Presented by SimpleTire – It’s hard to think of a car in post-WWII America that’s more iconic and more influential than the Ford Mustang. Ever since it was introduced in 1965 (technically 1964 ½), the Mustang has been the kind of car that even people who don’t care about cars can identify just by its silhouette. With its short wheelbase, long hood, 2+2 seating, short trunk and a lot of engine, the ‘Stang singlehandedly defined the pony car segment, leaving Chrysler and GM to play catch-up and come up with their own versions.
Considering how bland the automotive market of the early 60s was, the Mustang was nothing short of revolutionary at the time of its introduction. Ford’s projections for first-year sales of the Mustang were 100,000 units; by the end of that first year, the automaker had sold well upwards of 400,000 Mustangs, with a sizable waiting list of customers. With a wide list of options, you could make your first-gen Mustang as plain-jane or comfortable (or as sedate or fast) as you wanted. Never mind that the Mustang’s stodgy Fairlane and Falcon underpinnings gave it fairly sloppy handling, it was the car to have in the mid 60s.
On the other hand, a great way to tighten up that handling is as easy as putting on a new pair of shoes.
Pirelli Tires for your First-Generation Mustang
If you’ve got a first-gen Mustang with the popular Handling Package, your tire size would be 195/60R15. A quick look at top Pirelli tires for your Mustang turns up the:
- Pirelli P4 Four Seasons: The Four Seasons is an excellent all-around choice thanks to its variable angle grooves and continuous central ribs, silica-enriched low-rolling resistance rubber formulation, central longitudinal grooves to resist hydroplaning and 90k mile warranty.
- Pirelli P4 Four Seasons Plus: All the features of the Four Seasons, except the Plus model is optimized for even better traction, ride quality, handling and braking distance.
If you’re not committed to having period-correct bias-ply tires on your Mustang, these Pirelli P4 tires can greatly improve the driving experience with improved handling, noise levels, road manners, ride and true year-round traction.
The first-generation Mustang went through several changes over the years, becoming longer, heavier and plusher before it was finally phased out in 1973. By the early 70s, the muscle-car movement was pretty much over due to rising gas prices and pressure from the insurance industry. It was apparent that the Mustang needed to be reinvented into a smaller, more fuel-stingy iteration, which leads us to…
Ford chairman Lee Iacocca spearheaded the Mustang II, which was developed from the popular Pinto. The Mustang II had styling that called to mind the ‘65 model, and was a hot seller for its first year or two on the market. Unfortunately, Mustang II’s had a host of problems (including rust, build quality issues and a weak lineup of engines) and was quietly ushered offstage after only four years on the market.
Developed from the platform of the Ford Fairmont, the third-gen Mustang was introduced in 1979 and was changed little all the way up through 1993. These Mustangs were a lot more true to form, with a much more modern, aerodynamic body shell, a more comfortable interior and a wider range of engine options. For model year ‘82, a Mustang GT was introduced with a high-output 5.0L V8, and performance was finally back on the table in Mustang-world.
Pirelli Tires for your Third-Generation Mustang
- Pirelli Cinturato P7: The Cinturato P7 is a grand touring tire that uses a low oil/high silica tread formulation, asymmetric tread pattern with separate tracton zones, sipes and circumferential grooves to resist hydroplaning, and two polyamide-wrapped steel belts for high-speed stability. Its forgiving ride and solid handling make it a favorite for sporty sedans and coupes.
- Pirelli Cinturato P7 All Season Plus: The Pirelli Cinturato P7 All Season Plus’s combination of a silica-rich tread compound, sipes, circumferential grooves and innovative tread ribs add up to a tire that delivers solid year-round traction with responsive handling and road manners.
- Pirelli Cinturato P7 All Season Plus II: The Cinturato P7 All Season Plus II incorporates many of the features of the All-Season Plus, except with an updated tread formulation that’s engineered for low rolling resistance to boost fuel efficiency and minimize environmental impact.
While the third-generation Mustang was a pretty pronounced improvement over the janky Mustang II, a set of modern Pirelli tires can still up the game considerably when it comes to handling, ride quality and road manners.
Introduced in ‘94, the fourth-gen Mustang was technically still based on the “Fox” Fairmont platform, but with a completely redesigned body that more closely resembled other Ford-family cars of the time. The Ford development team put in a lot of work on noise/vibration/harshness, overhauled the suspension, offered many more interior options and generally tightened up build quality, and it definitely showed in the final product.
Fourth-gen Mustangs could be had with anything from a base 145 hp V6 to a 305 hp version of the 4.6L modular V8, for a truly potent performance package. The “New Edge” Mustang GT was enough of a success to be named Car of the Year by Motor Trend, and these 90s-era Mustangs are still desirable on the collector market.
Pirelli Tires for your Fourth-Generation Mustang
- Pirelli Cinturato P7 All Season: Drivers love the Pirelli Cinturato P7 All Season for its combination of predictable handling on wet or dry pavement, fuel savings (thanks to a low-rolling-resistance tread formulation) and low noise. The Cinturato P7 All Season incorporates an asymmetric tread pattern, sipes and circumferential grooves to resist hydroplaning, and and a robust shoulder element for even wear, a forgiving ride and low road noise.
- Pirelli P Zero Nero GT: If you’re looking for a summer ultra-high-performance tire for your 90s Mustang, the P Zero Nero GT is a great choice. It features an asymmetric wide-rib tread design that resists tread squirm, a super-sticky tread formulation and internal structure that’s designed for a big, stable footprint to enhance cornering ability. Like all summer/UHP tires, the P Zero Nero GT will stiffen up at sub-freezing temperatures and shouldn’t be used when temperatures drop below 45 degrees F.
- Pirelli P Zero Nero All Season Plus: The P Zero Nero All Season Plus features many of the same performance innovations as its UHP counterpart, except with an updated tread compound that’s engineered for year-round traction even in light snow or slush.
While the Mustang started to come into its own again in the 90s, they were still rolling on 90s-era rubber. If you’re one of the people who got a fourth-generation Mustang 25 years ago, you might be surprised at what a truly modern set of premium tires can do for your car’s handling, ride and general road manners.
By the mid 00s, the New Edge Mustang was starting to look a little stale and dated. Ford’s design team came up with an all-new version of the ‘Stang that’s “retro-futuristic”: a full slate of modern engineering and design ideas with styling that’s more than just a little reminiscent of a late-60s Mustang. The fifth-gen ‘Stang is available with everything from a 210 hp V6 to a 310 hp V6 or V8s that offer anywhere from 460 hp to a jaw-dropping 662 hp. Inside, features like adaptive cruise control, a backup camera, lane management, accident avoidance and a full traction control/stability control suite make the Mustang a state-of-the-art American muscle car.
Pirelli Tires for a Fifth Generation Mustang
- Pirelli P Zero Rosso Direzionale: The P Zero Rosso Direzionale builds on some of the features of other Pirelli tires (asymmetric tread, closed shoulder, directional tread pattern, sipes) but is engineered specifically for high-displacement, powerful sports coupes and sedans equipped with vehicle stability control and traction control.
- Pirelli P Zero PZ4:The P Zero PZ4 is a summer Max Performance tire with a shoulder design and tread formulation that can be custom-fit for your vehicle’s needs. Internally, the P Zero 4 also features a hybrid nylon/Kevlar cap along with its two steel belts for enhanced stability, as well as Pirelli Noise Cancelling System, a layer of sound-absorbing foam in the tire’s inner layer.
- Pirelli P4 Four Seasons Plus
- Pirelli P Zero All Season
This is where modern Pirelli tires really come into their own — working with a completely modern platform like a fifth-gen Mustang to bring out the car’s best performance. Low rolling resistance that boosts fuel economy, features that resist hydroplaning, and handling that’s as sure-footed as a slot car — it’s all the things you don’t get with a sub-premium set of tires.
For model year 2015, the Mustang was freshened up again with some subtle styling revisions, a bit more interior room, an independent rear suspension and dual-pivot MacPherson strut front suspension. The new-generation Mustang is a bit wider, a bit longer and features a state-of-the-art infotainment and navigation suite.
Under the hood, the post-2015 Mustang is available with a 317 horsepower 2.3L EcoBoost 4cyl, 300 hp 3.8 V6 or a choice of 5.0L V8s that offer up to 460 horsepower. That’s not even thinking about the GT, Bullitt or Shelby editions.Changes to the 6th-gen Mustang may be subtle, but they reflect the continuous improvements to the car that have been going on since 1965.
Pirelli Tires for your Sixth Generation Mustang
- Pirelli P Zero Nero All Season: The P Zero Nero All Season incorporates many of the features of the P Zero, except with an all-season rubber compound and tread design. The P Zero Nero All Season also offers a 45k mile treadwear warranty.
- Pirelli P Zero: The P Zero is an ultra-high-performance tire that’s OEM on vehicles like the Audi A8, Mercedes C-Class and VW Tiguan. The P Zero features a combination of tread design, rubber formulation and casing design that offer drivers a phenomenal combination of traction, handling, braking performance and ride quality.
- Pirelli P Zero All Season Plus
As the Mustang evolves by increments over the years, so do its tire choices. This particular group of Pirelli tires offers the kind of control, safety, ride quality and traction that are as perfect for the Mustang as mustard is for a hot dog.
Automotive technology has come a long, long way since the Mustang hit the market in the mid 60s; for that matter, it’s come a long way since the Fox-body Mustang of the 90s. Tire technology has been right there the whole time, with tire companies like Pirelli working alongside automotive engineers to develop tires that will work the best with their systems.
Regardless of what kind of Mustang you’re driving, there’s a Pirelli tire that has the sorts of features and performance that will make your driving experience safer, more confident and more fun. Tires that are engineered to work with modern suspensions and braking and can handle high speeds and allow you to push the handling envelope a little more — that’s what you need to get your Mustang’s best ride.