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A review of the 2014 GT/Track Pack

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Old 2/21/13, 01:37 PM   #1
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A review of the 2014 GT/Track Pack

I took delivery of this black 2014 with 7 miles on the clock about a week ago and have spent some fairly significant time with it. I wanted to leave this information here for the people that follow behind me whom are contemplating this purchase at some point. I’ll try my best to keep emotion and romance out of what follows, but I can’t guarantee that I will succeed. This may be rather lengthy, as I will break this review down by dividing this car into sections. My car is optioned as GT Prem with Comfort, Electronics, and TP with leather Recaros @ 100 miles.

My first experience with this particular revision occurred last year in the form of a 2013 California Special (CS) GT Auto that I rented for an 800 mile roundtrip hike to and from Las Vegas. The car left me with the impression that the suspension was far too soft to be taken seriously for my taste. Stabbing the brakes or punching the throttle produced massive pitching and squatting. I had no confidence in this car around corners and tight traffic; the car felt as though it was riding on marshmallows. Still, I knew there was potential.

The quality of fit and finish was vastly improved over previous iterations; gone were the squeaks, creaks, and rattles. The Shaker 500 was actually decent and the selection of interior materials wasn’t bad at all. This solidified my resolve to have this car in manual trim, so I began the hunt for further reviews and options for the build. All of my internet research led me to believe that the Track Pack (TP) was a non negotiable and even having opted for it, I’d have to invest another couple grand into aftermarket suspension pieces such as UCA, LCAs, PB, shocks/Struts, Springs, and HD strut mounts. This was my expectation, and having no TP to actually test locally, I was prepared to make the leap of faith.

Let’s start at the front end. The fit of the bumper, hood, and fenders is near perfect. The Brembo wheels are nicer in person than in pictures, so I’m no longer motivated to change them. The HID lamps are just as nice as those on my S2000 and provide me with great visibility, both laterally and out front. The cutoff is very clean. I’d like to raise them a few degrees, however. The LED whiskers and integrated fogs look very cutting edge and really pull the entire front end together, producing a menacing appearance.

Moving to the middle of the car, I’m quite pleased with the way Ford designed the rearview mirrors, which is usually an eyesore on these cars. Still, I wish Ford would progress into the 21st century by giving us folding mirrors. I also love the door handles on this car. They are subtly designed and are cleanly integrated into the doors. The doors also close with a solid “thunk”. The windows lower about a quarter of an inch as you open them, rising fully after closing the door. This is likely a feature to accommodate the convertible models.

The rear quarter and trunk seamlessly flow from the doors; this car looks great from every angle. And by great, I mean muscular and aggressive – but not at the expense of style and good taste. The rear tails are just gorgeous; there’s *just enough* tech to stay cutting edge without going Autozone . The sequential turn signals make you want to use them, something that people here in CA could benefit from. I find myself giving people about 700 yards of advanced notice to let them know that I might be turning at some point. One last thing about the trunk - the interior is cavernous, but could be a little nicer. Ford still doesn't care about the trunk carpeting. Please take a cue from Honda and attach it to a rigid and form fitting backing material.

The lower fascia is gorgeous. It would appear as though Ford learned that the less plastic, the better. I could do without the large license plate enclosure, but it’s not bad – and the exhaust is just about right. The tips are nice rolled pieces that could stand to be increased in diameter to about 3.5” – 4.0”. I’d also rather not see all that muffler; I’d prefer it painted black, with just the tips chromed; just the tip, though...just to see how it feels.

The interior is really nice. The Recaros are perfect and are very easy to adjust. I hope they hold up, though. I’m concerned that the lower bolsters will start creasing prematurely. I can’t validate this, but I’m keeping a watchful eye out. Keep people with bedazzled jeans out! Pack a towel in your trunk in the event your girl wants to wear her Hundson jeans with those ridiculously large buttons on the rear. They will only tear and stretch your leather.

The shifter falls to my hand and I’m one of the lucky people whose elbow doesn’t always engage the center console door release. The shifter feels over insulated, but engages gears well; you won’t be getting any sort of feedback as to what the motor and tranny are up to through this one. I haven’t had any problems, but then again, I’m not power shifting this thing [ever]. I do plan on using the Steeda bracket with black bushing, but I’m in no rush. I’d also like to install the Boss Shift **** and boot, as I tend to like cue ball shifters. The stock piece is good enough for now. The best advice I can give is to learn how to shift this thing slowly before trying to row like a fool. Once you get a feel for the way the gate is set up, you will begin to shift instinctively.

The gauges are gorgeous and highly legible. I keep the halos off, as they cast reflections onto the windshield. Many people think that the display between the gauges is crooked, but it isn’t. It’s an optical illusion created by the dashboard cover; both halves of the dashboard angle up towards the center. The gauges and what’s between them are perfectly level. The discrepancy between them creates this illusion. If you keep the “Miles to Empty” screen off, you won’t even notice the horse galloping downhill.

The steering wheel is leather wrapped and feels nice enough, but oddly hollow or light weight. I wish it had a textured surface, though, as it’s quite powdery in feel. The remote control buttons are very easy to access and manipulate. I’m not a fan of where the spokes are placed, but again, it works and I’m getting used to it. The feel of it in “Sport” mode is very nice, albeit a bit light for my taste – a possible reason for the hollow feel. Still, it’s really nice.

The spacing and relative heights of the accelerator, brake, and clutch pedals is just about perfect for me. Having a shorter throw clutch pedal would be nice. It’s almost deceiving; the clutch pedal has consistent weight throughout its entire range and there is neither groan nor sigh when actuating it. The brake pedal is firm and feels great – nice initial bite without being grabby. The accelerator is very dynamic, but I reckon we can attribute this to the beastly motor.

Let’s get into the neety greety. The first drive home with it was quite the experience. Turning the ignition to “on” elicited a smooth starter engagement [take notes, GM] and healthy rumble from the exhaust on cold startup. Forget what I said about leaving emotions out of this review, because by this point I was absolutely giddy! Heads were turning, glances cast, and the primal and indescribable substance of pure manhood burbled forth like lava from the mighty depths of Vesuvius herself! Every man, woman, and child within earshot experienced spontaneous chest hair growth.

I had to use a 2 point maneuver to back out of my parking space. Sweet mercy, Ford, why did you locate reverse beside first gear? I’m used to it now, but in a tight space, you WILL have your foot perched upon the brake pedal just in case.

I eased out of the dealership and onto the surface street. I actually stalled it. The same faces which beamed with delight and masculine satisfaction now contorted into grimaces. Chests deflated and hands were thrown into the air, some flapping over gaping mouths shod in utter disbelief. After understanding how the clutch and gas play together on this car, I managed to make my exit with finesse.

The imperfections in the straight road gave way to taught suspension movements and mild blips of the throttle yielded the sweet and musical harmony of induction growl, engine noise, and exhaust tone. My pulse increased and my hands started sweating. Is this love?

I made my way to the freeway onramp, greeted by a nice sweeping right-hander. Leaning into the throttle, the car surged forward and pressed me into the seat. First gear was gone in a flash and the longer legs of second and third gear along with the smooth roar of the motor and exhaust had me laughing out loud in sheer amazement, as all of the suspension pieces that I had planned on replacing worked in unison, keeping the car glued to the pavement and with minimal body roll. I rifled into the flow of traffic from the merging lane torque drunk in sheer and utter disbelief. This cannot be a FORD. This cannot be a MUSTANG. This car feels weightless when accelerating. It actually drives much smaller than it really is thanks to the seating position, brakes, suspension, and amount of available power.

A week later, I’m still not convinced that this GT is even remotely related to the rental I drove. I still don’t believe that this is a Ford product. Hey! I just noticed the radio! You will not care about the radio when you are driving this car. Oh - as others have noted, you will believe your car is on fire for the first thousand miles or so as things break in. Do not be alarmed. When I come inside after driving with the windows down, people ask me if I escaped a burning building. Me, I love it. It’s that same effect that gets me when I leave a BBQ. You smell that? That’s man, baby.

I noticed that the tranny and gears tend to whine a bit, but it’s nothing like my S2000. I don’t mind it. You will also hear little clunks as you depress and engage the clutch. This also appears to be normal and is a result of the individual’s driving style and the two piece drive shaft. Again, you probably won’t care.

All in all, this car’s amazing and I have no regrets. At some point in time, I’ll probably start tweaking the suspension and exhaust, but honestly this car is satisfying right out of the box. If you are considering one, then press ahead. This car is refined and fast enough to make your passengers shut up with you goose her.

Last edited by fdesalvo; 2/21/13 at 02:40 PM.
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Old 2/21/13, 02:01 PM   #2
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And yes this is pretty much how I felt. I always gladly give people I know a ride because to them it's "just a Mustang" until they are white knuckling and can't lift their heads off the Recaro as I wind out second into the upper reaches of legal speed (in America anyway). We will see how many "Euro forever" people in Germany I can convert and how many people are trying to take pictures of me on the Autobahn at 140mph. Good stuff right here.
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Old 2/21/13, 05:44 PM   #3
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My bother thought his 1994 GT had snap, Till I took him for a ride in my 80 L82 corvette, Now I did drive a 2013 Mustang and you got to love progress. Lets say they are of different worlds. Laughed at the revue, glad you have found life
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Old 2/21/13, 07:35 PM   #4
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Great write up. Couldn't have said it better myself, maybe shorter , but not better.
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Old 2/21/13, 07:37 PM   #5
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This review made me smile today. :good:
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Old 2/21/13, 08:32 PM   #6
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Great review, Frank. I was reminded of when I saw my first Jaguar XK8 in the flesh. I went home and told my wife about it and told her I was in love. She replied, "With that car it's not love, it's lust." Sounds to me as if you are in lust.

Good on ya, as they say down under. Enjoy!
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Old 2/21/13, 10:05 PM   #7
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Thanks for the update Frank! I'm patiently waiting for a VIN and a scheduled build date, let alone delivery! I will have a 60-mile ride home from my dealer - it's gonna be awesome!!!
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Old 2/22/13, 09:25 AM   #8
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Glad you guys enjoyed! So hard not to get all emo about it, but there's something about this car; it triggers this dormant primal emotion. It makes me want to cook something over fire and wear denim shirts.

Werdna - One day our grandchildren will be driving their 2040 GTs and laughing at our qtr mile times lol. The cool thing aboutmustangs is that they're all cool! I can see keeping this car for a long time. Thanks to my financing, I have no choice!

Tukkie - that is exactly what I'm saying! That's how you know you're a car guy!

PaxtonShelby - I lived off of these reviews, man! It def builds anticipation and reduces patience. Cant' wait to see your hotrod, brother!

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Old 2/22/13, 10:05 AM   #9
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Thumbs up

Great write up, thank you.

It certainly sounds like you're in love
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Old 2/22/13, 10:26 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fdesalvo View Post
The imperfections in the straight road gave way to taught suspension movements and mild blips of the throttle yielded the sweet and musical harmony of induction growl, engine noise, and exhaust tone. My pulse increased and my hands started sweating. Is this love?
Way too much emotion here

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdesalvo View Post
First gear was gone in a flash and the longer legs of second and third gear along with the smooth roar of the motor and exhaust had me laughing out loud in sheer amazement, as all of the suspension pieces that I had planned on replacing worked in unison, keeping the car glued to the pavement and with minimal body roll.

All in all, this carís amazing and I have no regrets. At some point in time, Iíll probably start tweaking the suspension and exhaust, but honestly this car is satisfying right out of the box.
For the street, Ford did a nice job in uprating the entry-level GT suspension and packaging all of that in a Track Pack upgrade. They spent time and money on testing that combination of stuff - including those grippy tires. You basically have a Boss without the Boss engine and the stripes with all the luxury of the GT.

Before you upgrade, take your Track Pack Mustang out to an autocross to get a feel for "at the limit". I think some folks change their suspension by starting with lowering, which then removes the balance in a car with these kinds of suspension tweaks already built in. Then subsequent changes to compensate further alter that same balance. Not that you can't find awesome stuff in the aftermarket, but there's already a lot of engineering in your vehicle's setup. In short, if you have very specific goals other than lowering that are in the handling realm, finding the baseline by doing high performance driving on a handling course is beneficial before making changes.

I hope your Mustang brings you many miles of smiles.
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Old 2/22/13, 10:42 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fdesalvo View Post
I took delivery of this black 2014 with 7 miles on the clock about a week ago and have spent some fairly significant time with it. I wanted to leave this information here for the people that follow behind me whom are contemplating this purchase at some point...
Great write up, fdesalvo! Congrats again!

Deysha
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Old 2/22/13, 10:47 AM   #12
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Great review I really enjoyed reading it
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Old 2/22/13, 11:46 AM   #13
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I hear ya Frank! The anticipation certainly is off the charts! This site does help pass the time though. And this waiting gives me plenty of time to thoroughly tweak my mod list before the car gets here. Still, this winter sure is dragging for some reason!!

Keep those updates coming, and keep enjoying that sweet GT TP!!
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Old 2/22/13, 12:57 PM   #14
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Nice essay.
Quote:
Originally Posted by fdesalvo View Post
You will also hear little clunks as you depress and engage the clutch. This also appears to be normal and is a result of the individual’s driving style and the two piece drive shaft.
These are excerpts from an engineer on Bullitt that used to post here. Comments were in response to questions about an aluminum 1 piece. Any clunk is not from the fact that the shaft is two piece:

Quote:
Clunk is driven by total driveline lash, dominated by the gear sets and clutch tuning/capability. The 3.73 amplifies this a bit compared to the 3.31 and 3.55 axles. The 2-piece driveshaft is not the cause of the clunk noise. The Bullitt will have higher levels of clunk compared to the base GT. The base GT throttle response is a bit softer than the Bullitt's. The increased throttle response makes the clunk a bit easier to get. It is a trade-off - improved performance feel vs clunk.

I do know about the 2-piece in the factory car. It is a fairly robust piece. ..... The 2-pc has no roll in.
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Old 2/22/13, 01:05 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Tony Alonso View Post
Before you upgrade, take your Track Pack Mustang out to an autocross to get a feel for "at the limit". I think some folks change their suspension by starting with lowering, which then removes the balance in a car with these kinds of suspension tweaks already built in. Then subsequent changes to compensate further alter that same balance. Not that you can't find awesome stuff in the aftermarket, but there's already a lot of engineering in your vehicle's setup. In short, if you have very specific goals other than lowering that are in the handling realm, finding the baseline by doing high performance driving on a handling course is beneficial before making changes.
I agree. So many here change things right off, and as one engineer wrote, Ford designs things to work as a 'system'. Changing a few components affects others and suddenly you've lost what took time, money, and precise engineering to design.

I know we sometimes feel a bit more body roll than some would prefer but a) it is a bigger car (than an S2000), and b) some of that is designed so as to provide better grip.

It's like watching the F1 season. Some tracks require them to 'soften' up the handling a bit so as to achieve better grip and faster lap times. It allows the suspension to absorb some of the rough portions while letting the driver stay on the pedal. Tire grip can only do so much. In contrast, if the suspension is too stiff for that particular track, the driver will have to let up or lose the corner - which either slows his time, or he eats the tire wall.

Last edited by cdynaco; 2/22/13 at 01:08 PM.
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Old 2/22/13, 01:06 PM   #16
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Well after five mounths it changes. I open the blinds so that I can see it in the drive and still buying stuff. Be my downfall!
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Old 2/22/13, 01:43 PM   #17
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Ha ha...I hope it never stops being awesome.
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Old 2/22/13, 05:41 PM   #18
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Awesome review.
It reminded me of the first time I drove mine, broken passenger side mirror and all ... I still loved it.
Even made a short video taken by the girlfriend ... to show off my huge grin and eyes opening when I gave it gas ...


Hope it's OK to post it on your thread ... we both love the same car

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Old 2/22/13, 08:51 PM   #19
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It hard to put in words when I drive mine, just a big grin on my face.
Track pack is the way to go!
Nice articulate review though.
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Old 2/23/13, 02:50 AM   #20
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Awesome review.
It reminded me of the first time I drove mine, broken passenger side mirror and all ... I still loved it.
Even made a short video taken by the girlfriend ... to show off my huge grin and eyes opening when I gave it gas ...
Great video. I bet you still have that same grin
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