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Level Up: 2018 Ford Mustang GT Offers Harder-Core Level 2 Performance Pack

By: · October 23, 2017

2018 Ford Mustang GT with Performance Pack Level 2

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The 2018 Ford Mustang’s host of significant mid-cycle updates—including output gains, a new 10-speed automatic, and a Drag Strip drive mode—already had us itching to drive Dearborn’s latest pony car. Now the itch is nigh unbearable: Ford has announced a new Level 2 Performance package for GT coupe models, which, via additional aerodynamic tweaks and liberal applications of tire, should seriously improve the the Mustang’s grip levels and handling prowess.

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Ford’s Mustang development team says it cooked up the high-test Level 2 setup mostly after hours as a dream-car side project. Available only on coupes equipped with the revised 460-hp, 5.0-liter Coyote V-8 and the standard six-speed manual transmission, the new package is highlighted by massive Y-spoke 19-inch cast-aluminum wheels (10.5 inches wide up front and 11.0 inches wide at the rear) shod with 305/30ZR-19 Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 high-performance tires—the same front tires as on the Mustang Shelby GT350R that cost roughly $350 apiece. Also included is a deeper chin splitter inspired by the one on the previous-generation Mustang Boss 302 Laguna Seca, which Ford said alone is good for 24 pounds of downforce at 80 mph. A small black-painted ducktail spoiler on the trunk pushes down on the car’s rear at speed with even greater force. (Ford said it plans to offer the Level 2’s big wheels and aero upgrades separately through the Ford Performance Parts catalog, too.)

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The GT’s Level 1 Performance package is included in the Level 2 bundle. That means larger Brembo front brakes with six-piston calipers, additional chassis and strut-tower braces, a larger radiator, a 3.73:1 rear axle ratio with a Torsen limited-slip differential, 19-inch wheels with Michelin Pilot Sport 4S performance tires (sized 255/40R-19 in front and 275/40R-19 in back), and more aggressive tuning for the suspension, chassis, brakes, stability-control system, and electrically-assisted power steering. Those systems are further refined for Level 2 to account for the bundle’s stiffer springs (20 percent firmer in front, 13 percent at the rear) and thicker anti-roll bars that are 12 percent stronger up front and a hulking 67 percent stiffer in back. All Level 2 cars also include driver-adjustable adaptive dampers that cost $1695 on lesser Mustangs.

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The Level 2 Performance package is a $6500 option—including the $3995 Level 1 goodies—not including additional, necessary equipment packages. That means pricing for Level 2 cars starts at $44,495 for a base Mustang GT fastback with cloth upholstery and the required $2000 301A Equipment Group (dual-zone automatic climate control, an 8.0-inch Sync 3 touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, two USB outlets, a nine-speaker audio system, and driver-selectable driving modes). The entry fee rises to $48,695 for a GT Premium coupe, the cost of which includes a $795 navigation system and the $2200 401A Equipment Group (leather seating, Ford’s new 12-inch digital instrument cluster, upgraded interior trimmings, a heated steering wheel, and a Wi-Fi hotspot). The Mustang’s not always comfortable Recaro sport seats—cloth on the base car, leather on the Premium—remain a $1595 extra on both Level 2 trim levels.

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Sitting close to an inch lower than a Level 1 Mustang GT, with its huge rollers filling the wheel wells, the Level 2’s altered stance looks as purposeful as it does bad-ass. We expect it to put on quite a performance at the track. It’s surely no coincidence that the hard-core GT undercuts the Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE in base price by just $500, and comparisons between the two are inevitable. While the first 2018 Ford Mustangs should be reaching dealers now, you’ll have to wait with us a little longer for a Level 2 GT model, which won’t go into production until spring 2018.

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2018-Ford-Mustang-GT-with-Performance-Pack-Level-2-REEl

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Filed under: Ford,News

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