America's original pony car is turning 50 with a big-time flourish. Unveiled today in six different locations around the world and on sale in the fourth quarter of next year, the new 2015 Ford Mustang deftly melds neo-retro sensibilities into a smartly-styled exercise that embraces the familiar and the future in equal measure. That dichotomy figured prominently throughout the entire design process of the sixth-generation Mustang. In addition to remaking this true American icon in a way that would ensure it found even greater favor with potential U.S. buyers, Ford's decision to market the car globally also forced the development team to consider incorporating elements that would enhance the new Mustang's appeal on an international level. Based on our first look, it appears that high fives are in order all around. 

Although modestly shorter, lower and wider than the current iteration, the 2015 Mustang retains its classic long-hood/short-deck proportions. Despite a more sophisticated front fascia and headlamp/grille treatment that clearly recalls the 2011 Ford Evos Concept car, overall edgier contouring and a galloping chrome pony emblem leave no doubt that you're looking straight in the LED-infused eyes of a genuine Mustang. A similar kind of design déjà vu manifests itself in the tail treatment which is highlighted by a more elegant integration of the Mustang's signature tri-bar LED taillamps/sequential turn signals coupled with a bolder diffuser framed by a pair of chrome-tipped exhaust outlets. The 2015 Mustang makes an equally powerful statement viewed in profile where its flowing fastback is effectively complemented by a sleeker greenhouse treatment and aggressively flared fenders. Those who favor an al fresco variant will find the new Mustang convertible's multilayer power soft top also carries the design theme more elegantly - and deploys nearly twice as quickly as the current flippable lid while folding away in an even tidier manner. 

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The aircraft-inspired design of the new Mustang's cabin reflects the same kind of well-measured morphing as its exterior. Classic motifs like the circular gauges and a dual cowl dash carry forward, then there's a more contemporary look to the basic layouts and detailing coupled with improved fit/finish and better overall ergonomics. In addition to providing more room for passengers, the Mustang's all-new rear suspension design opens up more usable space in the trunk, as well. 

In keeping with its more polished persona, the new Mustang also will come with an even longer list of standard comfort convenience touches including Intelligent Access push-button start, SYNC, and Ford's MyKey with all 2015 Mustangs also getting a dash badge that features the galloping pony logo and the words "Mustang - Since 1964." Among the available extras are a Shaker Pro premium audio system, SYNC AppLink smartphone integration, the enthusiast-oriented Track Apps, adaptive cruise control and a Blind Spot Information System with cross-traffic alert. 

Beneath its recast bodywork, the 2015 Mustang gets a new platform architecture that promises to significantly improve both its ride and handling. "We already set a very high standard for Mustang's dynamics with the Boss 302," noted Dave Pericak, Ford Mustang chief engineer, "and our goal was to go above and beyond that with this new car. At its core is a stiffer, lighter unit body structure that serves to anchor a new fully independent suspension system. While a beefier front subframe and redesigned struts enhance steering feel and precision, it's the Mustang's independent rear suspension - the first IRS on a Mustang since the 1999-2004 SVT Cobra -- that should really crank up the car's corner-carving prowess. Rounding out the mix are three upgraded brake packages which Ford says should also make this the best-stopping Mustang in history along with a Selectable Drive Modes option that lets the driver adjust steering effort, throttle response, transmission mapping and electronic stability control settings using console-mounted toggle switches. 

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Although Ford was light on some of the specifics, we do know the 2015 Mustang initially will be available with the choice of three different engines. The largely carryover 3.7-liter V6 will make "at least 300 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque" while the 5.0-liter V8 in the Mustang GT will develop more than the current 420 horses and 390 lb-ft of twist and features a revised valvetrain and cylinder heads that improve its low-speed breathing to enhance fuel economy and lower emissions. The all-new face in this crowd is a 2.3-liter EcoBoost 4-cylinder - the first four-banger to appear in a Mustang engine bay since the 1986 SVO model. Expected to make over 305 horsepower and a deliver a stout 300 lb-ft of torque in a broad, flat plateau, it's also destined to be the most fuel-efficient of the lot, a trait Ford believes will make it the new segment leader in that critical arena and more desirable to potential buyers in Europe and Asia. 

Although transmission choices also carry over from the current Mustang, the 6-speed manual has been tweaked to deliver smoother shifts and the 6-speed SelectShift automatic now features steering-wheel mounted shift paddles. To further reinforce its inherent fun-to-drive mentality, the 2015 Mustang also features a new stability control system with bespoke programming and all GT variants come with a standard launch control feature. And as a final bit of good news, expect to hear more about several other even-more-performance-oriented variations on this new Gen VI Mustang theme in the months ahead.  

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