When you think of the more than 50 years of Mustang performance, there have been many memorable models, from Bullitts to Mach 1s to Cobras to Bosses. Now “Performance Package – Level 2” might not sound sexy, but this is the baddest Mustang GT to date short of a special edition. The package itself is not inexpensive. It adds $6,500 to the price of a regular GT. This brought my tester’s price with options to just over $50K. However, the PP2 is the ticket for those who want to use a vehicle on the track and drive it home without the assistance of a trailer.
Just as the tuning of an aftermarket audio system is of upmost importance, the tuning of a vehicle’s suspension must be done properly to maximize performance. Here you get the knowledge of Ford’s veteran engineers with nearly limitless track time to create a package that is ready for the track. The brakes are from Brembo and are tested with vigorous track sessions to not overheat. The huge front splitter helps aerodynamics on the track, and both the front and rear anti-roll bars have been beefed up. With the chassis dialed in, the Mustang is ready to receive huge and sticky 305/30R19 Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires mounted on special wheels. They certainly aren’t the best choice when downpours are in the forecast, but for track work, the sticky rubber grips for days. There is only one downfall with the massive wheel and tire package: They stick out from the wheel wells and send little pebbles and road debris flying toward the door panels. Paint protection film has been mounted in the most exposed areas, but a good paint protection specialist can add to the unprotected areas so blemishes aren’t a part of this Mustang’s daily life.
With this much grip onboard, you need to be held into place. Ford sourced special seats from Recaro (a $1,600 option) that are amazing. However, they do lack motorization to keep things light. All adjustments are manual. In an odd twist, this is the first vehicle I have ever tested that has a heated steering wheel but not heated seats (Recaro does not engineer heating elements into its race seats). However, thanks to the aftermarket, you could become the first to add an aftermarket heating element to the seats … perfect for those cold morning track days.
The 12-inch screen on the center console controls Ford’s excellent Sync system. For this year, there is even the ability to remote start the vehicle right from your smartphone. Older Mustangs can have this technology implemented through aftermarket services that can both remote start and remotely monitor your pony car. The Mustang also offers a fully digital instrument cluster that can cycle though modes for Normal Driving, Sport Driving, Dragstrip or Track duties. The size of the instruments and information changes depending on the mode. One must-have feature is the ability to alter the exhaust system note from Quiet Mode to Track Mode, with two levels in between. We wonder who uses the two intermediate modes, but at least you have options. The Quiet Mode proves very handy for accommodating your neighbors, who will appreciate the feature when you do use remote start on those cold mornings. In fact, a Ford engineer created the system after angry neighbors called the cops to his house one day. The system even allows you to schedule times when you want to start the car quietly and when you want it to roar.
So, is the Performance Pack 2 perfect? Well, it may be a little too hardcore for the average enthusiast. It also lacks the badass B&O Premium Sound System, so an upgrade is in order. No big deal for an aftermarket audio shop that can create a system to rival the exhaust note in Track mode. Otherwise, for those who want a hardcore Mustang at a semi-reasonable price for track work, your vehicle is here!