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'05 Ford Mustang GT

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05mustang-red.jpeg

Year: 2005
Class: Pony Car/ Muscle Car
Body Type: coupe

Host: GT4``````````````````````````````````Country of Origin: USA

Price: $25,950

Construction: unit steel body, aluminum hood, forged steel & aluminum chassis parts

Length: 187.6" // Width: 72.1" // Height: 54.5"
Wheelbase: 107.1"
Overhang: 6 feet 8 inches
Track: 62.3 [F] 62.5 [R]
Ground Clearance: 5.12"
Weight: 3,456 pounds
Wgt Dist: 53/47
Steering: power-assisted rack & pinion
Skidpad: 0.84 g
Layout: front engine/rear-drive
Tires: 235/55R-17 98w
Brand: Pirelli P-Zero
F. Suspension: reverse Macpherson struts, coils, anti-sway bar, tube shox
R. Suspension: live axle, coils, anti-sway bar, Panhard rods, tube shox
Brakes: vented discs

Engine 280 cubic-inch SOHC V8
Construction: aluminum block & heads   
Aspiration: natural
Fuel System: sequential port fuel-injection
Valves / Cyl: 3 (variable cam timing)
Bore x Stroke: 3.55 x 3.45"
Compression: 9.8:1
 
Starting BHP: 296 @ 5,750 rpm
Strt Torque: 317.56 @ 4,500 rpm 
 
Credits per HP: $87.67
Pounds per HP: 11.67
Pounds per Trq: 10.87
HP per Liter: 67.4

Idle: 750 // Redline: 6,000 // RPM Limit: 7,000

Transmission: 5-speed manual
Differential: limited-slip
TCS? Yes
ASM? No

*track tests below were done with Driving Aids OFF, even tho the real-life car has TCS as standard equipment.

0-60 mph: 6.966 seconds
0-100 mph: 14.500 seconds
0-150 mph: 48.533 seconds
 
400 M:   15.302 @ 102 mph
1 Kilom: 26.529 @ 132 mph


100-zero mph: 3.55 seconds
Test Course Lap: 2:26.937
Top Gear RPM @ 60 mph: 1,750

Top Speed at Redline
1st: 35 mph
2nd: 62 mph
3rd: 99 mph
4th: 133 mph
5th: 160.90 @ 4,900 rpm

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----------------EXTERIOR / HISTORY--------------

There's an old joke that goes like this...

How do you double the value of a Ford?

Fill it with gas!

...Well, that one was invented to make fun of the Ford Pinto, which was certainly the lowest point of Ford's history. But this review shall focus on one of their more successful efforts. 

In the year 2005, the Ford Mustang was now in its 40th year of production. Unlike others (Camaro, Challenger, etc) which jumped on the pony/muscle-car bandwagon, only Ford's Mustang had been in production without a pause since 1964-1/2.

To commemorate, Ford granted us a brand-new generation of Mustang, which captured the original's looks, style, and demeanor. They have finally narrowed the arrow back on the bull's eye where it belongs, so now we have this block-faced, aggressively-ugly 2005 GT. It was now possible for a modern-day yuppy to play the pseudo-role of a '60s-era gearhead if he wanted. It was now possible for a preppy, well-dressed suburbanite to get behind the wheel of a GT Convertible, pretending she had an original ragtop, but for several hundred thousand dollars less.

Ford wandered a bit over the years, creating plenty of models which said they were supposed to be Mustangs, but were more like donkeys instead. Ford Donkey...imagine that? Instead, we got the Mustang II, a car which should have been named "Donkey", for it was slower than any previous Mustang, including 6-cylinder models. This model (1974-1978) was an ugly, clumsy, underpowered excuse. In its day, the Mustang II looked as if it would tarnish the marque's reputation for good. Thankfully, its time was barely longer than Nixon's term of office.

After this dreadful era, Ford eventually produced a bunch of cars more worthy of the Mustang name. The Fox-body generation (1979-2003) started off slow, but eventually gained back some notoriety. At first, these 3rd-generation Mustangs looked like downsized Fairmonts; kinda dull. They drove with more confidence than the Mustang II (a little more), but were still underpowered.

This eventually changed for the better over the next four years. Ford eventually made things exciting again, especially once they started developing higher-performing models like the SVO and Cobra SVT. The Mustang from this era never made those stellar sales that first-generation 'Stangs garnered (two million cars in four years), but the Fox was at least a steady seller, averaging about 150,000 autos a year, give or take a few thousand or tens of thousands. After years and years of Fox-chassis production, which lasted well into the new millenium, the Mustang was long overdue for a makeover, so here we are.

The newer D2C generation in our game was the answer, and has largely succeeded so far as sales go. 160,412 were produced and eventually sold for 2005, 60,792 of these were higher-performing GTs. Ford produced about the same number of Mustangs in 2004, but the difference is there weren't any waiting lists 'til D2C came along.

And just as it did during the '60s, the American muscle car war has heated up once again, thanks to Ford. Dodge that has reintroduced their Challenger and Charger, both of which had long been dead. The Challenger in particular  takes retro cues from early '70s-era models, and is truely a modern muscle-car. Super-latecomer Chevy has brought back their Camaro, also with a retro look. Let's hope it makes it into GT5.

Back in the 1964-1/2, the Mustang started as a compact car (for its day), yet grew quickly in size and pounds. The new Ford Mustang GT in our game borrows some features from larger '69 and '70 Mustangs, rather than earlier, smaller versions, yet has managed not to copy them altogether. It's got the look, but it's also got the weight, which tops anything found from the '60s.

Ford's top Mustangs back in 1970, for instance, their Boss and Mach 1 models, weighed-in at 3,240 pounds, and that's with the heaviest big-block motors (428 and 429 V8s). The car in our game beats this by slightly over two-hundred pounds! This is despite the fact that the all-aluminum engine weighs 75 pounds less than a comparable cast-iron unit from the past.

So this is not the spry, pony-like car of the mid-'60s, nor is it one of the heavier stallions from the late-'60s. No, the new Mustang barely feels horsey at all! At least at first. It's more like a tank, rolling along with rarely any misbehavior. At the least, this car weighs-in at 2,867 pounds with a Stage 3 reduction. Still heavier than a stock Impreza STi or Lancer Evo, but acceptable. Removing full weight (and as power gets added), the 'Stang does start to feel more tossable, more nervous, more like a horse, yet doesn't lose its stability. Some may gasp at those 3,456 pounds, which is the new Mustang GT's stock curb weight, but this weight is actually average when compared to many other sport coupes of modern times.

 At $25,950, all of this is affordable to the average gamer who's steadily been winning and wants to try something new (well...new for 2005). Some my cry over the fact that other, more powerful Mustangs from the D2C generation are not in GT4, but in 2005, the GT was actually the top-notch, most powerful 'Stang one could buy. 

So the question everyone was asking in 2005: how much power exactly are we talkin' about?

   

--------------ENGINE / DRIVETRAIN-------------

One might think the heart of the new Mustang GT, an all-aluminum 280 cubic-inch (4.6L) V8 with a modern variable-cam 3-valves per cylinder heads, electronic throttle control, and performance-oriented engine-computer management, will be the least worrisome part of the car. Americans usually do this part right, so far as accelerative performance goes. Modern computer wizardry allows the Stang to make its power running on regular fuel, too. Again, how much power are we talkin' about? :) 

But let's chomp on a few more figures for a minute or two. It is notable that this is the highest-horsepower small-block engine Ford has ever sold in a Mustang, excluding some Cobra and Mach 1 models. The Boss 302 from 1970, for instance, was rated about 306 horsepower. This is what it was rated under the old gross-horsepower system, which means  power was calculated from the flywheel with the engine running bare...without any smog equipment or accessories attached. Nowadays, we use the SAE/Net method of calculating horsepower, which is also taken from the flywheel, but with air-conditioning, power-steering, and smog equipment (including full tailpipe with mufflers) attached. Under Net guidelines, that 306-horsepower V8 from the '60s rates about 221. 

So here it is. The car in our game rates an honest 295 bhp @ 5,750 (310 bhp after oil change), with about 315 foot-pounds (330 after oil). Not bad, especially considering the car's price. The late C4 Camaro Z/28, for instance, which Chevy recently halted production of just before the new Mustang hit the streets, rated about 285. So not bad.

But it's not all about numbers. This engine also sounds like a V8 in our game, and it's one of the highest-horsepower small-block stock motors Ford has ever sold. Despite all this, a major cloud is looming on the horizon, for here we have some major problems. What could they be?

Zero to 60 mph in almost 7 seconds!?! A fifteen-ish quarter?

Wow. That's impressively bad, especially considering the long list of models (M3s, S4s, Skyline GT-Rs, Supras, 3000 GTs, C4-gen Camaros, Corvettes...) that weigh about the same or more than the new Mustang, yet can stomp those same distances with seconds to spare. Various real-life car websites (SuperCars.net, RoadandTrack.com, etc.) quote the 2005 Mustang GT anywhere from 4.9 to 5.5 seconds, when going from zero to 60 mph. 13.5 second quarters, as well. This sounds about right. Yet in the game, I couldn't manage any lower than 6.7 seconds with medium-sport tires, and that's when carefully letting-in the clutch at about 6,000 rpms in 2nd gear. First gear launches? Even worse. I tried S3 (soft sport) tires, which erased about a half-second (zero to 60 in 6.453 seconds), then tried medium racing tires (R3), and finally got some lower numbers: zero to 60 mph in 5.616 seconds with a 14.176 quarter.   

So obviously, the problem isn't power or gearing, it's tires. Those rear tires (medium sports) can't handle the car's torque. How do real-life car mags & online sites make even lower numbers? Somebody must have screwed up somewhere. 
 
Here's my opinion. While GT4 was in development, the new Mustang hadn't made it to the market yet. PD probably didn't have any real-life testing numbers to base their version of the car's performance from, so they were guessing. It's gotta be this. Otherwise, why are many cars in many games (GT1 thru GT4) spot-on when it comes to acceleration from real-life to the game?

Though this inferior tire programming makes for exciting action flick-style blasts with lots of smoke, it really kills the new Mustang GT where it should excel. NEVER can we just drop the hammer in either 1st or 2nd gear, especially while leaving a corner, without taking into account the rear of this car might start to lose it. Sometimes, it'll be a light bit of wheelspin that can be heard, but can't be seen during replays. The car's rear Pirellis are going sweeeeee, yet speed isn't gathering up as fast as it should be. Other times, it's a cloud of smoke that comes out of nowhere, worthy of one of those grainy pics found in the Burnout section of Hot Rod magazine.

Ugh. Kinda depressing, yet it's also kinda exciting for those who could care less about numbers and/or pure traction all the time. 1st and 2nd-gear create some wicked-awesome burnouts during drift runs and sometimes races, if the driver is careful enough. The Mustang GT's stability often helps here; keeping the car from going into a spin easily. 

But overall, it's not a good situation. If the car smokes its tires while it's stock, what the hell will it do with upgrades?

Speaking of. We have three NA kits and a supercharger. 656 hp @ 5,750 with 654 foot-pounds @ 4,500 rpm, or 498 hp @ 5,750 rpm with 565 foot-pounds at 4,500, respectively, is how they stack up. And like I said, the Mustang gets more and more cantankerous with this power. A full Stage 1 upgrade starts screwing everything up.....it's like driving a front-drive car with rear-wheel drive at times! Granted, this is a muscle-car, but the way it has problems getting simple power-to-pavement with less than 400 horses from the block is no excuse. *sigh* Especially not in these modern times.

Mated to the engine is a Tremec 5-speed manual with carbon-fiber clutch discs which were previously only found on Cobra models. The tranny has gear ratios running like this: 

3.34:1
2.00:1
1.32:1
1.00:1
.670:1

final drive 3.55:1

...Also not such good news, but this depends on what situation you're trying to enter your new GT into. Rather tall these gears are, certainly not anything we'd see from the '60s. The Mustang GT could actually benefit from a taller 1st, but a shorter 2nd and 5th. During racing situations, 2nd can be reliably dug into with few consequences, assuming power isn't too hot yet. The small-block engine gets a tad struggly once it's below 4,000 rpms, but often torques its way out of corners if you're patient with this. From here on up, gears 3 and 4 are somewhat tallish, but useful. Let that tach needle go deep into redline before shifting out of 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, for an upshift will often place it back into the 4,000s again.

On the one hand, this is great. Makes the gearhead in me happy to listen to those eight cylinders putter along with their low, efficient growl out from mid-range revs. Since peak torque lies at 4,500, often it's possible to pull from here. But it's not an ideal gearing situation for lots of racing by far.

Overall, nothing really starts to hurt until we shift into 5th, which is like a virtual mountain! Made for fuel-economy, quite obviously, 5th is extremely tall. The car keeps on pulling in that extra speed, though, finally making 160.90 mph at 4,900 rpms around the Test Course, despite the car's blocky aerodynamic shape. Real-life 'Stangs can't get this far; they all have speed limiters nowadays that tame them.

So yes, the 2005 Mustang GT has got the feel of some old-world Mustangs, since it can (will) get a little wild. It seems overall that Ford is trying to please their fan base on the one hand in this regard, yet is also trying to pander to the world of the ninny on the other.

--------------CHASSIS / HANDLING--------------

Now it's time to forget all your differences, time to share amongst friends and neighbors. Some of us (ME!) have driven the few Mustangs available since GT2, and have cried afoul at this obvious lack of GT history. Well, cry no more, it's time to celebrate. Uh, assuming you're a fan of the pony genre, that is.

I haven't reviewed the 2000 Ford Mustang Cobra R of GT3 and GT4 yet, but I have driven them. In comparison, the Cobra R also doesn't feel very dancy either, not the way older Mustangs have been described as being. It does feel a little less confident with extreme cornering, though. 

Many were surprised in 2005 that Ford opted for a live rear-axle, rather than an independent rear. But things aren't totally archaic; this isn't a live axle on leaf springs. Instead, the car has a 3-link design with Panhard rods to keep lateral and vertical movements from the rear in check under hard acceleration. How does this translate for GT4 racing?

Well to answer, eventually this newer Mustang does start to feel a bit pony-ish, especially at short, twisty tracks. Once you get to know it well, you can start kicking it around and stuff, just as cowboys use those spurs on their boots to command actual horses. The Mutang is a very kickable car, actually, and it's possible to keep pushing it harder out of slower areas to get some wild behavior, and it will accept these moments with mule-like patience. I've found myself really forcing it to do a few things here and there. Of course, you gotta be careful...you can't get too wild with this car, especially during races when that Impreza STI is about to trump your lead as you party.

The real-life Mustang GT has a limited-slip installed as standard, which is probably why PD programmed the car not to get too goofy. As long as power is low, all of this recalcitrance (the burnouts, the slightly-sideways/drifty moments) is extremely safe. The car has a bit of fun, has the ability to get a bit loose, yet never gets too wild. Never gets too unsafe, at least while it's heavy and slow. Front-end snapback found in other muscle cars that have problems getting themselves balanced isn't happening nearly as often with the new 'Stang.

Still, this is a bit of cost-saving on Ford's part, the live rear-axle bit. A modern, independant rear would be more complicated and cost more, why not please the pony car fans instead? :-)

Real-life car reviewers have noted the D2C is an improvement over older Fox-chassis Mustangs, especially when driven to its limits. I did notice this. As I did all ten races of the Polyphony Digital Cup in my yellow 'Stang, I got to know this car well. I should note I didn't get weight reductions, was driving on N3 tires for most racing, and was using stock power. Bumpy tracks like Nurburgring don't bother the Mustang much, even as it's cornering hard. Like I said earlier, this car is like a tank at these moments, rather than a wild, nervous pony. It manages to keep its composure most of the time. Small, quick steering efforts are quickly taken into account, as well, keeping this car quick on its feet at high speeds.

Now let's talk about one of my favorite subjects: Brakes! This generation has the best brakes ever installed on a Mustang, and it shows. Acceleration may be difficult, but 100 to zero mph in 3.55 seconds is extremely good. This car's vented discs are the biggest rotors, matched with the most trustworthy calipers a Ford product has ever had, according to some websites. I found myself using these brakes to bring this stomping horse to a stop, out-braking others.

The car trail-brakes also as well. It's not the ultimate twisty-pretzel type of trail-braker, but we can manage some magic while those rotors are heating up. Only on N-radials does the 'Stang start to have have massive problems, and lots more thought is involved. Brake too late, and the car does start to understeer heavily, which is expected.

Overall, I'm done typing. Time to watch some Benny Hill.

PROS-----------------------------------------

1). Let's have a warm round of applause for PD for getting the newest Mustang of 2005 into the game, even though GT4 was released in 2004. Clap clap clap.

2). Classic Mustang shape and feel, none of this aero/New Edge crap! Ford managed to do in 2005 what they did back in 1965: re-kindle the American performance-car war.

3). 300 horsepower stock, with decent small-block torque, and that's without help from a turbo. Plenty of power upgrades (too many, actually) take the car past 650.

4). 160+ mph top speed, stock.

5). Fun times ahead!

6). Lots of colors to be had.

7). Nicely priced for the new millenium.

8). Sonorous V8 sound from idle to redline. Exhaust upgrades don't ruin it for the most part.

9). Capably modern, so far as high-speed handling goes. Surprsingly, the 2005 'Stang keeps its poise under many circumstances, bumpy tracks or mirror-smooth ones.

10). Great off-road, too.

11). BMW-worthy brakes.


CONS----------------------------------

1). Decent power, yes, but putting it to pavement requires patience, something most muscle-car lunkheads don't have. Limited-slip devices needed early.

2). Some really sad acceleration in our game, apparently not shared by real-life new millenium Mustangs.

3). Gearbox is arranged all wrong for most racing situations. Some gears too short, others too tall. Close-ratio gears top at about 130 mph. Odd that PD didn't give us a 6-speed close ratio box.

4). Heavier than any Mustang has ever been. 

5). Guzzles gas during endurance racing situations. Munches those front tires, too.

6). Occasional entry and mid-corner understeer, despite the otherwise decent handling traits. 

7). That retro thing. A throwback to earlier times is great, so far as looks go. But the retro bit also creeps into this car's performance traits at times, and that ain't cool once we're hunting for some low numbers at the tracks.


Published: January 10, 2010

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