The all-new sixth generation Ford Mustang just may be the best one yet – in part – due to its styling and accents accurately reflecting what we consider some of the best years of the Mustang – 1967 through 1969. Making it our choice solidly for the best yet, is the top-of-the-line GT Premium 5.0L powered by a re-engineered 302 cubic-inch V8 engine that kicks out 435 horsepower with 400 lb.-ft. of torque – making it also the best Mustang muscle car yet.
Mustang for 2015 is rear-wheel drive and comes in both fastback and convertible with three trim levels defined by their power plants. The base V6 ($23,800) uses the 3.7L V6 engine, while the EcoBoost ($25,300) and EcoBoost Premium ($29,300) are equipped with the 2.3L EcoBoost I4 engine – all which do a nice job in the new Mustang. And of course, the line tops out with the GT ($32,300) and GT Premium ($36,100) with their 5.0L V8 muscle power plant.
All models and engines have either a six-speed manual with Hill Start Assist or a six-speed automatic with paddle shifters transmission ($1,195 more).
Our preference, as you probably suspect, is the six-speed manual transmission.
Mustang GT Muscle Car
We have been a muscle car lover since buying a first generation 1968 Mustang 302 Fastback in 1967. For over 20 years and 200,000 miles our Lime Gold Mustang gave us an exciting drive experience every single day we owned it – so we admit to ‘some’ bias for the Mustang. However, this newest generation 2015 Mustang GT 5.0L easily gets our attention (bias not required) with its fresh yet traditional styling, new aggressive power train with manual transmission (referred to as the muscle) all delivering a very capable road handling performance that is blended just right in this iconic sixth generation Mustang.
The heart of the new Mustang GT muscle car is its 5.0L V8 (302 cubic-inch) engine. This new generation V8 has its origins in the earlier 2012 Boss 302 power plant and now cranks out 435 horsepower with 400 lb.-ft. of torque. When coupled with the specifically tuned Getrag six-speed manual transmission, this power train delivers a true Mustang experience that – depending how good your shifting is – will likely get you 0-60 in under 4.5 seconds with a top speed over 155 mph.
Besides the power train, the very solid, but surprisingly nimble, handling of the new independent suspension makes driving this GT 5.0L amazingly easy for an almost 3,800 pound coupe.
Speaking of the shifting, the manual gearbox and clutch combination are solid and do require a firm touch of the foot matched to precise throw of the shifter. But, they are well matched and their touch is easy to master making this power train a real pleasure to drive.
Yes, the new Mustang GT 5.0L also sounds like the muscle car it was and should be. The very well-tuned exhaust system features just the right level of rumble in each gear accelerating while giving you an impressive rumble as you rev match with the accelerator while downshifting. And unlike some others that use exhaust note augmentation, this Mustang even noticeably rumbles while in idle or slowly moving.
Our simple drive impression summary is that the 2015 Mustang GT Premium 5.0L looks good, runs even better and sounds awesome.
2015 Mustang GT Premium 5.0L
Our test Mustang – in Deep Impact Blue Metallic with an Ebony Leather interior – was the GT Premium with the 5.0L V8 power plant and six-speed manual transmission. As the Premium, it added or up-graded to include Air Extractor Hood Vents, Ambient Lighting, and Sync with MyFord Touch and 9-Speaker Sound System with Amplifier all included in the MSRP of $36,100.
For performance, the GT Package ($2,495) muscled it up even more with 19×9-inch Ebony Black alloy wheels mounted with Pirelli 255/40R19 Y-speed rated tires front and 19×9.5-inch wheels with Pirelli 275/40R19 Y-speed rated tires rear. The rear end was changed out to a Torsen limited slip 3.73:1 final drive ratio. Brakes were upgraded to 15-inch Brembo six-piston fixed aluminum calipers front with 13.0-inch single piston calipers at the rear. A unique front splitter was added to channel cooling air to the front brakes.
Plus our Mustang GT, already set up with a performance driver cockpit, came equipped with an awesome set of Recaro Leather racing seats ($1,595) that kept us solidly anchored and comfortable in every challenging situation we got into with this GT.
Other additions to our test Mustang GT that added to its daily driver comfort and convenience included another upgrade of the entertainment to the 12-speaker Shaker Pro Audio System for $1,795, Voice Activated Navigation ($795), Reverse Park Assist ($295), Adaptive Cruise Control ($1,195), Enhanced Security Package ($395) and Premier Trim and Accent Group on the interior ($395).
Our 2015 Ford Mustang GT Premium 5.0L priced, with delivery, at $45,885.
2015 Mustang Shelby GT350 Option
For those wanting their Mustang with a bit more punch and targeted track capability – as well being a hot daily driver – Ford Performance will be offering a Shelby GT350 and Shelby GT350R late in 2015.
Coming from Ford Performance, the Shelby GT350 is a track car first, but also doubles as an awesome daily driver. It will be powered with a new 5.2-liter and first-ever production V8 from Ford with a flat-plane crankshaft engine. This design is typically found only in racing application power plants – where the connecting rods are attached evenly spaced 180-degree intervals instead of the traditional 90-degree intervals.
Ford says, combined with its high-revving ability, the flat-plane 5.2-liter V8 gives drivers an enormous amount of performance and available flexibility within each gear of the lightweight six-speed manual transmission. The standard Ford-tuned Torsen limited-slip differential optimizes cornering grip and straight-line traction in the Shelby.
The Shelby GT350 is further loaded up with a full complement of racing suspension, brakes, wheels and tires to optimize track performance. The GT350R has the rear seats removed and is equipped with carbon fiber wheels to reduce weight overall to further improve acceleration, handling and top-end speed.
The MSRP for the Shelby GT350 is reported to be $53,000 before options, extras and delivery.
Our Choice Still
Go with the 2015 Mustang GT Premium 5.0L and manual transmission for around $10,000 less. It has all the race track capability you might want or need (to deal with those foolish enough to challenge you) plus give you one heck of sexy daily drive. And yes, we think the Deep Impact Blue is the best color too.