Up to now most Ford Mustangs in the UK have been left-hand-drive U.S. spec cars, mostly imported outside the Ford organization. All that is about to change, however, for the Mustang Engineering team recently finished construction of the very first right-hand-drive sixth-generation Mustang. The prototype Mustang will be used to conduct various development tests in preparation for the car’s entry into the global market in the coming months.
Ford’s new Mustang goes on sale this autumn in the U.S. and globally in 2015 into more than 120 countries.
When that global production begins, a right-hand-drive Ford Mustang will roll off a Ford assembly line for the first time in the 50-year history of this iconic car. The addition of a right-hand-drive Mustang to Ford’s line-up of global vehicles will allow the ‘pony car’ to be exported to more than 25 right-hand-drive markets around the world, including the United Kingdom, Australia and South Africa.
From the beginning, Mustang’s unique combination of style, performance and affordability established an entirely new class of sporty cars, and it has led the segment ever since. While the United States is the largest market for Mustang with more than 9.2 million sales since the car’s debut in 1964, more than 161,000 Mustangs have been sold outside of North America in that time. In 2012 alone, more than 4,000 Mustangs were sold in 35 countries outside of North America, ranging from the United Arab Emirates to Chile to the Philippines.
Ford’s Mustang is the newest member of a very exclusive club – vehicles in continuous production for 50 years. The car has a worldwide base of fans, including more than 7.6 million on Facebook – the most of any vehicle model. It also boasts more than 100 fan clubs around the globe, and was recently voted “Europe’s Most Wanted Classic Car” by AutoScout24.
The sixth-generation Mustang for North America will be optionally equipped either with a new 2.3-litre EcoBoost engine producing 310 horsepower and 320 lb/ft of torque, or a muscular 5.0-litre V8 engine with 435 horsepower with 400 lb/ft of torque.
Both engine options will be made available to customers in the UK when the all-new Mustang goes on sale for the first time next year.
The newest member of Ford’s global EcoBoost engine family, the 2.3-litre continues to feature state-of-the-art technologies including direct fuel injection, twin independent variable camshaft timing and turbocharging.
With a compact engine developing nearly 135 horsepower per litre and more than 139 lb/ft of torque per litre ensuring engine durability is critical. The Mustangs EcoBoost engine sounds well able to withstand the added stresses with:-
- Forged-steel crankshaft
- Piston-cooling jets
- Steel piston ring carriers
- Premium bearing materials
- Upgraded valve seat materials
- Forged-steel connecting rods
- High-pressure die-cast aluminum cylinder block with ladder-frame bearing caps
- Deep-sump, die-cast aluminum oil pan
The 5.0-litre V8 delivers a host of features that help it breathe, especially at higher engine speeds. Getting air into the cylinders and exhaust out is key to generating more power and torque from any engine, and that has been the focus in the development of this V8, which features:
- Larger intake valves
- Larger exhaust valves
- Revised intake camshafts
- Revised exhaust camshafts
- Stiffer valve springs
- New cylinder head casting – revised ports provide direct path to the valves for less restrictive intake and exhaust flow; combustion chamber modifications accommodate larger valves
- Sinter forged connecting rods are lighter and more durable
- Redesigned piston tops – deeper pockets clear the new larger valves
- Rebalanced forged crankshaft to support higher-rpm operation
The all-new Mustang also will offer fully independent front and rear suspension, and an advanced lightweight body structure with extensive high-strength steel and aluminium components for excellent ride and handling. With fully independent suspension systems front and rear, and Ford’s integral link rear suspension technology, it should be more nimble and comfortable than previous generations, with Ford promising world-class performance in both dynamics and ride quality. At the front, a non-isolated perimeter subframe helps stiffen the structure while reducing mass, contributing to a better foundation for more predictable wheel control that benefits handling, steering, and ride quality.
Lightweight aluminium is used for the bonnet and front wings to help reduce body mass and improve the weight balance. Some of the other components made of aluminum include the rear suspension knuckles, rear axle housing on automatic transmission cars, rear control arms, and rear brake callipers. Even parts made of steel and other materials such as the hollow rear stabiliser and the new seats have been intelligently designed to meet the performance standards while keeping weight down.
The base kerb weight of the U.S. specification Mustang 5.0-litre V8 fastback automatic is 1,691kg (3,729 pounds); with the 2.3-litre EcoBoost fastback automatic weighing 1,598kg (3,524 pounds).
The 2.3-litre EcoBoost fastback has an almost ideal weight distribution, with 52% of its weight over the front axle and 48% to the rear, while even the 5.0-litre V8 has 53% of its mass on the front wheels.
Whilst previous generation Mustangs have been criticised for not being up to the standards expected of serious European sports cars, the specification of this one certainly sounds interesting – we look forward to it with interest!