|Is this the shape of the next Mustang?|
The Mustang will celebrate it’s 50th birthday soon and it would seem that the original Pony will be maturing a bit. Rumors are flying around that the long used 8.8” solid axle will be ditched for an independent rear suspension, let’s hope it’s superior to Ford’s previous attempts at offering an IRS equipped Mustang in the 1999-2004 Cobras. Since the Mustang is to be a “World Car” in line with Ford’s current “One Ford” strategy it would make sense that an IRS is probably a sure thing in the next generation Mustang in order for it to compete on a global scale.
Rumors abound as well of a four cylinder version coming onboard perhaps in lieu of the current V6. This may make sense as well. The upcoming Focus ST will offer a 250ish HP 2.0L Ecoboost direct injected and turbo charged four cylinder. I would venture that with some tweaks to displacement or in turbo and injector size as well as computer calibrations that this same engine could be applied to a rear drive configuration in a Mustang with the same power as the current V6 offering. Let us hope too though that the next generation car is light enough to make good use of a 4 cylinder base powertrain. As I am writing and editing this both Top Gear and Motor Trend have rumor reports of a 2.3L SVO powertrain rumored for the next Mustang.
I would expect the 5.0L engine to live on, though I would imagine it will be an updated iteration to feature direct injection allowing for perhaps more power and better fuel economy as well as lower emissions. Remember folks CAFÉ restrictions are coming soon and they threaten to strangle all manner of cars within the auto industry not just the performance cars and big trucks. Direct injection for the 5.0 also makes sense. The current engine’s cylinder heads are setup to easily allow for direct injection as designed originally. Some revisions in designs and tooling as well as a new intake manifold and valve covers are the biggest bits of what will be needed to make this change physically to the current engine. This change may also allow for another bump in the engine’s compression ratio.
The Shelby GT500 if it survives I imagine will also make use of the 5.0L. While Ford made a significant investment in the current 5.8L adding new tech such as piston cooling jets this engine is essentially becoming long in the tooth. Still a derivative of the modular platform that was developed way back in the 1980’s and first seen in Crown Vic’s as a 4.6L in the early 90’s this engine is destined to go by the wayside soon. While the 650HP number is quite spectacular from the current car and the most powerful production Ford engine ever, I don’t see how it can last in this form with the new CAFÉ standards looming. SVT also is rumored to be going by the wayside as we know it and being incorporated into the ST line as part of the “One Ford” vision. This may also contribute to the Shelby receiving a heavily hopped up version of the 5.0, quite possibly making at or close to the current 650HP mark. A lot of this may also depend on what the competition is doing.
As far as chassis and body goes on the new Mustang. It is my hope that it will be a smaller car, lighter in weight and stiffer. Since this will be the first truly worldwide Mustang sold in multiple international markets would expect the interior to be a little more upscale. The current chassis is good but there is always room for improvement.
The upcoming ZL1 Camaro promises even more fun for those who can afford the sticker. Much like the GT500 is Ford’s top Mustang offering the ZL1 will be the top shelf Camaro. Currently boasting a supercharged 580HP as well as electronically adjustable suspension technology taken from the Corvette, the ZL1 will be a force to be reckoned with on the street and track. Make no mistake about it there will be a horsepower and a performance figures war between Ford and GM for supremacy, bragging rights and customer’s cash at least until 2015.
|My opinion Code 130R = 2015 Camaro|
Also due for a refresh in 2015 the Camaro faces the same challenges as the Mustang in terms of fuel economy while maintaining performance. GM has already shown its hand in terms of what will be under the hood though. The next generation small block Chevy V8 is set to debut in the 2013 Chevy Corvette. Much like the LS1 debuted in the mid 90’s in the C5 corvette the new small block will debut here in GM’s flagship before various versions of it make their way throughout the production line over the next few years. Technology that GM V8’s have made due without (and by made due I mean done very well for themselves) for the last several years will be standard on this engine, variable camshaft timing and direct injection are promised. We know in the C7 Vette that displacement will drop to 5.5 liters although GM maintains that performance will be equal or better than current power outputs. It would make sense that the Camaro will receive either a 5.5 liter, 5.0 liter or similar version of this same engine, with the same or slightly less power than the big brother Corvette makes.
Base powertrain is also likely to be a forced induction four cylinder. GM has a lot more experience in this department than Ford having developed hot cars like the Cobalt SS and the turbocharged Saturn Sky and Pontiac Solstice a few years back. They also have already proven these types of powertrains in a rear drive applications (the above mentioned Pontiac and Saturn). I would expect these four cylinders to also deliver the same or better performance than the V6’s they will likely replace though their power output will likely be in the 300HP range.
The ZL1 like the GT500 will either remain or will be the last gasp of the high horsepower battle between Ford and GM. I fully expect the ZL1 to get even more power before 2015 as Ford and Chevy duke it out for pony car muscle supremacy. If the ZL1 remains it will likely be just as the GT500 would be a lower displacement but still high output engine. Still utilizing forced induction this GM performance bruiser could theoretically continue fighting against Shelby until the market for such cars dries up.
Other reasons I believe the Code 130R to be the next Camaro, it is built on the same platform as the upcoming Cadillac ATS sedan. This is also the same platform that the next generation Camaro will ride on according to GM. Again final shape and styling are all subject to a little tweaking but the retro theme is now literally old and will most likely see its end with the debut of the next car. This small lightweight car would be a true pony car in every sense. The concept also featured an independent rear suspension, something already present in the current Camaro.
Inside I would look for plenty of upgrades to the Camaro over even the current car. I also would imagine a new infotainment system similar to what will be offered on the upcoming ATS. Again I might be totally wrong on this prediction but the more I look at the pictures of the Code 130R the more I say, there’s your next generation Camaro.
In the handling department I expect the electronically adjustable suspension which is debuting on the upcoming ZL1 to trickle its way to the option packages on future Camaros, perhaps even on this generation car as well as the next generation much like it has over the years on the Corvette where it first appeared.
Transmission wise I think a 6 speed manual is the available transmission across the board in all models as well as possibly an eight speed automatic. Rumor is that a seven or eight speed manual trans will be available in the upcoming C7 Corvette, if this is true I would look for that to take the place of a 6 speed manual in the 2015 Camaro.
The last of the Big 3 ponycars is the Dodge Challenger. Little has been mentioned other than a few whispers about the future of the Challenger. Rumor has it that this nameplate is going by the wayside along with the current “big” car. The Challenger is a big car indeed, bigger than either the Camaro or the Mustang. While stylistically the closest appearing to its retro inspiration it is also the lowest volume seller of the three. Still the Challenger is a good car, with great power and plenty of options. This is a car is a platform that was missing from Chrysler’s lineup for over 30 years in terms of a rear wheel drive pony car.
All of my info on the future of a Chrysler pony car is based on rumors I’ve read and speculation on my part. Chrysler has been either tight lipped or is simply behind in developing a plan for what’s next. Rumor has it that Chrysler will replace the Dodge Challenger with an SRT branded ‘Cuda or Barracuda model in the near future. The car will still be rear wheel drive. Powertrains are as yet unnamed. I would suspect a variant of the Hemi V8, perhaps even with variable cam timing and Chrysler’s displacement on demand systems shutting down individual cylinders during even or part throttle cruising to save fuel.
I would also suspect much like Ford and GM that a four cylinder forced induction base model engine will be offered that is at least the equivalent in power and performance to the current V6 base model. If the current model is an SRT brand only though, it is possible that it may only be offered as a hot V8 and in limited production. Think little brother to the Viper but not a high volume car like the Camaro or Mustang. Another possibility is that the Pentastar which is Chrysler’s new V6 could remain an option as the base engine in the ‘Cuda as this engine offers significant refinements in terms of power and efficiency, all of this is of course speculation.