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2018 Ford Mustang Gets Leveled-Up Performance Pack

CARS.COM — Ford has revealed a new high-performance package for people who want to have even more fun with their 2018 Mustang GT. We’re no strangers to the Performance Pack, an option on your new Mustang that brings all kinds of go-fast bits to the car, like a sport-tuned suspension, six-piston Brembo brakes, an underhood K-brace, larger radiator and limited-slip rear differential with a 3.73 axle ratio.

But Ford’s Mustang engineers sat down one day and asked themselves, “What can we do to absolutely maximize how all that engine power and handling prowess gets to the pavement?”

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The result is the Performance Pack Level 2, a $6,500 option that adds everything from the regular Performance Package plus things that help you stick to the road better. A functional air splitter air dam is fitted, as is a modified spoiler on the trunk lid, both of which are good for 100 additional counts of downforce, according to Ford engineers.

But the most obvious visual change is wider, meatier wheels and tires that are 1.5 inches wider than the Level 1 tires and mounted to new 10.5-inch-wide front and 11-inch-wide rear 10-spoke Dark Tarnish wheels. Those tires are now Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, 305/30R19 front and rear — expensive meats that you’ll only want to drive in dry, warm conditions.

Other changes with the PPL2 include thicker stabilizer bars, stiffer springs, and retuning for both the electronic MagneRide shock absorbers and electronic power-assist steering. Inside, you’re limited to the manual transmission only — no automatic for this road racer — and the V-8 engine is a required option, so you’re starting with a GT trim level, as well.

You are able to specify optional Recaro seats in cloth, however, so if you’re really just looking for a basic, stripped-down toy for weekend fun, you can get away with a low-options GT with just the Level 2 package and forgo leather entirely.

“This is the Mustang that all our engineers want to buy,” Carl Widmann, the Mustang’s chief program engineer, told reporters at a special showing of the car at Ford’s Driveability Test Facility wind tunnel late last week. “We wanted to do a car that maximized the ability to put the power down, to create a car that you’d love driving up through, say, the canyons around L.A. It’s not the ultimate track Mustang, it bridges the gap between the Performance Pack and the track-ready GT350.”

Ford Vehicle Dynamics Development Engineer Mike Del Zio put it more succinctly than that, even: “If you think of the GT with the Performance Pack as our modern-day Boss 302, then the Level 2 is really our Boss 302 Laguna Seca,” he said, referring to the special performance models offered on the last iteration of the Mustang from 2012 to 2013.

The goal of the model isn’t to create the ultimate track car, like the 1LE packages on the Chevrolet Camaro SS and ZL1, but instead to make a daily drivable weekend canyon carver that delivers on the promises made by the Mustang’s formidable powertrain and stiffer chassis.

“This package is all about driver confidence,” Widmann said.

The new Performance Pack Level 2 is available for order immediately on new 2018 Mustangs, but production won’t start until spring of next year, according to Ford.