“Ford has done a good job of ensuring the Mustang feels and looks upscale even on the basic models…”

The Mustang is the rock star in the Ford lineup, so it was appropriate the launch of the 50th anniversary version was held at the Sunset Marquis Hotel, in California.

This hotel is also celebrating 50 years and is known for the many rock stars that have stayed and played in the gardens and central pool.

The pop band One Direction recently had a lineup of young girls lined up outside waiting to get a glimpse of the British lads. My stay featured only pretty cars lined up, no groupies. Regardless, the Mustang turned heads, too.

Looks

The cars driven around Los Angeles and surrounding mountain canyons were very early production models (the cars should be hitting dealerships by the end of the year).

This new 2015 Mustang is hot, on all levels. The car still has a long hood but the nose is blunt, with a forward-facing grille. The front daytime running lights are three LED slashes that mirror the three vertical taillights. And the front HID headlights are now standard on all Mustangs. The rear of the car is especially sleeker, thanks to a dramatic lowering of the rear trunk deck, plus the width of the Mustang has been expanded to give the car a lower, wider stance. The Mustang is sold as a base V6 ($24,999) or new EcoBoost turbo 4-cylinder ($33,499) and of course the might 5.0L GT ($36,999) – so the Mustang coupe and convertible are still within reach of the average consumer.

Inside

The last frontier in terms of design has been the interior of today’s modern cars.

Ford has done a good job of ensuring the Mustang feels and looks upscale even on the basic models. Standard equipment includes push button start and keyless entry, a backup camera and Bluetooth connectivity. The dash is meant to look like an airplane cockpit with separate pods on each side of the cabin. The trim pieces that look like aluminum are the real deal. Toggle switches are provided on the Premium trim levels to control driver settings. Above that are all-new switches to control the heat and ventilation systems and either a base 4.2-inch radio screen or the 8-inch screen on the Premium models. Included in the Premium package are leather seats that are heated and cooled.

The back seats are very, very tight. This isn’t a four-seater, rather a traditional coupe with rear seats for only the smallest children.

Drive

The base V6 features a carried over engine with 300hp. The new star of the show is the introduction of a 310hp 2.3L turbocharged 4-cylinder featuring direct injection technology. This will be the perfect engine for the person that likes the idea of the Mustang’s styling but doesn’t want the fuel bill that comes with driving the 5.0L V8 in the GT.

This engine is very good, it has a lot of mid-range torque making the Mustang accelerate easily and it passes well on the highway. There isn’t the classic V8 rumble but this compromise is easy to take, knowing that this model has plenty of power for the average daily commuter.

The true muscle car enthusiast will be attracted to the 435hp 5.0L V8. Power goes through either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic with paddle shifters on the steering wheel. The big change to the chassis is the introduction of an independent rear suspension and modified front suspension, plus bigger brakes.

Carving through the canyons outside of LA was a treat, the platform is very forgiving and there is no longer any unstable mid-corner surprises found in the older cars, just a very sure-footed modern car.

Verdict

50 years is a long time to continually produce a single car model. What comes out of this is a cumulative result that is hard to beat. The engineers have done a great job of bringing the suspension into the modern world and the new EcoBoost engine will be very popular, once people try it. The old-school buyers will be attracted to the meaty V8 but often, sensible decisions prevail and the EcoBoost is a solid experience. The styling is stunning, inside and out. To be blunt, this car will be a homerun for Ford.

There are two things I’d like to see improved. The seat back has no electric actuation, which means getting the right spot is hard to achieve. The second is the suspension in the GT can be a bit bouncy over city conditions but settles right down at highway speeds – pretty minor stuff for an all-new car.

Contact: zack [dot] spencer [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

The Lowdown

Power: 2.3L turbo 4-cylinder with 310hp, 300hp V6 or 435hp V8

Fill-up: N/A (city/highway)

Sticker price: $24,999-$52,899

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