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We get behind the wheel of Ford’s latest Mustang go-fast package

HOT ROD logo HOT ROD 5/18/2018 Hot Rod Network Staff
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Make no mistake, this is a purpose-built package targeted at a buyer with a desire for a high level of performance. Hardcore enthusiasts will have no issue daily driving the PP2, and if you like your handling, it's worth every one of the $6,500.00 for the package. Priced out on Ford.com, a base GT with the PP2 came in at $44,590.00.

With a few miles under our belt we headed back to scenic Monticello Motor Club to turn a few hot laps. I say 'a few,' because our planned track day was cut short when the sky opened and dumped enough rain to cut into our action. Regardless, it didn't stop us from laying into the 460 horsepower and feeling that wonderful grip, even if for a short stint.

We'd classify the Performance Pack Level 2 as a baby Shelby GT350, with amazing braking, precise turn-in capabilities and balance through the corners. The brakes have excellent modulation, and applying them at the right moment let us plant the nose and turn in aggressively with no understeer or chatter from the big 305 Michelins. When pushed hard, the body remained flat, the rear tracked nicely without so much as a shimmer, and we never lost compliance in the tires, which gave us a feeling of confidence.

We also liked the low 3.73:1 gearing (with TORSEN rear differential) which was matched nicely to the 5.0L engine's output and rpm band. We found it easy to pick the right gear and get off the corner fast with a smooth transition from apex to the straight. The track's sprawling layout provided nice mix of elevation change, sweepers, and switchback corners that let us experience the Mustang's brakes, acceleration and grip level. And the Mustang never complained, even when the track was damp.

My biggest take away was the connection between the power, grip, and the balance. Much of the credit goes to Jamie Cullen, Ford supervisor for vehicle dynamics development, who led road test efforts to ensure the car delivered ultra-responsive steering, world-class braking and handling performance to match. "It will just beg you to go faster. The car has lightning-quick response and never gives up grip," Cullen stated.

While the on-track performance speaks volumes, the styling is somewhat understated. The only visual cues on a car are black detailing on the splitter and spoiler, the tire spat on the back edge of the rear wheel wells, and the 19-inch wheels. Mustang veteran Jonathan Gesek, former aerodynamics specialist at NASA and now with Ford's aerodynamics group, spearheaded development of a high-performance front splitter and rear spoiler. Using the splitter from the famed Mustang Boss 302 Laguna Seca as a benchmark, his team attached the piece to the underside of the front to fan out as much as 3 inches around the corners of the Mustang GT. It creates roughly 24 pounds of downforce at 80 mph, helping overall grip. To balance the downforce, a subtle, redesigned rear spoiler adds style and performance. Those with a keen eye will also pick up on the lowered stance.

Overall, the PP2 hits its mark. Those who enjoy ripping through the turns will realize maximum enjoyment, and the team at Ford should be proud. But there's one more slot that needs to be filled. If we could add one more Mustang to the lineup, it's one with the emphasis on quarter-mile performance. We've gone 11.83 at 119 mph with a fully loaded PP1, and Ford can make one go quicker. Combine the 480 hp 5.0L engine from the Bullitt with the 10-speed automatic transmission, add 3.73s, drag radials and they'd have a Mustang capable of low 11s. It's food for thought, and we know Mustang owners have the appetite.

001-2019-Ford-Mustang-Performance-Pack-2© Courtesy Ford Motor Company 001-2019-Ford-Mustang-Performance-Pack-2

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