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post #56 of (permalink) Old 12-26-2014
KC3333
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Post your 2015 Mustang Reviews Here!

Getting around to posting my review, finally. First, some background so you can judge my bias - everyone has some, right?

I have two, 2012's. I custom-ordered my V6, then loved it so much, I decided to trade up to a Boss. Then I decided to keep the V6 as a daily driver, since I’d taken the depreciation hit and my ’03 SUV was approaching 200k miles. I recently had stored the Boss for winter, and had the V6 in for an oil change one Saturday in November. While I waited, I noticed the first production 2015 I'd seen in our area on the sales lot. I don't remember all the options, but it was a black on black GT performance pack. It had leather Recaros and the MT82.

I was considering trading the V6 in on an EcoBoost in Spring, and even have approval from my wife - "pre-qualified" if you will. Since we are keeping the Boss (“I don’t care what you sell, the Boss stays,” says she), I was ok letting the other 2012 go - even though I give a nod in styling to the later 5th-gens over the 6G's. So you won't stop reading, that's all I'm going to say about the exterior appearance of the S550's. It's all personal taste. No winning or losing this debate. The 2015 is a head-turner. Rachel and Monica were both beautiful. Put them side by side though, and you're eyes will probably gravitate toward one over the other. For you young people, Friends reruns are available on TBS weekdays at 4:00. (I found Ross a pretty whiney, but Chandler will help you muscle through it.)

After explaining my plans to the salesman, I got the keys and slipped inside. The new interior is simply outstanding. It wraps around you and gives you an immediate high-quality, command and control feeling. It's not cushy or luxurious, but more like a sports car than a muscle car. Makes you feel all James-Bondy. I suspect one of the toggles releases the tire-defeating nails when an international enemy is in hot pursuit.

The interior, however, feels smaller inside than the S197s. While visibility remains good as with all Mustangs, the amount of glass, the sloping roof, the height of the console, the dual-brow dash all seem to bring everything closer in. Rear seats have never really been adequate in these cars - they are noticeably less so in the 550's. While my family of 3 can take a 2012 out comfortably for a few hours, I'm not sure about a '15. Perhaps it's the combination of the high-backed Recaros with this new roofline. I didn't attempt to sit in back, but wish I had.

All the comments about driver controls are right, and your tastes will determine if they're good or bad. The clutch is softer and higher, the shifter is firmer, the steering wheel is smaller, the Recaros are tighter, and the cup holders will let you shift better. I liked them all, especially the shifter - so much better than S197 stock. It's something in between the farm-implement heft of the outgoing GT500 and the glitch-shift of its cousin Mustangs. Still a short-throw, but stiffer in a good way. You don't feel like you might break it now. So far so good.

Then, I drove it.

Bias alert (aka, Grain of Salt 1): I don't drive a lot of cars. I have driven relatively few performance cars. I don't track, drag, or auto-cross. I drive Mustangs enthusiastically, and SUVs practically. I do have a 2012 Boss and I commute using twisty side roads rather than the freeway on purpose. I bought my Boss barely used, so I didn't even get to Track Attack. My Boss is a RCWLPTD (Race Car Without a License Plate or Trained Driver).

That said, here are my list of driving experiences in the order I experienced them. I tried to remain objective, and am noting where some bias may come in. You can sort it into Pros and Cons – my Cons may be your Pros.

Pulling out of the lot, hitting the bump of the driveway approach and entering traffic, the car felt more substantial than even the Boss. That is to say, heavier. The driver's door felt heavier when I closed it, and I thought it was my imagination. So Grain of Salt 2 (GOS2) is needed here: I have not driven an S197 GT Premium. The Boss is pretty much a strippo other than drive-train upgrades, and lacks perhaps some of the weight-adding refinements of the Premium. The 2015 thankfully fell short of bloated. Some would argue that refinement, with its requisite lack of harshness or connectedness, adds to the perception of heft. You can decide after your test drive.

This car had all of 27 miles on it, well before the magic 1k. You know, when the sleeping ponies arise from hibernation and take you to horsepower heaven? So, GOS3 - the car was not yet broken in. But, it felt a bit anemic. I am going to assume that because both this 5.0 PP and the Boss have 3.73's, and MT82s, and engines within a few HP and foot-pounds of each other, that a broken-in 2015 Coyote will snap your head back into the waiting embrace of the Recaro high-backs like 5th-gen GTs do. It didn't during my test drive, unfortunately. This made me sad. I'm hoping it's an early-in-the-season-for-a-rookie sad, and not a too-heavy-to-tango-on-Stars sad.

I found the steering to be much the same as the 5Gs. I didn't check settings, but I am a fan of Ford's electric-assist rack and pinion. It felt familiar to me and gave me confidence. Unlike other reviewers, I didn’t notice a lack of feedback. To me, Ford absolutely got the steering right - as close to no-assist feedback as I would guess you can get at this price point.

The cockpit is quiet, also as others have stated. Too quiet? This brings me to GOS4: Boss side pipes. Mine have the stock restrictors. I find them just a bit shy of "drop everything and look at me," but definitely the other side of “sleeper.” I personally would not go louder. But, I do appreciate a good exhaust note - one you readily hear and almost feel inside the car at times. I don't know if the sound tube haters got to Ford, or if the EPA has blamed 5.0 driveway revving for Spotted Whatnot eggs being shaken from their nests, but the '15 GT is lacking rumblicousness. Grain of Salt 5 would be the cold-outside, windows-up nature of this test drive.

After clearing our way out of traffic, we headed for some curvy roads. I wanted to run it through a spirited-drive parallel test. There was a good mix of rough spots, curves, and varied speed limits. There were even some straight-aways, with no other cars, where I could accelerate and pretend dashed lines were slalom cones. OK, a little embellishment there. The salesman was with me (GOS6), so I was a bit limited - but not so much I couldn’t get a good comparison drive out of it. He was cool, and quickly learned to brace himself with each heads up I gave him.

While the car corners very well, it did not do so well in the Snap My Kit-Kat handling department. I don’t have an engineering or race-driver term for this, but I suspect the IRS’ many pros create a con or two for the uninitiated. That, or Ford’s got some tuning to do. I’ll assume the former. Maybe it’s like trying the pricier Starbucks after years of McDonalds coffee and deciding the Starbucks tastes burnt. The burnt taste this car left with me is Squish. Or Flex. Maybe Roll, but I don’t think it was that. I can’t quite place the taste, actually. The go-carts we built as kids, after all, were solid rear axle. Perhaps some of us Neanderthals have a primal attraction to two wheels being stuck on a stick. The only lean we got when yanking the steering cord was if two wheels came off the ground. Keeping the comparison between Mustangs, though, I have to say the handling felt to me to be closer to my V6 PP than to the Boss. More refined and stable than both, but decidedly less go-cart than the Boss, and more flex like the V6 PP. That flex may get you around the track a couple tenths faster, but it may not be as fun. Your G's may vary.

We headed back via the freeway. There was a curvy on-ramp that let me try high acceleration and some delayed steering to exaggerate the sharpness of the curves. This is when what I assumed to be the IRS felt its oddest to me. Instead of sliding tires and a rigid body, the tires stayed planted and the body or suspension flexed. Almost as if centrifugal force and the IRS had the car leaning into the left curve, left shoulder down and right hip up, in an effective but unnatural way. I can’t say I liked it.

I wanted to like it. My expectations were high (GOS7). I expected to be wowed by a GT PP, and theorized that an EcoBoost Performance Pack, while slower, would be as good or better-handling than the "Boss-slaying" IRS GT. I’m doubtful now, and this is based on comparing two cars ('12 Boss, '15 GTPP) with only $1,000 difference in MSRP. (GOS8: The 2015 was loaded.) I do still plan to drive an EB PP, but unless I like the handling a lot more than the GT, I’ll end up putting off the actual purchase. Maybe the GT350 suspension will trickle down to more mortal Mustangs. Or, maybe Ford’s target market is more carpeted-floor service bay than cement floor man-cave. I do hope, though, that Ford plans to offer affordable, corner-carving Mustangs for both.

2012 Boss Yellow Blaze, Recaros/Torsen, Cover/Mats
2012 MCA PP Sterling/Lava

Last edited by KC3333; 12-12-2015 at 09:40 AM.
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