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New Ford Mustang official photos released | video

The new Ford Mustang will be the first built in right-hand drive on a Ford production line.

This is not a misprint: Ford’s new muscle-car 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.

Photos of the sixth-generation Mustang have been released ahead of the official, simultaneous unveiling at five global events this evening (11.30pm AEST) 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.

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.

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

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.

A four-cylinder Mustang may seem like sacrilege to Ford fans, but times have changed. With 227kW of power, Ford’s latest four-cylinder turbo engine has more grunt than many V8s. It will also be much more fuel-efficient.

Ford built four-cylinder Mustangs from 1978 to 1993 but they were discontinued because the technology wasn’t as advanced then as it is today.

The V8 version will likely be the most popular choice (Australia misses out on the US-only V6); the option of a four-cylinder engine is intended to broaden the Mustang’s appeal, especially in Europe as the Mustang goes global for the first time.

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

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 Australian Ford Falcon GTHO from the 1970s.

Also watch: the 2015 Ford Mustang ad here. 

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.”

Ford executives in Detroit told News Corp Australia 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.

Mustang four-cylinder
Price: From $45,000 (estimated)
On sale: Late 2015
Engine: 2.3-litre turbocharged four-cylinder
Power: 227kW and 407Nm
Transmission: Six-speed manual or six-speed automatic, rear-wheel-drive
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
Power: 313kW and 529Nm
Transmission: Six-speed manual or six-speed automatic, rear-wheel-drive
Fuel economy: Not yet released by Ford
0 to 100km/h: Not yet released by Ford



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