Autoweek 05 Review

Mach460

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Mane Street USA: Original Pony Gallops into 21st Century


In general, a positive review of the car. Some notable quotes.

On the live axle

All of that we can deal with. What we can’t comprehend is Ford continuing to equip the first 21st century Mustang with a live rear axle. We understand that an independent rear suspension—like the one found on the most recent SVT Cobra—costs more to design and build. Somehow the competition, like the Pontiac GTO or even the Nissan 350Z, squeezed it into the price of admission. One explanation from Ford: A full 25 percent of Mustang owners customize their cars, and the solid rear allows for a much easier change-out of gears. Another: It makes for better drag strip performance. We don’t buy it.
Track performance

On the track the Mustang definitely feels livelier than the outgoing model, with a satisfying throttle-driven rear-drive feel. And you can have a ton of fun at the track, as we did for a day at GingerMan Raceway in western Michigan. Steering is crisper than before, and the chassis was easy to set up into turns with a lift off the gas and quick flick of the wrist. There was plenty of power to pull us out of the final, hard right and back onto the long frontstraight. That improved power-to-weight definitely makes itself known at the top end. Braking deep into the first turn produced little drama, and set the car up nicely for the
The overall impression the article gives is you get what you pay for. But don't expect more from a Mustang, and that's not a bad thing.
 
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Matt Gruber

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i like solid axles:
no rear wheel alignment ever
never have to grease bearings(lubed by gear lube)
no squat at the drags(bites better, quicker launches)
less power loss(4 less u joints)
less likely to have wheel hop(and easier to fix if it does)
 

VOORHEES

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I guess some people are too "pussified" these days. The live rear axle is not a "horrific" issue. I will likely buy a Cobra version after its release, even if it had the live rear axle.
-Jason
 

i4power

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Somehow the competition, like the Pontiac GTO or even the Nissan 350Z, squeezed it into the price of admission.
What a stupid point. A well-equipped 350Z costs, what? $30,000? The GTO, $33,000? The fact remains that the 2005's live rear is the most advanced design EVER for a stock Mustang.
 

Michael Yount

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"The fact remains that the 2005's live rear is the most advanced design EVER for a stock Mustang."

Seems to me that's not much of an accomplishment. Kind of like the guy who, when he realizes he's brought a night-stick to a gun fight, shouts 'yeah, but it's the most advanced club I've ever had!'

What it boils down to is that the straight line folks don't care, and the folks that really want the car to turn as well as it accelerates will either mod it to make do, or buy something else.

The real problem for those of us hoping for something a bit nimbler handling is the car's porky weight. MotorTrend's vehicle had a curb weight of 3520 lbs. Add a 200 lb. driver and a tank of fuel and you've got an as-driven weight of 3800 lbs. Add the Cobra's extra options/luxury/supercharger/intercooler/cast-iron block and it'll likely tip the scales over 4000 lbs. as tested. Not exactly a lightweight.
 

holler

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Michael Yount said:
"The fact remains that the 2005's live rear is the most advanced design EVER for a stock Mustang."

Seems to me that's not much of an accomplishment. Kind of like the guy who, when he realizes he's brought a night-stick to a gun fight, shouts 'yeah, but it's the most advanced club I've ever had!'

What it boils down to is that the straight line folks don't care, and the folks that really want the car to turn as well as it accelerates will either mod it to make do, or buy something else.

The real problem for those of us hoping for something a bit nimbler handling is the car's porky weight. MotorTrend's vehicle had a curb weight of 3520 lbs. Add a 200 lb. driver and a tank of fuel and you've got an as-driven weight of 3800 lbs. Add the Cobra's extra options/luxury/supercharger/intercooler/cast-iron block and it'll likely tip the scales over 4000 lbs. as tested. Not exactly a lightweight.

I bet the cobra will way no more then the existing cobra and will probably not be supercharged. just a hunch.
 

Mach460

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VOORHEES said:
I guess some people are too "pussified" these days. The live rear axle is not a "horrific" issue. I will likely buy a Cobra version after its release, even if it had the live rear axle.
-Jason
"Pussified"? Oook. :rolleyes: Man...somebody tell those L88 Vette drivers they're driving a pussed out car.

Anyways, besides myself, I don't think any of the reviews view the live-axle as a "horrific" issue. I do think it was a serious mistake for Ford to not even offer it as an option. If it's a matter or price, at least give us the option of paying for it.

If the Cobra does come without IRS though, forget it. That is "horrific" for a car where you will paying close to or over 40 grand, and is supposed to be a compeititor for the C6 etc.
 

VOORHEES

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Mach460 said:
"Pussified"? Oook. :rolleyes: Man...somebody tell those L88 Vette drivers they're driving a pussed out car.

Anyways, besides myself, I don't think any of the reviews view the live-axle as a "horrific" issue. I do think it was a serious mistake for Ford to not even offer it as an option. If it's a matter or price, at least give us the option of paying for it.

If the Cobra does come without IRS though, forget it. That is "horrific" for a car where you will paying close to or over 40 grand, and is supposed to be a compeititor for the C6 etc.
What I meant was just because it has a solid rear axle, does not mean its not a great car. Given that, I do hope that by the time I pick one(SVT) up around 08' or 09' for the money I better get IRS. But for a 25,000 muscle car. Its fine.
-Jason
 

Mach460

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VOORHEES said:
What I meant was just because it has a solid rear axle, does not mean its not a great car. Given that, I do hope that by the time I pick one(SVT) up around 08' or 09' for the money I better get IRS. But for a 25,000 muscle car. Its fine.
-Jason

Point taken. And I think that's the general jist of what the review says. "Hey's it's 300 hp for 25 grand, you're not going to do much better." But the point they also make is that at a time when the Mustang's direct competitors have all these features and cost only slightly more, there's really no excuse for the Mustang to have it either.

I mean honestly, if the GT came with IRS from the get go (and the live-axle wasn't even on the radar screen), and it cost say 27 or 28 grand. Would that have stopped anybody from buying the GT?
 

holler

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Mach460 said:
Point taken. And I think that's the general jist of what the review says. "Hey's it's 300 hp for 25 grand, you're not going to do much better." But the point they also make is that at a time when the Mustang's direct competitors have all these features and cost only slightly more, there's really no excuse for the Mustang to have it either.

I mean honestly, if the GT came with IRS from the get go (and the live-axle wasn't even on the radar screen), and it cost say 27 or 28 grand. Would that have stopped anybody from buying the GT?
Good point... though I think the special editions can save the day here. Ford needs to offer an IRS equipped special edition bullitt. for say the 27-30 k price point you mentioned and then everyone is happy. Powerwise not much more then the GT but you get the SE enhanced IRS and suspension or whatever. That way, people can get their IRS without forking over the big bucks for the Cobra equivalent. I definitely see a niche market here.
 

Michael Yount

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holler - every Cobra thus far has weighed more than the base Mustang; and since 96 the difference has been significant because the power plant is heavier.

Let's see - the Lightning's got a supercharged version of the 5.4L engine; the new GT has a supercharged version of the 5.4L; the old Cobra had a supercharged version of the 4.6 (cast iron block); and you conclude the next Cobra will be naturally aspirated? Interesting deduction that.

Ford will want to at least be playing around the fringes of the Corvette/Viper world with the next Cobra. Rumor has it the 'Z06' version of the new LS2 will make 500 naturally aspirated HP for the Corvette; the Viper's already there and beyond. Ford will want the Cobra in at the 450-500 HP level save face in the HP game. I can't see them trying to squeeze that kind of power out of anything they currently have naturally aspirated. But, you never know...

As for IRS, the new GT started out with IRS. But trying to meet cost targets resulted in Ford going back to the less expensive straight axle. I suspect they'll return to IRS with the Cobra - just as it is currently. Again - they want to play in the Corvette leagues with the Cobra. The big problem is weight. It will be at least 500 lbs. heavier than the Vette.
 

ryanrule

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Michael Yount said:
holler - every Cobra thus far has weighed more than the base Mustang; and since 96 the difference has been significant because the power plant is heavier.

Let's see - the Lightning's got a supercharged version of the 5.4L engine; the new GT has a supercharged version of the 5.4L; the old Cobra had a supercharged version of the 4.6 (cast iron block); and you conclude the next Cobra will be naturally aspirated? Interesting deduction that.

Ford will want to at least be playing around the fringes of the Corvette/Viper world with the next Cobra. Rumor has it the 'Z06' version of the new LS2 will make 500 naturally aspirated HP for the Corvette; the Viper's already there and beyond. Ford will want the Cobra in at the 450-500 HP level save face in the HP game. I can't see them trying to squeeze that kind of power out of anything they currently have naturally aspirated. But, you never know...

As for IRS, the new GT started out with IRS. But trying to meet cost targets resulted in Ford going back to the less expensive straight axle. I suspect they'll return to IRS with the Cobra - just as it is currently. Again - they want to play in the Corvette leagues with the Cobra. The big problem is weight. It will be at least 500 lbs. heavier than the Vette.
and at least $5000 less
 

holler

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Michael Yount said:
holler - every Cobra thus far has weighed more than the base Mustang; and since 96 the difference has been significant because the power plant is heavier.

Let's see - the Lightning's got a supercharged version of the 5.4L engine; the new GT has a supercharged version of the 5.4L; the old Cobra had a supercharged version of the 4.6 (cast iron block); and you conclude the next Cobra will be naturally aspirated? Interesting deduction that.
Heres my reasoning:
I have a feeling the SVT variant will first be naturally aspirated due to a number of factors.

-the SVT is debuting on a new platform for the first time in 25 years. due to this, ford needs to allow the platform and engine types room to grow (hopefully not another 25 years :) ). A refined naturally aspirated engine, I believe is starting point they need to take. hopefully some sort of 5.0 like what was recently displayed in the GT-R prototype (which I believe was making around 425 hp NA) In 2nd or possibly 3rd iterations of the Cobra, to continue sales, we will probably see some sort of forced induction akin to what we saw with the 03-04 cobra, which would further stimulate sales when the 2005+ platform matures and ultimately retires. that just makes good business sense to me. look what the SRT-4 did for the aging neon platform...

If you look back through history most forced induced cars across car manufacturers have limited runs usually due to the higher costs they have to produce and to maintain. And many a time they occur at the end of a product lifecycle to boost sales. the mitsu eclipse comes to mind... which now is only NA again. We will probably see a turbo 350z soon as that car ages and as well as a turbo rx-8(7). Its all cyclical and usually based off the business side of things.

Obviously there is exceptions for higher end niche cars like the porsche 911 turbo and such.

Obviously this is all speculation and ford can decide what ever they want to do. :D
 

peyotesands

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Customizing Mustangs is FACT. Deal with it. Screw IRS. I don't NEED it, I don't want it.

In day to day driving I'm sure I wouldn't noticed I had IRS. I'm so tired of being told I need this or I need that, blah blah blah... All I need is something that works, not some fancy ass mechanical gadgetry to make me feel important and loved... :rolleyes:
 

RandyB

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holler said:
A refined naturally aspirated engine, I believe is starting point they need to take. hopefully some sort of 5.0 like what was recently displayed in the GT-R prototype (which I believe was making around 425 hp NA)
Ford doesn't have a production 5.0 block, just 4.6 and 5.4. We do not need it either, let it go.

I think it would be a major disappointment if Ford didn't at least pick up where they left off in terms of Cobra power. I could possibly see a naturally aspirated version based on the 5.4 3V, but can they make 400 hp with it? If so, it would probably have a lot less 'area under the curve' hp relative to a supercharged 4.6. We need gobs of torque in our battle with the weight of the car. I'm a purist, but blowers are great especially when they are factory engineered and backed. We will see.

Edit: How about a 5.4 3V N/A engine option for the GT? That would be cool. It would come with a 6-speed tranny perhaps, with an IRS option.

Cobra should be 5.4 3V s/c, 450 hp.
 

trublustang03

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I think there was an article either on this Forum or on BON that mentioned Coletti from SVT saying that cars gaining weight was a big issue and that he felt that adding more horsepower to cars to overcome the weight is only going to lead to the goverment to step in and say enough with horsepower increases. He mentioned that for the future SVT vehicles they were taking careful consideration as to how much their vehicles would weigh.

Maybe this is a sign as to how SVT will build their vehicles?
 

holler

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RandyB said:
Ford doesn't have a production 5.0 block, just 4.6 and 5.4. We do not need it either, let it go.

I think it would be a major disappointment if Ford didn't at least pick up where they left off in terms of Cobra power. I could possibly see a naturally aspirated version based on the 5.4 3V, but can they make 400 hp with it? If so, it would probably have a lot less 'area under the curve' hp relative to a supercharged 4.6. We need gobs of torque in our battle with the weight of the car. I'm a purist, but blowers are great especially when they are factory engineered and backed. We will see.

Edit: How about a 5.4 3V N/A engine option for the GT? That would be cool. It would come with a 6-speed tranny perhaps, with an IRS option.

Cobra should be 5.4 3V s/c, 450 hp.
It's kind of short-sighted to think we will never see a 5.0 modular especially with all the development that has occured with the 5.0 cammer equipped prototypes like the GT-R, etc. :shrug:

I agree with you that it's not needed from a power standpoint, but the fact remains the 5.0 name nomenclature is still popular and sells. If I had a dollar for every person who asked me if my car had "the big Five Oh", I'd be a rich man.

:D
 
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