A standard automatic transmission that holds the gear in manual mode operation until the driver shifts and an in-vehicle system for tracking linear and lateral acceleration take the 2013 Ford Mustang and its stable of variants into a new performance arena.
"We're going to amp it up again," Ford Mustang's Chief Engineer Dave Pericak said about the sport car's technology and styling changes.
The 2013 Mustang's available 4.2-in LCD screen—positioned between the speedometer and tachometer—includes the debut of Track Apps, which lets the driver view various performance-related menus. Access to the menus is via a five-way button on the steering wheel.
Selection choices for Track Apps include a graphic that shows the car's lateral g-forces, a mode that shows the stopping time and distance for speeds 100 to 0 mph and 60 to 0 mph as well as an acceleration timer mode.
The accelerometer for Track Apps measures acceleration in multiple directions and also is used to compute stopping and acceleration times, according to Pericak.
Compared to the 2012 Mustang, the 2013 version accents its road-hugging and aerodynamic attributes thanks to a reworking of the vehicle's front end.
"The cooling was improved by increasing the open grille area on the front end of the car. Also, on the Boss (model) we added a removable faux fog-lamp cover, which further adds to the front-end airflow.
"Downforce on the front end of the car was improved by making sure the lower valence provided performance like a splitter. We used extensive aerodynamic modeling and physical wind-tunnel testing to make sure the aerodynamics—lift and drag—achieve target," Pericak explained.
A new standard Mustang feature, SelectShift Automatic, gives the driver a choice of fully automatic or manual control of the gearshifts on the six-speed transmission.
"When in the SST mode, the gear state will be held until you push the shifter button up or down, except when the vehicle comes to a stop. If you were in first, second, or third gear before the stop, the vehicle will start in that gear.
"If you were in fourth or higher gear before the stop, it will downshift to first gear and then start in first gear. When the vehicle hits the redline, no automatic upshifting occurs. The (transmission) will only shift when manually requested. And, the only time a gear will not be granted is when a requested shift would take the engine above redline," noted Pericak.
Mustang's 5.0-L V8 engine will produce an estimated 420 hp (313 kW) as engineers' adapted strategies from the high-output 444-hp (331 kW) engine that powers the Mustang Boss 302. The 2013 Ford Shelby GT500's aluminum-block supercharged 5.8-L V8 will put out an estimated 650 hp (485 hp) and 600 lb·ft (813 N·m), which will make it the most powerful production V8 to date.
Technical specifications and other details about the engines will be released closer to the vehicle's launch.
A new option package is being offered exclusively on GT Mustangs with a 3.73:1-ratio rear axle and manual transmission. This GT Track Package includes an engine oil cooler, upgraded radiator, performance friction brake pads, and the same Torsen differential used on the Mustang Boss 302.
Hill start assist—a feature available on the F-150 and other Ford vehicles—makes its debut on manual-transmission-equipped 2013 Mustangs. The car will remain stationary on an incline with brake pressure in the braking system for up to 2 s after the brake pedal is released.
Mustang's exterior design cues include body-color rocker panels, a more pronounced grille, new hood with functional engine heat extractors on the GT model, standard HID headlamps on V6 and GT cars, as well as new signature lighting with two individual LED bars emphasizing the headlamps, and three LED ropes shaping the three-bar rear lights.
Another new-for-2013 feature is seen when the door-unlock button is activated. That triggers projection light to cast the Mustang's pony emblem onto the ground.