In fact, as the next-generation Mustang races into the ’20s don’t be surprised if it becomes electrified with hybrid technology to increase performance while also raising fuel mileage. Many high-performance marquees like BMW, Ferrari, and Porsche are already adding electric boost systems to add low-end torque where a gas engine burns fuel most. Hybrid isn’t a dirty word if it’s used to add power and allow that V-8 to exist in modern-day CAFE rules.

Fully Independent Suspension

Like the dramatic shift we saw in 2005 from the old SN-95/Fox chassis, the 2015 Mustang is being developed on an all-new global rear-wheel-drive platform. The new chassis is believed to be a clean-sheet design. Because the Mustang will have to be sold globally to make the bean counters hum, the new platform is likely to be shared with other models such as the Australian Falcon family or even new sedans here in the States.

Because the Mustang will be sold head-to-head against cars like the BMW 3-Series, Hyundai Genesis Coupe, and Audi A5 around the world, it will finally get the modern world-class chassis it has deserved for decades. A more refined suspension that includes lightweight aluminum castings is likely. A McPherson strut front suspension is expected not to stray far from what the Mustang offers now.

Out in back, the old live axle loved by drag racers will finally give way to an independent rear suspension designed in this century. While the old stick axle has been made to handle admirably with respect to its far more complex and expensive IRS siblings, the international audience for the next Mustang is not likely to tolerate such an antiquated design.

Ford is seeking to shave at least 200-300 pounds from the current car’s 3,600-pound curb weight.

Modern Muscular Design

Retro is dead. The ’05-14 Mustang has done retro so beautifully well in taking the best from the ’67-70 models and combining it with a modern flair. But going forward, Ford has said they will be taking Mustang in a new direction that will prove to the world it has the hooves to gallop into the future. New millennial buyers entering the market will be looking for something new, not something their dad thought was cool.

Ford design guru J Mays recently said of the 2015 Mustang: “We can’t lose the Mustang DNA, which is really important, but we’ve got to signal that Mustang has got another 50 years of life left in it. In order to do that we are going to have to take a bit more of a stretch with the car, bring all of our Mustang faithful along with us.”

Because the Mustang will see global duty, design studios in Europe and in Australia are being given the opportunity to collaborate on the 2015 Mustang. This may sound scary to some, but it’s how cars are now designed at Ford. “It is a common process we use on every vehicle,” said Derrick Kuzak, Ford’s group vice president for global product development. “When we embark on a new product, particularly one that is all new, it involves all of the studios. Then J Mays and the design team pick the best of those themes.” Kuzak went on to add: “The Mustang is not just an icon in North America, it is an icon globally.”

The main goal of the design team is to take the Mustang in a new direction while keeping its soul. That means you will immediately recognize it as a Mustang at first sight. While it will have a new shape and size, trademark elements such as the three-bar taillights, Pony gas cap emblem, and side scoops are likely to be retained.

We can expect a new Mustang that has some European influence in the details while retaining the muscular American character we have come to know. This means fluid lines, sharply accented edges, and a tighter relationship between tires and bodywork. All of those attributes actually sound pretty good.

The 2015 Mustang will make its debut in 2014 ...for the 50th birthday party of the Mustang.