2016 Ford Mustang Driving Impressions

The redesign vastly improved the steering, ride and comfort of the Mustang, to the point where it outclasses the Camaro in those areas. Finally with an independent rear suspension to replace the venerable live axle, a strong limited-slip differential, and standard 18-inch wheels, the Mustang is nimble, forgiving and flat.

Base engine is a 3.7-liter V6 that makes 300 horsepower. Nowadays those numbers from a V6 are common, but it’s still impressive. Not long ago you needed a V8 for good power, but now you only need one for super power. The irony is that 300 horsepower might not be appealing enough in the Mustang, competing with the heat of the 310-hp 2.3-liter twin-turbo four-cylinder, and the thunder of the 435-hp 5.0-liter V8.

The EcoBoost four can do zero to 60 in under six seconds, as the kick from 320 pound-feet of torque comes early. But the engine feels buzzy, not at all beefy like a V8, and the feeling is exacerbated by the artificial amplified sound coming through the speakers. That’s right: fake engine noise piped through the audio system. We think Ford should try again with the acoustics.

We buzzed through Los Angeles traffic and over Malibu canyons, in a four-cylinder with the paddle-shifting 6-speed automatic transmission, using the available driving modes. We had to, because the normal mode had too much throttle lag. In Sport mode the throttle and transmission response is sharp.

If you like the four-cylinder’s 320 foot-pounds of torque, you’ll love the V8’s 400, not to mention its zero to 60 time of 4.5 seconds or its top speed of 155 mph (electronically limited). But even the V8 doesn’t grumble like we’re used to. It’s like that visceral V8 feel that comes from the rumble of the exhaust is isolated. We’ll take the similar Jaguar 5.0-liter V8.

For the track, the Performance Package offers a Torsen LSD, Brembo four-piston brakes, Pirelli P Zero tires (255/40R19 front, 275/40R19 rear), as well stiffer anti-roll bars, springs, dampers and strut towers. , and stiffens up the sway bars, springs, and dampers. It sticks to corners and handles at well as the BMW M3, and maybe even better than the M4.

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