Ford drew upon a myriad of cues from successful designs past to conjure up the all-new Pony car's cohesive style. A laundry list of revisions and minor edits bids goodbye to the Tonka Toy-grade plastic of old while welcoming the fresh model into the realm of professional duty. The most instantly noticeable difference is the exterior styling. At a glance, it's impossible not to notice the angled rear corners when compared to the slab-faced tail of the previous model. Sequential turn signal tail lamps bring back a touch of cool hailing from the early 60's. Gone is the key tumbler in the trunk and the finger grab on the fuel door in the name of the sleek. The sharp, creased wheel flares turned into smooth bulges while the already infamous "powerdome" sets up shop prominently on the hood. What previously seemed a disjointed front assembly becomes surprisingly harmonized as the turn indicators are integrated into the headlamps and the fog lights were biggie-sized beyond the dimensions of the grill. The resulting cropped lamps continue to develop the aggressive persona already attributed to the Mustang. The black air dam, side skirts and rear diffuser positively affect the visual height of the body surfaces, lending to a lower look. The bitter cheese in an otherwise delicious sandwich is the inherently gaudy nature of the badging. The trademark "horse" adorning the grill has been modified for the first time in Mustang history by gaining some vanity weight while the GT shield in the rear is equally massive, obliterating an otherwise congruent flow. Pushing that minor flaw aside, Ford designers have presented a truly stunning package. Body styles will continue with a coupe and convertible, and the glass-roofed option coming late to the party. While the exterior improvements are the most noticeable change from a curbside view, the moment you slide inside, the interior absolutely stands out as the single greatest improvement to this car. Those who have had the misfortune of experiencing past interiors know even a Spartan would describe it as barren and arid. The cheapest feeling , hardest plastics covered all of the most important interface surfaces while buttons and knobs lacked proper tactile feedback. These materials compounded an already squeaky chassis by rattling away to match road imperfections. The interior design team razed nearly every piece of the old interior and replaced it with some of the finest materials to ever come out of a domestic automaker. The all-important upper lip of the dashboard mimics the rear exterior while the sublevel air-con bezels echo the exhaust tips. The center console was cleared of any obstructions in an effort to accommodate faster, cleaner shifting of the updated 6-speed manual gearbox. The arm rests are precisely the same curvature and height as the center console to generate a tightly-controlled cockpit to the pleasure of enthusiasts everywhere. In essence, the Mustang's interior went from punishment to pleasurable at high-G's. This remains to be tested in actuality, but it's easy to believe once you take the drivers seat and pull the vault-like door closed. As far as performance and handling is concerned, we currently only have Ford's numbers and statements by which to judge old versus new, so far we've only managed static seat time while making engine sounds. The 4.6 liter powerplant was massaged much in the same manner as the most recent Bullitt-edition was to output 315 horsepowers. Owners can choose to feed their beasts regular fuel, or premium for a mid-range torque boost. Engineers claim a 0-60 time just a bit longer than five seconds while running the good stuff. The suspension is revamped with stiffer springs, larger anti-roll bars, better tires and AdvanceTrac Electronic Stability Control, which is now standard on all levels. In the GT, users will be able to select On, Fully Off and Track modes to modify the intrusiveness of the traction control. The Track mode was tuned at road race tracks around the country to bring the fastest, most fun programming possible while supposedly remaining unobtrusive. The jury is currently out on official performance specifications and EPA-certified fuel mileage numbers, but we're told to expect those around January. Taking a step back from all of this flowery Mustang love prose, the car has obviously matured greatly while getting closer to the original doctrine of the Pony car: Offer a taut, powerful ride with gobs of style at an affordable price point. Bloat is capped at a meager 15 pounds over the previous model with generous gains in quality and power; more than enough to settle the score. This next chapter in the good book of 'Stang will undoubtedly give Ford an edge in clawing it's way out of the inferno. We just can't wait to lay down our first gratuitous burnout.
leaner, meaner 2010 Ford mustang MODERNIZED, WITH MORE REFINEMENT, new look inside, OUT * New muscular, sculptured exterior design is a modern evolution of Mustang heritage * Powerful new interior design features world-class craftsmanship, upgraded materials and new technology * Performance improvements – larger wheels, retuned suspension and increased horsepower – developed from engineering experience on the race track and from special editions including the Mustang Bullitt LOS ANGELES, Nov. 18, 2008 – Muscle goes modern for 2010 as the Ford Mustang – America's favorite muscle car for 45 years straight – hits the streets with a new exterior design; new world-class interior featuring well-crafted materials and updated technology; and a V-8 with even more horsepower and an even throatier signature Mustang exhaust sound. Combine those elements with the new Mustang's improved handling characteristics, more standard safety and technology features and its already-strong safety and quality performance and reputation, and it's easy to see how the muscle car known around the world delivers on the promise of fast, fun and affordable performance for a whole new era. "More than 9 million customers have made Mustang one of the world's most beloved automotive and cultural icons," said Mark Fields, Ford's president of The Americas. "Making sure this modern legend lives up to their expectations has been a driving force for the team, which went to great lengths – gathering customer input everywhere from race tracks to Main Streets in cities throughout the U.S. – working to create the best Mustang ever." For 2010, the team delivered. "The new Mustang marks new levels of both power and refinement," said Paul Randle, Mustang chief engineer. "We've designed and engineered this to be the next classic Mustang that everyone talks about for years and years." In true Mustang tradition, there is a "steed for every need." At launch, customers can choose from a V-6 or V-8 with their choice of coupe, convertible or innovative glass roof, plus several new options and features delivering the opportunity for customers to personalize their cleaner, meaner-looking Mustangs. "The best Mustangs have always been the ones that connect young America with the spirit of the times – and the 2010 does exactly that," said J Mays, Ford's group vice president of Design. "The new Mustang is close to the magnetic center of the original, fully loaded with the swagger you'd expect, but with modern refinement and attention to detail like you've never seen in a muscle car." It starts with the more aggressive grille, punctuated with the first new Mustang emblem since the car's introduction in 1964. Both the V-6 and GT have brand-new sculptured front-end designs unique to each model. The headlamps and turn indicators, now integrated into one unit, are modern interpretations inspired by the 1970 Mustang. On the V-6, the fog lamps are located on the lower fascia, while on the GT, the fog lamps are again located in the upper grille – but are smaller than the outgoing model, similar to the original lamps of the 1967-68 models that inspired them. "We understand Mustang's heritage and iconic status it has in the world and as a symbol of Americana," said Peter Horbury, executive director of Design, The Americas. "We wanted to create a face that is more muscular but unquestionably, unequivocally Mustang and carry that spirit through to the entire car." The exterior sheet metal, except for the fast-back roofline, is all new for 2010. At the front, the new headlamps, lower fascias, fenders and grille are capped by a powerdome hood that adds to the muscular appearance while functionally allowing for enhanced air cooling of the engine. Mustang's washer-fluid nozzles are tucked into the cowl, while the antenna has been moved to the rear, both of which create a cleaner appearance while also reducing wind noise. Front rear fenders feature taut, sculptured wheel flares, like a tight skin stretched over the wheels. A classic spear character line on the doors leads to a modern indication of "hip" rear fenders. "It helps give the car aggressive, forward direction, like it's ready to jump," said Doug Gaffka, Mustang chief designer. The rear end design features aggressively angled rear corners, a sculptured decklid and prominent rear badge. A rear-view camera incorporated into the spoiler is available on some models. A notable new tail lamp design features three LED bulbs firing sequentially from the inside for turn indication. The sequential bulbs were a distinct Mustang feature in the '60s and comeback to the 2010 for the first time since then. Locating the reverse lamps vertically creates a modern version of the Ford classic three-lens taillamp. The best of new, heritage Cleverly combining modern technology with Mustang heritage is a signature of the 2010 model, in terms of both design and engineering. "All of the Bullitt elements are the base foundation of the GT," said Randle, noting engine and chassis improvements. "We also applied some improvements gained from Mustang racing. We're learning constantly and always giving that to the customer on the base car." The wheel-and-tire combinations are 1 inch bigger across the board, ranging from 17 to 19 inches, which helps improve handling and braking. The shocks have been retuned on all models as well. "We adjusted the springs, stabilizer bars and shocks to better balance the ride, steering and handling for all models, which results in a more engaging driving experience," adds Mustang Vehicle Engineering manager Tom Barnes. "The 2010 Mustangs feel more controlled for steering and handling, yet retain a good ride balance." The 2010 Mustang 4.6-liter V-8 benefits from innovations from the popular Bullitt model. Power has increased to 315 horsepower. "It runs on regular gasoline, but if you put in premium it has adaptive calibration that will give you even better mid-range torque," Barnes said, adding that Easy Fuel™, Ford's innovative capless fuel system, is standard on all models. "It's an upgrade to the most-robust, most-accessorized engine in the marketplace today," Randle added. "No one has the reliability, no one has the upgraded options. This is a fantastic engine, proven on the race track, the drag strip and on the highway." AdvanceTrac™ Electronic Stability Control (ESC) is now standard and complements Mustang's all-speed traction control and anti-lock braking system (ABS). "It gives a driver a little more confidence that in any type of condition the car will maintain what they want it to do," Barnes said. "The 2010 Mustang improves ride quality and maintains world-class steering and handling." In addition to all of the design and driving dynamics improvements, the 2010 Ford Mustang is engineered to maintain its top government safety ratings. Standard safety equipment includes: dual stage front driver and passenger air bags; front seat-mounted side air bags; and, Ford's Personal Safety System. Interior leads in design, materials, content and comfort Like the exterior, the interior design is all new with world-class materials and execution. The powerful new one-piece instrument panel design is crafted in seamless soft-touch TPO (Thermoplastic Olefin) skin fully encompassing available genuine aluminum-finish panels. Mustang's chromed-ringed gauges and dual-vane air register vents are precisely crafted and positioned. "That's the difference between good enough and exceptional," said Gary Morales, Interior Design manager. "We wouldn't accept anything less than leadership design and world-class craftsmanship." The instrument panel and console flow as one shape, another strong connection to Mustang heritage. The seats and arm rests have softer materials with high-quality stitching. The new center stack design adds the latest version of Ford SYNC™, with new features 911 Assist and Vehicle Health Report. Drivers also can customize their ambient and instrument lighting through the My Color™ system, which features 125 color options. "The centerstack is quite progressive. The electronic finish panel containing the audio and climate control buttons and knobs are integrated into the finish panel," said Kim Zielinski, Mustang Instrument Panel engineer, 2010 Mustang. "I believe the customers will really like the new look." In addition to the improvements in technology and comfort, drivers will notice a quieter ride. "It's much more vault-like," Barnes said. "But we maintained the signature Mustang sound." The upgraded instrument panel along with new sound deadeners added to select areas helped improve interior quietness, especially at high speeds or on rough roads. All the better to hear that famous Mustang roar. With a completely redone exterior that echoes the classic Mustang designs of the past, an interior featuring world-class materials, numerous technology upgrades and an improved driving experience, the 2010 Mustang is poised to become the latest classic in the proud line of Ford's iconic American muscle car. "The 2010 Mustang is drop-dead gorgeous," Randle said. "This car marks the best efforts of 45 years of passion and enthusiasm among the best designers, engineers and manufacturing experts in the business, and we can't wait for everyone to see it and start driving it." The 2010 Mustang will be built at the Auto Alliance International Plant in Flat Rock, Mich. # # # About Ford Motor Company Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 224,000 employees and about 90 plants worldwide, the company's core and affiliated automotive brands include Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Volvo and Mazda. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford's products, please visit www.ford.com.