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When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

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A grey 2022 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Heritage Edition is shown in from of a glass and metal building.

Honoring the Past and Present with the 2022 Ford Mustang

The humble origins of the second most iconic Ford are a far cry from the loaded, premium, engine roaring monsters blitzing down the roads today. And for a company that’s sworn off car production, the list of options for the 2022 Ford Mustang almost makes up for any misgivings we have about the Blue Oval being able to produce a vehicle that isn’t a truck or SUV.

Ford couldn’t ditch the Mustang. And we’re talking about the true Mustang here. There’s been a lot of hubbub lately around the Mach-E electrified Mustang and how it’s far superior to its gasoline-powered grandfather. No, we want carbon emissions and stick shifts here, thank you very much.

All EV needling aside, the Mustang is set to go through a full redesign within the next year or two, so 2022 may be your last chance to purchase a Gen 6 ‘Stang. You won’t be wanting for options, either. With ten different models to choose from and plenty of optional packages, there’s no shortage of configurability when it comes to the 2022 Mustang.

The Heritage GT500

For us to examine what’s new for 2022, we have to go back 55 years. 1967 introduced the world to the first Shelby GT500. Carroll Shelby, may his nitroglycerin-fueled heart rest in peace, is a legend in American road racing. A new appreciation for Shelby has come about with the release of the fantastic, Oscar-nominated film Ford v. Ferrari, which focused on the development of the Ford GT and its victory at Le Mans. I bring this up because that GT and that victory in France were key in developing the Mustang GT500. Shelby’s lasting legacy to the brand lives on with the limited edition 2022 GT500 Heritage Edition.

While none of the innards of the GT500 have changed for 2022, it’s the exterior of the Heritage Edition that’s deservedly getting all the attention. The fastback models will be finished in a Brittany Blue paint and come with two options for exterior stripes. The first option is are vinyl racing stripes in Wimbledon White, which run the length of the car from the front grill, across the hood and roof, and down the back bumper. The second option is to get your stripes hand-painted…but that’ll cost you an extra $10,000. For a car whose starting price is already $77,155, with the Heritage Trim being an additional $2,140, you’re probably better off getting the vinyl option. They look great and won’t add to the already hefty cost of the Heritage Edition GT500.

A blue 2022 Mustang Shelby GT500 Carbon Fiber Track Package is shown parked on dirt.

The Carbon Fiber Track Pack

Another optional package on the GT500 is the Carbon Fiber Track Pack. If you’re looking for a package that’s kitted out beyond what you could easily imagine, it’s this one. Standard features for this trim include 20″ carbon fiber wheels with Michelin Pilot Cup Sport 2 tires, a carbon fiber instrument panel, a carbon fiber GT4 track wing, adjustable strut top mounts, leather-trimmed Recaro front seats with a rear seat delete, and more. Plus, top and rear running racing stripes, which we all know make any car go faster.

POWER!

A quick note on what’s powering the GT500. The original 1967 model was powered by a 428 cubic inch V8, and under the hood of the 2022 lives its offspring: a monstrous 5.2L supercharged cross crank plank V8, which puts out a whopping 760 hp and 625 lb-ft of torque. The GT500 is the fastest Ford of the regular lineup. The Ford GT supercar is even quicker, but its starting price of around $500,000 makes a fully-loaded GT500 look cheap.

It’s a bit of a shame that the GT500 doesn’t come with an optional manual transmission like the other trim levels do. Instead, it’s fitted with Ford’s 7-speed Tremec dual-clutch automatic transmission. The sport shift paddles on the back of the steering wheel allow for snappier, more responsive gear changes that really give you the most out of this V8.

Supporting this massive engine are a double ball joint front suspension with MacPherson struts and stabilizing bar and an independent rear suspension with coil springs and stabilizer bar. Both front and rear suspension come equipped with the Mageneride damping system, which is basically ultra-fancy, ultra-efficient shock absorbers that allow for a more even driving experience. All Mustangs come with electronic stability control for extra road grip and electric power steering.

Returning to Form with Affordable Trims

Now, so far, we’ve been catering to the adrenaline junky in honor of the premier adrenaline junky, the late Carrol Shelby. But not all Mustangs need to be devouring tarmac at 7,000 RPM. The original 1964 Mustang wasn’t designed purely to be a racing machine. It was designed to be an affordable, fun car that anyone could buy. Kind of sticking with Ford’s egalitarian nature that started with the Model T.

The lower trim 2022 Mustangs still offer that equality. With a starting price of $27,205 for a base model EcoBoost Fastback with a 6-speed manual transmission, it’s not a stretch to say that even someone with a lower pay grade could purchase their own Mustang. That’s the whole point. And it’s not like you lose any fun at the lower trims. They still go fast. They still look cool. And you can get one with a stick-shift, which for many of us is a sign that God still loves drivers and wants them to be happy. There are also a few limited edition trim models this year that have their base in the EcoBoost platform and won’t cost an arm-and-a-leg to buy.

A close up shows the 'coastal limited' badging on the hood of silver 2022 Mustang Coastal Limited Edition.

The Coastal Limited Package

The Coastal Limited Package of the 2022 Mustang is one such option. Aimed specifically at, surprise, surprise, oceanside buyers, this trim package offers some extra styling points you wouldn’t necessarily find on the EcoBoost Premium upon which the Coastal is based.

Like the Heritage GT500, the changes here are all external. The Coastal is powered by the same 2.3L EcoBoost that puts out the same 310 hp as all lower trims. However, the interior is upscaled with leather seats, a Coastal Limited lighted sill plate, and a Coastal instrument cluster. The bodywork is an amalgamation of style and substance.

Choosing between the convertible or the coupe will determine the presence of a rear spoiler, but the Coastal Limited’s major styling note is the vinyl side stripes that run along the upper door trim near the windows, then curve down the hood to form a V shape and accent the two air scoops. If you look closely, you can see “coastal” written into the stripes. Colors for the Coastal are Brittany Blue, Cyber Orange, and Rapid Red, and the package comes with 19″ black-painted aluminum wheels. The EcoBoost Premium base costs $32,225, with the Costal Limited package adding only an extra $1,995. It’s a premium Mustang within reach for almost anyone.

The Stealth Edition

Now we can’t round out the new trims on the 2022 Mustang without talking about the introduction of the Stealth. Again based on the EcoBoost Premium platform, the Stealth is an entirely blacked-out appearance package. Everything is black, from the 19″ aluminum wheels and rear wing to the black cloth seating and the matte black instrument panel. It’s designed to make an already aggressive-looking car even more intimidating. This is noted in the color choices, all of which exist in the darker spectrum: Atlas Blue, Carbonized Gray, Dark Matter, Shadow Black, and, my personal favorite color name of all time, Mischievous Purple. The Stealth package is, again, an added $1,995 to the Premium price, making it equal to the Coastal Limited.

A blue 2022 Ford Mustang Stealth Edition is shown from the rear parked on concrete.

Looking Forward

With Ford’s increased focus on EV production and looking forward to the future, it’s difficult to see where the next generation of the Mustang is going to lead us. Could they take the route Chevy did by basically turning the Corvette into a Ferrari? Rumors of all-wheel drive have been circulating, but these should all be taken with a grain of salt. For now, in 2022, Ford has shown its dedication to honoring its history while still managing to make an affordable pony car for the masses.

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