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2018 Ford Mustang: Better Aero Means Better Fuel Economy

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 2017-10-09 Motor Trend Staff

The updated look of the 2018 Ford Mustang is certainly controversial, but the promise of better performance, better handling, and better fuel economy is a seriously tempting proposition. But how much better is the fuel economy across the lineup? According to Ford's latest release, a better aerodynamics package means combined gas mileage is up as much as 5.6 percent.

You'll see the biggest improvements on the Mustang GT with the automatic transmission. Ford now uses the 10-speed unit it co-developed with GM, raising city, highway, and combined fuel economy by1 mile per gallon each, improving combined mileage by the aforementioned 5.6 percent. If you equip the GT with a manual, though, it still gets the same 15/25/18 city/hwy/combined rating. Then again, GT buyers are probably more concerned with performance than MPG.

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For buyers who prefer a better balance of performance and gas mileage, Ford still offers a turbocharged four-cylinder Mustang.Combined fuel economy is now 25 mpg regardless of whether you pick the auto or the manual, a 4.2 percent improvement over the 2017 model. City mileage is still the same 21 mpg, but highway numbers are now up to 32 mpg and 31 mpg respectively.

Related Video: 2018 Ford Mustang: Burn Baby Burn (Provided by Motoring Research)


When Frank Markus, our technical director, sat down with Jonathan Gesek and Mike Del Zio, the Ford engineers responsible for the Mustang's aero improvements, they told him thatif they hadn't made changes to the car's aerodynamics, the GT's improved performance would have meant lower gas mileage. So while it may not look like much has changed on paper, the car's more slippery shape actually helps it gain back the fuel economy it would have lost. Pair the improved shape with the 10-speed automatic, though, and the GT is both faster and more fuel efficient.

They also told him that thanks to the new Performance Pack's rear spoiler, they had to add the front splitter to keep the car balanced at speed. And while the underside of the Mustang had been open before, there's now a panel that bridges the gap from the engine shield all the way back to the fuel tank that improves aero, as well as potentially lessening cabin noise. The end result, they say, is a car that drives much better at high speeds. They wouldn't give us figures to compare, but they claim owners will notice a significant difference on the racetrack.

2018 Ford Mustang V8 GT with Performance Pack front three quarter in motion 02© Motor Trend Staff 2018 Ford Mustang V8 GT with Performance Pack front three quarter in motion 02

Funny enough, while all the bodywork from the firewall forward is new, the aero changes to the front end were allegedly set off when Gesek decided to tape up the lower gap on the pre-refreshed car's grille. The way they tell it, whenDel Zio liked the way that change improved the car's high-speed handling, the duct taped grille ended up influencing the entire front end's refresh.

Don't worry, though. All this focus on aerodynamics and gas mileage didn't turn the Mustang into an economy car. It's still fast, loud, and can do all the burnouts you want. Glorious, smoky, line-locked burnouts.

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