2012 Ford Mustang Manchester
For a singular nameplate with a long history, the 2012 Ford Mustang line-up delivers a lot of choices. Any of the current Mustangs is quieter, better built, better equipped and more refined than ever, but still visually engaging and good fun to drive. Improvements for 2012 include more standard features and a selectable power steering system that changes steering effort and feedback from comfort to normal to sport at the driver's selection. The Mustang is available as a coupe, a convertible or a unique glass-roof coupe. The top-selling Mustang V6 and GT models are offered in all three body styles, in standard trim or a more feature-laden Premium level, with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. The standard Mustang V6 is a four-cam 3.7-liter V6 delivering 305 horsepower, and it will accelerate faster than the majority of vehicles you'll encounter at a stop light. The V8-powered GT delivers 412 horsepower, and it basically cranks everything up a notch, starting with acceleration. The Boss 302 is 5.0-liter V8 is massaged to rev higher and deliver a more high-strung 444 horsepower. The ultimate Mustang is the Shelby GT500 that delirvers 550 horsepower.
Driving Impressions of the '12 Mustang
It's an absolute blast to drive. The car has a fairly light, tossable feel and it responds quickly to driver inputs. It is very willing to attack turns, with the electrically boosted power steering providing a fairly natural feel. The car is extremely quick to transition from left to right and back again with a minimum of body roll, dive or pitch in the suspension. The Brembo Brake Package adds larger brakes. It should be the choice for anyone who wants to take their car to the track or drive regularly on twisty mountain roads.
Interior Features of the '12 Mustang
The Ford Mustang's interior mixes excellent build quality with improved materials and a straightforward dashboard layout. The decorative trim and soft plastic on the dash are fairly appealing, though some hard, hollow plastic panels remain. Overall all, the Mustang delivers a solid middle-class package. A range of noise, vibration and harshness countermeasures have made what was once a rather loud car pleasingly smooth and quiet, though the Mustang's all-American pony car rumble is still audible to drivers and onlookers alike. Better still, the base Mustang's list of standard features continues to expand, with dual illuminated vanity mirrors, a universal garage door opener and sun-visor storage clips added for 2012. The look and feel inside the Mustang is even better with the Premium model package offered on both V6 models and V8 GTs. It adds leather-upholstered sport bucket seats with cashmere accents running down the middle, as well as a dark aluminum instrument panel and unique door inserts. There's Interior ambient lighting in the door pockets, cupholders and footwells, and the lighting can be changed through a range of 125 colors with a button. The dash layout and switch panels are uncomplicated, aesthetically balanced and very effective. Most controls are large pushbuttons, though temperature, fan speed, volume and tuning are extra-big radial knobs. Even the base model has a very readable video display for audio and other information.
Exterior Lineup of the '12 Mustang
Ford offers the Mustang with a range of appearance and wheel packages that subtly (or not so subtly) change its look and allow buyers to tailor the car to taste. All variants start with a welded steel unibody (as opposed to a separate body and chassis), and half the body weight is high-strength, low-alloy steel. Mustang is by far the lightest of the new breed of pony cars. Ford took several steps to improve noise, vibration and harshness control when it reworked the Mustang for 2010. Additional sound-deadening material on the instrument panel and a rear wheel arch liners help drivers hear the sounds they want (namely the engine) and avoid the sounds that can be a distraction (such as dash creaks and tire noise).
The 2012 Ford Mustang is available as a coupe or convertible, with either a V6 engine or one of three increasingly powerful V8s. All models come standard with a six-speed manual transmission, though an automatic is optional on most.
The Mustang V6 coupe is powered by a 3.7-liter V6 generating a substantial 305 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. It comes with standard cloth upholstery, cruise control, split folding rear seat, power mirrors, power windows, power door locks, remote keyless entry, AM-FM stereo with a single CD player and auxiliary jack, a compass, outside-temperature indicator, theft-deterrent system, limited-slip differential and P215/60R-17 tires on alloy wheels.
The Mustang V6 convertible features a power-operated convertible fabric top. It deletes the standard split-folding rear seat, but is otherwise equipped identically to the base coupe.
The Mustang GT coupe and GT convertible are powered by a 5.0-liter V8 delivering 412 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque. The GTs also add features, including aluminum interior trim, automatic headlights, rear spoiler, fog lights, and wider tires on 18-inch wheels.
All V6 and GT models are available with a Premium trim-level upgrade. This package adds leather upholstery, a six-way power driver seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, the 500-watt Shaker 500 audio upgrade with CD changer and satellite radio, Ford Sync entertainment and communications system, iPod adapter, wireless cell phone link, MyColor adjustable gauges, ambient lighting and an automatic day/night rearview mirror.
Further options are plentiful and at least a bit confusing. They start with performance upgrades like the V6 Performance Package which includes a 3.31 rear axle ratio, brake components and firmer suspension tuning from the GT coupe, 18-inch wheels and Pirelli performance tires. The Brembo Brake Package for the GTs adds Brembo brake calipers, reprogrammed electronic stability control that allows more leeway for performance driving, and a 19-inch tire/wheel package.
There's a Sport Appearance package that adds a rear spoiler and racy body stripes. Other appearance packages include the Mustang Club of America Special Edition for V6 models, with unique 18-inch wheels, a dark stainless billet grille with tri-bar pony badge, side and deck-lid stripes, a rear spoiler and pony-logo floor mats. The California Special edition for the GT adds 19-inch painted alloy wheels, a chrome billet grille with tri-bar pony badge, unique lower front fascia with fog lamps and a host of other appearance tweaks
Functional interior upgrades start with the Electronics Group, which includes a navigation system and dual-zone automatic climate control. The Comfort Group adds heated front seats and a six-way power-adjustable front passenger seat. Stand-alone options include remote engine starting, a convertible top boot, Ford's Shaker 1000 audio upgrade ($1,295) and a range of tire-wheel packages.
New for 2012, the Mustang Boss 302 coupe is geared toward hard-core enthusiast drivers and offered only with the manual transmission. Output from its 5.0-liter V8 increases to 444 horsepower, thanks largely to a higher RPM redline. It's fairly sparsely equipped inside, but virtually every component, from its manually adjustable suspension to its brakes, is upgraded of better race-track performance. The Boss 302 comes with the Boss Track Attack program, which includes complimentary driving instruction and track time. It's also offered with the Laguna Seca option, which rejects road comfort (and the back seat) completely in favor of optimal race-track performance. The Shelby GT500 coupe and convertible are the alpha males of the Mustang line, powered by a 5.4-liter supercharged V8 deliver 550 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque. In addition to performance upgrades, the GT500s are also loaded with features, including premium audio and leather/Alcantara upholstery. The Recaro package adds sport seats and a Torsen helical differential, while the SVT Performance Package includes a 3.73 rear axle ratio, unique shift knob, special exterior stripes, rear spoiler with Gurney flap and firmer suspension settings.
The 2012 Mustang line delivers more features and more refinement than any so-called pony car line-up before, not to mention a whole lot of performance per dollar. The Mustang V6 makes comfortable transportation with an emotionally appealing look, a muscular feel and excellent fuel economy. The V8-powered GT is faster, quieter and more comfortable than any of its celebrated predecessors. The new Boss 302 will appeal to enthusiast drivers who love track days. The Shelby GT500 is the least expensive 550-hp high-performance machine on the market. The Mustang is a vary fun car to drive and you can hardly hear any noise from inside the cabin. Click here to take a closer look at the 2012 Ford Mustang.