Eight is Enough
The 2015 Mustang sports a robust suite of safety features, including eight airbags
By Steve Turner
Photos courtesy of Ford Motor Company
Early in the news cycle for the S550 we learned that Ford engineers picked up some valuable interior real estate by incorporating a low-profile airbag in the glovebox door. This airbag is one of eight air bags inside the new Mustang, which is twice the number found in the outgoing model.
“We provide a high level of safety, quality and design for our customers and their passengers,” Sean West, Ford restraints manager, said. “With this innovative airbag design, we have developed technology that provides protection for vehicle occupants while also reducing weight and enabling greater design flexibility.”
To get an airbag to fit in such a tight space, Ford engineers turned to more modern materials. Rather than using traditional fabric, they opted for an injected-molded plastic bladder. When sensors detect a crash, the bladder fills and extends the glovebox’s exterior surface to protect a passenger’s legs, particularly their knees.
Not only is this slim airbag smaller—with an inflator that is 75-percent more compact than a traditional knee airbag—but it is also 65-percent lighter. More importantly for the interior designers, it allowed for them to take more liberties with the styling and still increase interior room by moving the dash forward.
It’s nice to know that the new Mustang will not only be faster and feature a roomier interior, but it will also be safer. This improved safety is not just attributable to the number of airbags. Rather, it is also improved by other technology, like seat-belt pretensioners controlled by roll-rate sensors feeding information to the restraint control module. Based on the type of crash, this module alters the deployment rate of the pretensioners.
“The new Mustang has increased ability to adapt safety systems to a variety of potential situations,” Jeff Rupp, Mustang safety systems manager. said. “For example, we’ve added new anchor-side safety belt pretensioning capability and a steering column that can adapt stiffness properties.”