History of the 2005-2014 Ford Mustang

History of the 2005-2014 Ford Mustang

Last Updated March 14, 2024 | Meghan Drummond

S197 is another name for the fifth generation of Mustang, produced between 2005-2014. New Edge Mustangs preceded this generation, and S550 Mustangs followed it.

What Is an S197 Mustang?

From 1979-2004, the Fox platform provided the Mustang’s foundation. The Fox platform’s lightness and simplicity are desirable, but it’s criticized for its “generic” appearance. Ford used the Fox platform for several vehicles, including the Mustang, the Capri, the Zephyr, and the Thunderbird.

A bright red concept car shows the first take on the S197 Mustang

For the S197 Mustang, Ford decided to use D2C, a new rear wheel drive platform. This decision was made right after a letter-writing campaign saved the Mustang from being replaced by the Ford Probe. Enthusiasts talked about the uniqueness of the Mustang. This may have informed the decision to not use the D2C platform on other vehicles.

All of this contributed to the S197’s unique appearance. Ford designers looked back at what had made the Mustang an icon in the first place and tried to recreate the details Mustang enthusiasts loved.

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S197 Mustang Exterior Features

The S197’s style is described as retro-futuristic. Many of the exterior features are adapted from the first-generation Mustangs. The rake of the coupe is reminiscent of the first fastback. Window louvers are another retro-styling detail that feeds into the muscle car look.

The overall S197 look is clean and chiseled.

The S197 borrows from classic Mustangs but doesn’t run the risk of being mistaken for them. The wheelbase expanded dramatically, creating a long, low, and lean profile. Early reviewers noted that the fifth-generation Mustang looked like it had muscle.

2005-2009 Mustang Exterior Styling

The S197 Mustang has two distinct periods. Unlike the SN95 generation, where the second half received a separate nickname, all S197s are referred to with the same term.

The first half of the generation ran from 2005 to 2009 and is defined by its widebody stance. Early prototypes featured hood scoops, but those were deleted in favor of a clean, long hood. The long hood paired with the wide, rectangular grille opening is one of the defining features of early S197 Mustangs.

three Mustang front views show the S197’s evolution

Headlights are one detail that can create a lot of a car’s personality. For the 2005 Mustang, large square headlights were used. In the rear, vertical taillights were positioned around the decklid. This left space for the return of the faux gas cap.

2010-2014 Mustang Exterior Styling

For the refresh, Ford kept some of the features people responded positively to. The fastback-style rake was kept. The louvers also were maintained. The most noticeable changes are to the front and rear ends.

Post-refresh S197s have a significantly smaller grille. The top of the grille is smaller, with slanted sides feeding into a wider grille base. This allowed for redesigned headlights. Though these design changes seem small, they completely altered the Mustang’s face.

Three Mustang rear views show the S197’s changes

The overall effect was that the Mustang appeared more aerodynamic.

Minor aesthetic changes were made again in 2013. These changes included making the taillights sequential and adding a blacked out panel behind the faux gas cap. These changes are aesthetically pleasing and can be added to earlier S197 Mustangs.

S197 Mustang Exterior Dimensions
Wheelbase 107.1 inches 107.1 inches
Length 187.6 inches 188.1 inches
Width 73.8 inches 73.9 inches
Height 55.4 inches 55.6 inches
Curb Weight 3,350-4,040 pounds 3,401-3,852 pounds

S197 Mustang Interior Features

The S197 generation is when some truly modern luxuries were integrated into the Mustang. Unfortunately, most of these features were integrated throughout the generation. For example, the S197 generation evolved from six-disc changers in 2005 to infotainment screens in 2010.

S197 Mustang Interior Dimensions
Front Head Room 38.6 inches 38.5 inches
Front Legroom 42.7 inches 42.4 inches
Rear Head Room 34.7 inches 34.7 inches
Rear Legroom 30.3 inches 29.8 inches

2005-2009 Mustang Interior

One of the Mustang’s interior options was “My Color.” This allowed drivers to select from 125 colors to light up their instrument panels and cup holders. The Mustang’s premium sound system was still a six-cd changer, but it could read MP3 CDs.

By 2009 the available options had expanded. It was possible to add a remote start, Ford SYNC, or Sirius satellite radio.

2010-2014 Mustang Interior

In 2010, the six-disc changer disappeared. Instead, Ford provided a more active infotainment screen. This allowed for navigation, satellite radio, and a feature called Jukebox. This gave you 10 gigs of space for music and pictures.

Though a rearview camera was still an option, the screen offered a convenient location for infotainment as well as a camera display.

Most of the major comfort features were introduced to the Mustang in 2010 and 2011. They included a backup camera, Sirius radio, navigation, and dual-zone climate control. These features contribute to the desirability of later model S197s.


One of the biggest changes during the S197 generation was the introduction of Ford SYNC. SYNC's Bluetooth compatibility allowed drivers to pair their phones with their cars. This was an important transition since people were beginning to rely more on their phones for navigation and music.

SYNC offered more than just Bluetooth compatibility though. Features like 911 Assist could call an ambulance for you if you got in an accident. Voice commands and steering wheel controls made it easy to operate while driving. All these features made SYNC as much a safety improvement as a comfort one.

The first version of SYNC was released in 2007, shortly followed by the second generation, MyFord Touch, in 2011. You can find both versions of Ford SYNC in the S197 generation. Check out the guides below for help telling them apart or for tips on getting the most out of each system.

Trim Package Availability

Trim packages created customization options for S197 Mustangs. Some trims customized the exterior, while others offered interior luxuries. Packages were available more sporadically than trim levels, which stayed constant.

Some trim packages, like the California Special, declared themselves boldly with GT/CS stripes. Others, like the comfort package, you’d have to experience to notice.

A bright blue 2007 California Special

S197 Trim Package Availability
Exterior Sport Appearance Package X X X X X X X X X X
Interior Upgrade Package X X X X
Red Interior Color Accent Package X X
Interior Sport Appearance Package X X
Sport Appearance with Color Accent Package X
Premier Trim with Color Accent Package X X X X X X X X
Comfort Package X X X X X X X X
Pony Package X X X X X X X X
Warriors in Pink Package X X
GT Appearance Package X X X
California Special Mustang X X X X X X X
Mustang Club of America Edition X X X X
V6 Performance Package X X X X

S197 Mustang Performance Specifications

As Ford transitioned into a new generation of Mustang on a new platform, they chose to update many performance features as well. This included engine improvements as well as suspension changes.


The S197 Mustang generation was the first that used overhead cam engines exclusively. While GT Mustangs converted to overhead cam designs in the New Edge era, the V6 options were still overhead valve. But when the S197 debuted, the OHV V6 was swapped out for a single overhead cam V6.

There are a lot of differences between overhead cam and overhead valve engines. For the V6 Mustang, the switch meant more power. Typically overhead cam engines also get better fuel economy. In this case, it’s hard to measure the difference between the SN95’s OHV V6 and the S197’s OHC V6.

The SN95 V6 saw 21 mpg combined, while the S197 averaged 20 combined. But the S197 also weighed 300 pounds more.

Suspension Configuration

The Macpherson strut front suspension continued to be used for the S197 Mustang, but with a few alterations. In particular, the springs were mounted over the front struts rather than separately.

In 2005, the Mustang’s rear suspension changed significantly as well. Ford used a four-link setup until 2004. This created some issues with understeer and snap steer. Ford addressed these issues by swapping to a three-link panhard bar setup. Three-link setups include two lower control arms, but only one upper control arm. To control the vertical and lateral movements of the rear axle, a panhard bar was used. This design improved cornering capability when compared to the outgoing New Edge Mustangs.

Lime Green Mustang modified for track

As noteworthy as what changed is what didn’t. Despite an industry move to independent rear suspensions, the Mustang’s S197 generation used a live rear axle setup. At the time, Ford received a lot of criticism for using a “primitive” suspension system. But there are many advantages to live axle setups. These advantages have allowed the S197 Mustang to enjoy continued popularity. Many enthusiasts opt for a late model S197 over an S550 because of these advantages.

    Live Rear Axle Advantages:

  • Lighter weight
  • Less expensive
  • Easier to repair
  • Better for drag racing

S197 Mustang Engine Specs

The S197 Mustang generation marked the end of overhead valve engine configurations. Through the generation, additional improvements were made. While the first V6 of the generation used a single overhead cam, by 2011 all Mustangs were operating on a dual overhead cam configuration.

DOHC configurations have many advantages over SOHC ones. This is clearly demonstrated by the sudden power increase in the base Mustang. Moving to a DOHC layout meant that with less displacement the V6 could produce almost an additional 100 horsepower.

Ford also used the S197 generation to introduce the Coyote engine.

S197 Engine Specifications
4.0L SOHC V6 210 hp @ 5,300 RPM 240 lb-ft @ 3,500 RPM Base 2005-2010
4.6L DOHC V8 300 hp @ 5,750 RPM 320 lb-ft @ 4,500 RPM GT 2005-2009
4.6L DOHC V8 315 hp @ 6,000 RPM 325 lb-ft @ 4,250 RPM GT 2010
3.7L DOHC V6 305 hp @ 6,500 RPM 280 lb-ft @4,250 RPM Base 2011-2014
5.0L Coyote V8 412 hp @ 6,500 RPM 390 lb-ft @ 4,250 RPM GT 2011-2012
5.0L Coyote V8 (1.5 Gen) 420 hp @ 6,500 RPM 390 lb-ft @ 4,250 RPM GT 2013-2014

The Coyote Engine

In 2011, Ford introduced the first Coyote engine for the S197 Mustang GT. This modular engine uses twin independent variable cam timing (Ti-VCT) to create a lot of power and improve fuel economy. At a time when the average cost of gas was $3.52 per gallon, it was an important feature.

Variable cam timing allows the engine’s cams to adjust to factors like engine load. Twin variable cam timing takes that technology further by allowing each cam’s timing to vary without being tied to the other.

Many manufacturers have their own version of variable cam timing. What makes the Coyote unique is that it uses Borg-Warners cam-torque actuation. This means that torsional energy rather than oil pressure determines the camshaft speed.

Even enthusiasts who didn’t understand the engineering mastery behind the Coyote loved its power. And everyone was excited to see the return of the 5.0 emblem.

S197 Mustang Transmission Specs

The Mustang’s transmissions changed at the same time as the engines. Unfortunately, while the engine upgrades were universally hailed, the same isn’t true for the transmissions. What was undeniable was that it was time for the T5 transmission to be retired. It also seemed indisputable that more speeds would be more desirable.

For the new six-speed manual transmission, Ford partnered with German transmission manufacturer Getrag and created the MT82. Both the V6 and GT received this transmission, though the GT’s was hardier and had different gear ratios.

The issue of missing shifts with the MT82 has been fairly well documented. Newer generations of the MT-82 have been altered to fix this issue. Older MT82s can fix their third-gear lockout issue with minor modifications, like a short throw shifter.

S197 Transmission Specifications
TransmissionFirst GearSecond GearThird GearFourth GearFifth GearSixth Gear
Tremec T5 Manual Transmission (2005-2010) 3.75 2.19 1.41 1.00 0.72 N/A
5R55S Automatic Transmission (2005-2010) 3.22 2.29 1.55 1.00 0.71 N/A
Tremec TR3650 Manual Transmission (2005-2010) 3.38 2.00 1.32 1.00 0.68 N/A
MT82 Manual Transmission (2011-2014) 4.24 2.54 1.66 1.24 1.00 0.70
6R60 Automatic Transmission(2011-2014) 4.17 2.34 1.52 1.14 0.86 0.69
Heavy Duty MT82 Manual transmission (2011-2014) 3.66 2.43 1.69 1.32 1.00 0.65
6R80 Automatic Transmission (2011-2014) 4.17 2.33 1.52 1.14 0.86 0.69

S197 Special Edition Mustangs

The Mustang’s S197 generation included several special edition Mustangs. These Mustangs were designed to appeal to classic Mustang enthusiasts who loved modern performance.

Iacocca Silver 45th Anniversary Edition Mustang (2009)

In 2009, the Mustang’s 45th birthday deserved a celebration. Unfortunately, battered by the recession, Ford could do little more than add a small badge to production Mustangs.

Thankfully, Lee Iacocca, the Mustang’s father, was still looking on. Iacocca collaborated with Gaffoglio Family Metalcrafters to create a 45th-anniversary edition Mustang.

The Iacocca 45th Anniversary Edition Mustang is exceptionally rare. Only 45 were produced.

Bullitt (2008-2009)

2008 Bullitt Mustang on display

Bullitt was one of the first movies to feature a Mustang. In the movie, Steve McQueen’s character, Detective Frank Bullitt, drives a Highland Green 1968 Mustang fastback. Reviewers' feelings about the movie are mixed, but the scene everyone loved was a ten-minute-long car chase. In the chase, the Mustang handily beats a Dodge Charger (whose occupants meet a grisly fate).

To commemorate the movie, Ford’s released a Bullitt special edition in the New Edge, S197, and S550 generations. The S197 Bullitt was available for two years, 2008 and 2009. Not only was 2008 the 40th anniversary of the film but also the S197’s exterior features allowed it to closely mirror the original. Ford went all out on modifications.

Available in Dark Highland Green or Black, the Bullitt Mustang included performance modifications in addition to aesthetic ones. A cold air intake, high-performance brakes, and stiffer springs were added to the Bullitt.

Boss 302 (2012-2013)

Orange Boss 302 with hood up

The original Boss 302 was only in production for 1969 and 1970. Incredibly a Mustang that was only in production for two years has made a lasting impression on its history. There’s no doubt that Larry Shinoda’s hot rod aesthetic is part of the reason why the Boss 302 is so fondly remembered.

In 2012, Ford revived the Boss 302 nameplate. Not only did the Boss 302 get a Coyote variant engine that Shinoda would have loved, but it was also available with a Laguna Seca package. This was a great way to honor the SoCal race scene that Shinoda was inspired by.

The 2012 and 2013 Boss 302 specifications and features have made them very desirable.

Shelby Mustangs

Carroll Shelby renewed his relationship with Ford during the S197 Generation. For the first time since the Mustang’s first generation, there were Shelby Mustangs.

GT-H (2006-2007)

The first S197 Shelby Mustang was inspired by the 1966 GT350H, a Shelby-Hertz collaboration. The GT-H Shelby Mustang was produced in both 2006 and 2007. Only 500 were produced each year.

Though most of the GT-H’s modifications were aesthetic, a Ford Racing air intake, premium exhaust, and tune increased horsepower to 319.

GT500 (2007-2014)

Bright red 2013 Shelby GT500

The GT-H was so successful that Ford wanted Shelby to create a new version of the 1967 Shelby GT500. Shelby had called the GT500 the first car he was ever proud of, and reusing the nameplate set a high standard.

The GT500 shared its design with the S197 Mustang, but Shelby used a 5.4L engine with a supercharger. The resulting horsepower and torque necessitated upgrading to the Tremec TR6060 transmission. Brembo brakes were added as well, to improve stopping power. By the time he’d finished with his improvements, Shelby’s GT500 could hold its own with Porsche 911 Turbos and Lotus Elises.

Numerous improvements were made to the GT500 from 2007 to 2014. By its final year of production, the GT500 featured a 5.8L engine that could produce over 600 hp.

GT500 KR (2008-2009)

The GT500 King of the Road edition was a limited edition for 2008 and 2009. In those two years, 1,571 were produced, exactly matching the original production figure. While numerous performance improvements were made for the KR, it’s the limited edition aspect that makes it so valuable.

Saleen S197 Mustangs (2005-2014)

Carroll Shelby wasn’t the only tuner excited to get his hands on the S197 Mustang. Steve Saleen also showed us new ways to modify Ford’s fifth-generation Mustang.

There were seven different Saleen Mustang models produced for the S197 generation. You can read all about each S197 Saleen Mustang here.

Modifying an S197

S197 Mustangs benefit from being less expensive than S550 Mustangs while having an expansive aftermarket catalog. The live rear axle also makes S197 Mustangs an ideal candidate for drag builds.

Many enthusiasts opt to read through Shelby and Saleen’s build lists. These builds really show the potential of the S197’s D2C platform. Many of the modifications, like a cold air intake or tune, are able to be installed in your garage with standard tools.

Lowering S197s to create a widebody build is another popular modification. The S197 already has a wide stance, but making it even wider turns it into a statement.

Though S550s benefit from improved technology, there are ways to make an S197 perform like an S550 as well.

5th Gen Mustang

The S197 Mustang was a major success in several ways. The D2C platform was reserved exclusively for Mustang, ensuring that it can’t be confused with any other car on the road. The Coyote engine has been universally praised. And everyone was happy to see Shelby and Iacocca return to contribute to the Mustang.

Unfortunately, due to the recession, the S197’s sales numbers look feeble compared to previous generations. The reality is that the fifth-generation Mustang was well thought of, even if sales weren’t exceptional. Used S197s are in high demand and can be modified to improve performance even further.

If you’re looking for parts to keep your S197 track-ready, be sure to sign up for our newsletter.

This article was researched, written, edited, and reviewed following the steps outlined in our editorial process. Learn more about CJ's editorial standards and guidelines.