The recently leaked images of the 2018 Mustang range have caused quite a stir. Traditionalists are up in arms over Ford's decision to stray away from its pony cars origins; considering the Mustang was the first pony car when introduced early in 1964.
Love it or hate it the new Mustang is coming; while the Americans will see the new update in around September of this year, here in OZ don't expect to see the new Muzza until late in 2018.
Images leaked (yeah right, like Ford didn't want them leaked) before the official unveiling reveal a car that is a clear evolution of the model.
All the fuss is over the die-hards saying it's no longer a muscle car, too Euro and too ambiguous, that it's not the All-American car they expect it to be, looking too much like its rivals.
They may have a point - cover your thumb over the rear taillights from a rear three-quarter image, and there are obvious hints of Aston Martin in its flanks - Is that a bad thing? I don't think so; it moves the design forward, and since when is looking Aston-like a problem? ;)
Somehow they've managed to blend the great things from the current Mustang and added some suitably restrained Euro and Japanese influences to create a car with more class. Yeah, it does look less raw, yeah, it's been smoothed out a bit, and that's why the staunch muscle car fans are having a whinge.
So what's changed about the Mustang's skin? Most noticeable is the nose treatment; the headlights have been shaved down and are now full LED, the re-sculpted bonnet features rear-facing vents that for some reason remind me of a late model XKR Jaguar. The front splitter and air dam are more aggressive than before, with triangular vents left and right, allowing cold air to reach the front brakes. It's reminiscent of the front splitter used on the Lexus LFA. All up, I think the update works.
The interior has also had a work over; Ford has listened to its customers regarding the current Mustang's lacklustre interior. Fit and finish are said to be markedly improved as well as improvements to the quality of materials throughout. A first for the marque is the introduction of a 12"inch digital dash display (optional), the layout of which alters depending on the drive mode you select, Normal, Sport or Track.
So while the exterior has had a moderate tweak, the mechanics have seen more significant changes. With more power and more torque promised for both the V8 and four-cylinder drivetrains via revised freer flowing exhaust systems and direct fuel injection. Just how much extra bang is on offer; Ford is yet to release those details.
Other significant mechanical changes include a fully re-worked six-speed manual; with twin disc clutch and dual mass flywheel, all the better to cope with the V8's extra grunt. I'm excited about the adoption of an all-new 10-speed automatic transmission; it's a significant shift from the current old school 6-speed slushbox. Ford says this state of the art tranny will deliver better acceleration, smoother changes and a better overall drive experience. If Ford's new transmission works as claimed, it may be the better drive than the manual - and yes, it allows for manual shifting via wheel-mounted paddles.
While Ford promises more of everything, both the V8 and four-cylinder will slurp less of the unleaded than its predecessors.
I think it's a win.
Stay tuned for more on the 2018 Mustang as further details become available.