Car of the Week: 2015 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Convertible

Welcome to a new feature on Objects in the Mirror: Car of the Week.

I’m probably going to fiddle and tweak the format a bit as time goes on, but essentially this space will be reserved for a quick overview of the car, along with my impressions, a few photos, a verdict and a numerical grade.

With that out of the way, my first car of the week is the 2015 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Convertible.

Basics

Base price / as tested: $39,399 / $49,599 (including freight)
Layout: front engine, rear-wheel drive
Engine / Transmission: 2.3-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder (EcoBoost) / 6-speed manual
Horsepower / Torque: 310 hp / 320 lb-ft.
Fuel consumption (city / hwy / combined L / 100 km): 11.6 / 7.9 / 9.9 (automatic); 11.0 (observed)
Notable options: Deep impact blue paint ($200), Redline leather grain seats, Shaker audio system ($2,000), adaptive speed control ($1,600), EcoBoost performance package (19-inch painted aluminum wheels, P255/40R19 Pirelli summer tires, limited slip differential- $3,000), premier trim package ($500), reverse park assist ($350), navigation system ($800)

Impressions

20150722_161300 The 2015 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Convertible is a real looker. Of all the cars I’ve brought home over the years, few have created as much of a stir as this one. It is simply a gorgeous car, especially with the top down. I wasn’t keeping count (perhaps I should have), but this car received more favourable comments and admiring stares than anything I’ve driven in recent memory. People love this car. In fact, one woman proclaimed it was the most beautiful car she’s ever seen. High praise indeed!

And why not? Few cars, especially in North America, capture the imagination quite like the Mustang. Ford has done a remarkable job of distilling the unbridled optimism and sense of limitless possibility of the original in a thoroughly modern car. 50 years and five generations later, the Mustang remains an icon, instantly recognizable with no explanation required.

20150722_161451The sixth generation marks the debut of Ford’s eponymous 2.3-litre 4-cylinder turbocharged (EcoBoost in Ford parlance) engine in the Mustang lineup. Lest anyone be concerned an engine of this size might not be appropriate for a Mustang, Ford has made sure this mill is no slouch in the horsepower and torque departments: 310 and 320 respectively take care of those worries.

My tester came with a six-speed manual transmission (an optional six-speed automatic with paddle shifters is also available), and I can attest that this engine / gearbox combination made for plenty of fast getaways, both off the line and in traffic. With peak torque arriving at just 3,000 rpm, getting the power down to the rear wheels is dead simple and can hustle this 1,675 kg machine along with surprising haste.

20150722_161518Ford elected to dress up my deep impact blue tester with a long list of options that serve to not only enhance the comfort level (heated and cooled red leather seats, high-end Shaker audio system and navigation), but also add a hint of menace (black 19-inch wheels wrapped in high-performance Pirelli summer tires) as well.

All of this, especially when combined with adjustable driving modes, made the car quite fun to drive. Fortunately the weather cooperated and I was able to drive with the top down for the majority of the week. Incidentally, the operation of the top was a breeze- start to finish takes less than 20 seconds.

20150722_161732Now, there are couple of caveats to keep in mind with the EcoBoost option. First and foremost, and I realize it’s subjective, but the sound it makes is un-Mustang-like. It really is. Not the fault of the engine, which works just fine and delivers pretty good fuel economy (11L / 100 km average during my stint).

Sure, it makes lots of racket when you really step on it (like a swarm of angry hornets), but it doesn’t match the iconic deep bass rumble of Ford’s venerable 5.0-litre V8, which is standard kit on GT models. Having driven the GT a while back (and I hope to drive it again and write about it here), there really is no comparison. The V8 sounds like a Mustang, while the EcoBoost sounds like a Focus… trapped in a Mustang body.

I applaud Ford for casting its lot with the EcoBoost gambit (and believe me people, they are all in on EcoBoost- the technology is available on just about everything Ford makes) to the point that they’d offer it on the flagship car, the very heartbeat of the company. But with that said, it just doesn’t deliver the same experience as the GT’s V8. Neither does the V6 for that matter, although it too exists largely to make the Mustang more affordable while helping to satisfy stiffening corporate average fuel economy standards at the same time.

Verdict

20150722_161106The 2015 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Convertible is a really good car overall, and whatever one may think of the sound it makes (or doesn’t make), it delivers impressive performance combined with pretty decent fuel economy. But this car isn’t cheap (nearly $50,000 before taxes) and my belief is if you want an authentic Mustang experience (especially in convertible form), you should go right to the GT. It looks AND sounds like a Mustang, and if you’re already in the $50,000 neighbourhood, you might as well go all the way.

Grade: 7.0 (out of 10)

Next week: 2015 BMW X6 xDrive 35i

Photos by Lee Bailie

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