2014 FORD MUSTANG
Ford Australia has revealed the 2014 Mustang in exhaustive detail, but we won't see it in local showrooms till 2015.
The new-generation muscle car will debut a new independent rear suspension, turbocharged powerplant and the most dynamic interpretation yet of Ford's new global design language.
And it will also be the first Mustang to be built in right-hand drive form, rather than converted post-production.
But perhaps most interestingly, the Mustang won't be offered with a V6 engine option in Australia - despite its availability overseas.
Instead, the entry-level engine will be a 2.3 litre turbocharged inline four.
But even the base engine will be far from feeble. With 227kW of power and 407Nm of torque, the Ecoboost four-pot actually produces 7kW more power and 41Nm more torque than the US-spec 3.7 litre normally-aspirated V6.
Thank a twin-scroll turbocharger, direct injection, and variable valve timing for that.
Ford fans who turn their nose up at a four-cylinder Mustang will be keener on the V8-powered Mustang GT.
Related to the supercharged Miami V8 used in the current FPV GS and FPV GT, the Mustang's 5.0 litre DOHC V8 is revised for the 2014 model to churn out 313kW and 529Nm without the aid of a supercharger.
Helping the 5.0 achieve these numbers is a new intake manifold, larger inlet and exhaust valves, changes to the cylinder-head ports, stiffer valve-springs and a revised intake camshaft.
Both engines will be available in Australia in automatic or manual guise, with both 'boxes toting six gears and taking drive to the rear wheels (as all good pony cars should).
Opt for the automatic and you also get a pair of steering wheel-mounted shift paddles to play with, as well as downshift rev-matching.
Handling will be given a big boost from the adoption of an independent multi-link rear suspension. Compared to the solid rear axle of the current Mustang, the new independent rear will have less unsprung mass and improved suspension geometry that should aid traction when cornering.
Torque vectoring will be standard, as will a limited-slip differential. Four-cylinder Mustangs get twin-tube rear dampers, while V8 Mustangs get mono-tube dampers and launch control as standard.
The front suspension remains a MacPherson strut design, albeit with revised geometry. The steering will continue to to be electrically assisted, with a 16:1 rack ratio.
The brake package varies according to powertrain. Inline-fours feature 352x32mm front rotors and four-piston calipers up front, plus 330x25mm rotors and a single-piston sliding caliper at the rear.
The more performance-focused V8 gets an uprated brake package with 380x34mm front rotors gripped by six-piston Brembo calipers, though the rear brake hardware is identical to that of the turbo four.
The key change to the Mustang's iconic look is the new long, slender and aggressive headlights, replacing the large round headlights of the past two generations.
This new Mustang isn't the first generation to experiment with different headlight shapes, but it is certainly the biggest change to the coupe's look since it was reborn in 2005.
Set between the new headlights is a recognisable grille shape, reshaped into a six-point design but leaving little doubt that it belongs.
The 2014 Mustang's profile does away with the iconic B-pillar (expect to see coloured vinyl wraps applied there), creating a unified glasshouse beneath a new shortened roofline.
The rear-end is dominated by a new fan-like take on the Mustang's classic tail-lights, flanking the familiar GT badge - now sitting pretty without the faux fuel cap of the previous model.
Elsewhere, the Mustang is familiar fare made a little more sleek and a little more muscular than the model it replaces.
Inside, the 2014 Mustang features the familiar symmetrical dash design, but with circular ai- vents, a wider centre stack and larger switchgear.
Ford's Sync infotainment suite will be standard, along with keyless entry, a push-button starter and Ford's MyKey system - which limits top speed and locks the stability control on when a specific key set is used.
Drivers will also be able to select the level of steering assistance, stability control intervention, and engine/transmission sharpness via a set of switches on the centre stack.
In Australia, the Mustang will be available in both coupe and convertible form, with the convertible featuring a multi-layer cloth roof that Ford says will offer better insulation from sound and temperature than conventional ragtops.
Precise equipment levels for Australian Mustangs have yet to be released, but available technology will include a performance data display integrated into the Sync system, active cruise control and a blind-spot monitor.
As for how much all of this muscle will cost? We'll need to wait around two years to find out, as the Mustang isn't expected to return to local showrooms until late 2015. Stay tuned.
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