Next Generation Mustang to Adopt EcoBoost for Efficiency, Ditch Solid Rear Axle
August 27, 2012 8:42 AM
Big changes are in store for Ford's iconic pony car
Ford's iconic Mustang is in for some big changes when it launches in 2014 as a 2015 model year vehicle. Not only will there be big changes under the hood of the Mustang, but the car's retro styling will be tossed aside as will the solid rear axle that has graced standard-issue Mustang's since 1964.
I. EcoBoost to the Rescue
reports that Ford executives have confirmed the adoption of EcoBoost engines for the next generation Mustang. Ford has committed to making EcoBoost available to
90 percent of its nameplates by 2013
, and adding in the Mustang will take that figure closer to 100 percent.
doesn't give any specifics on which engines will be available, two immediately spring to mind: the
2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder
3.5-liter EcoBoost V6
. The 2.0 is good for 240 - 252hp (depending on the state tune) in the Explorer, Escape, and Focus ST. If Hyundai can get
274hp out of its 2.0-liter turbo four
for its FWD family sedan (while running regular unleaded), Ford can certainly hit 300hp in the Mustang. This would bring it more in line with the 305hp, 3.7-liter V6 currently available in the base Mustang while providing better fuel economy.
Ford's 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6
You can thank
for even the thought of bringing back a four-cylinder engine option to the Mustang (hello,
Things could get more interesting if Ford chooses to add in the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6. That engine is rated at 365hp in the Taurus SHO and with some massaging could dance quite close to the 400+ hp currently available in the 5.0-liter V8.
One thing's for certain, however, the Mustang's V8 option isn't likely to go away anytime soon. A Mustang without a V8 option is like a Viper without a V10. Besides, the 5.0 is a gem of a motor.
The next change in store for the Mustang is the adoption of an independent rear suspension (IRS) across the board. Ford last toyed with an IRS for the Mustang with the fourth generation Cobra. That experiment didn't last long, however, and the fifth generation Mustang went back to being solid rear axle only. Ford CEO Alan Mulally is hoping to make the next generation Mustang more of a "world" car that can appeal equally to Americans and Europeans, and the Mustang's "ox cart" rear suspension has always been the butt of jokes.
The Mustang's pony car brethren (Camaro, Challenger) have moved to an independent rear suspension following their respective resurrections from the dead. Switching to an IRS hasn't hurt Camaro sales, which have
outpaced Mustang sales for the past two years
, so we doubt that Ford will lose any sleep over what naysayers might think about the switch (Ford is
already testing mules
with an IRS).
III. Out with the Retro, in with “Kinetic”
Another big change for the Mustang will come in its styling direction. When the fifth generation car was introduced in 2004 as a 2005 model, it was decidedly retro, harking back to the original 1964.5 model.
However, the sixth generation Mustang will reportedly take some styling cues from the
Evos concept car
. If you recall, the Evos was a precursor to the design direction for the
2013 Ford Fusion
. While the Mustang won't be a carbon copy of Evos (or the Fusion for the matter), we can expect to see final design that will be look more towards the future than to the past.
Ford Evos Concept
Ford’s sixth generation Mustang will bring big changes on many fronts. New engines will keep it in step with more stringent fuel economy standards while the IRS will bring it in line with every other modern performance car with regards to ride/handling. Rest assured, if Ford screws the pooch with the Mustang, there will be legions of fans with pitchforks storming Dearborn, Michigan.
"If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else." -- Microsoft Business Group President Jeff Raikes
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