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Ford Mustang convertible unveiled in Sydney | video

The convertible version of the new Ford Mustang made a surprise appearance at the Sydney unveiling. Image credit: Malcolm Flynn

Meet the new four Mustang. That’s not a misprint: Ford’s new hero car will be available with four-cylinder or V8 power when it arrives in Australian showrooms by the end of 2015, priced from about $45,000.

The sixth-generation Mustang has been unveiled simultaneously at five global events overnight  in the US, China, Spain and Sydney, where months earlier Ford surprised fans by flying global CEO Alan Mulally to Australia to announce in person that the Mustang was heading Down Under.

Ford air-freighted a silver four-cylinder Mustang convertible to Sydney for the unveiling at Australian Technology Park at Redfern, attended by a few hundreds VIP guests, dealers and the media. The Mustang is due to arrive in Ford showrooms in the months before the last ever Falcon rolls off the Broadmeadows production line, ending what will be more than 90 years of Ford’s manufacturing history in Australia.

But Ford insists the Mustang is not intended to fill the void left by the iconic Falcon GT, which bows out at the end of 2014. “The Mustang is not intended to replace Falcon, it’s bringing the Mustang back to Australia,” says Raj Nair, the Ford group vice president, global product development.

Watch the desktop version of Carsguide's Mustang convertible unveiling video here.

Watch the desktop version of the 2015 Ford Mustang official video here. 

Check out our 2015 Ford Mustang mega gallery here.

The new Mustang, whose design pays homage to the iconic 1968 version, will be the first to be built in right-hand drive on a Ford production line. The Mustangs sold in Australia in the 1960s and early 2000s were built at Flat Rock Michigan in left-hand-drive and then converted locally.

After declaring for almost half a century that it was too expensive to engineer a right-hand-drive Mustang -- especially given that left-hand-drive new cars can be legally registered in other key right-hand-drive markets, the UK and Japan -- Ford is boldly going global with the new model. “The Mustang is the heart and soul of the company and part of American culture,” says Nair. “Of all our models, it’s top of the list for brand perception and recognition.”

Also watch: the 2015 Ford Mustang exterior design video here.

The company claims the Mustang is the world’s most “liked” car on Facebook, with more than 5.5 million fans at last count. The Mustang has also appeared in more than 3000 movies, including James Bond’s Goldfinger (1964), Steve McQueen’s Bullitt (1968), and Gone in 60 Seconds (2000).

The new model is the most advanced Mustang ever made.  While enthusiasts are in a lather about the Mustang finally adopting independent rear suspension and getting an onboard “track app” for weekend warriors, it will also gain creature comforts found in most luxury cars, such as radar cruise control, blind spot warning and a sensor key.

The new Mustang is also available with a “Shaker”, but that’s the name of the premium sound system, not a modern version of the “shaker” hood ornament made famous by the Falcon GTHO from the 1970s. Ford has not said how many Mustangs it expects to sell in Australia, but sales of coupes and convertibles (a drop-top will eventually follow) typically fade after an initial burst in the first couple of years.

Although not officially confirmed, Ford plans to introduce special editions -- including a high-powered supercharged V8 version -- later in the Mustang’s life to help maintain sales momentum. “The differences between us (Australian and the US) aren’t that big,” says Nair. “Australia has a very strong car culture and we think the Mustang is a great fit.”

Also watch: the 2015 Ford Mustang ad here.

Ford executives in Detroit told Carsguide during a special briefing earlier this year that the company’s headquarters had been “inundated” with letters and emails from Australian Ford fans “for years” demanding Mustang be built in right-hand-drive. Of the 400 Mustang car clubs globally, more than half of them are outside the US, including more than half a dozen in Australia.

Fast facts:

When the original Mustang was unveiled at the New York motor show in April 1964, Ford expected to sell 100,000 examples in the first 12 months. In fact, Ford sold more than 1 million Mustangs in the first 18 months. It took Chevrolet 40 years to reach the same milestone with the Corvette.

More than 9 million Mustangs have been sold since 1964; Ford will celebrate the car’s 50th anniversary at the New York motor show 50 years to the day after the first one was unveiled.

A four-cylinder Mustang may seem like sacrilege to Ford fans, but times and technology have changed. Ford’s latest four-cylinder turbo engine is more powerful than many V8s. It will also be much more fuel-efficient.

The new Ford Mustang’s four-cylinder turbocharged engine is rumoured to be fitted to the next version of the Ford Focus RS hot hatch, due to be unveiled within the next 18 months.

Ford made four-cylinder Mustangs from 1978 to 1993, including a turbocharged 2.3-litre version from 1984 to 1986. The plan was to sell 10,000 turbo four-cylinder Mustangs in the US per year, but Ford ended up cancelling the model after selling only 10,000 over two-and-a-half years.

Ford Australia’s fast-car division converted a small number of Mustangs locally between 2001 and 2003. They were rushed in to compete with the modern Holden Monaro, but priced close to $90,000 fewer than 400 were sold.

Racing legend Dick Johnson raced a Mustang in the 1985 and 1986 Australian touring car championships when Ford temporarily dropped the Falcon V8.

Once the Falcon GT is axed in late 2014, Ford will revive the XR8 sedan (using the Falcon GT’s supercharged V8). It will be the company’s sole V8 offering in Australia until the Mustang arrives in late 2015.

The flagship version of the current Ford Mustang on sale in the US, the Shelby 500 GT, is powered by a supercharged 5.8-litre V8, the world’s most powerful V8 road car (662hp or 493kW).

Mustang four-cylinder
Price: From $45,000 (estimated)
On sale: Late 2015
Engine: 2.3-litre turbocharged four-cylinder (9.5:1)
Fuel type: 91 RON regular unleaded
Power: 227kW at 5500rpm
Torque: 407Nm at 2500 to 4500rpm
Transmission: Six-speed manual or six-speed automatic
Driven wheels: Rear
Turning circle: 12.2 metres
Length/Width/Height/Wheelbase: 4784/1916/1381/2720 mm
Boot capacity: 383 litres
Fuel tank capacity: 59 litres
Brakes: Four-piston calipers, 352 x 32mm vented discs (front), single piston “floating” iron caliper, 330 x 25mm vented discs (rear)
Wheels: 19 x 9-inch
Tyres: 255/40R19
Weight: Not yet released by Ford
Fuel economy: Not yet released by Ford
0 to 100km/h: Not yet released by Ford

Mustang V8
Price: From $55,000 (estimated)
On sale: Late 2015
Engine: 5.0-litre V8 (11.0:1)
Fuel type: 98 RON premium unleaded
Power: 313kW at 6500rpm
Torque: 529Nm at 4250rpm
Transmission: Six-speed manual or six-speed automatic
Driven wheels: Rear
Turning circle: 12.2 metres
Length/Width/Height/Wheelbase: 4784/1916/1381/2720 (mm)
Boot capacity: 324 litres
Fuel tank capacity: 61 litres
Brakes: Six-piston calipers, 380 x 25mm vented discs (front), single piston “floating” iron caliper, 330 x 25mm vented discs (rear)
Wheels: 19 x 9-inch (front), 19 x 9.5-inch (rear)
Tyres: 255/40R19 (front), 275/40R19 (rear)
Weight: Not yet released by Ford
Fuel economy: Not yet released by Ford
0 to 100km/h: Not yet released by Ford