Just ahead of the car’s public debut today, we sat down with 2015 Ford Mustang chief engineer Dave Pericak to learn more about what makes the new car tick. Road test editor Chris Nelson got the inside scoop on all things 2015 Mustang from the engineer himself.
First, Pericak confirmed that the 2015 Ford Mustang is a clean-sheet design that marks a big step forward from the old car. “A lot of people think it was an evolution from the existing platform, but actually, there’s nothing on this thing that resembles the existing platform, except for the wheelbase,” he says.
One of the most important changes is a switch from the old Mustang’s solid rear axle to a new independent rear suspension arrangement. While many customers won’t notice a significant difference, Pericak says that performance enthusiasts will find the 2015 Ford Mustang far more rewarding to drive.
“We did more with the solid rear axle than most people thought we could do, but we’re actually taking everything up another notch with this car,” he says. “We set a target to beat the [outgoing Ford Mustang] Boss 302 on the track, and we’re going to do it with this.”
As for performance, the 2015 Ford Mustang launches with a 3.7-liter V-6 rated for 300 hp and an evolution of the 5.0-liter V-8 good for at least 420 hp. Those will be joined be a new turbocharged 2.3-liter inline-four EcoBoost engine making at least 305 hp, marking the first time the Mustang has offered a four-cylinder engine in years. While a downsized engine certainly helps fuel economy, it won’t come entirely at the expense of fun.
“The EcoBoost engine is going to play an important role as we expand our customer base,” Pericak acknowledges. “There’s going to be a lot of smiles on faces when you take this car out.”
One area on which Pericak is tight-lipped is future high-performance variants of the 2015 Ford Mustang. While he won’t dish on the likelihood of more powerful models like, say, a GT350, Pericak does admit that go-fast models are a possibility in the future. “Let’s celebrate this one for now,” he says.