2012 Mustang: 12k mile update
I thought I'd update those who care about my 2012 Mustang GT--especially since the online reputation for the current mustangs isn't all that stellar. I know most of the attention has moved away from the Mustang, but I know there are several on this forum who have some level of interest in the most current version.
Almost a year ago I posted the following about the initial purchase of the mustang: http://forums.vwvortex.com/showthrea...-V8-to-my-diet
Here's a pic of the car with 6 miles on it and before I even drove it:
A quick rundown for those who aren't interested in the details:
-Reasonably comfortable seats
-Rear end not terribly stable when driven with any passion over bumps
-Plastic steering wheel
-Steering lacks feel
So what's it been like to live with the car for 12k miles and almost a year?
Quick review: Base model, 3.55 rear end, brembo package, security package, 6-spd manual
Well, the design is what it is. Some think it looks super cheap and others don't mind it. I'm of the opinion that while the mustang isn't a model of interior design, it's quite functional and pleasant enough to look at on a daily basis. I would love to replace the chrome trim bits with the polished aluminum from the Boss, but that's my biggest complaint. The more I've driven it, the most I realize how big the interior is, but yet, I don;t think the space is used all that well. It's almost impossible to get normal sized adults in the back--though I have had 3 adult male passengers in the car at one time. I feel bad for the two in the back seat.
There are some overtly cheap detail features in this car, but again, it's nothing new. There's no trim around the portion of the dashboard that surrounds the steering column, plus there was less effort on Ford's part to hide the bottom of the dashboard, inside the footwells. Meh, no big deal. Unlike my mkV GTI at a similar mileage, the mustang has no squeaks or rattles. It doesn't look like it's built to the highest standards, but it's actually built quite well and is quite sturdy.
The seats are fairly comfortable, but not all that sporty. I wished I could have gotten the recaros that are available on the '13s.
I don't know if there's much to say about the motor that hasn't already been said. The car is fast. Passing 4-5 cars at a clip on the highway is a pretty effortless process, unlike most of the other cars I've owned, where passing one, maybe two cars, is about the best I could do. This has definitely been a car where I've gunned it, looked down, and see the speedo a touch over 100 mph. But again, that's mostly due to my frame of reference, having owned cars that typically never had much over 200 hp.
The character of the engine is not one of a typical pony car. The driver really needs to be in the right gear, in the right rpm. You can easily be caught in the wrong gear on this car. So the engine is fairly peaky for a V8, but once the tack sweeps past 3500 rpms, the car really comes alive--and the car loves redline. When launched properly from a stop, it accelerates as you would expect a 400+ hp car accelerate. The car definitely has some violence to it when banging through the gears.
This section is dedicated to the elephant in the room: the MT82 transmission. I think this transmission has gotten a bad rap online. I haven't done a damn thing to the transmission or shifter hardware since I've had the car. I still think the car has great shifter feel, but the gates are pretty close, so you can move the shifter between two gates and get "locked out". The few times I've been "locked out", if I move the shifter a couple of mm's to the left or right, the shifter will suddenly slip into gear. You can't ape this car into gear. But once you're familiar with how the shifter operates, you can easily complete some pretty quick shifts.
I have no problem with the brakes on my car. The pedal isn't as firm as it is on my corrado with SS lines, but it much firmer than the brakes on my mkV GTI. And the pedal has some nice feel to it--not mushy and not touchy either. I wouldn't buy a mustang GT without the brembo package.
So this is the section about suspension and steering. The easy part of talk about is the steering---it simply has no feel. However, when the steering is put in sport mode, it's got excellent firmness without any slop whatsoever. But the overall steering feel, well, yeah, a BMW it's not!
The suspension is a bit of a mixed bag. The car works amazingly well with the stock pirelli P Zero summer tires that come with the brembo package. The car is so much tighter with these tires vs the performance/sport winter tires I was running during the winter. The front end has decent bite in most, but not all situations. I can get some pretty significant understeer on this car during certain turns. Though that's easily remedied with some throttle. I was just surprised the car wasn't as neutral as I had initially thought. But yes, the car has some serious grip and fairly progressive break away.
But what about the ride? Well, to start off, it's believed that the Brembo package cars have a slightly stiffer suspension and they also have lower profile tires than the standard mustang. The car has decent body control versus other stock mustangs I've driven, but the downside is that it's far too springy over high frequency bumps and undulations in the road. I mean, there were times were it seemed like I was driving in a car with cut springs. So the calibrations on the stock car are pretty far from optimal. If you're just cruising over bumps, the car may become bouncy, but the rear end is still fairly planted. But as soon as you accelerate with any urgency over imperfections in the road, that rear end loves to start skipping around. On smooth roads, the car is very stable into triple digits and the stiff steering in sport mode improves high speed steering control. I still think there is more Ford could have done with the brembo cars. And one day, I'll see if what I just wrote is actually true. And then there's the wicked wheel hop.
Now on to the fun stuff
The car has been very good, but it hasn't been perfect. I noticed an intermittent squeak coming from somewhere under car after about 6 months of ownership. I could only hear it between 25-30 mph, and if I went above that, the noise would disappear until i let the car cool down and began to drive it again. The Ford folks diagnosed the problem as some type of faulty dust cover in the rear end. While they were there, they noticed my car had the rear-end vent problem that was addressed by a TSB. So I got both of those issues taken care of at once.
The other issue I had with the car was that one end of the passenger side airbag cover was starting to lift up on one side. I noticed this about a month after I picked up the car, but I figured I'd deal with it at the first oil change. This was more of a problem than I thought. The service writer was contemplating not replacing the cover because she felt that if she replaced it, it would just do it again, so why replace it. I was about to lose my isht on her as I have a bit of PTSD from my previous dealings with the chrysler dealer up the road. In the end, she agreed to order me the part. And about 2 months into having the new airbag cover, it's still staying in place. Imagine that!
One item that I almost forgot was that I needed to get the front rotors resurfaced at about 9k miles. The dealer took care of this under warranty.
To be honest, I haven't done many of much substance. But I've moved along faster than I have in the past. This car is plenty fast for me at the current time, so I'm not in any hurry to tinker under the hood. And to be honest, if the time comes when I'm seriously thinking about a blower, I think it might just be better to buy a c6 Z06. But that's years off. So my list of "mods" are the following:
-Laminex clear headlight film and lightly tinted fog light film
-Blacked out front pony from a '10 mustang
-Steeda shifter ball
-CDC front chin spoiler
I have to be honest, I'm pretty happy with what I've done and don't plan on doing all that much more...or not...
Aside from getting a Boss, GT premium, or GT500 steering wheel, all of my additional effort will go towards improving the suspension to more acceptable levels. Definitely a set of dampers and springs and likely an adjustable panhard bar. If wheel hop is still a problem, I may look into getting relocation brackets. I don't generally like the approach of many owners in which they replace every factory item at one time. I prefer the approach of replacing a few things at once, seeing how that changes things and then changing additional items if I'm still not happy. Or if something new crops up.
Here are some fairly recent shots for your viewing pleasure:
I think I addressed most of the major ownership elements, but if there's something else that you'd like to know, just ask.