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The Ford Mustang has been one of America’s most iconic cars for the last 50 years. First introduced back in 1964, the Mustang has been a strong contender against rival models ever since. Similar to how the 1964 Mustang provided the original template for the pony car class, the all-new 2015 Mustang has redefined the modern day segment and raised the bar to an entirely new level in the process.

The 2015 Mustang is not only powerful in a straight line, but also extremely planted thanks to a complete overhaul of the rear suspension. Gone is the solid rear axle that has been one of the Mustang’s biggest complaints in favor of a brand new independent setup. This drastic change to the rear required significant changes to the front strut setup as well. As a result, the new model boasts stiffer spring rates and a lower ride height. All of these suspension tweaks translates into a car that is much more sure-footed through the corners and under heavy breaking, whilst well-mannered and comfortable during normal everyday driving.

One of the biggest surprises to the new Mustang lurks under the hood: the introduction of a 2.3 liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine is something special. This is the first time that a four-cylinder engine has found its way into a Mustang since the often hated Fox body from Mustangs of 80s and early 90s vintage. But make no mistake, the 2.3 liter EcoBoost isn’t an anemic four-cylinder. This turbocharged four makes 310 horsepower and 320 pound feet of torque, slotting itself in comfortably between the standard V-6 and the range topping V-8 found only in GT models.

Power delivery of the EcoBoost is smooth and quick thanks to a twin scroll turbo that helps eliminate off the line low-end lag. For the performance oriented, there is still no substitute for the V-8 GT. The slightly revised 5.0 liter V-8 now makes 435 horsepower and 400 foot pounds of torque. Both the GT and EcoBoost are offered with a six-speed manual or automatic transmission. Both both can be equipped with optional performance packs, making the already sportier new Mustang even more capable.

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Exterior styling of the new 2015 Mustang echoes more of the same level of improvement seen throughout the rest of the car. The body is lower and wider, the hips are now more pronounced, and the wheel offsets are more aggressive, which together give the car a more muscular look. The roofline slopes back aggressively and compliments the revival of the Fastback nameplate. The daylight opening is now pillarless, side view mirrors have been relocated to the door, and the trunk lid sits some 70mm lower than the outgoing body.

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In the cabin you will notice an aviation theme with subtle touches, like “ground speed” on the speedometer, hinting to the toggle switches that control various vehicle functions. Keyless access and push-button start are also standard across all models. The dash is now significantly smaller than the outgoing model, which makes it feel much sportier. The seats give plenty of support and comfort, but for those looking for a tighter hug, an optional Recaro seat package can be selected. Leather appointed seats are now heated and cooled and can be had as part of the premium package, which also includes premium radio, ambient lighting and Ford’s signature SYNC system.

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In terms of performance, the Mustang team set the bar high for the 2015 model using the previous generation Boss 302 as the benchmark. In a recent performance shake down around a Michigan track the 2015 GT with the performance pack was able to best the previous generations Boss 302 by 1.5 seconds. These performance gains are seen across the lineup and the new Mustang shines in every way, and is certainly a worthy competitor in the modern day pony car segment. Ford has managed to do a wonderful job improving  the car in so many ways while still maintaining some of the important traits that keep this car distinctly Mustang.