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Blinkers off, Ford's new Mustang is a global proposition

Modern suspension and a four-cylinder option feature as Mustang goes international


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5 Dec 2013

UPDATED 11:30 AESTFORD tonight released a swag of details on its sixth-generation Mustang, the first iteration in the model’s 50-year history designed for markets the world over.

The simultaneous global reveal, replete with live bands and standup comedy, took place across six cities - one of which was Sydney - in a calculated move to emphasise Ford's global aspirations for its flagship nameplate.

As we know, this newfound global focus for the Pony Car includes Australia, with the model you see here due to arrive on our shores in late 2015 as a de facto replacement for performance versions of the locally made Falcon following its discontinuation in 2016.

The local premiere date might seem a long way off, but the Mustang won’t even launch in the US until April 2014, meaning Ford staged tonight’s global premiere some time out from the start of production in Flat Rock, Michigan.

This new-generation Mustang brings to the table a number of other model-firsts, most notably an integral-link independent rear suspension with aluminium knuckles instead of the current model’s outdated live axle. Ford calls the new model the “most nimble pony ever”.

The Mustang also gets a torque vectoring system that adjusts torque delivery to each wheel when the car gets out of shape, and GT version will get a track-friendly launch control system.

And while this icon of American muscle car culture retains its signature V8 powertrain at the top end, it will also feature a turbocharged four-cylinder option at the entry level in a number of markets, including Australia.

There could be no clearer sign of Ford’s acceptance that it must move with the times and look beyond its native North America than these two introductions.

Dynamism in the corners and a frugal engine option are crucial in Europe and Australia – and increasingly the US.

The 2.3-litre DOHC EcoBoost four, which comes from the same family of engines as the slow-selling 2.0-litre EcoBoost Falcon variant, gets direct-injection and variable cam timing, and produces a projected output of more than 227kW of power and a meaty 407Nm of torque in US spec.

Of course, power will be sent to the rear wheels via an ‘updated’ six-speed manual gearbox or a reworked automatic transmission with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

The bent-eight option is an updated version of the familiar Ford 5.0-litre V8 with an upgraded valvetrain, cylinder heads and intake manifold. The Blue Oval suggests power and torque outputs will be about of 313kW and 529Nm.

A 220kW and 366Nm 3.7-litre atmo V6 option will be offered as an entry car in markets such as the US, but don’t expect to see it in Australia.

As well as the new rear suspension setup, there is a new double-ball-joint front MacPherson strut system up front.

Ford Australia, despite being a long-standing expert on rear-drive and independent systems on the Falcon and Territory, played no role in the global engineering process.

The Mustang has bigger brakes all-round, with three packages to be made available. Backing-up what Ford hopes to be its new-found dynamism is a new level of stopping power.

The design of the new ‘Stang comes from a clean sheet of paper, and as we have revealed, featured input from Ford’s Australian design centre, although the project was led from the US.

Under the Blue Oval’s ‘One Ford’ policy, its design studios on each continent pitch in. In fact, Ford Australia’s current design chief Joel Piaskowski was directly involved in the brief in his previous role as design director for the Americas, based in the US.

We’ve seen the fastback coupe, but naturally there will also be a soft-top convertible with a roof that retracts in half the time of the current one. Both retain the key design elements of a long sculpted bonnet and short rear deck, but this new one has a lower and wider stance thanks to a cut roof and wider fenders and track.

There are also retro ‘tri-bar’ tail-lights with sequential indicator, and a revised version of the familiar Ford shark-nose fascia and trapezoidal grille.

Inside the (quieter) cabin, hip and shoulder room is improved, thanks to the wider track and new rear suspension. In a nod to its likely North American demographic, the company points out its boot can fit two golf bags.

“Ford Mustang inspires passion like no other car,” says Ford group vice president of global product development Raj Nair.

“The visceral look, sound and performance of Mustang resonates with people, even if they’ve never driven one. Mustang is definitely more than just a car – it is the heart and soul of Ford.”

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