As this article goes to print, our economy is in a deep recession--two of the Big Three automakers are looking for loans, the housing market is in the toilet, and jobs are being cut by the hour. Despite all the gloom and doom, the performance car market is chock full of excitement. New brand-x models are hittin' the street, and the Ford Mustang is getting a Hollywood makeover. While your 401K may be sliding, the '10 Mustang is climbing the performance charts.
To get a closer look at the hot Pony, Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords logged a few hundred miles in the '10 Mustang GT. Ford was so excited about the improvements, that it rented the Streets of Willow road course in Rosamond, California, for us to see just what the latest Stang can do.
After flying into Los Angeles, we first slipped behind the wheel of the current '09 GT. Though the model commemorates the Mustang's 45th anniversary, it's overshadowed by the newly chiseled '10. After driving the '09 GT for about 20 miles, we had time to consider how much the S197 improved over the new-edge SN-95 design. The '05 Mustang was a home run, and for 2010, Ford sent the Mustang to the gym; it has come home with a more muscular and aggressive look.
We arrived at our destination a short while later--a pier on the coast in Malibu. There sat half a dozen '10 Mustang GTs, shined up and ready to be driven. After getting a technical briefing on the '10 Mustang's numerous changes and improvements, we grabbed the keys and were sent into the canyon roads on our way to the Ojai Valley.
Vast interior improvements have been made, and they make driving it a more enjoyable experience. Our pet peeves with the outgoing model include an uncomfortable steering wheel and a hard plastic center console that would dig into our legs and knees, depending on seating location. The fat and square steering wheel spokes, combined with their 90-degree attachment to the ring, made it uncomfortable to rest your fingers there, but the '10 Mustang has added 45-degree gussets that invite your thumbs to grip the wheel. The designers weren't happy about it from an aesthetics point, but they make holding onto the all-important wheel a vast improvement. Rounding the corners a bit and using a different plastic resolved the other issue we had with the center console. Rest your leg there all you want. We've heard of some people hitting the raised arm console lid on the '05-'09 models with their elbows during spirited driving, which may be why it was also modified and is now flush with the entire console. It's lockable and the cupholder door hides the keyhole.
The dual gauge pods have been redesigned and are much easier to read, as they no longer seem to be lost down a well. Lighting improvements to the My Color option now allow for even more personalization of the instrument panel. Our first '10 Mustang GT tester was equipped with the premium interior package that included real aluminum accents and the shifter ball seemingly right out of the '09 Bullitt. The stock shifter knob is fairly comfortable, but we preferred the upgraded aluminum knob for its muscular appearance and better grip.
We had plenty of time to assess the interior's refinements, but the improved road holding capability is what impressed us the most. The canyon roads offered all sorts of turns; ascending, descending, banked, and off camber. There was even a Laguna Seca-like corkscrew at one point. The '10 Mustang GT felt confident and capable. It corners flat and where you think it might break loose in a turn, it stays planted. Chalk it up to the Mustang engineers who spent a considerable amount of time tweaking the suspension.
To refresh our memory about the outgoing car, Ford put us behind the wheel of the 45th ann
Here it is--the '10 Mustang GT in all its Grabber Blue glory. Ford has completely revamped
Mustang Vehicle Engineering Manager Tom Barnes gave us a brief technical talk about the ne
It's a good thing Ford has finally brought some stability control to the Mustang. The '10
Next, it was off through the canyon twisties to sample the new refinements. This tester wa
The Mustang engineers did such a good job at quieting the car down, that they decided they