The all-new Ford Mustang was benchmarked against performance cars such as the BMW M3, Nissan GT-R and Porsche 911 but not the Chevrolet Camaro during development because it was “already superior” to its rival, according to the Blue Oval brand.
Ford’s famous muscle car has focused on dynamics like never before for the sixth-generation that will become the first Mustang to become a global model.
With the new Mustang set to be factory-built in right-hand drive for demanding driver markets such as Australia and the UK, the car was given all-new suspension – including independent rear suspension for the first time.
Mustang’s chief engineer, Dave Pericak, told CarAdvice at the car’s international launch in LA that he had driven the Camaro but believed the sports car based on the Holden VE Commodore wouldn’t have been a high enough target.
“[It’s] a competitor obviously, we’re in showrooms against them, but we haven’t targeted Camaro for many years,” said Pericak.
“What we targeted was Porsche 911, BMW, Audi, and even the Nissan GT-R believe it or not. Not because we wanted [the Mustang] to be a 911, but because [those cars] handled conditions in a unique way and there are things to learn from all that.
“I’m not putting down Camaro but I believe Mustang is superior to Camaro in its driving dynamics and therefore I wouldn’t want to target something I already believe we’re better than.
“I want to target those [cars] that are out there that are probably a stretch target for us as we try to develop a [US]$40,000 car.”
Pericak confirmed the new M3 was the key BMW cross-referenced.
The independent rear suspension that replaces the live rear axle of previous mainstream Mustangs is the headline change for the sports car. Ford, however, also went against its original plan to add an all-new front suspension – with a double-ball joint arrangement similar to that used by the Falcon and Territory.
Pericak said the decision to choose this particular suspension wasn’t influenced by Ford Australia’s homegrown vehicles.
“When you look at BMW, look at Falcon, look at others, there are other double ball joint systems out there,” he said.
“When we looked at what we wanted to do, it wasn’t just about what we wanted to do with rear end, about packaging the larger brakes [up front]. Overall it was the right design.
“Double ball joint is not the cheapest way to design a front end… It wasn’t in the financials, it wasn’t in the timings, but it was definitely the only way we felt to get what we wanted out of the car.”
He said a fix was also in place to address feedback from media including CarAdvice that the Mustang’s low-speed ride was too stiff.
“What you were driving today were some early pre-production prototypes, so that business or choppiness you felt … so the cars that are rolling off the production line very soon will have the very latest change we made to address that [ride] issue.”
The new Ford Mustang goes on sale in Australia in the second half of 2015. It’s expected to have a starting price in the vicinity of $50,000.