2015 Ford Mustang GT: Path to Performance Potential Requires New Suspension
by Carlos Lago, Road Test Editor on October 13, 2015
We're taking the first step down the rabbit hole.
Although our 2015 Ford Mustang GT has shown itself to be respectably fast and surprisingly capable, its handling has left a few of us wanting. It has performed admirably at track days and on curvy roads, but we've found the more you turn up the wick, the less communicative each end of the car becomes. Compounding this vagueness is a constant sense of pitch and roll when you settle the car down into a corner.
We're trying out — deep breath — the Ford Performance Racing Parts Mustang Track Handling Pack (part number M-FR3A-M8). That long name comprises a pair of front struts, larger anti-roll bars, and dampers, springs, and toe links for the rear. The kit also includes new bushings, bump stops, and strut mounts.
Ford says the new springs lower the car around an inch, and the new bump stops account for this difference in ride height. Both anti-roll bars are larger than stock and offer two mounting locations for further adjustment. While the dampers are non-adjustable and the springs progressive, they shouldn't needlessly penalize ride quality. The kit also comes with a 2-year/24,000-mile warranty.
You and a friend could do this in your driveway with minor difficulty in a day or two, though air tools and a lift will make it much easier. The instructions (PDF) available on the Ford Performance Racing Parts website are easy to follow, but note that they call for throwing away a lot of fasteners, and the kit doesn't come with replacements.
We went back to Galpin Auto Sports. GAS made quick work of our Ford Racing exhaust and handled our suspension install with the same level of speed and professionalism.
Reason number 7,345 why vehicle lifts make life easier: Replacing the rear shocks and springs is easy when you lower one side of the subframe and support it with a jack. The new pieces bolt right in.
As this kit is designed to cover all Mustang GT and EcoBoost coupes, the rear toe links that come with it are redundant to our Performance Package-equipped car. Unfortunately, the spherical toe link bushings aren't. Pressing out the existing bushings is the most time-consuming part of the install, even with the help of air tools and a new, corrosion-free California car.
The front suspension is simple. With the wheels and brakes removed, unbolt the anti-roll bar and snake it out of the driver wheel well.
Well, the front suspension is supposed to be simple. After pulling out the anti-roll bar links, we found the driver side link was bent. While we scratched our heads trying to think what would case this, GAS found another link and installed it.
The front struts come pre-assembled, eliminating the need for a spring compressor and bravery. They install without issue, and before we know it, our tech has the car off the lift and ready to go.
The difference is subtle, especially with 180 pounds of ballast in the driver seat, but the change in ride height is most visible when looking at the front wheel.
As for the differences in the driving experience, rush hour prevented me from learning too much. The ride feels generally firmer, but where the car would previously hit an impact and flex around a bit, this sensation felt diminished on my drive. Interestingly, there's a slight increase in steering effort and wheel kickback is more noticeable. What was once accurate and light is now accurate with some heft. This makes small inputs to move off-center feel slightly more precise.
Once the suspension settles, we'll be eager to get it out on track to see the differences. Look forward to a re-test soon.
Carlos Lago, Road Test Editor