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2005 Sexy Car Buyers Guide - Mustang

2005 Ford Mustang Review

by Martha Hindes

Ford Mustang
Ford Mustang

Ford dipped into its past when it reinvented the fabled Mustang pony car for 2005. But the resulting bad boy performance car is all about the future. Case in point. With a little sci-fi feel in matrix fashion (perhaps guided by pop culture icon Keanu Reeves in the driver's seat), what other auto has the ability to let one customize instrument clusters in distinctive colors from a selection of 125? (The MyColor custom IP.) Ford says none, and we haven't seen one either.

This all-new "clean sheet" iteration of the fabled original muscle car has more than brawn behind its design. The rear wheel drive configuration (anything else would be a sacrilege -- remember the Ford Probe?) is the base for a whole new scope in this next generation marvel of "pure American muscle."

First is the slightly larger, longer size that adds more breathing room inside and sets wheels further at the corners for more stability and control. Its forward motion, rakish design -- with fastback clearly visible in a long, tapered sweep -- has a launch pad energy just standing still. Classic "Stang" elements are instantly identifiable, but they're manipulated just enough to look modern retro, not throwback. The familiar side "C" indent is still there but elongated with a contemporary feel. Depending on model, double five-spokes wheels give a sporty, dominant look of speed, leather interior trim adds an indulgent touch, and an MP3 capable entertainment system keeps it current.

And while not the ultimate in high tech of vehicles on the market, it has a just-right mix of technology and toughness to make it perform exactly as a next generation Mustang should. (Its base starting below $20,000, and $26,145 tops for the GT wouldn't justify space age componentry anyway.) But key to performance that has been winning widespread raves is the steroid-boosted choice of powertrains guaranteed to smoke some tires when revved to the max. The "state of the art" chassis (Ford's term) doesn't stint on performance delivery, especially with hard cornering capability built into the new rear suspension. In addition a new, standard 4.0-liter V-6, power comes from a three valve-head 300-horsepower, aluminum block V-8. That's 40 more horses than the previous generation's cast iron block engine, and a whopping 50 percent more power than the original '64 classic Mustang's 289-CID V-8.

Which brings us to the past. If you can't resist nostalgia, never fear. Ford itself gave the biggest boost to the vehicle's storied history when it took wraps off the first TV ad of the new vehicle with a superimposed Steve McQueen as the legendary Inspector Bullitt driving the first '05 Mustang on the scene. True Mustang aficionados know all about what that association means.


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