November 18, 2008

Embargo be damned! 2010 Mustang pics & specs leaked before LA debut

The cat... or rather... the colt is out of the bag on this one.

We were just a day and a half away from the new Mustang's official debut at the LA Auto Show, but thanks to a bit of file mismanagement on Ford's side, the dam has burst. Since everyone else is doing it, here's the scoop on Ford's new steed.

Technically, the 2010 Mustang is a mid-model refresh of the SW195 platform that debuted in 2005 to immediate acclaim. But with the exception of the roofline, all exterior sheetmetal is new for 2010.

The remade Mustang starts with an aggressively raked grille which features the first new Mustang emblem since the car's introduction in 1964. Both the V-6 and V-8 GT wear front bumpers unique to each model. The headlamps and turn signals are now integrated into one unit, drawing inspiration from the 1970 Mustang Boss series.

On the V-6 models, the fog lamps are located on the lower fascia, while on the GT, the fog lamps are again located in the upper grille – a pattern similar to the original lamps of the 1967-68 Mustang. The new headlamps, lower fascias, fenders and grille are capped by a powerdome hood that adds to the muscular appearance while allowing greater air circulation underneath.

"We understand Mustang's heritage and iconic status it has in the world and as a symbol of Americana," said Peter Horbury, executive director of US design. "We wanted to create a face that is more muscular but unquestionably, unequivocally Mustang and carry that spirit through to the entire car."

Along the new Mustang's flanks, both the front and rear fenders are tautly flared at each wheel arch. Taking inspiration from the 2006 Guigiaro Mustang Concept, the new Stang's rear fenders now swell to a pronounced flare just below the rear quarter window. "It helps give the car aggressive, forward direction, like it's ready to jump," said Doug Gaffka, Mustang chief designer.

Out back, new LED tailights debut along with a revised trunklid and rear bumper. Firing sequentially from the inside cornet, the three red LED lamps mimic the sequential turn signal unique to the Mustangs of the late '60s. The reverse lamps are tucked in vertically between each red lamp, creating a modern version of the classic Ford three-lens taillamp.

Under the hood and on the road, improvements abound

The 2010 Mustang 4.6-liter V-8 benefits from the cold air induction system, taller final drive and re-calibrated ECU which debuted on the 2007 Mustang Bullitt.

Now producing 315 horsepower, the GT's ECU will now advance engine timing and richen fuel trim when premium unleaded is used, rewarding drivers with a deeper well of midrange torque. The 4.0-liter V-6 carries on unchanged, with 210 horsepower.

Suspension-wise, wheel and tire combinations are an inch bigger across the board, ranging from 17 to 19 inches, depending on the model. The shocks have been retuned on all models as well.

"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," adds Mustang Vehicle Engineering manager Tom Barnes. "The 2010 Mustangs feel more controlled for steering and handling, yet retain a good ride balance."

There's new safety gear on hand as well. Electronic Stability Control (ESC) is now standard for 2010, complementing Mustang's all-speed traction control and anti-lock braking system (ABS). Dual front and front seat mounted side airbags are standard equipment on every 2010 Mustang.

Inside, a one-piece instrument panel design is new for 2010. Crafted in seamless soft-touch TPO (Thermoplastic Olefin) resin, the new assembly offers fewer places for squeaks to develop, a goal Ford engineers sought out with the new Mustang.

"That's the difference between good enough and exceptional," said Gary Morales, Interior Design manager. "We wouldn't accept anything less than leadership design and world-class craftsmanship."

The 2010 Mustang will offer the latest version of Ford SYNC bluetooth and multimedia integration system, which now includes 911 Assist and Vehicle Health Report. The somewhat frivolous My Color™ system returns for 2010, which allows drivers to customize the car's gauge lighting from a range of 125 colors.

To see more of the 2010 Mustang, visit Ford's mini-site here:

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