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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-11-04, 05:08 AM Thread Starter
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05 Mustang GT Reviews: Part 2

Ford Mustang GT

Mr. Ed sidesteps the glue factory to become Secretariat. Well, almost.


It doesn't happen often, but the hens in the henhouse sometimes kill the fox. That's apparently what happened over at Henry's glass henhouse in Dearborn.

Of the 2005 Mustang's myriad upgrades, none is more significant than its new foundation. At last, the Fox platform, which wasn't all that impressive even when it debuted on the retarded Fairmont in 1978, has been let out to pasture, where we can only hope it contracts hoof-and-mouth while in the clutches of an illegal leg trap. The Mustang now rides on a heavily modified version of the Lincoln LS and Jag S-type platform. Unlike those luxo-cruisers, America's favorite pony car retains its blue-collar solid rear axle. But now it's a three-link coil-over layout, abetted by a tubular Panhard rod.

The new platform ushers in a 5.8-inch increase in wheelbase, which has worked wonders on ride and tracking. Length is up by 4.8 inches, but height and width grow little. To the naked eye, the new Mustang appears no larger than its predecessor, although it is 215 pounds more porcine.

The less obvious upgrade resides underhood. The GT's 4.6-liter SOHC modular V-8 now features 24 valves rather than 16. The three-valve heads permit an increase of 40 horses and 18 pound-feet of torque, although both improvements are realized at loftier revolutions.

Climb inside our Screaming Yellow test car, and what you notice first is $450 worth of optional aluminum trim running the length of the dash, pockmarked by four retro-looking vents, each 3.5 inches in diameter. They appear to be large enough to ventilate a small industrial-arts classroom. The steering wheel, which is adjustable for rake but not reach, features three chrome-faced spokes so fat they're often in the way. And the gauges are to be found at the bottom of a kind of chrome mineshaft. Peer into this pit, and you'll locate a large 8000-rpm tach and 140-mph speedo, whose increments, most critically in the 40-to-60-mph range, are too coarse to calculate quickly. Squeezed in between are gauges for fuel, water temp, volts, and oil level.

Apart from the brightwork, the interior is otherwise as black as an eel's esophagus, ridiculously funereal for a car whose four-decade reputation has been built on smiles and suspended drivers' licenses.

The swollen wheelbase has also allowed a slight increase in interior volume—an extra three cubic feet fore, one cubic foot aft. The cockpit now feels a lot less claustrophobic, and the fixed portholes in the flying buttresses introduce daylight farther astern, a benefit to the still-tormented rear riders, who had better not make the mistake of being taller than five foot ten. The rear seatbacks fold flat, revealing a pass-through 12 inches high and 40 inches wide, and the trunk grows by two cubic feet, too. Fact is, the cargo-carrying capacity is quite good.

The driver's seat is, uh, firm, and the adjustable lumbar support feels like a pine bough that's perambulating your spinal regions. But lateral support is okay, and a two-hour driving stint induced no incurable spasms. More important, the relationship among seat, pedals, and steering wheel has been improved. You no longer feel as if you're sitting on a bar stool. The brake and throttle pedals could be closer to facilitate heel-and-toeing, but you soon learn to compensate.

Throttle tip-in is more gentle and predictable. There's still some minor clutch slipping required for first-gear starts, but you can now floor the throttle at 5 mph, then suddenly jump out of it completely without inducing transmission windup. As with all of Ford's modular V-8s, power delivery is refined, and you can unwittingly cruise for ages with the engine spinning at big revs. But you soon learn that the real power manifests up high, in the 4000-to-redline range. Gone are the days of pushrod power gushing forth at step-off.

Speaking of gushing forth, let's move on to thrust. Three easy steps here: (1) Disable the traction control—a large button up high on the dash, just as Don Garlits intended. (2) Zing the revs to four grand. (3) Dump the clutch. The Mustang squats an inch, then launches straight, hard, and true, painting five to ten feet of expensive P Zero Nero stripes, depending on road texture. In a flash, the V-8 bangs off the rev limiter, and the tires bark on the upshift to second like deep-chested Newfoundlands. Beautiful, man—smoke, noise, velocity, enraged neighbors. Unalloyed essence of Mustang.

I've twice flown into Daytona Beach, stepped outside the terminal, and heard a Cup car howling through Turn One. That's what this Mustang sounds like at wide-open throttle: thunder at a distance.

Sixty mph is yours in 5.2 seconds, 0.3 second quicker than the old five-speed GT and identical to the performance of a 305-hp, 32-valve Mach 1. One hundred mph looms large in 13.2 seconds, a 1.7-second improvement over the old GT. And the quarter-mile is history in 13.8 seconds at 102 mph. Which means that the only other pony-car poseur on the market—the costlier, slow-selling 350-horse Pontiac GTO—will be humbled at the drag strip by your lowly little Ford coupe. Be polite about it. Act surprised. But don't apologize.

The improved shift linkage and stubby new shifter—about the size of a beer bottle's neck—are co-conspirators in the accel figures. Throws are shorter, less notchy, and require less thought. And even the clutch effort is reduced. You still won't want to depress the clutch for the duration of an entire red light, but you could if you had to. Like if you were up against a GTO.

The next best thing about the Mustang is that it now rides like a modern car. Less jarring crash-through, fewer expansion-strip jitters, no lateral wango-tango over broken pavement, less suspension-borne road noise. Yet even with the far cushier ride, handling has improved. Not even the most recent independent-rear-suspension SVT Cobra can match the new GT's skidpad grip, which now also surpasses a Nissan 350Z Touring's, come to think of it. Pitched hard into corners, the Mustang is initially neutral, then tends toward understeer. If the push annoys you, just stab the throttle and you can induce power oversteer. Neutral, understeer, oversteer. Quite a smorgasbord. And the tail-happiness now materializes more gently, rather than in one heart-stopping twitch. Throughout, extraneous body movements are nicely damped.

Gone is the nervousness of Mustangs of yore, and gone is the oh-so-annoying head toss that has historically been the trademark of live rear axles. In fact, every C/D tester peered at least once under our GT's rump to ensure there weren't a couple of pricey half-shafts whizzing around in there. You only notice the live axle at step-off, when you turn 90 degrees while simultaneously applying major throttle. Then the rear end briefly binds and skitters ******d a few inches, feeling a trifle awkward, momentarily confused. It's amazing what conscientious engineers can do these days with solid axles. If you don't believe us, check out the latest Toyota 4Runner. Fact is, there's a precision to this Mustang's movements that makes the old car feel like Mr. Ed. Did we just say "precision" and "Mustang" in the same sentence?

The rack-and-pinion steering still isn't a paradigm of accuracy or feel. Road textures, in particular, are transmitted only vaguely. But at least the effort is light at all speeds, the power assist never feels artificial, and there's no kickback. Fortunately, the suspension is sufficiently adept at maintaining path control that you aren't dialing in many mid-turn corrections anyway.

At idle, the V-8 transmits not so much as a quiver through the steering wheel, yet the engine introduces 53 decibels of racket, noisier than the hood-stuttering Mach 1. Why?

Ford has gone to town on the Mustang's brake rotors—now 12.4 inches fore, 11.8 inches aft—yet we could elicit only a 183-foot stopping distance, 13 feet beyond what the previous GT could accomplish five years ago. What's more, pedal modulation is merely ho-hum, what you'd expect from, say, a Taurus. The transition from threshold braking to ABS is abrupt and tricky to predict, especially on anything but glassy-smooth tarmac, and the pedal generally felt as if it wanted another inch of travel.

Freeway tracking is exemplary. Gear whine is down to tolerable levels. And this platform is as flex-free as your average Montana bridge abutment. This is the first Mustang whose subassemblies and trim bits aren't allied in a confederacy of gronks, clinks, and shivers. Combine that with the supple ride, and this also becomes the first Mustang in which a 300-mile freeway slog isn't a chore akin to washing the dog.

Although Mustang sales are currently down 10 percent, Ford faces no real competition in this niche, so such a thorough makeover was unforced. As such, it must have been tempting to bloat the new car's sticker by a grand or four. Instead, a GT can grace your garage for as little as $24,995, a sum that includes everything you really need—ABS, 17-inch Pirellis, traction control, a CD player, and power locks. That's a compelling fun-to-Franklin ratio, precisely the Mustang's appeal for the previous 488 months.

Ford Mustang GT

Highs: Vastly improved ride, slicker shifter, more power, same old friendly price.
Lows: Ho-hum steering and brakes, needlessly dour interior.
The Verdict: The best Mustang since April 17, 1964.


Looks terrific, sounds great, plenty of power, stops with alacrity, and responds well to orders from the helm. Stir in bargain pricing, and the revived Mustang adds up as hard to resist. But the biggest achievement, seems to me, is how well the chassis guys have managed the balance between ride and handling. When we first heard the new car would retain a live-axle rear suspension, we were skeptical, to say the least. It's hard to attain roll stiffness and still keep the tires in constant contact with the pavement using this time-honored (read "neolithic") technique. Nevertheless, the GT exhibits a blend of compliance and response worthy of a BMW. Nice job, guys.

When I was in high school, during the heyday of the original Mustang, the car had an appeal that cut across what we now call demographic and psychographic boundaries. You were as likely to find an executive wife behind the wheel of a Mustang as you were a 22-year-old pump jockey. That's because the Mustang's elemental, long-hood profile made it flat cool—a socially acceptable way to step out from the crowd of big boxy sedans. The new model, with its '60s feel, overt muscularity, and attainable price, delivers similar charisma. The fact that it also offers plenty of power, a robust feel, and decent road manners will solidify its cross-cultural appeal.

The sheiks-only GT proves Ford can produce hard-core nostalgia if not a decent mid-size sedan. Can it spin that magic for regular folk? The V-8 Mustang lays a patch right past decent and upshifts at wonderful. The grins begin outside, where the styling formula—Mach plus Boss divided by Shelby—generates real dazzle. Unlike the old Stang, this one slips on comfortably—the three-spoke wheel, the pedals, and the stunted shifter all in ergonomic harmony. The rigid chassis has more than a quick quarter-mile in it, with steering and suspension composure fit for both serious chicanery and an acceptable ride. More insulation against road noise is the only request.

Vehicle type: front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 4-passenger, 2-door coupe

Price as tested: $27,570

Price and option breakdown: base Ford Mustang GT (includes $625 freight), $24,995; Premium package (includes Shaker 500 audio system with 6-CD changer), $1335; interior aluminum trim, $450; side airbags, $370; chrome wheels, $195; MyColor gauge enhancement, $175; wheel locks, $50

Major standard accessories: power windows, driver seat, and locks; remote locking; A/C; cruise control; tilting steering wheel; rear defroster

Sound system: Shaker 500 AM-FM radio/CD changer, 6 speakers

Type: V-8, aluminum block and heads
Bore x stroke: 3.55 x 3.54 in, 90.2 x 90.0mm
Displacement: 281 cu in, 4601cc
Compression ratio: 9.8:1
Fuel-delivery system: port injection
Valve gear: chain-driven single overhead cams, 3 valves
per cylinder, hydraulic lifters
Power (SAE net): 300 bhp @ 5750 rpm
Torque (SAE net): 320 lb-ft @ 4500 rpm
Redline: 6000 rpm

Transmission: 5-speed manual
Final-drive ratio: 3.55:1, limited slip
Gear, Ratio, Mph/1000 rpm, Max test speed
I, 3.34, 6.6, 40 mph (6000 rpm)
II, 2.00, 11.0, 66 mph (6000 rpm)
III, 1.32, 16.7, 100 mph (6000 rpm)
IV, 1.00, 22.0, 132 mph (6000 rpm)
V, 0.67, 32.8, 149 mph (4550 rpm)

Wheelbase: 107.1 in
Track, front/rear: 62.3/62.5 in
Length/width/height: 188/73.9/55.4 in
Ground clearance: 5.7 in
Curb weight: 3523 lb
Weight distribution, F/R: 53.6/46.4%
Curb weight per horsepower: 11.7 lb
Fuel capacity: 16.0 gal

Type: unit construction
Body material: welded steel and aluminum stampings

SAE volume, front seat: 53 cu ft
rear seat: 30 cu ft
luggage: 13 cu ft
Front-seat adjustments: fore-and-aft, seatback angle; driver only: front height, rear height, lumbar support
Restraint systems, front: manual 3-point belts, driver and passenger front and side airbags
rear: manual 3-point belts

Front: ind, strut located by a control arm, coil springs, anti-roll bar
Rear: rigid axle located by 2 lower trailing links, 1 upper trailing link, and a Panhard rod;
coil springs; anti-roll bar

Type: rack-and-pinion with hydraulic power assist
Steering ratio: 15.7:1
Turns lock-to-lock: 2.8
Turning circle curb-to-curb: 38.0 ft

Type: hydraulic with vacuum power assist and anti-lock control
Front: 12.4 x 1.2-in vented disc
Rear: 11.8 x 0.8-in vented disc

Wheel size/type: 8.0 x 17 in/cast aluminum
Tires: Pirelli P Zero Nero, P235/55R17 98W M+S
Test inflation pressures, F/R: 32/32 psi
Spare: high-pressure compact

Zero to 30 mph: 1.9
40 mph: 2.9
50 mph: 4.0
60 mph: 5.2
70 mph: 6.8
80 mph: 8.7
90 mph: 10.6
100 mph: 13.2
110 mph: 16.5
120 mph: 20.1
130 mph: 26.1
Street start, 5-60 mph: 5.9
Top-gear acceleration, 30-50 mph:10.2
50-70 mph: 9.5
Standing 1/4-mile: 13.8 sec @ 102 mph
Top speed (governor limited): 149 mph

70-0 mph @ impending lockup: 183 ft

Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.87 g
Understeer: minimal moderate excessive

EPA city driving: 17 mpg
EPA highway driving: 25 mpg
C/D-observed: 16 mpg

Idle: 53 dBA
Full-throttle acceleration: 82 dBA
70-mph cruising: 73 dBA

My first car was a 67 Mustang Coupe, 2nd one was a 67 Cougar XR-7, 3rd one was a 66 Mustang Coupe. Why did I get rid of these cars for ? I know why, because I'm stupid, stupid, stupid.

My next Ford.....
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-14-04, 09:44 PM
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Re: 05 Mustang GT Reviews: Part 2

Good write up .Thanks Stacy.

In a flash, the V-8 bangs off the rev limiter, and the tires bark on the upshift to second like deep-chested Newfoundlands. Beautiful, man—smoke, noise, velocity, enraged neighbors. Unalloyed essence of Mustang.

Haha Love it.

And the quarter-mile is history in 13.8 seconds at 102 mph. Which means that the only other pony-car poseur on the market—the costlier, slow-selling 350-horse Pontiac GTO—will be humbled at the drag strip by your lowly little Ford coupe. Be polite about it. Act surprised. But don't apologize.

Haha love it again.

71 429SCJ Mustang
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-15-04, 09:24 AM Thread Starter
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Re: 05 Mustang GT Reviews: Part 2

2005 Ford Mustang GT

Automobile Magazine
By Don Sherman
Photography: Alex P

Along with cheap cigars, foul beer, and loose women, Mustang GTs are a vital part of our red, white, and blue heritage. Like Monday Night Football and Friday night carousing, the feisty Fords merit protection by constitutional amendment.

Alas, America's pet pony has been grazing rocky pastures of late. Distracted by tipping Explorers and peeling Firestones, chairman Bill shared fond Mustang recollections and teased with retro-future fantasies while denying us a fresh one. Engineers twiddled for years deciding what a twenty-first-century Mustang should be. Cobwebs permeated SVT quarters. We began wondering if a resurrected Camaro might beat a new Mustang to the corral.

So it is with relief that we announce the arrival of a filly in Ford's stable. We've driven the new Mustang and clocked its gait. Patience has been rewarded.

Ford product guru Phil Martens concluded that there are a whole lot more customers interested in $20,000 Mustangs with six cylinders and sex appeal than there are fat-wallet folks craving $35,000 Cobras. So camshafts, valves, and sophisticated suspension systems went out the window (for now). Martens stressed the three Fs that have historically defined Mustangs-fast, fun, and afFordable-before sending his engineers galloping.

Mustang chief engineer Hau Thai-Tang wielded the crop. You may have guessed he isn't a Dearborn native. About the time the evil II affix and Pinto beans soiled the good Mustang name, nine-year-old Thai-Tang was evacuated from Saigon by military transport. What he knew of Mustangs then came from car magazine clippings. What the bright ex-Ford Racing engineer knows now is how to make them quick and agile using a modest bill of materials.

The fundamental features of the new Mustang versus the outgoing model are slightly larger dimensions, more base and optional power, and a chassis that acts a lot smarter than it looks. The front axle is an unpretentious strut design, and the back end rolls on a rustic rigid axle, but don't be fooled by the blueprints. What you don't see is a soul spiked with spunk.

The first hint that this may be the best Mustang ever is its shape. Chief designer Larry Erickson (who, in a previous life, penned Billy Gibbons's zoomy CadZilla) mashed the nose down low, slid the front wheels forward, and jacked the rump up high. While homage is obviously paid to 1969-70 ancestors, this Mustang is clean, modern sculpture chiseled down to an instantly identifiable profile. The sight of the GT edition's driving lamps growing in your rearview mirror screams "Outta the way!" more stridently than any Peterbilt horn.

Erickson and Thai-Tang were on the same page when it came to stretching the wheelbase from 101.3 to 107.1 inches. Stepping the wheels ahead enhances traction, steering sensitivity, legroom, and visual attitude all at once. But Thai-Tang didn't let it go at that. Stuck with a strut front suspension by cost constraints, he engineered a good one. Moving the coil spring off the lower arm to the traditional ring-around-the-strut location tightened the turning circle, trimmed unsprung weight, and reduced bending-induced friction. Thai-Tang's team also increased the diameter of the front dampers, improved the antiroll bar's efficiency, and devised a means of dialing in ride and handling without the usual compromises. A firm bushing aligned with lateral loads works harmoniously with a softer, fluid-filled bushing tuned to take the sting out of bad pavement. The rack-and-pinion steering gear is laced with stiffening ribs and bolted directly to a stout crossmember to sharpen road feel.

Applying similar logic to the rear axle, Thai-Tang ditched the old "missing link" suspension, replacing it with three stiff, light, and widely spaced trailing links abetted by a Panhard rod substantial enough for Nextel Cup duty. The antiroll bar is supported by the body instead of the trailing links, coil springs have been relocated to the axle, and dampers now snuggle up affectionately to the rear wheels.

The new unibody, which contains no hidden Fairmont metal and only one piece from the Lincoln LS, is 31 percent stiffer in torsion and 50 percent more resistant to bending forces. That's good, because there's a party raging under the hood.

If you've been bad and you're stuck in the six-cylinder lane, take solace in a base price below $20,000 and a 202-horsepower, 4.0-liter engine with roots back to Ford's original 60-degree iron-block "Cologne" V-6. Those who qualify for the GT edition, which is expected to start at about $25,000, get the latest version of Ford's long-running modular V-8. This one mates the nearly equal bore and stroke 4.6-liter aluminum block (living here placidly since 1996) to a set of aluminum heads pirated from the truck side of the house. Since these SOHC three-valve-per-cylinder heads were engineered to feed 5.4 liters, no alterations were necessary to persuade them to handle the fluids ingested and exhausted by the Mustang's smaller pistons. Thanks to variable valve timing, special spark plugs tapered to fit in the minimal space left between the three valves, and a dual-mode intake manifold, the 2005 V-8 revs to 6000 rpm (with a 250-rpm reserve before fuel delivery ceases) and pumps out 300 horsepower at the redline. The lively torque curve reaches its 320-pound-foot crescendo at 4500 rpm.

Key this V-8 to life, and you'd swear flaming bowling balls were rumbling down the exhaust pipes. The boom is big and barely restrained. This is one V-8 that doesn't mince or mumble.

For the first driving leg from Ann Arbor to GingerMan Raceway, rented by Ford for press indulgence, we drew a GT equipped with an automatic transmission. We were initially bummed by our fate, but frustration morphed to fulfillment within fifteen miles. With five ratios to offer, the slushbox does a remarkable job keeping the new V-8 happy at its work. When you nail the throttle, a lower gear is yours without hesitation. If you keep the gas pedal buried, the revs drop only a few hundred rpm below peak torque after each upshift. This is an automatic with masterful moves.

Our hosts offered us precisely two laps at GingerMan, which was just enough to erase any residual live-axle reservations. Exiting the tight third turn, the tail was perfectly behaved and quite capable of handling a full right boot's worth of power. There's ample damping when you need it and sufficient roll stiffness to keep the body on an even keel. During the drive to terminal understeer, the steering wheel keeps you well advised of the grip left in reserve. Mission accomplished for the F for fun.

The second opportunity to study the behavior of both axles and everything in between came later in the day when we gathered a few performance statistics. Thai-Tang's engineering team is well aware of those who melt rear tires off Mustangs one quarter-mile at a time. To give such abusers (you know who you are!) the opportunity to think twice before instinctively switching off traction control, that system was given four, instead of the usual two, channels of wheel-speed information and programming to accommodate smoky burnouts.

As long as the car is running straight and true on a dry surface, enough tire slippage to sustain a rambunctious launch is permitted. When the four wheel-speed signals fall out of sync, indicating a sideways condition or slippery pavement, electronic traction control steps in to save the day. In fact, while driving to the track on wet roads, we found that the Mustang's new traction control works nearly as effectively as a full stability system.

We also learned that the new Mustang knows how to kick hooves. Fling the tach needle to 2800 rpm, step smartly off the clutch while adding throttle, and you're gone. There is no sideways bobble or axle tramp to spoil the escape. The shifter clicks through five gears like Lance Armstrong on a downhill blast. Sixty arrives at the top of second in 5.6 seconds, and you'll dust the quarter-mile goal posts just after shifting into fourth at 14.2 seconds and a galloping 102 mph. With this much torque, sixth is not missed. The Mustang's pace matches some quick cars on the road today, such as Nissan's 350Z, and at least one golden oldie: the bold Boss 302 built in limited numbers thirty-five years ago. Enter another checkmark next to the F for fun.

For the 2005 model year, GTs ride on 235/ 55WR-17 Pirelli P Zero Nero radials. While they do a reasonable job of keeping the 3600-pound Mustang in line with cornering limits of 0.87 g to the left and 0.86 g to the right (tuning discrepancies and driver's weight account for the difference), this car wants more rubber. At the grip limit, the front end chatters wide with understeer, and the 174-foot stopping distance we measured from 70 mph verges on truck territory. Eighteen-inch tires are under development for release next year, but early adopters surely will fit plus sizes on the ride home from the dealership.

How the tuners will deal with the new Mustang's tendency to pitch forward onto tiptoes during extreme braking we can't predict so readily. Consider this the Achilles' heel of strut front suspensions. Chassis engineers report that increasing the antidive effect beyond the current 20 percent level deteriorates ride quality. Their concern is understandable, because the new Mustang shows signs of bronco behavior whenever a pothole or an expansion joint looms.

Bucket seats are on the soft side to salve what the suspension sends through. The buckets are sized for big boys and shaped to hang tight in the turns, though we wouldn't mind a little less puffery in the under-thigh bolsters. The bucket motif also plays in the kid-size back seats. Adults who venture this way will find their knees cocked tight, their heads in contact with the backlight, and a longing for a lubricant to grease their escape. Working the seatback re-lease is an acquired skill (hint: grip the lever tightly between thumb and fingers). Left-to-right-side transfers are forbidden by a center console inspired by the Berlin Wall.

Sunglasses are essential gear in the Mustang, less so for profiling than for living with the flashiest dash this side of Broadway. Load in the optional interior upgrade and color accent packages, and you get three metal finishes (matte, ribbed, and blinding chrome), a couple of color contrasts, and a liberal sprinkling of grain textures. Four small gauges live at the deep end of the central chrome-rimmed cavern. Tach and speedometer graphics ratchet you right back to the '60s with tall, thin numerals filling space the half-length needles can't reach. If that doesn't dazzle your date, sweep through the selection of 125 instrument illumination hues, or crank up the rib-reverberating Shaker 1000 (watts!) stereo system.

In spite of smidgens of silliness, this Mustang is bred with sound bones, tight muscles, and strong will. It looks good, runs hard, and doesn't cost a fortune, which is precisely what has kept Ford's horse rocking for more than forty years.

My first car was a 67 Mustang Coupe, 2nd one was a 67 Cougar XR-7, 3rd one was a 66 Mustang Coupe. Why did I get rid of these cars for ? I know why, because I'm stupid, stupid, stupid.

My next Ford.....
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-16-04, 01:40 AM
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Re: 05 Mustang GT Reviews: Part 2

awesome, thanks for that stacy. that new mustang is gonna be a hit no doubt.

Truly the deepest kiss one can feel, and the one most sought after, is the one you will not survive....
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-16-04, 09:51 AM Thread Starter
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Re: 05 Mustang GT Reviews: Part 2

Thanks... Here's another one for you all to read.

My first car was a 67 Mustang Coupe, 2nd one was a 67 Cougar XR-7, 3rd one was a 66 Mustang Coupe. Why did I get rid of these cars for ? I know why, because I'm stupid, stupid, stupid.

My next Ford.....
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Re: 05 Mustang GT Reviews: Part 2

Preview: 2005 Ford Mustang

by Mike Meredith/ Photo's by Mike Meredith
MSN Autos

The 2005 Mustang GT is powered by a 300-horsepower 4.6-liter aluminum block V8 with three valves per cylinder.

We drive Ford's all-new pony car icon, and it just might be the best Mustang yet.

The all-new Ford Mustang has generated a lot of excitement with both former and future Mustang owners ever since it debuted as a concept car at the 2003 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
The production version of the 2005 Mustang debuted last year, drawing on styling cues from the past, but with a completely new platform and modern technology. After driving the new Mustang for the first time, I would say it delivers everything you would expect from an all-new Mustang—and more.

I recently spent an afternoon in Southern California as both a passenger and a driver in this latest rendition of Ford's iconic "pony car." Any apprehensions about this new car looking good but not living up to its promise from a performance standpoint can be laid to rest. The 2005 Mustang is not only the real deal; it's probably the best Mustang yet.

While certain design elements such as the forward-leaning grille and the C-pillar windows are draw from early Mustangs, the 2005 is a modern car with the wheels pushed out to the corners and short front and rear overhangs.

More Power, Excellent New Chassis
My first chance to take the wheel of the 2005 Mustang came on the Angeles Crest Highway, a twisty mountain road in the Angeles National Forest area northeast of Los Angeles. Although I had been riding in the passenger seat for an hour or so through Hollywood and up into the foothills, my first driving experience was diving right into a section of two-lane highway with short straights and tight hairpin turns.

This bright yellow Mustang V6 coupe attracted a lot of attention on the streets of southern California, from both past Mustang owners and future Mustang owners.

The Mustang V6 coupe has standard 16-inch painted cast aluminum wheels, shown here in bright yellow with the optional rear spoiler.

Driving the standard coupe, which features a new 210-horsepower 4.0-liter V6 engine, I accelerated from the mountain road turn-out and was quickly up to highway speed. The V6 delivers good power and the new 5-speed automatic transmission shifted quickly and smoothly. The engine and transmission electronics seemed to work well together, with just the right amount of dip in the throttle for a smooth shift.

According to Ford, the new transmission computer can communicate with the engine electronics ten times faster than in previous versions. The throttle pedal has a different feel to it initially; it's a little stiff and throttle control is obviously electronic rather than mechanical, but after a few short miles my brain, foot and pedal were in synch.

At the first big corner of my drive I experienced the biggest change in this next-generation Mustang. The new chassis is stiff and the steering excellent, with good on-center feel, precise turn-in and consistency through corners. The overall handling inspires confidence, with very little body roll and a balanced feel that remains consistent—even on irregular pavement. Despite the rigid chassis and improved handling the ride is not rough; the new Mustang easily absorbs bumps for a comfortable ride while cruising.

The 2005 Mustang has state-of-the-art front suspension and a new three-link rear suspension. The front suspension utilizes steel lower control arms manufactured with a new technology that makes them lighter than comparable cast aluminum arms. A firm bushing is used to connect the front of the suspension arm, which improves steering response.

The rear suspension works well, but the design is the most controversial aspect of the new car. Ford decided to carry over the live rear axle from previous-generation Mustangs rather than replace it with an independent rear suspension—Ford claims previous Mustang owners requested the retention of the live axle, but it was mostly likely a cost-saving measure.

The 2005 Mustang rear suspension has a sophisticated three-link configuration that incorporates a central control arm at the top of the differential housing, trailing arms near each end of the axle and a Panhard rod parallel to the axle. The Panhard rod is attached to the body and to the axle to control the axle from moving side-to-side.

Coil springs are located near the ends of the axles, and the shock absorbers are as far outboard as possible to have the most control over jounce and rebound forces.

When pushed hard through corners on a rough section of road, drivers can definitely feel the limitation of the live axle and the tendency for the rear end to want to step out, but it still feels well controlled, stable and predictable. Expect an independent rear suspension in the next Cobra, carrying a much higher price tag than the Mustang GT.

It was good to drive the V6 Mustang first, which is expected to account for 70 percent of Mustang sales, but on twisty mountain roads I soon had three Mustang GTs filling my mirrors since they had nearly 100 additional ponies under the hood. The V6 Mustang performed admirably against its heartier siblings, but I pulled over and let the GTs pass.

Mustang GT: Even More Bang for the Buck
As good as the V6 Mustang is, when I climbed in the Mustang GT and turned the key I realized something almost immediately: This could be the car enthusiast's bargain of the year. The new aluminum-block 4.6-liter modular V8 delivers 300 horsepower and 320 lb-ft of torque.

The 2.5-inch mandrel-bent dual exhaust has a perfect rumble to it, without being too loud. The throttle pedal has just the right feel. With the new Tremec 5-speed manual transmission the shifter has a slightly stiff, slightly notchy feel that gives it direct feedback.

Unfortunately I only had about 20 minutes in the GT, but that was enough time to get an idea of this car's potential. Not only does it have great looks with standard fog lights in the grille, 17-inch wheels, an aggressive front fascia and a rear spoiler, but when that gas pedal goes down the GT moves right now, plastering a grin from ear to ear.

The abundant power from the torquey V8 provides smooth acceleration, and the engine continues to pull strongly through the gears. With each gear change the shifter notches crisply into position with a deliberate motion that is somewhere between a muscle car of yesteryear and a fragile sports car.

As I slowed for the first corner in the Mustang GT, I noticed the pedals were perfectly positioned for a proper heel-and-toe downshift. With my right foot firmly on the brake pedal I could roll my foot over to the throttle pedal and raise the engine RPM while still braking to the level needed and smoothly shift into the lower gear.

Picking up the throttle I accelerated down to the next corner with my confidence growing in the ability of this modern interpretation of the All-American pony car. Sure, this type of driving is the stuff of exotic sports cars, but just as much fun in this new Mustang that has all the necessary controls in the right place for the driver to play sports racer.

My few minutes in the Mustang GT confirmed it as the best choice for storming twisty mountain roads, and they definitely explained why those three GTs were able to catch me so quickly while I was driving the V6 coupe. The Mustang GT is a fast, fun car to drive, offering a high-level of performance in a reasonably priced package, starting under $25,000.

Mustang Delivers, as Promised
When the Mustang Concept debuted in Detroit in 2003, it showed a glimpse at the past with the promise of modern technology. And that is what the 2005 Mustang delivers.

Driving the new Mustang with other journalists out on public roads for the first time, I was able to take in the wide variety of colors, ranging from Lime Green, a very popular color in the '60s, to a bright lemon yellow—a color only possible with today's modern paint technology. The car looks great in every color. And that's not just my opinion, but was proven by others along our drive route. It was fun to watch as pedestrians and people in other vehicles noticed the car, immediately recognizing it as a Mustang but then realizing—wait, that's the NEW Mustang. One kid even yelled to us from the sidewalk: "Hey dude, NICE car."

The 2005 Mustang will be offered in a wide variety of colors.

After seeing the new Mustang over the past two years at auto shows, the author was thrilled to finally see it out on the street.

The Mustang GT includes fog lights mounted in the grille, giving the GT a similar look to the 1969 Mustang with quad headlights.

The Mustang GT has a wide, aggressive stance with handling to back it up, due to a stiff, new chassis and new suspension designs.

The Mustang GT can really stretch its legs on the open road via the new 300-horsepower aluminum block 4.6-liter V8.

The all-new 2005 Mustang GT fits right in with the Southern California beach scene.

My first car was a 67 Mustang Coupe, 2nd one was a 67 Cougar XR-7, 3rd one was a 66 Mustang Coupe. Why did I get rid of these cars for ? I know why, because I'm stupid, stupid, stupid.

My next Ford.....
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Re: 05 Mustang GT Reviews: Part 2

Ford Mustang GT
The best Mustang ever.

By Tom Wilson • Photos by Guy Spangenberg

This car is going to give Mustang a good name, and what a move that is. Long the bastion of youthful exuberance, America's pony car has just smoked the tires 25 years forward to arrive as a fully developed, mainstream automobile, a car appealing to far more than image-crazed youth. Such are the rewards for starting with a completely clear computer screen, a first for any Mustang.

But, as has always been the Mustang's trick, the new car still cries the siren's call to its core youth audience as both the quintessential muscle car and, if nothing else, the coolest thing to be seen in. So give Ford credit. While improving such fundamentals as wheelbase, weight distribution and interior space, plus boldly exercising its design talents, Ford has not only preserved, but actually distilled the potent Mustang essence-V-8, rear drive, durable, affordable, sporting-into this latest car. The new Mustang is all of that, and adds the chassis and handling prowess Mustangs have so long lacked, plus some unexpected civility. It truly is the first fully rounded Mustang.

Polite or not, so strong is the new car's character that "Mustang" script appears nowhere, thanks to styling drawing heavily from the Mustang's first generation. While tempting to label the look as retro, once you see this car cruising Main you'll agree this is simply what a Mustang looks like. It certainly won't be mistaken for anything else.

As before, the Mustang offerings begin with a V-6 engine, now coupled to either a 5-speed Tremec T-5 manual or 5R55S automatic transmission. Starting at a friendly $19,410, the V-6 car offers 210 bhp and 240 lb.-ft. of torque, enough to sate the 60 to 70 percent of Mustang buyers looking for a sporty runabout. Considering the 4.0-liter sohc 60-degree V-6 is silk sheets smoother than the flannel 3.8 pushrod V-6 it replaces and is 7 bhp and 10 lb.-ft. of torque stronger, the 6-cylinder ought to continue its sales-leading ways. Plus, when optioned with a power driver's seat, Shaker 500 audio and the upgrade 16-in. "spinner" wheels, the V-6 still comes in under $20,000 with a $19,995 sticker.

But it's a V-8 that makes the enthusiasts' Mustang, and that means the GT. Using the aluminum block originally found in the 1996-2002 Mustang Cobras, the 3-valve cylinder heads from the F-150 pickup, a new composite intake manifold, unique sweeping cast-iron semi-header exhaust manifolds, an electronically controlled throttle and variable valve timing, the 4.6-liter V-8 sports 300 bhp and 315 lb.-ft. of torque.

The GTs employ the Tremec 3650 5-speed manual or 5R55S automatic transmissions, but whereas the V-6 cars use 3.31 rear axle gears, GTs are aided by 3.55 cogs.

Most important, an all-new chassis and suspension provide much-needed rigidity and a vast improvement in suspension tuning sophistication. Full-length "frame connectors" and other details make the new body 49 percent stiffer in bending and 31 percent stiffer in torsion. The suspension remains MacPherson struts in front and an 8.8-in. live axle in back, but there are no carryover parts, and the 6-in. wheelbase increase was achieved by moving the front wheels forward. Huge improvements in weight distribution were thus realized.
Gone is the Mustang's worst feature, a confused 4-link rear suspension; its replacement is a free-moving 3-link with Panhard rod while the front MacPherson-strut design boasts 7 1/2 degrees of caster. Fluid-filled isolator bushings in the front lower control arms, and slightly larger disc brakes are other notable improvements.

Approaching the new Mustang, we found its upright profile substantial, a feeling accentuated by the high cowl and low roof lines. More so than previous Mustangs, this one presents a sense of density and puissance. And yes, its family heritage is palpable.

The interior, specifically the instrument panel, stretches the boundaries of function and form. The deeply hooded tach and speedometer are trimmed with 1967-era chrome bezels with the minor instruments crowded between. This leaves the remainder of the panel free for excellent-functioning round vents plus aluminum trim detailing via the optional interior upgrade package.

The steering wheel feels just slightly large in diameter, but its commendably small airbag allows a wonderfully smallish center pad, all the better for peering into the speedo and tach wishing wells. The seats are workmanlike, meaning they are far ahead of previous Mustang practice, and while we'd enjoy slightly more side bolstering when cornering, the joy of seats that go back far enough to (just) accommodate humans with legs is unadulterated deliverance. Overall, given somewhat higher window sills and a pronounced center console, the new Mustang cockpit leans slightly to feeling enclosed, but is far from claustrophobic and gives better sightlines than the smallish quarter windows would suggest.

As if to complement the Mustang's newfound handling, Ford interior designers have been admitted to the heel-and-toe brotherhood after 25 years, and a dead pedal has been worked into the left toe board. The manual's shifter is nearly stubby thanks to the taller center console, and a remote mechanism between transmission and shifter has de-orangutaned the lever with a welcome move rearward.

Mustangs are honest machines, so there's no start button to fire up the beast. A perfectly toned and volumed guttural idle emits from the exhaust, and with modest clutch effort you're off to discover how shockingly good the new Mustang dynamics are. Like the Chinese, we were expecting a Great Leap Forward, but we weren't expecting the positively sublime steering, nearly absent understeer, excellent control harmony, the hair-quicker-than-expected turn-in, suppleness over heaves and bumps coupled with a plushly firm ride that doesn't jiggle on the freeway or hammer in the rough. My, but a well-suspended live axle is a thing of wonder; anvil tough, devoid of sleight-of-hand toe changes and cheap to boot.

Giddy-up is good, but mitigated by a substantial 3500-lb.-plus curb weight, never mind the aluminum hood. The 3-valve V-8 approximates the older naturally aspirated Cobra's 4-valve top-end rush with a definitely stronger low- and midrange. The variable valve timing shifts around 3000 rpm, but is imperceptible, so the effect is simply more power across the tach. Response for the first few hundred rpm off idle is soft, the result of only 281 cubic inches, two tons of all-up weight and what must be conservative engine management. And, while we're griping, electronic throttles are the work of the financial devil, although we'll admit the Mustang's is the best yet. Tuners will have a field day providing crisper off-idle and snap-throttle operations via computer reflashes and 3.73 gear sets. The burnout crowd will not see any progress in losing the throttle cable, either. For the rest of us, the smooth 3-valve makes more power, fewer emissions, gets the same mileage and lives on 87-octane gasoline.

As a cruiser or commuter, the Mustang is ready-made. Wind noise is calm with the windows down, and powering the side glass up cuts off the outside world with an unexpected, Lincoln-like quiet. The thundering in-dash, 6-CD Shaker 500 audio is powerfully balanced and can hammer out the hardest rock; the Shaker 1000 is for guys with baggy pants who don't understand that the right rear corner of the enlarged trunk is where the nitrous bottle goes, not an amplifier.

Best of all, the base GT Deluxe includes standard traction control and ABS for $24,370, which is on a par with the previous GT when you recall the electronic nannies were optional. Absolutely loaded, the GT Premium tops out at $30,115, and a very complete 5-speed GT is about $29,000. Isn't that great pricing for a V-8, rear-drive, durable, affordable, sporting machine?

My first car was a 67 Mustang Coupe, 2nd one was a 67 Cougar XR-7, 3rd one was a 66 Mustang Coupe. Why did I get rid of these cars for ? I know why, because I'm stupid, stupid, stupid.

My next Ford.....
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