Is this the next-gen 2015 Ford Mustang? Not in its complete, finished form, it isn’t – but our spy photographer believes this is an early test mule, designed to allow engineers to evaluate and validate the new Mustang’s mechanical bits before its bodywork is finalized.
How so? The bodywork is certainly one clue. Though it looks like a standard 2013 Mustang GT, the mile-wide panel gaps, missing roof channel fillers (and, our photographer suggests, wider roof seam channels, to boot), odd cover over the fuel filler, and mutilated rear diffuser all suggest this car’s skin is merely a temporary wrapper.
What’s beneath the surface? That remains a little more mystery. It’s widely believed the 2015 Ford Mustang will be the first to receive an independent rear suspension – something that was once planned for the current-generation car, but deemed too expensive by executives then in charge. Motor Trend suggests this new suspension setup may be an evolution of the so-called Control Blade trailing-arm setup employed on many cars across Ford’s global lineup, and perhaps most similar to that used in the rear-wheel-drive Falcon sold in Australia.
What’s underhood? The 5.0-liter badges may not be a ploy to throw us off, as we’ve heard the so-called Coyote V-8 will continue to serve in high-performance Mustangs going forward. There’s a chance that engine could receive direct fuel injection going forward, but the bigger news lies with smaller offerings. Reports and rumors regarding the future of the V-6 are conflicted: some say it’s dead in the water, while others suggest the present 3.7-liter V-6 will soldier on. Certainly, the 2015 Ford Mustang will be one of the first in decades to offer a four-cylinder offer. Either a 2.3- or a 2.5-liter turbocharged EcoBoost I-4 is expected to join the lineup, but its status is still unknown. Some say the turbo-four will function as a new base engine, while others suggest it will instead be an option, perhaps as part of a new SVO-like package.
What’s for certain is that the 2015 Ford Mustang’s exterior will turn a new page – not only for the model line itself, but for Ford altogether. In an interview with Automobile earlier this year, Hau Thai-Thang – Ford’s vice president of global product development -- confirmed the next-generation Mustang will adopt Ford’s Kinetic 2.0 styling language, which was previewed with the Evos concept and used to shape the new 2013 Fusion sedan.
Does that mean it will ditch all its traditional retro-ish Mustang cues in favor of Ford’s latest look? Hardly. “We don’t think the two [looks] are mutually exclusive,” he said. Thai-Tang instead suggested the new Mustang’s new sheetmetal will “move the Mustang forward” while adopting Ford’s new “family look” – something the present car admittedly lacks.
Though details surrounding the 2015 Ford Mustang are still somewhat shrouded in secrecy, don’t expect that mystery to last all that much longer. The very first Mustang officially launched at the 1964 New York Auto Show, and it’s widely believed the new 2015 Mustang will be rolled out in front of press and public alike at the 2014 New York Auto Show – just in time to celebrate its 50th anniversary.