005 Mustang's myriad upgrades, none is more significant than its new foundation. At last, the Fox platform, which wasn't all that impressive even when it debuted on the retarded Fairmont in 1978, has been let out to pasture, where we can only hope it contracts hoof-and-mouth while in the clutches of an illegal leg trap. The Mustang now rides on a heavily modified version of the Lincoln LS and Jag S-type platform. Unlike those luxo-cruisers, America's favorite pony car retains its blue-collar solid rear axle. But now it's a three-link coil-over layout, abetted by a tubular Panhard rod.

    The new platform ushers in a 5.8-inch increase in wheelbase, which has worked wonders on ride and tracking. Length is up by 4.8 inches, but height and width grow little. To the naked eye, the new Mustang appears no larger than its predecessor, although it is 215 pounds more porcine.


    The less obvious upgrade resides underhood. The GT's 4.6-liter SOHC modular V-8 now features 24 valves rather than 16. The three-valve heads permit an increase of 40 horses and 18 pound-feet of torque, although both improvements are realized at loftier revolutions.

    Climb inside our Screaming Yellow test car, and what you notice first is $450 worth of optional aluminum trim running the length of the dash, pockmarked by four retro-looking vents, each 3.5 inches in diameter. They appear to be large enough to ventilate a small industrial-arts classroom. The steering wheel, which is adjustable for rake but not reach, features three chrome-faced spokes so fat they're often in the way. And the gauges are to be found at the bottom of a kind of chrome mineshaft. Peer into this pit, and you'll locate a large 8000-rpm tach and 140-mph speedo, whose increments, most critically in the 40-to-60-mph range, are too coarse to calculate quickly. Squeezed in between are gauges for fuel, water temp, volts, and oil level.

    Apart from the brightwork, the interior is otherwise as black as an eel's esophagus, ridiculously funereal for a car whose four-decade reputation has been built on smiles and suspended drivers' licenses.

    [​IMG]

    The swollen wheelbase has also allowed a slight increase in interior volume-an extra three cubic feet fore, one cubic foot aft. The cockpit now feels a lot less claustrophobic
    , and the fixed portholes in the flying buttresses introduce daylight farther astern, a benefit to the still-tormented rear riders, who had better not make the mistake of being taller than five foot ten. The rear seatbacks fold flat, revealing a pass-through 12 inches high and 40 inches wide, and the trunk grows by two cubic feet, too. Fact is, the cargo-carrying capacity is quite good.

    The driver's seat is, uh, firm, and the adjustable lumbar support feels like a pine bough that's perambulating your spinal regions. But lateral support is okay, and a two-hour driving stint induced no incurable spasms. More important, the relationship among seat, pedals, and steering wheel has been improved. You no longer feel as if you're sitting on a bar stool. The brake and throttle pedals could be closer to facilitate heel-and-toeing, but you soon learn to compensate.

    Throttle tip-in is more gentle and predictable. There's still some minor clutch slipping required for first-gear starts, but you can now floor the throttle at 5 mph, then suddenly jump out of it completely without inducing transmission windup. As with all of Ford's modular V-8s, power delivery is refined, and you can unwittingly cruise for ages with the engine spinning at big revs. But you soon learn that the real power manifests up high, in the 4000-to-redline range. Gone are the days of pushrod power gushing forth at step-off.

    Speaking of gushing forth, let's move on to thrust. Three easy steps here: (1) Disable the traction control-a large button up high on the dash, just as Don Garlits intended. (2) Zing the revs to four grand. (3) Dump the clutch. The Mustang squats an inch, then launches straight, hard, and true, painting five to ten feet of expensive P Zero Nero stripes, depending on road texture. In a flash, the V-8 bangs off the rev limiter, and the tires bark on the upshift to second like deep-chested Newfoundlands. Beautiful, man-smoke, noise, velocity, enraged neighbors. Unalloyed essence of Mustang.

    I've twice flown into Daytona Beach, stepped outside the terminal, and heard a Cup car howling through Turn One. That's what this Mustang sounds like at wide-open throttle: thunder at a distance.

    Sixty mph is yours in 5.2 seconds, 0.3 second quicker than the old five-speed GT and identical to the performance of a 305-hp, 32-valve Mach 1. One hundred mph looms large in 13.2 seconds, a 1.7-second improvement over the old GT. And the quarter-mile is history in 13.8 seconds at 102 mph. Which means that the only other pony-car poseur on the market-the costlier, slow-selling 350-horse Pontiac GTO-will be humbled at the drag strip by your lowly little Ford coupe. Be polite about it. Act surprised. But don't apologize.

    [​IMG]

    The improved shift linkage and stubby new shifter-about the size of a beer bottle's neck-are co-conspirators in the accel figures. Throws are shorter, less notchy, and require less thought. And even the clutch effort is reduced. You still won't want to depress the clutch for the duration of an entire red light, but you could if you had to. Like if you were up against a GTO.

    The next best thing about the Mustang is that it now rides like a modern car. Less jarring crash-through, fewer expansion-strip jitters, no lateral wango-tango over broken pavement, less suspension-borne road noise. Yet even with the far cushier ride, handling has improved. Not even the most recent independent-rear-suspension SVT Cobra can match the new GT's skidpad grip, which now also surpasses a Nissan 350Z Touring's, come to think of it. Pitched hard into corners, the Mustang is initially neutral, then tends toward understeer. If the push annoys you, just stab the throttle and you can induce power oversteer. Neutral, understeer, oversteer. Quite a smorgasbord. And the tail-happiness now materializes more gently, rather than in one heart-stopping twitch. Throughout, extraneous body movements are nicely damped.

    Gone is the nervousness of Mustangs of yore, and gone is the oh-so-annoying head toss that has historically been the trademark of live rear axles. In fact, every C/D tester peered at least once under our GT's rump to ensure there weren't a couple of pricey half-shafts whizzing around in there. You only notice the live axle at step-off, when you turn 90 degrees while simultaneously applying major throttle. Then the rear end briefly binds and skitters outward a few inches, feeling a trifle awkward, momentarily confused. It's amazing what conscientious engineers can do these days with solid axles. If you don't believe us, check out the latest Toyota 4Runner. Fact is, there's a precision to this Mustang's movements that makes the old car feel like Mr. Ed. Did we just say "precision" and "Mustang" in the same sentence?

    The rack-and-pinion steering still isn't a paradigm of accuracy or feel.
    Road textures, in particular, are transmitted only vaguely. But at least the effort is light at all speeds, the power assist never feels artificial, and there's no kickback. Fortunately, the suspension is sufficiently adept at maintaining path control that you aren't dialing in many mid-turn corrections anyway.

    At idle, the V-8 transmits not so much as a quiver through the steering wheel, yet the engine introduces 53 decibels of racket, noisier than the hood-stuttering Mach 1. Why?

    Ford has gone to town on the Mustang's brake rotors-now 12.4 inches fore, 11.8 inches aft-yet we could elicit only a 183-foot stopping distance, 13 feet beyond what the previous GT could accomplish five years ago. What's more, pedal modulation is merely ho-hum, what you'd expect from, say, a Taurus. The transition from threshold braking to ABS is abrupt and tricky to predict, especially on anything but glassy-smooth tarmac, and the pedal generally felt as if it wanted another inch of travel.

    [​IMG]

    Freeway tracking is exemplary. Gear whine is down to tolerable levels. And this platform is as flex-free as your average Montana bridge abutment. This is the first Mustang whose subassemblies and trim bits aren't allied in a confederacy of gronks, clinks, and shivers. Combine that with the supple ride, and this also becomes the first Mustang in which a 300-mile freeway slog isn't a chore akin to washing the dog.

    Although Mustang sales are currently down 10 percent, Ford faces no real competition in this niche, so such a thorough makeover was unforced. As such, it must have been tempting to bloat the new car's sticker by a grand or four. Instead, a GT can grace your garage for as little as $24,995, a sum that includes everything you really need-ABS, 17-inch Pirellis, traction control, a CD player, and power locks. That's a compelling fun-to-Franklin ratio, precisely the Mustang's appeal for the previous 488 months.

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    THE VERDICT

    [​IMG]

    Highs: Vastly improved ride, slicker shifter, more power, same old friendly price.

    Lows: Ho-hum steering and brakes, needlessly dour interior.

    The Verdict: The best Mustang since April 17, 1964.


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    COUNTERPOINT

    [​IMG]

    TONY SWAN
    Looks terrific, sounds great, plenty of power, stops with alacrity, and responds well to orders from the helm. Stir in bargain pricing, and the revived Mustang adds up as hard to resist. But the biggest achievement, seems to me, is how well the chassis guys have managed the balance between ride and handling. When we first heard the new car would retain a live-axle rear suspension, we were skeptical, to say the least. It's hard to attain roll stiffness and still keep the tires in constant contact with the pavement using this time-honored (read "neolithic") technique. Nevertheless, the GT exhibits a blend of compliance and response worthy of a BMW. Nice job, guys.

    CSABA CSERE
    When I was in high school, during the heyday of the original Mustang, the car had an appeal that cut across what we now call demographic and psychographic boundaries. You were as likely to find an executive wife behind the wheel of a Mustang as you were a 22-year-old pump jockey. That's because the Mustang's elemental, long-hood profile made it flat cool-a socially acceptable way to step out from the crowd of big boxy sedans. The new model, with its '60s feel, overt muscularity, and attainable price, delivers similar charisma. The fact that it also offers plenty of power, a robust feel, and decent road manners will solidify its cross-cultural appeal.

    AARON ROBINSON
    The sheiks-only GT proves Ford can produce hard-core nostalgia if not a decent mid-size sedan. Can it spin that magic for regular folk? The V-8 Mustang lays a patch right past decent and upshifts at wonderful. The grins begin outside, where the styling formula-Mach plus Boss divided by Shelby-generates real dazzle. Unlike the old Stang, this one slips on comfortably-the three-spoke wheel, the pedals, and the stunted shifter all in ergonomic harmony. The rigid chassis has more than a quick quarter-mile in it, with steering and suspension composure fit for both serious chicanery and an acceptable ride. More insulation against road noise is the only request.

    ------

    FORD MUSTANG GT

    [​IMG]

    Vehicle type: front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 4-passenger, 2-door coupe

    Price as tested: $27,570

    Price and option breakdown: base Ford Mustang GT (includes $625 freight), $24,995; Premium package (includes Shaker 500 audio system with 6-CD changer), $1335; interior aluminum trim, $450; side airbags, $370; chrome wheels, $195; MyColor gauge enhancement, $175; wheel locks, $50

    Major standard accessories: power windows, driver seat, and locks; remote locking; A/C; cruise control; tilting steering wheel; rear defroster

    Sound system: Shaker 500 AM-FM radio/CD changer, 6 speakers

    ENGINE
    Type: V-8, aluminum block and heads
    Bore x stroke: 3.55 x 3.54 in, 90.2 x 90.0mm
    Displacement: 281 cu in, 4601cc
    Compression ratio: 9.8:1
    Fuel-delivery system: port injection
    Valve gear: chain-driven single overhead cams, 3 valves
    per cylinder, hydraulic lifters
    Power (SAE net): 300 bhp @ 5750 rpm
    Torque (SAE net): 320 lb-ft @ 4500 rpm
    Redline: 6000 rpm


    DRIVETRAIN
    Transmission: 5-speed manual
    Final-drive ratio: 3.55:1, limited slip

    Gear, Ratio, Mph/1000 rpm, Max test speed
    I, 3.34, 6.6, 40 mph (6000 rpm)
    II, 2.00, 11.0, 66 mph (6000 rpm)
    III, 1.32, 16.7, 100 mph (6000 rpm)
    IV, 1.00, 22.0, 132 mph (6000 rpm)
    V, 0.67, 32.8, 149 mph (4550 rpm)

    DIMENSIONS
    Wheelbase: 107.1 in
    Track, front/rear: 62.3/62.5 in
    Length/width/height: 188/73.9/55.4 in
    Ground clearance: 5.7 in
    Curb weight: 3523 lb
    Weight distribution, F/R: 53.6/46.4%

    Curb weight per horsepower: 11.7 lb
    Fuel capacity: 16.0 gal

    CHASSIS/BODY
    Type: unit construction
    Body material: welded steel and aluminum stampings

    INTERIOR
    SAE volume, front seat: 53 cu ft
    rear seat: 30 cu ft
    luggage: 13 cu ft
    Front-seat adjustments: fore-and-aft, seatback angle; driver only: front height, rear height, lumbar support
    Restraint systems, front: manual 3-point belts, driver and passenger front and side airbags
    rear: manual 3-point belts

    SUSPENSION
    Front: ind, strut located by a control arm, coil springs, anti-roll bar
    Rear: rigid axle located by 2 lower trailing links, 1 upper trailing link, and a Panhard rod;
    coil springs; anti-roll bar

    STEERING
    Type: rack-and-pinion with hydraulic power assist
    Steering ratio: 15.7:1
    Turns lock-to-lock: 2.8
    Turning circle curb-to-curb: 38.0 ft

    BRAKES
    Type: hydraulic with vacuum power assist and anti-lock control
    Front: 12.4 x 1.2-in vented disc
    Rear: 11.8 x 0.8-in vented disc

    WHEELS AND TIRES
    Wheel size/type: 8.0 x 17 in/cast aluminum
    Tires: Pirelli P Zero Nero, P235/55R17 98W M+S
    Test inflation pressures, F/R: 32/32 psi
    Spare: high-pressure compact

    C/D TEST RESULTS

    [​IMG]

    ACCELERATION Seconds
    Zero to 30 mph: 1.9
    40 mph: 2.9
    50 mph: 4.0
    60 mph: 5.2
    70 mph: 6.8
    80 mph: 8.7
    90 mph: 10.6
    100 mph: 13.2
    110 mph: 16.5
    120 mph: 20.1
    130 mph: 26.1
    Street start, 5-60 mph: 5.9
    Top-gear acceleration, 30-50 mph:10.2
    50-70 mph: 9.5
    Standing 1/4-mile: 13.8 sec @ 102 mph
    Top speed (governor limited): 149 mph


    BRAKING
    70-0 mph @ impending lockup: 183 ft

    HANDLING
    Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.87 g
    Understeer: moderate


    FUEL ECONOMY
    EPA city driving: 17 mpg
    EPA highway driving: 25 mpg
    C/D-observed: 16 mpg

    INTERIOR SOUND LEVEL
    Idle: 53 dBA
    Full-throttle acceleration: 82 dBA
    70-mph cruising: 73 dBA

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Big_Luke

    Big_Luke serious as dick cancer

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    just a shy bit slower than the GTO and still a better looking car IMO.
     
  3. Curren$y

    Curren$y New Member

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    damn, i love that car

    i'm sure you could get one of those into the mid 13s stock, maybe even a lil lower..

    the 99+ gts can run high 13s with just intake
     
  4. Redsky

    Redsky Beat the one you love.

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    IBBlogblowjob
     
  5. Corvettes4Life

    Corvettes4Life New Member

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  6. jinushaun

    jinushaun New Member

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    Nice, but it's no Falcon. :)
     
  7. VBGOD

    VBGOD Guest

    DIAF
     
  8. CarlsV6

    CarlsV6 Guest

    I'd buy one in a heartbeat if I wasn't a poor college student.
     
  9. Throwdown

    Throwdown whore destroyer

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    raaarrrw
     
  10. Big_Luke

    Big_Luke serious as dick cancer

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    k
     
  11. zatar

    zatar New Member

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    The New Mudstain is FUGLY.
     
  12. Bloke

    Bloke Banned

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    id buy a gto over a mustang gt. at least until the convertible comes out.
     
  13. midnite

    midnite OT Supporter

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    someone buy me one :x:
     
  14. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    Indeed.
     
  15. FarBeyondDriven

    FarBeyondDriven OT Supporter

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    .... *waits for the cobra*
     
  16. Gromer

    Gromer Strange things are afoot at the Circle-K!

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  17. Mr 20Valve

    Mr 20Valve OT Supporter

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    if they ever make a Falcon coupe, it should look identical to that. :x:
     
  18. 70Machwon

    70Machwon New Member

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    i like the new stangs, very nice looking, and vintage looking. They styling is much better then the GTO IN MY OPINION, plus with very few mods, can be very competitive with the "goats"
     
  19. LowkeyG

    LowkeyG OT Supporter

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    I really like it
     
  20. Vagabond

    Vagabond Nope. OT Supporter

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    I find myself in America.
    It's no SVT Contour
     
  21. AQT4u2NV

    AQT4u2NV Guest

    still not as cool as the gto :o
     
  22. LowkeyG

    LowkeyG OT Supporter

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    :wtf:
     
  23. Girth

    Girth ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ OT Supporter

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    I see one around my store almost everyday... black w/ tan interior. Now that is one sexy car. I loved my 92, but if I hadn't bought a new car yet... I would've given the new stang a good hard look. :coold:
     
  24. DMClark

    DMClark Active Member

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    well duh, the GTO lacks any styling what-so-ever.
     
  25. Rummy

    Rummy "bored and extremely dangerous"

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    if I was up your ass you'd know where I was
    sooo tempting....

    damn... why did I have to be born a GM guy?
     

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