Mustang Vs. Mustang: Ford’s Performance Packages Tested


For 2018 Mustang buyers have a choice of
two performance packages and we’re here with both of them. The performance
packages are wheel, tire and suspension setups that change the track ability of
the Mustang. Performance Package 2 is clearly a more attractive package than
Performance Package 1, but how much faster is it and is it worth it and
that’s what we’re here to answer. The biggest difference between the
packages isn’t horsepower because they’re identical at 460 horsepower but
you see the big difference in the wheels and tires. Performance Pack 2 wears one
and a half inch wider wheels front and back with a track day competition
Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires. The Cup 2 tires are one intensity level up from
the Performance Pack 1’s pilot sport 4S tires. The Sport Cup 2 tires
are wider, stickier and with fewer tread blocks are more suited for track duty
than street duty. The tires on PP2 are matched with stiffer suspension
components in standard fancy MagneRide shock absorbers. These are the trick
shocks that use electric current to alter shock fluid viscosity for varying
stiffness. The parts that are on the car are essentially if you had a Mustang, wanted
to go faster and threw these kind of parts on. Stiffer, wider, stickier tires.
The money shocks are optional on PP1 which our tester was equipped with but
they’re fine tune in PP2 along with quicker steering tuning, unique anti-lock
brake and stability system tuning. So here’s the deal with the two
Performance Pack cars we are testing. Performance Pack 1 has the ten speed
automatic transmission so it’s not exactly an apples-to-apples comparison.
But the ten speed is not out of place on the track. Once you’re in track mode it’s
really good. It down shifts quickly, it down shifts a lot of the time to the
gear that you wanted to. There are only a few times at GingerMan where, yeah, you
know I wanted one more gear, but it is really smart. It rev matches on down
shifts. Overall, that 10 speed is not much of an hindrance to having fun on
the track because honestly in the Performance Pack 2 I mostly just stayed
in third gear anyway. But the ten speed it’s kind of a slouch on the street in
regular mode. It’s a little sloppy. It shifts slowly. The car with these tires
and with the Performance Pack 1 suspension package, it works out here.
It’s pretty good. It’s something that can split daily drivability and an
occasional weekend track day if it’s something that you want to get into. Is
it the car that you want to do a track day every weekend in? No, but that’s where
the Performance Pack 2 comes in Whereas the Performance Pack 1 is a nice
daily driver that you could take the track days, the PP2 is the car that you
want to take only to track days. It’s driveability on the street is
questionable. The super wide tires do not track well. The car is really
high-strung, really a handful but here on the track is where it makes the most
sense and this is a track package after all and it is just so good it feels like
a completely different car. You can feel the difference between Normal, Sport Plus
and Track in the PP2 and not so much on the PP1 car. It’s much more noticeable
when you’re in track mode in the PP2 car. It hunkers down, it corners flatter,
it’s more responsive in the corners. It’s very, very much at home on the track.
While the brake hardware isn’t any different than the Performance Pack 1,
the wider tires in the front and the different ABS tuning makes a big
difference in how this car breaks during high-performance driving. When you’re at
the limits the ABS is less intrusive. It’s smoother and it feels like you have
more control over the brake pedal. The PP1 car is a little erratic under
braking and that’s something that these super wide tires and that ABS tuning has
smoothed out completely. For Cars.com comparisons we always invite an in-market consumer to help us judge these cars but that didn’t seem quite
appropriate for the Mustangs. So we have Hollie Heiser from CGI motorsports with
us who is an instructor for high performance driving and she is the GingerMan track ace. She has many miles and hours here in various vehicles so let’s
see what she has to think about the differences between these two Mustangs.
These Mustangs, they share a lot of similar parts, same engine, there’s really
not a whole lot of big changes but the little changes that they made seem to be
huge on the racetrack. Yeah I agree. Yeah especially in the brakes. I had a lot more confidence in braking I just had a lot more bite when I was
coming into those you know turning zones it had a lot more bite I like that.
And yeah having an automatic versus a manual was interesting. But it was good I
really liked the manual, but I thought that the automatic worked really well
for what it was. I didn’t have a lot of problems. I wish it would have
downshifted like when I came out of the corners into the straights one more gear
but otherwise they felt pretty good. So this Performance Pack 2 car is $46,000
the PP1 that we have is a $52,000 Mustang. It is the nicest Mustang that
you can buy right. It has leather, heated and cooled seats and the automatic
transmission the optional MagneRide suspension
and you know it’s very expensive Mustang. I think you get a lot but for $46,000 what this can do out there is really impressive. Yeah if you want a car that you’re gonna actually be
driving on the street and then be able to take it to the track, do some laps and
drive it back home this is a really good value. I think and this one would be good
too it’s just a little bit more money so if you want more comfort on the street
because you want that maybe 50/50 so you got 50% you’re gonna be
driving around the track and 50% on the street it might be better
to spend a little bit more money and get a car that’s a little bit more
comfortable when you’re out driving on the street but that still performs
pretty well on the track. So how fast was Hollie? On GingerMan’s 2.14 mile long course, PP2 was significantly faster than PP1. Outpacing
it by nearly four and a half seconds with a one minute forty four point nine
second lap time versus one minute forty nine point three seconds for PP1. And PP2 was essentially faster everywhere with higher cornering speeds and being able
to dive deeper in the corners. The only place where it wasn’t faster was on the
straightaways where it was nearly identical between PP1 and PP2. On
the drag strip the role of who was faster than who was flipped with the PP1 being the ten speed automatic and putting a big gap between the manual
transmission only PP2. We’ve ran as fast as 11.9 seconds in
this exact PP1 in the quarter-mile but the hotter and more humid weather kept
us solidly in the 12s this time with a 12.2 second quarter-mile time. We don’t
apply correction factors for weather to our testing. PP2 was a full second
slower with a 13.3 second quarter mile time and we kept getting faster and
faster and faster until we lost the track after rainstorms. The thing was
this was already the backup day for our testing after initial rain storms washed
us out the first time so we just didn’t get a chance to get it any faster than
13.3 seconds in the quarter mile. In our braking test of sixty miles an hour the PP2’s gripper tires really slowed the car much quicker than PP1 with six feet shorter distance of a 109 feet compared to 114.7 feet which is a massive difference for not
having any physical changes to the hardware in the braking system. The
Performance Package 1 is a perfectly acceptable car to take on an occasional
track day. Maybe once a year you’ve got some buddies who have more serious cars, you want to tag along. That car is just fine out there on the track but if
you’re thinking to yourself, I have a five-point harness at home and I’m not
sure if it’s gonna fit in my next car then this is the car for you. This is an
extremely capable track package. It’s got near racecar tires on it but you just
want to make sure that your local race track isn’t too far from your garage. you