2015 Ford Mustang GT: Short Gearing Makes It Slower
by Carlos Lago, Road Test Editor on January 26, 2016
Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the optional 3.73 final drive in our 2015 Ford Mustang GT. It makes the powertrain more exciting and rewards you for using the shifter more frequently, so we drive it harder.
The primary downside is fuel economy: Our lifetime mpg is hovering around 15 (!!) mpg. The other downside is that the frequency with which you want to shift actually slows the Mustang down when you're leaving from a stop light. The windows of useable acceleration in first and second are tiny, such that it seems you spend more time engaging and disengaging the gear than actually using it for acceleration.
When hurrying away from a stop light, let's say at "street-plus" speeds, you might be surprised to see an automatic-equipped car or SUV with decent power keeping pace. They aren't working as hard and they're making less noise, so clearly they aren't having as much fun. Still, this phenomenon is slightly irking.
What I've learned to do is skip second gear. The short gearing combined with the amount of torque means going from first to third doesn't hurt anything. As a bonus, you get more acceleration time in third gear, and time spent accelerating is more fun than time spent doing, well, much else.
The Corvette Z06 provides a more extreme example. It has a 7-speed manual, but with 650 pound-feet of torque, you can choose either the odd or even gears. The last time I drove one, I would go from first, third, to sixth. The car didn't care.
Carlos Lago, Road Test Editor @ 20,450 miles