2015 Ford Mustang GT: More Gauges, Debatable Usefulness
March 25, 2015
Pretty much every car is going to come with a basic set of gauges, including a speedometer, tachometer, fuel level and coolant temperature. Sport-oriented cars often have a bonus collection of gauges. Presumably, the idea is that an enthusiastic driver will want to monitor the condition of his or her car more closely. Or, it could just be that automakers and people find more gauges to look cool. Or both.
Well, our 2015 Ford Mustang GT comes stocked with gauges. In addition to the usual ones there are two more on the center stack plus many more available in the driver information display. But how useful many of these gauges are is open to debate.
As pictured above, our Mustang's center stack has an oil pressure gauge on the left and engine vacuum on the right.
If you bring up the Gauge Detail menu in the driver information display that's between the tach and speedo, you can also find gauges for air/fuel ratio, cylinder head temperature, inlet air temperature, oil temperature and voltage. Individual tire pressure readouts are also available.
But wait, there's more! There's also the Track Apps screen, which includes ways to measure the car's actual performance for acceleration and braking (track use only). I've also noticed the gauge cluster's tachometer and speedometer flash as you approach redline, effectively serving as a shift indicator.
I have mixed feelings about Ford including all of this. On one hand, there's no harm in having extra information. If you want to look at it, it's there. Otherwise, the gauges or displays don't get in the way of anything else. On the other hand, though, I find most of this information to be superfluous. On a modern engine, I don't see a need to have engine vacuum so prominently displayed, for instance, while knowing the air/fuel ratio would only become potentially useful on a tuned or modified engine.
Oddly, oil temperature is the one gauge where a detailed number would be useful to me if I was driving the car in a high-performance driving event. Yet Ford doesn't give it to you, relying solely on a basic "low/normal/hot" gauge. Or, if we do get all of these gauges, why not throw in an adjustable redline that visually lowers on a cold powertrain, like some BMW M cars do? (Our long-term Mercedes SLS AMG also had a similar feature). I would think that would be more useful than most of the other gauges.
Overall, none of this is a big deal. But when combined with other aspects of the car like the horse lasers or the sequential turn signals, it comes off as gimmicky to me. I'd be curious to hear your thoughts on this.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor