Our story started in 2010 with a new, modern refresh to a design that was introduced five years prior. On the exterior, the sheet metal was completely restyled for better aerodynamic performance. It also included a revised pony emblem, a new headlight design and LED taillights with sequential turn signals. While it looked dramatically different, it retained the S197 platform and the exterior dimensions were nearly the same.
On the inside, quality was increased. Ford used better materials, including real aluminum trim, and made their SYNC system an available option on all models, except the base model 2010 Mustang. It also included upgraded safety equipment to comply with more stringent federal safety standards.
Performance was improved slightly as well. Using lessons learned from the previous Bullitt model, Ford increased the power available in the 4.6L V8 to 315 horsepower, while the 4.0L V6 was a carry-over from the previous model. All models also included larger standard and optional wheels, and standard traction control.
For the 2010 model year, the Shelby GT500 also received a sizable redesign. Compared to the previous generation, the new GT500 was faster, more powerful and handled better than ever before. Engine revisions to the 5.4L supercharged V8 resulted in 40 more horsepower and 30 ft./lb. of additional torque. It also received new springs, a new rear differential ratio (3.55), and new 19-inch wheels and tires for better grip. As a result, acceleration improved, with a 0-60 time of 4.3 seconds, and many drivers reported that it felt like a dramatically different car, especially when corning.
While the look of the Mustang stayed basically the same, with just a few minor tweaks to the redesign from the year before, the biggest news of the 2011 model year was the all new engines and transmissions. The V6 was replaced with an all-new, advanced 3.7L, while the GT featured a return of the '5.0' engine, though this time as a brand new, highly powerful, modern V8!
The 3.7L V6 featured twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT), resulting in much more power, all while using significantly less fuel. It's made of aluminum, meaning it is lighter than the outgoing V6, helping efficiency and performance. It produces 305 horsepower and 280 ft./lbs. of torque, amazingly just shy of what the old V8 produced. It's also designed to provide more low-end torque, exactly what Mustang owners crave. Combined with a new 2.73 rear axle and new 6-speed transmissions, fuel economy was up by 30% or more!
However, the real excitement came with the announcement of Ford's new 5.0L "Coyote" V8! Featuring the same Ti-VCT technology, it delivered 412 horsepower and 390 ft./lbs. of torque, both big increases over the outgoing GT engine. Combined with a lighter overall weight and the new transmissions, the new 5.0 got even better economy than the old, less powerful V8, but with a much more fun to drive feel. Despite being an entirely new and very different engine, for long-time Mustang enthusiasts, the return of the 5.0 moniker also harkened back to the old 5.0 V8 that appeared in the Mustang from the late 1960s until its retirement in 1995. Despite the differences, enthusiasts loved seeing the '5.0' badge back on the Mustang!
The 2011 Mustang also received two new transmissions: a 6-speed MT-82 Getrag manual transmission or Ford's 6R60 6-speed automatic transmission. Both contributed to the car's better economy and performance, while the extra gear in the manual definitely added to the fun-to-drive factor as well.
The 2011 Shelby GT500 received minor tweaks. The biggest change regarded the engine, which is no longer based on a cast iron block, and instead used aluminum. This shaved off some weight and allowed for 10 additional horsepower. Torque was unchanged. Aside from a few other mechanical tweaks and standard HIDs, the GT500 was unchanged. However, Ford also introduced a Performance Package for the GT500 that added numerous racing inspired options, making it even faster!
The large majority of 2012 Mustangs were only modestly changed. A new color and some minor options were tweaked for the new model year, but after the big changes for the last two model years, Ford was content to let the mainstream Mustangs rest and enjoy their successes. The 2012 GT500 just received a few new options, including Recaro seats and a glass roof, but was otherwise unchanged.
However, after a 42 year hiatus, a special edition reappeared in the Mustang line-up: The Boss 302 was back! Ford took the Mustang GT and made it stronger, lighter and more refined, creating one of the best production, street legal race cars on the planet!
It started with the engine. While the 5.0L V8 that was introduced last year was an excellent foundation, designers wanted to get more track-like performance from it, so some modifications were required. It started with a new intake and continued with revised camshafts and a more aggressive tune. The result was 440 horsepower and 380 ft./lb. of torque. That was combined with a race-inspired clutch and a short throw 6-speed transmission for an amazing experience behind the wheel.
Based on the Boss 302, two more special editions were also added to the line up: The Boss 302 Laguna Seca and the Boss 302R. Both were geared towards racing. The Boss 302 Laguna Seca loses some creature comforts and adds performance upgrades, like an upgraded suspension, Recaro seats and a rear seat delete (with cross-car X-brace for increased rigidity). The Laguna Seca was meant to bridge the gap between the Boss 302 and the Boss 302R, which was a race car and not street legal. For buyers and enthusiasts, the return of the Boss 302 was huge news, and these models sold quickly!
Another, final update to the S197 was prepared for the 2013 model year. While this one was much more modest than the 2010 update, it did include a new front fascia with a larger grille and standard HID headlights, along with two LED accent strips that reflect back on the front design of early Mustangs. The rear was also tweaked, with new LED taillights with integrated reverse lights. LED projector lights on the side mirrors, reflecting the running horse image, was included on Comfort Package models for 2013. The biggest upgrade inside was a new 4.2-inch display on Premium models that was positioned between the speedometer and tachometer that allowed for statistics to be displayed while driving. The 5.0L V8 gained eight horsepower for the 2013 Mustang, up to 420. The Boss 302 remained for one more year, adopting the styling of the new model.
A few new colors were also introduced, including Gotta Have It Green, which CJ Pony Parts customers likely remember best as the color of our two 2013 Mustang project cars, Gotta Have It Street and Gotta Have It Race.
Another major revision was in store for the 2013 Shelby GT500. The biggest news: 662 horsepower and 631 ft./lb. of torque from an all-new 5.8L supercharged V8. It has a top speed of 202 mph. New mechanical features were also added to support the engine and the car's amazing performance, including the Launch Control system that was first seen in the Boss 302. The new GT500 also added many of the styling and performance enhancements that came with the new base Mustangs, making the car more driver-friendly than ever before.
Very little was changed for 2014. A few colors was added and a few options were shifted around, but the all of the 2014 Mustang trims were generally left unchanged, as buzz continued to build for the completely redesigned version coming for the next model year.
On June 20, 2014, the final S197 Mustang was built. The Flat Rock manufacturing facility is currently retooling for production of the new 2015 Mustang, slated to begin later this summer.
But more news on that later...