Benchmarking European performance is fast becoming the new standard for American automakers, and it's no surprise Ford turned to some iconic automobiles in order to win over some new, discerning customers for the 2015 Mustang. Specifically, Americans love benchmarking Ze Germans.
We've speculated a lot about what independent rear suspension would do for the Mustang, but we won't know for sure until we drive one. The Mustang's chief engineer, Frank Davis, didn't say much about the switch from live axle to IRS when prodded by reporters, other than the decision was made when development began in 2009. But he did clue in some other details about handling and performance.
Rather than looking at the Camaro as always, Ford used the BMW M3 and Porsche 911 as the standard. Because the Mustang will be sold in Europe for the first time, engineers looked for "world-class" handling. In other words, they wanted to build an American car that Europeans would be used to.
The Mustang's front track increases 15 millimeters and 70 millimeters in the rear. It's 38 millimeters lower to the ground. Davis didn't say if the Mustang lost any weight, but some pounds were shed: It adds an aluminum hood, aluminum fenders and aluminum rear knuckles on the IRS. We couldn't squeeze out any other weight details.
The word "Camaro" was the least uttered word during the reveal, contrasted to how Chevy responds to Ford when the Mustang is brought up. Challenger wasn't even on the radar. The only way we'll know for sure if the Mustang can match the M3 is when we'll get behind the wheel.