There are a few occupational hazards in writing car reviews. The most serious risk of all? Falling in love with a press loaner.
You spend the first day shocked by your good fortune and impressive networking to have this sweet ride parked in your driveway. Just seeing the Mustang outside on its gorgeous black 19-inch wheels was a huge rush.
Day two is about being smitten with surprise and delight features while driving. The Mustang rewards with an amazing driving position, fantastic rear-drive dynamics and Track mode.
See the summary for the end-of-week thoughts. But here's a spoiler: it involves deep regret, melancholy that the car is going back, and thoughts about what you could have done in your time together!
The 2015 Ford Mustang was a warm ray of sunshine this winter -- with its boost hiss still warming the heart on this chilly March day.
Enjoy the HD drive videos below, 250 new photos and comprehensive drive impressions below.
HD Drive Review - Rainy/Damp Day
The big news with the 2015 Mustang is clear to see outside. A design that in memory seems very similar to the 2014 car, but in the flesh feels ultra-modern, clean and incredibly stylish. The biggest clue first-off to the Mustang's new-ness are its three vertical LED slashes inside each headlamp, matching the angle of the giant grille.
This grille is also the one main give-away that your Mustang is a 3.7-liter V6 or the all-new 2.3-liter EcoBoost turbo tested here. The non-GT trims lack the double internal grille fangs, but with this Performance Pack does include a lower splitter, LED foglamps and HID bi-xenon projectors for the low and high beams. [Note: the lighting and splitter are standard on all models, actually.]
In the nose, the details we came to love best were the dominant grille shape, feeling low and wide and pushing all the lighting to the very edges of the car's face. The twin hood strakes are aggressive outside and in: you see them at all times while driving.
The profile of the Mustang EcoBoost is one of its top three angles. =] The low and long hood feels instantly like a muscle-car, while the flowing rear glasshouse and roofline are almost perfect matches for that long-nose hood.
In the doors and glasshouse, the Mustang is not trying too hard to impress. It is just cool. Lightly tinted glass is uninterrupted between the frameless doors and the rear three-quarter window. It is a leaned-back and cool shape.
A simple beltline accent flows from the nose along the height of the door handles, extending into the trunk-sides as well.
Our overall favorite profile design detail is the lower sill. This is a shrink-wrapped bar of reinforced steel that extends downward to meet the wheels front and back. Lovely.
The tail again is a heavenly sight. It seems perfect. The new three-pack of slim vertical LED lamps are the highlight, living in a gloss-black trunk section that makes the body designs pop and the color-matched lower diffuser stand out extra nicely. Twin exhaust pipes are a feature of all engines, with the lack of a GT badge in between the lamps the only indication of engine. This test car had the factory-delete option of its rear spoiler selected. A slight flip in the tail's beveled edge still feels like a functional aero element even without a wing.
Overall, the Mustang's big change for 2015 is that all the engines are cool. No more base Mustangs being scoffed-at for their three-spoke hubcabs.
The cabin of the new Mustang EcoBoost also feels 'just right' from the first sitting.
Excellent power-operated performance seats, a hugely adjustable steering column and the latest in active safety tech are all included on this loaded test car. Upgrades over the already-swanky $29k 2015 Mustang Coupe Premium include about $3k in upgrades. Adaptive cruise and rear parking assist for $1500, security system and voice-activated navigation for another $1200 and the Premier trim group for $400.
The result is like the perfect black leather jacket: comfortable, cool and seductive -- with just a hint of danger. The machine-turned look of the dash panel is a nice treat, and the low roofline and black headline remind you and your passengers that this is a serious sports car.
The visibility in the Mustang is far better than the Camaro coupe. You can still see stoplights without leaning down and looking up, and the view from the side is broad too. The rear three-quarter and backup views are far tighter and more limited -- making those options above extra helpful in daily use.
The black leather seats with heating and cooling are really stellar. They make this Mustang feel like a competitor to the Cadillac ATS, Lexus RC350 and even the BMW 428i.
Like all Mustang's for 2015, this EcoBoost comes with integrated Track Apps functionality to show your G-forces, laptimes and sprint performances, plus braking power and a few other goodies.
Naturally, the first one you will play around with is the 0-60-mph sprint timer. It is really a fun part of one of the must entertaining cars in years.
We popped off a few runs right away to see how our shifting and launches might compare with the benchmarks from some big car mags. This few days and many, many runs in our pre-production prototype was a mixed blessing.
Subjectively, the Mustang EcoBoost feels ferocious and lively. Great torque and eager pace throughout the rev band, especially down low. The six-speed manual is snicky and precise, while the clutch is light and quick.
Objectively, at least on this exact car and after almost 6000 miles of auto journalist thrashing... the Mustang EcoBoost was not living up to expectations -- until we refilled the tank with Premium fuel.
HD DRIVE REVIEW 1 - Track Apps 0-60-mph Sprints
HD DRIVE REVIEW VIDEO 2 - Track Apps 0-60-mph Sprints
Airport Ideal-Grip Launch Surface
So, as the videos above show, your smitten scribe was pretty disappointed to not achieve any runs quicker than 6.5-seconds to 60-mph in the first filming day.
After extensive analysis and feedback from the Mustang community, we checked the tire pressures, tread depth, oil levels, air filter cleanliness, shift points and launch strategies.
Nothing worked to make us quicker. The one unknown: was the car running normal or premium fuel? No way to tell, and with a 25-mpg average... it was taking days and days to drain the tank.
THRILLINGLY! A full tank of premium fuel totally changed the Mustang EcoBoost for the better. Less direct-injection ticking at idle, and a 6.0-second sprint even in damp weather. Performance headscratcher solved: for maximum turbo fun, premium gasoline is a must.
Sprint times aside, the EcoBoost feels light and extra-nimble up front, as you might expect. With the big Brembo brakes and limited-slip differential of the Performance Pack, this pony is almost happiest with its tail sideways and opposite-lock on max.
HD Drive Review - Rainy/Damp Day
COLORS and WHEELS
This Triple Yellow paint is well-worth the $500 upgrade price. It is a real eye-blaster. More fan enthusiasm from people while driving this car for a week than we've gotten in the last year overall. Check out the mini entourage the Mustang EcoBoost earned at Charleston, SC Cars and Coffee...!
Even the German Shepherd puppy liked the Mustang better than the 2015 BMW M3 in Takhir Orange parked beside us.
A full animated colors and wheels guide to the new Mustang is over at the below link.
2015 Mustang Coupe Premium $29,170.00
Exterior: Triple Yellow Tricoat
Interior: Ebony Leather Grain Seats
Rapid Spec Equipment Group 201A $1,795
Triple Yellow Tri-Coat Paint $495
Enhanced Security Package $395
Adaptive Cruise Control $1,195
Reverse Park Assist $295
Voice-Activated Navigation System $795
EcoBoost Performance Package $1,995
Premier Trim w/ Color Accent Group $395
Vehicle & Options: $36,530.00
Destination & Delivery: $825.00
TOTAL MSRP: $37,355.00
By day five, the end is near and tunnel-vision sets in. How to keep driving and living without this incredible car!?
Just elated to have spent time with the car, and time to celebrate our last 48-hours together.
Getting the car washed for second time, even though it arrived clean. Adding tire-wet before photos.
Our time was nearly up. One last fling! Track mode. TCS off. Smile ear-to-ear.
If you thought the Mustang was destined to be yours the moment you pull onto the Ford dealer lot.... just wait until you sit in the driver seat, fire up the engine and drive a few blocks. You will be selling your baseball-card-collection, getting your kidneys appraised and finding room in your budget.
This is a dream-car -- that is available even when you are awake.
Take the Mustang for a drive. Any engine. Any trim level. They are all exceptional.
The Performance Pack and its locking diff are nice to have, but to be honest -- the highest vote in the favor of the 2015 Ford Mustang is that is excels as a hotshot executive coupe as well as it does as a muscle-car. Go drive it. Today. You'll thank me later.
Press start button.
Floor gas pedal.
Hooked for life.