Five things I learned riding in the 2015 Ecoboost Mustang
By Steve Turner
In case you didn’t believe that I rode in the 2015 Ecoboost Mustang, it’s time to share a little video of our experience. Your author had to overcome some technical difficulties to recover this video, but I think you’ll agree it was worth the extra effort.
Now, while I am showing off my first date with the S550, it seems like a good time to elaborate on what I experienced during those fleeting shotgun blasts around the autocross. Since we still have to wait quite a while to get behind the wheel a 2015 Mustang, here are the five things I learned during my brief stint in the car…
1. Ecoboost Belongs: Not that I ever doubted it, but finally getting to ride in the Ecoboost ’Stang confirmed that it is the start of a fun new era in Mustang performance. Sure the turbo four isn’t going to blow away V-8 fans, but our ride in the Ecoboost auto felt a lot like riding in an automatic Three-Valve. Plus, there is such a fun upside to modding the Turbo Gas Direct Injection engines. From what we have seen so far, many aftermarket outfits are ordering an Ecoboost and a GT, so look for the Mustang modding world to expand here in the states and internationally.
2. Drive-Mode Magic: During the tutorial on the drive modes in the new Mustang, I learned that moving the settings from Normal to Sport Plus to Track and to Wet & Snow not only alters the behavior of the Electronic Stability Control, but it influences the PCM’s throttle mapping and the shifting of the automatic transmission. As our driver toggled through the performance levels of the drive modes with each lap around the autocross, the changes were clearly beneficial to the car’s performance.
3. Automatic Envy?: Since the beginning of the Coyote era, the factory automatic transmission has become a legitimate performance option. However, that legitimacy looks to move forward another step in the 2015 model. Not only does the automatic feature steering-wheel mounted paddle shifters, but it offers matched rev downshifting, so it will work well whether you are carving corners or cutting quick e.t.’s. In our ride it seemed to shift briskly with little perceptible lag. Let’s just hope it is a durable unit, because Mustang modders will find the weak spot.
4. Balance to the Force: I was never one of the media mainstreamers constantly demanding an independent rear suspension in the Mustang. Ford engineers did a wonderful job refining the solid rear axle to a performance level—with the Boss 302—that even I hadn’t expected. However with the new Performance Pack GT expected to eclipse Boss performance, the IRS (along with the other improvements, like the double-ball joint front end) clearly offer better performance. The lighter Ecoboost Mustang certainly exuded confidence and balance on the autocross. It should be a sharp handler in any environs.
5. Familiar Feeling: I am fortunate to have spent more time in an S550 than most people outside of Ford and its contractors. First I sat in a life-size model in the design studio, and then I was chauffeured around the autocross and to and from a photo location in this preproduction Ecoboost. Clearly the new interior is one of the car’s best facets. However, it wasn’t really until I was sitting in the back seat of the 2015 Mustang that it finally sunk in. This car is familiar. Despite all of its new styling, the car simply feels like a Mustang. It is comfortable and I felt right at home in it. Ahhh…
Now before we go for a ride, let’s check out a brief but informative walkaround hosted by my friend, Tom Barnes, the Vehicle Engineering Manager.
This is the moment you’ve been waiting for. It is time to ride along with me in the 2015 Ecoboost Mustang.
What did you think about the sights and sounds of the turbocharged S550?