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What to expect from the 2015 Ford Mustang debut

We round up the most plausible rumors surrounding tomorrow's debut of the next-generation Ford Mustang.

Josh Miller/CNET
The Ford Mustang is scheduled for a major update on tomorrow, December 5th. Josh Miller/CNET

Tomorrow, the 2015 Ford Mustang will make its debut in New York, and CNET will be there to bring you all of the juicy details. But that's hours from now, and the rumors and suspense are killing me. Let's take a moment to sort through the speculation to find out what we can expect to see when the next Mustang debuts.

Returning engine choices
Ford's 3.7-liter V-6 will definitely make another appearance beneath the 'Stang's resculpted hood. A moderate power bump over the engine's current 305 horsepower stated output is par for the course with a new model.

The 2015 model year will also see the return of the 5.0 Coyote V-8 in a GT model. At only about 3 years old, this engine is still relatively new as power plants go and it still has the legs to motivate the coupe, which we expect to be lighter than the outgoing model. Like the six-cylinder, the V-8 may see slight performance and efficiency bumps.

The next-generation Ford Mustang will almost certainly wear an EcoBoost badge at some point. Ford Motor Co.

Four-cylinder EcoBoost
Some rumors point to a 2.3-liter, other sources point to a 2.5-liter, but the general consensus of the 2015 Mustang leaks is that we'll see a four-cylinder EcoBoost engine that makes use of the automaker's experience with turbocharging and direct-injection.

Conservative speculators should expect a version of the 2.3-liter EcoBoost that debuted in the Lincoln MKC crossover, which means about 275 horses and 300 pound-feet of torque. However, Ford may give the Mustang a slight performance retune, so 300 horsepower wouldn't be totally out of left field. That would nearly match the output of the 3.7-liter V-6, so the value this engine option should add will be its increased fuel economy -- I'm guessing Ford will want to claim 35+ highway mpg before running it through EPA certification.

The longshot: Twin-turbo "Voodoo" V-8
It may not debut tomorrow at the 2015 Mustang launch, but rumors are also pointing at Ford developing a twin-turbocharged, 600+ horsepower V-8, codenamed "Voodoo", that could replace the supercharged V-8 offered in the 2014 GT500 model. This could debut in a 2015 GT500 or GT350 model; Ford may hold this part of the debut for a later date. Or, it could just be smoke and mirrors.

Lighter, leaner, more nimble
The next Mustang will almost certainly be lighter than the outgoing model -- as much as 300 pounds lighter -- which would be the easiest way to attain the performance, handling, and efficiency bumps that automakers like to claim at new product launches.

We also expect that the 2015 Mustang will feature an independent rear suspension, addressing many nay-sayers' complaints about the previous generation's strong, yet low tech solid rear axle. This would bring the Ford into on-paper parity with the Camaro and Challenger, and will contribute the the Mustang's reduced curb weight. The result will be a more nimble pony car in the corners, a more controlled ride over uneven pavement, and -- if more efficiently packaged -- could free up trunk and cabin space.

It should also go without saying that we're expecting a new look. I imagine that a Ford Fusion as coupe with retro-Mustang touches is an accurate stab at what is probably under wraps for tomorrow's debut.

MyFord Touch tech
The Mustang's dashboard will certainly be occupied by the automaker's MyFord Touch infotainment system, bringing it into tech parity with the rest of Ford's offerings.

From my personal wish list, I'd love to see a performance-oriented version of the MyFord Touch digital gauge cluster. Rather than growing eco-leaves and trees, give me performance monitoring, lap timers, data-logging, g-force meters and more, with the system's great steering wheel controls, and I'll be a happy boy.

MyFord Touch screen v.1
Love it or hate it, MyFord Touch will be an option for the 2015 'Stang. Josh Miller/CNET
I'd like to see a performance-oriented version of Ford's hybrid digital instrument cluster. Ford

I'd also like to see the muscle car step into the 21st century with some of the automaker's driver aid technologies. As modern coupe design usually comes with poor visibility, tech options like blind spot monitoring, a rear camera with cross traffic alerts, and the automaker's automatic parallel parking system would be great options.

What not to expect...
My asking for tech like automatic parallel parking is already a long shot (one that, no doubt, has some of you already sending me angry emails for even suggesting). With that in mind, advanced convenience features like a foot-activated power trunk lid, and active safety tech such as lane-keeping assistance, while tempting "first in class" claims for the automaker, are even less likely to be mentioned tomorrow.

While the four-banger EcoBoost is a sure thing, don't expect a 2.0-liter or smaller EcoBoost that would compete with the likes of the Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2.0T or Subaru BRZ. That's not the Mustang's mission.

We also don't expect any surprises from the gearbox. There will probably be only six-speeds for manual and automatic, and almost certainly no dual-clutch automatic or continuously variable transmission options, which is fine by me. Vive le manuel!

The 2015 Ford Mustang debuts tomorrow, so be sure to check back to see just how right or wrong I am. In the meanwhile, let us know what you'd like to see from the next Ford pony car in the comments below.

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