Styling cues are borrowed from Mustangs of the 1960s, and Ford calls the new Mustang "more modern, more livable and safer," and says it's managed that without losing its "street swagger." For 2007, the lineup has been expanded to include the high-performance Ford Shelby GT500. As with other Mustangs, the GT500 will be offered as both a coupe and a convertible.
For 2007, Ford adds a standard audio input jack. Sirius Satellite Radio and heated front seats are now available, and a DVD navigation system will be offered later in the model year. Two new exterior colors are also available: Grabber Orange Clearcoat Metallic and Alloy Clearcoat Metallic.
A new California Special edition is exclusively available for uplevel GT models. It includes 18-inch wheels, side scoops, black-leather-trimmed seats, a lower chin spoiler, a larger air intake and unique front and rear fascias.
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A new appearance package for 2007 features rolled exhaust tips, an engine cover with a Pony emblem and a hood scoop. In its modern form, the Mustang's wheels are pushed to the corners, but the car's signature long hood and short deck remain. Coupes feature a classic fastback profile.
Styling touches from the past include C-scoops in the sides, tri-bar taillamps and a "galloping horse" badge within the forward-leaning grille. Jeweled round headlights sit in trapezoidal housings. A full-length accent line culminates in a "C-scoop" shape just behind the door, which incorporates a small triangular window. Aluminum-spoked wheels hold 17-inch tires on the GT, but V6 Mustangs get 16-inch rubber. The GT is available with four wheel and tire combinations.
An available Pony Package gives V6 models a GT-inspired suspension with larger wheels and tires, antilock brakes, traction control and a custom grille with fog lamps.
For 2007, a Comfort Group Package is available on V6 and GT models. It includes an electrochromatic mirror with a compass, as well as heated front seats and a six-way power passenger seat.
Mustangs seat four occupants on front and rear bucket seats.
An available color-configurable instrument panel can display more than 125 background colors. Chrome-ringed air vents align with large barrel-style gauges. The three-spoke steering wheel has a black hub with the Mustang horse and tri-color logo.
Standard equipment includes keyless entry, interval wipers, cruise control, a heated rear window, and power windows, locks and mirrors. A CD player is standard, but the GT Premium flaunts its Shaker 500 audio system. Trunk space is 13.1 cubic feet in the coupe.
Under the Hood
Ford's 4.0-liter V-6 produces 210 horsepower. A 4.6-liter all-aluminum V-8 in the GT pumps out 300 hp and 320 pounds-feet of torque. Both engines run on regular gasoline and work with either a five-speed manual transmission or an optional five-speed automatic.
Side-impact airbags are optional. Antilock brakes with traction control are standard on the GT and optional on V6 models. Four-wheel disc brakes are standard, and an anti-theft system featuring interior motion sensors is optional.
The latest Mustang is more refined than its predecessor. Steering has a satisfying, confident feel that's especially appealing on twisty roads.
Suspension differences between the two models aren't dramatic, but the GT is considerably more sure-footed. Its ride is no rougher, and the overall experience is more civilized. The GT's steering response is more agreeable, too — well-behaved through curves, with little correction needed on straightaways.
Acceleration with the V-6 isn't so enthusiastic at startup, though it's better for passing and merging. Performance is vigorous with the V-8. Exhaust noise from the V-8 can be intrusive, but only when accelerating hard.
Manual-shift GTs almost seem like a different vehicle, with a unique and omnipresent exhaust sound. The gearshift position is good, but its action is a tad balky.
Differences between the regular Mustang and the Shelby GT500 are subtle for the most part. The traditional pony logo on the grille is replaced with an offset cobra design on the Shelby GT500, and the headlight enclosures angle in more sharply than those on the regular edition. The hood is fitted with two openings designed to vent heat from the engine bay. Coupes have racing stripes, but convertibles do not.
The independent front suspension uses a MacPherson strut design, while there's a solid axle fitted in back. Ford goes out of its way to defend the use of a solid rear axle in the GT500 by recounting the successes of the Ford Racing Mustang FR500C, which uses the same design. Still, some enthusiasts are likely to bemoan the lack of an independent rear suspension, especially in a car that starts at more than $40,000. Wheels measure 18 inches in diameter.
Changes to the interior are understated as well. The large round speedometer and tachometer swap positions in the instrument panel, which Ford says gives drivers a better view of the tach when changing gears. Leather seating surfaces are standard and come in two color schemes: Charcoal Black or Charcoal Black and Crimson Red, the latter featuring red inserts on the seat and doors. Serpent logos rear their heads on the steering wheel and seatbacks.
The Shelby GT500's 5.4-liter V-8 engine breathes through a roots-type supercharger that provides 8.5 pounds of boost and produces an estimated 475 hp and 475 pounds-feet of torque. The engine block is made of cast iron, but the cylinder heads, which are shared with the Ford GT, are aluminum. The engine drives a heavy-duty six-speed manual transmission.
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