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2018 Ford Mustang used duct tape to improve aero, efficiency

Don't count on finding that piece of tape at the dealership, though.


Everyone likes to joke that duct tape solves every problem, but for the engineers working on the 2018 Ford Mustang, it actually did solve a problem.

Ford tells the story like this: During track testing, its engineers experienced too much front-end lift, which can compromise steering efficacy. An aerodynamics engineer slapped a piece of duct tape over the grille's lower gap, the front-end lift was eliminated and the car handled much better around corners.

Anyone who's ever coded something can attest that one small change in one place can have far-reaching effects everywhere else. The subsequent adjustments to the 2018 Mustang's front end, including a larger front splitter, a lower nose and active grille shutters helped improve overall aerodynamics, which boosts both handling prowess and, as it turns out, fuel efficiency.

As a result, both trim levels of Mustang are a bit thriftier with the ol' dino juice for 2018. The Mustang EcoBoost now achieves 31-32 mpg on the highway, as opposed to 30. The automatic-transmission Mustang GT saw incremental improvements, as well, boosting highway economy to 25 mpg from 24, and city economy rose from 15 to 16.

The changes go beyond the exterior. Inside, there's a new configurable screen in place of the gauge cluster on certain model. The Mustang EcoBoost picks up the GT's line-lock feature, for all the smoky burnouts the tires can muster. Power improvements bring the Mustang GT's 0-60 time to under 4.0 seconds, which is fast even by muscle-car standards. The 2018 Mustang goes on sale this fall.

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