Review: 2015 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Coupe
Vehicles become iconic for a reason. Fifty plus years in, the 2015 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Premium Coupe pays homage to the original while stepping in a direction that might be foreign territory for most of the Mustang faithful.
But before the typical gang of Ford faithful blow a proverbial gasket, this four-pot Pony car gets to show us what it’s made of. Read on for more.
What is it?
The 2015 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Premium Coupe is a front-engined, rear-wheel-drive sport coupe that celebrates its 50th year in the marketplace during this model year. To show this rolling stone was gathering no moss, a new longitudinally mounted 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine powered it. Turbocharged and direct-injected, this EcoBoost mill produces 310-horsepower and 320 lb-ft of torque. Sending power to the rear wheels is the job of a smooth shifting six-speed manual transmission with hill-start assist.
Our EcoBoost Premium Coupe included aluminum and chrome trim throughout the vehicle, a multi-control three-spoke steering wheel, and the customary twin wing dashboard with eight-inch display and voice activated navigation system to go along with the Sync with MyFord Touch functionality.
As part of the Premium package, there were a pair of heated and ventilated front seats, intelligent access with push button start, selectable drive modes, a rearview camera, and for those all important track excursions, the Ford track apps package with built-in “Christmas Tree” and timers to measure G-forces as well as 0-60, eighth and quarter mile times. It’s like having a dragstrip in your back pocket.
The Mustang’s suspension was made up of MacPherson struts in front, while a multilink independent suspension took care of the trailing end. The entire suspension was fitted with modified springs, dampers and bushings as part of the EcoBoost Performance package, which included a set of 19-inch Summer season radials that were mounted on sinister black-painted aluminum rims. They did their part to accent a pair of front-mounted Brembo performance brake calipers.
A spoiler-delete box was ticked on the order sheet to give a cleaner overall look when coming off the rear deck.
In addition to our EcoBoost sampler, the Mustang is also available in topless form, and in trim levels ranging from base 3.7-liter, 300-horsepower V6, EcoBoost, EcoBoost Premium, GT, GT Premium, and GT 50 Year Edition. The GT includes a 435-horsepower V8 that creates 400 lb-ft of torque. With all those choices, it still doesn’t even begin to cover the variants that include the Shelby GT350 and GT350R.
What’s it up against?
The Chevrolet Camaro, and Dodge Challenger are the typical playthings of this Pony, but add in the Hyundai Genesis Coupe as a newcomer to the neighborhood.
How does it look?
To go with the new model year is a new look that appears to be fresh from a hot-rod custom shop. Longer, lower, and wider, the fastback coupe features what old-schoolers would call a chopped top roofline that appears as though Ford removed a couple of inches from the roof height before sending it off to the showroom.
At the front of the ‘Stang, the shark bite bumper with integral trapezoidal grille and full aero shutters help to make for an aggressive first impression. They lead up to wider rear fenders that help to bolster the increased width of the rear track. Further back at the tail is an under-bumper diffuser and the trademarked sequential brake lights/turn signal assembly, which offers a dynamic view of the rear, going away.
And the inside?
The interior tends to veer towards the boy-racer look and feel of Mustangs past, but we are happy about the abundance of soft-touch material located throughout the vehicle. With very high quality fitment throughout, it will surprise and chuff those who became used to the hard plastic door panels found on Mustangs past.
The front bucket seats coddled us comfortably during long rides, and became more so with the addition of the forced cold air ventilation through the perforated leather. Everything laid out nicely from controls, navigation and radio, which were operated through voice activation, which is rather convenient considering both hands and feet are a little preoccupied when driving this Mustang with its manual transmission and third pedal.
Although we did manage to sit comfortably in the rear seat “pods,” we suspect that taller passengers might find the severe cut of the fastback roofline to be a bit of a hindrance.
But does it go?
We are firm believers in EcoBoosting and with this four-pot engine, we have quite the little engine that could. The only thing it has in common with the 2.3-liter four-banger found in the late and lamented Ford Pinto, Fairmont and even the occasional Mustang, is the actual size. Beyond that, it’s a totally new engine. Quite amazing, it manages to do everything you ask of it in a very rapid manner.
Get up and go from the four-pot engine was rather satisfying, even besting the horsepower of the naturally aspirated base V6 engine. In fact, we’ll even put it out there: Ford-why even bother with the 3.7-liter V6? At times, though, the sound from the twin rear exhausts tended to drone on without authority, needing assistance from the Shaker Audio system, once it found its cruising groove, but with 310 horsepower and 320 lb-ft of torque, it turns out to be the most power-dense engine in Ford engine building history.
The six-speed manual transmission was a hoot to power through turns and enabled a zero to 60 mph time of 5.2-seconds. According to Ford, zero to 130 mph eclipsed 31-seconds, and it tops out at 149 mph. While the EPA says to expect 22 City/31 Highway, we were able to achieve a less-stellar 19-mpg, which was due to the fun our right- and left feet were having. This car is definitely not a lightweight, tipping the scales at 3663-pounds, but it handles better than any Mustang before it due to the newly revised and constructed suspension and multilink rear kit that helped the ‘Stang track true through turns on our favorite test route. Having sharp road feel from the EPAS steering system didn’t hurt either.
With the rather imperfect Florida roads underneath us, we remember our rides in previous Mustangs, which had the rear end trying to side step from under us. That’s not the case with the 2015 model.
Leftlane’s bottom line
Sure the price of the 2015 Ford Mustang I4 EcoBoost engine has crept up and surpassed that of the V8-powered 2005 Mustang GT, but the truth is, even with the harsh realities of price creep, which tends to only go upward rather than down, this EcoBoost ‘Stang is truly the model you want to get. Oh yes, you do.
2015 Mustang EcoBoost Premium Fastback base price, $29,300. As tested, $36,990.
Equipment Group 201A Shaker 12-speaker Pro-Audio System, $1,795; Enhanced Security Package, $395; Adaptive Cruise Control, $1,195; EcoBoost Performance Package, $1,995; Premier Trim with clear accent group, $395; Reverse Park Assist, $295; Voice Activated Navigation, $795; Destination fee, $825.
Photos by Mark Elias.
Review: 2015 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Coupe Reviewed by Mark Elias on September 29 Ford drags the Mustang into the 21st century. Rating: 4