Not many people have had the chance to actually drive one of the brand new 2015 Mustang models, but Road and Track was lucky enough to get in the passenger's seat of a 2015 Mustang EcoBoost for a closed-course, mid-speed autocross demo with a Ford engineer in the driver's seat. The Mustang was also equipped with the optional performance package. Here are the five things that Road and Track say they learnt from their go with the 2015 Mustang EcoBoost 2.3.
1. Four-cylinder performance pack doesn't add power
The optional performance pack does not add power or output
The good news is that the package will increase acceleration with new rear-axle ratios, trading a 3:31 set for 3:55 gears. Performance pack cars also get firmer dampers and higher spring rates, additional chassis bracing, different front bushings, sway bars that are 5% stiffer, and 255/40R Pirelli P Zero summer performance tires on 19x9-inch wheels.
2. Rev matching feature
From the passenger seat, the car seemed relatively flat through the slalom and didn’t exhibit much nose-dive even when the faintest whiff of spent brakes came through the cabin. Our engineer wouldn’t give up numerical changes to braking bias, but admitted to “greater rear brake utilization” compared with the 2014 Mustang.
The 2015 Mustang is equipped with a new rev-match downshift feature, though it is not available for the manual gearbox. The automatic model gets steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters with a little throttle blip for all downchanges.
3. Independently adjustable steering
We did one lap in Normal mode, one in Sport, and the final in Sport—Snow/Wet mode was not demonstrated for us. It was difficult to discern claimed changes in throttle mapping, but in the latter two modes, ESC was noticeably later in clamping down and the engine revved to 7000 rpm before biting into the next gear. The auto ‘box seemed smooth enough, though it’s not as quick or silky as those dual-clutch offerings from Wolfsburg.
There are three steering modes available: comfort, normal, and sport. Each of these is divorced from drive modes, so that means that there are 12 different combinations of drive inputs on tap. The engineer driving said that "the V8 is not as nimble as the four [cylinder] on-track" before backpedaling to note that the 5.0 "makes up for it on the straights."
4. 2.3-liter runs 18 psi of boost ( but its not that exciting)
A pair of blue-over-black dial gauges replace the center dash vent that would be in the six- or eight-cylinder models. Close to the driver is oil pressure, next over is a boost gauge. Road and Track saw a max of 18 psi indicated during the test runs; it appeared to taper towards 15 psi at redline.
5. V8 performance pack will add even more
Torque felt adequate and spool was quick, though we were expecting a little more pep in its step. The soundtrack is in the same spirit as the Focus ST, though with a bit more grunt and sans induction noise—save one section of full-tilt lift into heavy braking, there wasn’t much sneezing and whirling from the 2015 Mustang’s twin-scroll snail.
There should be even more in the V8 model's performance pack compared to the 2.3-liter performance pack. The V8 model's performance pack will use a new 'BS3' brake setup, which includes 14.9-inch rotors and 6-pot Brembo calipers. Road and Track was also told rear-wheel width increases to 9.5 inches with a 275-section P-Zero footprint, while the rear axle ratio is quicker still at 3.73.
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5 things we learned riding in the 2015 Ford Mustang EcoBoost 2.3 - Road & Track