2013 Ford Mustang
Updated for 2013, the Ford Mustang has new front-end styling, some other exterior tweaks and more power for the V-8-powered GT. The rear-wheel-drive sports icon, available as a coupe or a convertible, also comes with a V-6 and is available in higher-performance Boss 302 and Shelby GT500 versions, the latter of which is the most significantly re-engineered of the 2013 lineup. Rivals include the Chevrolet Camaro, Dodge Challenger and Hyundai Genesis coupe.
Though it's still modeled after the late-1960s classics, the Mustang continues to evolve. The most dramatic changes for 2013 are in the front, where the grille protrudes even farther than before, and the lower grille is now as large as the top one, though only a portion of it actually admits air. Likewise, the vents that flank the lower grille are for show. Not so for the vents on the GT's new hood; they're functional heat extractors.
Xenon high-intensity-discharge headlights are now standard on the Mustang V6 and GT, and LED accent lights join the main headlight assemblies. Similar to simple puddle lamps that illuminate the ground alongside some cars, "pony projection lights" on the 2013's side mirrors project the Mustang pony logo onto the street.
Ford replaced the previous generation's black rocker panels with body-colored ones for "a more premium appearance," the automaker says. The change also makes the Mustang appear lower to the ground. The full suite of wheels, ranging from 17 to 19 inches, has also been redesigned.
The faceted rear end introduced in 2010 continues in the 2013, but there's now a gloss-black panel between the taillight clusters, whose signature three segments are more delineated than before and employ LEDs.
For 2013, the Mustang's instrument panel adds a 4.2-inch display between the gauges that provides trip-computer and performance information in a colorful, high-resolution format seen in other Ford models. A new Track Apps feature displays g-forces and acceleration and braking times. It's similar to readouts offered for the past several years on some Chrysler and Dodge SRT models.
New options include two new stereos, the eight-speaker Shaker and nine-speaker Shaker Pro. Cloth or leather Recaro-brand sport seats — previously found only on the Boss 302 and Shelby GT500 — can now be added to the V6 and GT trim levels. What the Mustang doesn't add is the controversial MyFord Touch control system.
Under the Hood
Powertrain changes include a small output increase and a giant leap into the 21st century. The GT's 5.0-liter is now rated at 420 horsepower, an increase of 8 hp. The optional six-speed automatic transmission now includes a sequential manual shifting mode that is controlled by a switch on the gear selector rather than steering-wheel shift paddles.
The GT Track Package option includes the Boss' limited-slip differential along with an engine oil cooler, upgraded radiator and performance brake pads. Available only with the standard six-speed manual transmission and 3.73 rear axle, the package includes everything in the current Brembo Brake Package. The Brembo option package itself now extends to the GT with either transmission, and Mustang V6 buyers who opt for the automatic can now get a Performance Package, too. The 3.7-liter V-6 engine's output is unchanged at 305 hp.
The Mustang includes the federally required antilock brakes, electronic stability system and frontal airbags. There are also front-seat-mounted side-impact airbags with a head-protection extension.
The ultimate Mustang has received more changes for 2013 than the other models. A new supercharged 5.8-liter V-8 produces 650 hp and 600 pounds-feet of torque that's good for a claimed 200 mph top speed. The outgoing model's supercharged 5.4-liter V-8 made 550 hp and 510 pounds-feet of torque. With the engine come new gear ratios for the six-speed manual transmission, a new clutch and a new carbon-fiber driveshaft. The dual exhaust is new as well. The Brembo-brand brakes are also upgraded with new six-piston front calipers and larger rotors and pads all around. The optional Performance Package includes an adaptive suspension and electronically controlled Torsen limited-slip differential.
Like the 2012 model that revived the name, the 2013 Boss 302 has a 444-hp, 5.0-liter V-8 that makes 380 pounds-feet of torque and drives the rear wheels through a short-throw six-speed manual. It rides lower than the Mustang GT and has manually adjustable shock absorbers. It has 19-inch black alloy wheels fitted with summer tires. The unique front end features a large, low-riding splitter that reduces front-end lift while also channeling air to the cooling system. An electronically controlled limited-slip differential and Recaro-brand front seats are optional. The racetrack-optimized Boss 302 Laguna Seca comes without any rear seats, adds a cross-car brace in back for a stiffer chassis and gets an even firmer suspension and other performance upgrades.
2012 Ford Mustang
Ford has evolved its rear-drive four-seat Mustang pony car in recent years by blending retro and modern styling cues. For 2011, it boosted performance and fuel economy with a new 3.7-liter V-6 engine for the base Mustang and a new 5.0-liter V-8 for the GT. Playing on the retro theme, the Mustang lineup includes the high-performance Shelby GT500 and, new for 2012, the limited-production Boss 302.
Mustang continues in coupe and convertible body styles, and its primary competitors include the Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger.
Recent styling changes give the Mustang a more modern, less retro appearance. It still features a forward-swept grille, but it has a compressed look and a power-dome hood. GT models have a small but significant styling feature: 5.0 badges on the front quarter-panels. Exterior features include:
- Progressively illuminating LED taillights
- Standard 17-inch aluminum wheels
- Available 18- and 19-inch rims
- Available high-intensity-discharge headlamps
The Mustang's cabin uses premium materials, including a soft-touch dashboard surface, a change made for the 2010 model year when it was significantly updated. Interior features include:
- Retro gauges
- Standard air conditioning
- Standard CD stereo with MP3 jack
- Standard cruise control
- Available 8-inch touch-screen navigation system with Sirius Travel Link
Under the Hood
The Mustang is offered with V-6 or V-8 power, and both engines were new for 2011. Each engine can run on regular gas, though the V-8 will see a slight drop in output; it requires premium gas for maximum performance. The engines drive the rear wheels through either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission. Mechanical features include:
- 305-horsepower, 3.7-liter V-6 with 280 pounds-feet of torque
- 412-hp, 5.0-liter V-8 with 390 pounds-feet of torque
- Available Mayhem Mustang Package for V-6 models features a 3.31 rear axle ratio, firmer suspension tuning, 19-inch wheels and performance tires, a strut tower brace and a Sport mode for the stability system
- Brembo-brand brake kit is available for GT models that features 14-inch front discs and 19-inch wheels with performance tires
Safety features include:
- Electronic stability system
- Front-seat side-impact airbags with head-protection extension
- Four-wheel-disc antilock brakes
The Shelby GT500 is the most potent version of the Mustang. For 2011, it received a new aluminum engine that was 102 pounds lighter and 10 hp more powerful than the previous one. The supercharged 5.4-liter V-8 makes 550 hp and 510 pounds-feet of torque, and it teams only with a six-speed manual transmission. The V-8 takes premium gas, and its EPA-estimated gas mileage of 15/23 mpg city/highway is enough to avoid the gas-guzzler tax.
Buyers looking to hit their local racetrack with the Shelby GT500 may want to consider the SVT Performance Package. It features Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperCar tires on lightweight 19-inch front and 20-inch rear forged-aluminum wheels, a 3.73 axle ratio, a limited-slip differential, firmer springs and a lowered ride height.
The Shelby GT500 is available as a coupe or convertible. High-intensity-discharge headlights are standard, and a panoramic glass roof is optional. Bolstered leather Recaro-brand front seats are newly optional for 2012. Specially tuned selectable power-steering assist and Sync AppLink, a program that lets spoken commands control smartphone applications, is also available.
The Boss is back. Ford has revived the legendary Boss 302 Mustang, which first saw production in 1969. Like the original, the 2012 version will be available in limited numbers, and there's an even more exclusive track-ready Boss 302 Laguna Seca model.
Both versions share a 444-hp, 5.0-liter V-8 that makes 380 pounds-feet of torque. The engine teams with a short-throw six-speed manual transmission. Handling is enhanced by firmer suspension components and a lower ride height compared to the Mustang GT. The steering feel, shocks and struts are also adjustable. The Boss 302 rides on 19-inch black alloy wheels fitted with summer tires.
All models come with a black or white roof that's coordinated to the color of the C-shaped side stripes. The front end has a unique look that features a large splitter, which reduces drag and front-end lift while also channeling air to the cooling system. A torque-sensing limited-slip differential and Recaro-brand front seats are optional.
The Boss 302 Laguna Seca is named after the racetrack where Parnelli Jones won the 1970 season-opener of the Trans-Am racing series in a Boss 302. It comes without any rear seats, adds a cross-car brace in back for a stiffer chassis, gets an even firmer suspension and features racecar-inspired aerodynamics among other performance upgrades.