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Is Independent Rear Suspension Good for Next Generation Ford Mustang?
the rumor is that the car will receive the control blade IRS from the Australian Falcons. I hear that it handles well, but I just don't know about drag racing. The system has about a bazillion links, and I've already begun to analyze how we could optimize the system for drag racing... but we won't know for sure until we get our hands on one.
Honestly though, my biggest desire for the new Mustang is LESS WEIGHT.
The roots of the mustang were in thrifty performance. The secretary's car was light, nimble and inexpensive, yet still delivered the fun when out on the road. I think market studies and designers striving for "more" have pushed the base content level far beyond this simple charter. The cost of an entry level automobile, like the Mustang, was about 50% of the median household income in 1965 ($3334 of $6900). Today that cost is about 60% ($30k of $50k). This isn't a big increase in cost until you factor in the increased cost of living (housing up nearly 20x, Fuel up 10x, food up 8x, etc.)
My point is that the ambition of designers and marketers have pushed the Mustang out of the demographic that was it's roots. Adding IRS and luxury interior appointments like Sync and touch screen displays is another step away from the the Mustang heritage, especially when packaged in bundles that make you choose stripped or loaded. I am one that would rather see it getting back to it's roots. Lighter weight, lower costs, maximum flexibility, and most of all, FUN. heavy, expensive cars are not fun. They are good for sleeping on the way to grandma's house at Thanksgiving, but not for waking me up on a Sunday afternoon.
I think IRS will be good, as long as it can stay affordable, and handle as well as or better than the current gen Mustang. The original Mustang was meant to have an IRS anyway, and to compete with the Corvette. That's obviously not what happened, but that probably worked to its benefit, keeping the cost down while still offering a fun, relatively lightweight car that worked well for secretaries and hot-rodders alike. I agree, lighter weight would be awesome, but it seems to me that's not what today's market is demanding. The trend is moving towards bigger, heavier, and more powerful compared to the previous decade. I feel like this decade is going to be like the 80s all over again, we're just coming out of an economic recession, and the general public will demand more for their money, which means bigger cars with more options.
Some things are quite simple and silly. If you put a flag ship car for sale today without options for high tech features it would not sell even if were twice as fast as a BMW M3 on any race track. Especially when it is offered on the Fiesta and Focus. The way I see it is that up until 1993 mustangs had rear drum brake and 4 lug rims. It seemed to work because most of the stopping was accomplished by the front brakes. So why do we ever need to upgrade to disc rear brakes on mustangs after 1994 - why do some install 12" or 13" rear discs as well as dual or 4 piston calipers? Possibly because it offers an improvement over a tried and true drum braking setup. Why did they switchs to electric steering? It offered improvements in multiple areas. Why not use polyester or bias ply tires? Because something better is offered today. Why did we ever get rid of the cassette tape deck? Just play one CD and never look back. And CDs are close to being history. Shall we compare HID technology to sealed beam or Halogen headlamp technology? They all light up the road correct? Any arguments for implementing ABS? Not sure if a car without ABS will out perform the car with ABS regardless of the driver skill level. So lets compare a solid axle to an proper IRS axle...No comparison.
Why would they dare switch to an independant rear setup? You tell me!! Better yet someone tell me why they haven't done this years ago. I love my 2011 mustang but I hate that solid axle. I find it dinosaur age technology on a modern car. In it's defense it handles well (on even surfaces) but I do not attribute that to the rear axle. I think the front suspension and chassis is quite good. The axle is just there making things unstable in turns as it is along for the ride. It can be described as running a sprint race with long shoe laces attached to the left and right shoe. Yes you will still be fast if you naturally have the speed but with limitations especially as you round the curves on the track.
Just my opinion as I more than likely drive considerably faster than most people as I am on the autobahn daily. I find it rather embarassing when I hit a bump in a sweeping curve and the car gets so unstable I almost lose control (75-80 MPH) while the car behind me is not at all affected directly behind me. NOW that is reason enough!! I would rather blow 100 half shafts at a drag stip and carry 75LBS more weight if I could have a daily driver and road course mustang with an IRS.
2003 Cobra Conv. anniversary model Black/2011 V6 Mustang coupe Grabber Blue
Last edited by eurocobra; 09-11-2011 at 05:05 AM.
I'm a real supporter for anything that pulls weight off the car. My 2012 5.0 feels better than my '09 GT500 probably because of a lighter engine, which moved the weight balance aft If the Mustang can drop some more pounds, mainly from the front, I'd like to see how the live axle set-up responds. It may be surprising. Or not.
If they can make an IRS that stands up to being driven hard with more power than stock for long periods of time it would make a nice option. Not everyone cares solely about how quickly they can get down a drag strip. Just make it handle well and hold up to the tortue it's sure to see (unlike the CTS-V which blows rear ends apart even stock) and make it an option. Probably add a few grand onto the price of the vehicle but options is part of what made the Mustang so successful back in the '60s....
Overall, I think IRS is a good move. Especially for daily driving. Sure there are a lot of people drag racing but if you compare that to the number of daily driven Mustangs and nothing else its small. Plus I'm sure those true drag racing guys will be able to do a swap to the live axle.
I'm with the "more options" crowd. IRS or solid, no matter, just give us the options.
There are a ton of 6 cylinder Mustangs on the road, and the overwhelming majority of those are not taken to your local drag strip. In terms of real world figures, Ford is selling a car to "average" folks who don't do foolish things with their cars. Those of us who really do push our cars (be it at the strip or road course) are the minority. That's why you're seeing more luxury appointments in the car. Ford needs to do whatever it can to sell the car at a profit. So if an IRS will attract more "average" drivers, it'll get one.
Of course, it's not like Ford doesn't care about the real enthusiast crowd (those I referred to as doing foolish things =)...). After all, our interests and our activities help establish an image for the Mustang. And the "normal" driver is a consumer who often buys based on image. So my sense is that Ford will have to juggle two marketing ploys: BOTH aimed at the "average" driver. There's a real-world comfort advantage in the IRS on one hand, and a marketing ploy that makes one feel like they're driving "American muscle" even though they're driving it like Mrs. Daisy on the other.
Personally, power figures and body styling get the "American muscle" thing done (and done well), so I'm guessing they'll up the ante of the car with an IRS to give it greater comfort on the road. I'm a road-racer enthusiast, so this could be wishful thinking. But even so, I'd be really excited to see a solid-axle option for those true enthusiasts who are definitely intent on taking their cars to the strip. I just don't see why that would be so hard to swing...
Ford needs to rethink the bundles in their option-packaging. I can see how they may have some packaging motivation, but they can bundle things together after a more thoughtful review of consumer camps.
I find it rather embarassing when I hit a bump in a sweeping curve and the car gets so unstable I almost lose control (75-80 MPH) while the car behind me is not at all affected directly behind me.
I'm surprised to hear that. While we don't get to drive Autobahn speeds here in Colorado, we still can drive pretty fast. The average speeds on the Interstates in the rural areas are 90+ (75mph speed limit) and we've got lots of twisties in the mountains. I have very little issue with the solid axle here. My 2010 handles bumps on high speed curves quite well. Granted, mine has the Track Pack I option which may explain some differences. However, I don't see the issue.
I learned performance driving in a 911 Porsche. To a certain extent the old mantra I learned about "don't lift" in a corner probably helps me keep the rear axle planted in the Stang. I any event I find there needs to be a really bad bump to upset the rear axle.
I wouldn't mind seeing IRS as an option. However, IRS could be a step backward if it is not as well sorted as the current solid axle.
The IRS system that mustangIRS.com builds seems well sorted...the Terminator IRS did well...I think Ford could build the best IRS out there in modern muscle cars if they decide to.
I'm sure the Ford engineers could built a great if not world class IRS for the Mustang. The question is whether the bean counters in accounting will give them the budget. I'm concerned that the orders will be to put in an inferior IRS simply so Ford can state that the Mustang now has IRS.
I'm cool with an IRS as long as the price doesn't skyrocket again. The price of a Mustang from only 5 years ago has already gone up quite a bit and if the price keeps going up....who's going to be able to afford a new Mustang anymore? Certainly no one on a "secretary's" wage.
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