It’s a ‘Stang thang: Why the new Mustang could be the greatest car ever

Surely there are few greater, or more iconic, cars than the Ford Mustang?

Has there ever been such a potent and virile symbol of power, performance and no-holds-barred manliness? Probably not.

If the Ford Mustang was a person, it would be Burt Reynolds, early Marlon Brando or maybe Lee Van Cleef.

It would trim its carefully-cultivated handlebar moustache with a chainsaw before setting fire to your lawn and then punching it out, because that’s just the sort of authority-flaunting renegade that it is.

50 years of the Ford Mustang

Fifty years after it was first introduced, the Ford Mustang is as much of an icon now as has ever been. It’s both the most desired classic car in Europe and the most-liked car on Facebook, with over seven million fans.

Conceived in 1964 as an answer to the burgeoning American trend for massive engines in regular saloons, which started with the Pontiac GTO, the Mustang took the nascent muscle car movement into a class of its own.

The first production Mustang was revealed to the world for the first time at the New York World’s Fair in April of 1964, two months and nine days after the Beatles had their world-changing performance on The Ed Sullivan Show, and went on sale the very same day.

Based on the body of the Ford Falcon saloon, engine choices for what would become the de facto muscle car were relatively underwhelming compared to some of its later iterations.

A 2.8-litre straight six engine that produced an utterly flaccid 99bhp was followed by a slightly less lame 3.3-litre 114bhp version, which was pumped up to a reasonable 285bhp on the highest performance version of the original Mustang.

Despite performance figures being comparatively rubbish to more contemporary models, the Mustang nevertheless proved an instant hit on both sides of the Atlantic, spurred on by its appearances in television and film.

Heavily featured in iconic movies like Bullitt and Gone in Sixty Seconds, the Mustang became associated with high-octane badassery, and buyers couldn’t get enough.

Brand New Ford Mustang

Skip forward a couple of decades, and Ford’s wildest stallion is still just as popular as ever. So much so, in fact, that Ford are officially introducing the world’s first right-hand drive Mustang model to the UK next year.

This is seriously big news. Previously, would-be Mustang owners bound to the British Isles had to go through the lengthy procedure of having a ‘Stang shipped over from the States, and then having to live with the steering wheel being on the wrong side.

Now, however, fans of big engines and big performance can order a Mustang straight from their dealerships. It also shows Ford’s confidence in the Mustang’s continued popularity that they’re willing to release a UK-specific model.

That’s not all, either. In fact, all signs point to the fact that the 2015 Ford Mustang might just be the greatest car ever made…

One of the signature features of the Mustang has been that it’s always been consistent. Engines, parts and aesthetics have changed with each upgrade and overhaul, but underneath it’s always been the same car.

However, half a century after it first roared into being, Ford are making some significant changes to the iconic car, giving it a complete redesign for the first time in its history.

Ford has said that in the 2015 Mustang it’s created a vehicle that “can effectively bridge the gap between what the Mustang has always been; namely, an American icon that’s a little rough around the edges, and what the Mustang of the future will be: a globally viable rear-drive performance car”.

It’s tough talk, and also something that could leave Mustang purists quivering in their distressed-leather cowboy boots.

For a start, the new model version marks the first time that the car has ever ventured into, shock horror, eco-friendly territory.

Coming with a new 2.3-litre version of Ford’s award-winning EcoBoost engine, the newest Mustang will be the most fuel-efficient version ever. That’s not to say it’ll be underpowered, however; this particular EcoBoost will still generate a mighty 305bhp and 433Nm of torque.

For fans of bigger engines, the new 2015 model will also come with a classic V8. With an output of 429bhp and 542Nm of torque, it offers all the signature extreme performance that first made the Mustang the stuff of legends.

However, while we all know the stories about how the Mustang is fast in a straight line, like the rest of its muscle car brethren, each of its previous versions have been utterly pathetic around corners.

This is largely due to the fact that the Mustang has always came with a solid rear axle that connects both rear wheels. It’s simple to manufacture and space-efficient, but seriously lacks in the handling department.

The second major change, and arguably the most important, that Ford have made to the new model is the inclusion of all-new independent rear suspension.

Where the previous solid live axle was inconsistent over any terrain that’s not dead flat and was prone to fishtailing around bends, the new suspension separates the rear wheels, giving a marked increase in handling.

As a result, Ford claim that the latest Mustang is “both more nimble and comfortable and also has world-class dynamics and ride quality”.

It also comes well equipped, with a wide range of standard equipment that includes MyKey programmable vehicle limits designed to prevent young and irresponsible drivers from spilling their brains all over the pavement.

As well as the speed-limiting capabilities, MyKey will also lower stereo volume and warn drivers and passengers of unsecured seatbelts.

Ford SYNC

Ford’s SYNC multimedia tech () is also present, as is a reversing camera, blind spot monitoring system and lane-keeping functions.

So there you have it, the recipe for the most economical, best equipped and finest performing Mustang of all time and therefore possibly the greatest thing ever on four wheels.

Mixing brains with brawn for the first time, it still offers all the eye-popping performance of the typical Mustang, but this version will actually be able to handle the inconsistent roads of the British landscape and won’t be as hard on the wallet or the environment to boot.

Sure, there’s no point in using it for the school run; it’s not going to work well off-road either, and still will have no chance escaping the London congestion charge, but with a car like this, that’s never the point.

You’re not just buying a car, you’re buying a cultural icon. It’s not just four wheels and an engine, it’s four wheels, an engine and that primal feeling deep down in your gut that rears its head and shakes its great mane like an adrenaline-powered lion every time you watch that Steve McQueen car chase.

If you want a piece of the Mustang legacy, the 2015 model will be available to buy in the UK from next year onwards. Available in both coupe and convertible formats, Ford have stated that they’ll release full pricing closer to its sale-date. You’ll probably have to supply your own spare pants, though…