2015 Ford Mustang I-4 Coupe Premium review: Well grounded at speed

Inside the Mustang is just as much a Mustang as on the outside, with the dual brow dash and large tach and speedometer, the latter of which is labelled “Ground Speed.” Someone either has a sense of humor or is trying too hard.

The big dials are separated by an information screen that has a number of different configurations. Our favorite was a combination pack of secondary gauges.

2015 Ford Mustang I-4 Coupe Premium

The automatic-equipped 2015 Ford Mustang I-4 Coupe Premium has shifter paddles on the steering wheel. (click to enlarge. (click to enlarge)

Last year’s one-or-the-other engine choice between the V-8 and V-6 had one as the performance model that guys lust after. The V-6, if we were sexist (and we aren’t), would be the secretary’s car. Of course, guys can be secretaries—pardon, administrative professionals—but secretaries can love V-8’s too.

Don’t think of the four-cylinder turbo engined Mustang anything but a performance engine, however, making 134 horsepower per liter. That carries over to the driving. Our test 2013 Ford Mustang had the four-cylinder, along with the paddle-shiftable automatic. Despite the horsepower rating, we were prepared to be unimpressed. And up front, the engine sounds were uninspiring (though honest and not synthesized, as with the V-6), in anything reminiscent of the Subaru flat four.

The 2015 Mustang with the Ecoboost 2.3, however, is anything but pokey. Consider it a performance car in a lower performance class than the V-8-powered Mustang GT. It’s well balanced, its respectable 3500 pound curb weight distributed with only 52 percent over the front wheels. The suspension does its job well, clinging to bumpy pavement like the IRS onto your tax refund check.

The automatic transmission is a conventional automatic, at least in the mechanical sense, but using the paddle shifter could food the driver into thinking it’s a dual-clutch gearbox. It’s quick and solid in sport mode, and downshifts neatly match revs.

2015 Ford Mustang I-4 Coupe Premium

2015 Ford Mustang I-4 Coupe Premium (click to enlarge)

The four makes the Mustang feel more like a sport compact, though with bountiful power delivery. Ford’s pony is still bigger than the traditional sports car, however, and anyone hooked on driving a small performance wearing a blue oval should look into the Ford Focus ST, or even smaller, the Ford Fiesta ST.

Our test 2015 Ecoboost Mustang had selectable drive modes and Track Apps as standard equipment. The latter includes “line lock,” which allows a driver to apply the front brakes only while warming up the rear tires for a launch at the drag strip, along with Launch Control, which combines computer controlled brake application, traction control and powertrain control for consistent drag strip starts. Track Apps also records assorted performance results, including quarter-mile and 0-60 times. (We’ve also seen that with the Dodge Challenger and Charger, among others).

Drive modes allows the driver to select stability control and traction control for sport driving or low traction conditions.

In other words, remember that ground we were talking about awhile back. Not only can it be seen under the engine bay, but the 2015 Ford Mustang I-4 Coupe Premium can make the ground move. It’s just like it says on the speedometer face: “Ground speed.”

2015 Mustang I-4 Premium Coupe, price and key specifications as tested

Body style/layout: 2-door coupe, front engine/rear-wheel drive

Base price: $ Not for Sale

2015 Ford Mustang I-4 Premium window sticker

Price as tested: $ Not for Sale

Engine

  • Type: 2.3-liter 16-valve turbocharged I-4
  • Displacement, cc: 2300
  • Block/head material: aluminum/aluminum
  • Compression ratio: 9.5:1
  • Horsepower:310 @ 5500 rpm
  • Torque: 320 @ 2500-4500 rpm
  • Recommended fuel: regular unleaded
  • Fuel economy, EPA est.: 21/32 mpg city/highway
  • Fuel economy, observed: 22.3 mpg

Transmission: 6-speed automatic paddle-shift

Chassis/Suspension

  • Suspension, front/rear: double-ball-joint MacPherson strut / integral link
  • Wheels: 18 x 8.0-inch alloy
  • Tires: 235/50R18
  • Brakes: 4-wheel disc; 12.6-inch dia. front/12.6-inch dia. rear
  • Steering: electric power rack-and-pinion
  • Turning circle: 37.8 ft.

Dimensions

  • Wheelbase: 107.1 in.
  • Length: 188.3 in.
  • Height: 54.9 in.
  • Width: 75.4 in.
  • Curb weight: 3,524 lbs
  • Trunk volume: 13.5 cu. ft.
  • Fuel tank: 15.5 gal.

Safety

  • Airbags: Front, front knee (passenger glove-box door), front side head, side curtain
  • Anti-lock brakes: Yes Traction control: Yes Stability control: Yes Electronic brake-force distribution: Yes Brake assist: Yes
  • Other: Post crash alert, MyKey

Warranty: 3-year/36,000 mile bumper-to-bumper; 5-year/60,000 mile powertrain; 5-year/60,000 mile safety restraint; 5-year/unlimited-mile corrosion