11-22-08: The long awaited 2010 Mustang has arrived and will go on sale in a few months. Most enthusiasts will get right past all the talk about the great new interior, the sculptured lines of modern style, and the new gee-wiz lighting options to ask the big question. “What’s she got under the hood?”
The hope of many was to see the 2010 Mustang get an all new pair of engines with lots more power and a modern chassis with an independent rear suspension - a car to meet Camaro head on with techincal prowess. Well we didn’t get either of those this year, but to call this car a pure carry-over isn’t fair either. Much like the evolution from the Fox body to the new SN-95 cars, there are many running enhancements that make the driving experience a new one.
As it turns out, much of the development work involved with the 2008-2009 Bullitt Mustang was a bridge to the new 2010 Mustang. This is seen in the new car in many respects from the suspension tuning to the increased power of the 4.6 liter V-8.
Starting with the chassis there is a significant new addition to the 2010 Mustang. AdvanceTrac, new for 2010, traction control and anti-lock brakes also are standard. Well known from other Ford models, AdvanceTrac uses sensors to detect and measure yaw, or side-to-side skidding conditions, by monitoring the vehicle’s speed, throttle position and steering wheel angle.
When AdvanceTrac senses wheel slippage, it reduces engine torque and applies the brakes as needed.
AdvanceTrac can be run on or off with the V-6. In the GT, AdvanceTrac, can be run in on, off or Sport mode, which allows drivers to push it more while still retaining control. This is a major step forward as it offers a new layer of safety for drivers - especially the younger and inexperienced ones that often find themselves in a Mustang.
Handling and refinement of the chassis were top goals for Team Mustang. “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,” said Vehicle Engineering Manager Tom Barnes. “The 2010 Mustangs feel more controlled for steering and handling, yet retain a good ride balance.”
Tires are increased by an inch across the Mustang line, with 17-inch tires standard on the V-6 and 18-inch tires standard on the V-8. A 19-inch Pirelli Summer tire is late available as an option for those seeking higher performance.
The proven chassis from the Bullitt series serves as the base for the GT. A standard strut-tower brace pioneered on the Bullitt lends additional stiffness to the chassis to improve cornering for those selecting the 19-inch tire. “You’re getting the best-handling, best-balanced Mustang ever as the base GT,” said Chief Nameplate Engineer Paul Randle.
One of the best performance evolutions for the Mustang is the new performance pack options that Ford will be offering. It all starts with the “GT Track Package I”. Available with a manual transmission only, the option package includes performance front brake pads, 3.73 axle ratio, and a recalibrated AdvanceTrac program that allows a bit more aggression on the part of the driver before stepping in.
If you want more, you can select "GT Track Package II." Again this package can only be had with a stick-shift tranny and will come along later in the model year. This upgrade includes performance front/rear brake pads, GT500 sway bars and rear lower control arms, retuned struts and shocks, larger 19-inch Pirelli tires, 3.73 axle ratio with carbon plates in the differential, and the recalibrated AdvanceTrac, traction control and anti-lock brakes
These new option packages will give buyers the chance to really get a handling edge without having to bolt in an aftermarket suspension later. “With the new tires, the new shock tuning, some new spring setups and new stabilizer bars, 2010 Mustang customers will get an even better driving experience,” Barnes said.
As far as engines go, yes we hoped for more - especially with the base V-6 engine. It was a bit a surprise that Ford continues to offer the venerable 4.0-liter V-6 engine, which is rated at 210 horsepower and 240 pounds-feet of torque. With so many better options in the parts bin like the new 3.5 liter DOHC smooth running V6 that has 265hp, we wonder where the logic is with the noisy and rough old 4.0.
The 4.6-liter V-8 engine, which is now rated at 315 horsepower and 325 pounds-feet of torque soldiers on.
Horsepower gains on the V-8 are achieved by the cold-air induction system pioneered through Ford Racing. The intake is tucked behind the driver-side headlamp, mounted in an air box specific to the Mustang. Extensive sealing modifications ensure cold air from the front of the Mustang feed the engine. The redline for the V-8 is increased 250 rpm to 6,500, and revised calibration ensures the customer fully feels these changes.
Both the V-6 and V-8 engines have larger exhaust tips, growing to 3 and 3 ½ inches, respectively, up ½ inch from the previous model. The V-8 exhaust features polished tips. Each is mated to five-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmissions.
“We have fantastic engines,” said Chief Nameplate Engineer Paul Randle. “Our 4.6-liter, three-valve V-8 engine has won ‘Ward’s 10 Best’ for our years in a row and is the most-accessorized engine in the marketplace. Plus, Mustang customers love to personalize their cars, and our engine platforms allow them to do that.”