Tuner’s aero kit for the ’Stang hits all the right buttons

The Ford Mustang is going to be well-represented at the 2017 SEMA Auto Show as a total of seven different versions of the muscle car will be in attendance at the aftermarket show. The large volume isn’t a surprise to regular SEMA attendees. The ‘Stang, after all, is one of the most tuned cars in the business today and a show that celebrates that very sub-section of the industry is going to feature its share of Mustang models.

One of the versions we’ll see at this year’s show comes to us by way of Air Design, a tuning firm that has a long history of dynamic and easy-to-install accessories for models ranging from muscle cars like the Mustang all the way to massive pick-ups like the GMC Sierra. Air Design’s reputation for creating understated yet effective body kits has become its calling card, and we see it on full display with its latest custom creation for the iconic Ford muscle car. It is disappointing, however, that upgrades to the powertrain are limited compared to other Mustangs that we’ll see at the show. You can’t win them all, I guess, though I suppose that Air Design is more willing to show off its expertise than it is willing to try to dip its toes in unchartered waters.

Continue after the jump to read more about the Ford Mustang by Air Design

  • 2018 Ford Mustang By Air Design
  • Year:
    2018
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    310 @ 5500
  • Torque @ RPM:
    350 @ 3000
  • Displacement:
    2.3 L
  • 0-60 time:
    4.3 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    165 mph
  • car segment:
  • size:
  • Purpose:
  • body style:

Exterior

- * Ford Mustang by Air Design
- * Body Kit from Air Design
- * New front splitter, side skirts, and rear diffuser
- * 21-inch Forgiato Fratello ECL wheels; Pirelli P Zero Tires

2018 Ford Mustang By Air Design
- image 740031
New front splitter, side skirts, and rear diffuser
The front splitter adds a breathe of aggressiveness to the front section

This section is where Air Design’s expertise lies so it’s no shock that the tuner’s focus lies here. The focus is clear here. Dress up the muscle car in a body kit to make it look more imposing. Consider the aerodynamic upgrades a plus in this regard too. The result is actually impressive in its own way because the car looks awesome. The front splitter adds a breathe of aggressiveness to the front section and while it’s hard to make out from this one photo, there is a new rear diffuser at the back that should carry the same aesthetic and aerodynamic benefits.

That’s the scope of Air Design’s body kit, but the program doesn’t just end there because the tuner also added licensed accessories from Ford itself to bring the whole kit together. The hood vents, air curtains, side scoops, and window louvers are all part of this catalog.

2018 Ford Mustang By Air Design
- image 740030
21-inch Forgiato Fratello ECL wheels; Pirelli P Zero Tires
The kit also includes a set of 21-inch Forgiato Fratello ECL wheels, all of which are wrapped in Pirelli P Zero tires

Individually and all together, their functions involve improving the car’s design and its handling characteristics. To that end, Air Design did a great job putting all of the pieces together. It even collaborated with Sherwin Williams to give the ‘Stang a silver paint finish with custom black stripes and finished the upgrades with a set of 21-inch Forgiato Fratello ECL wheels, all of which are wrapped in Pirelli P Zero tires.

Interior

- * Recaro Leather Seats; Tinted Windows
- * Kicker Audi System

2018 Ford Mustang High Resolution Interior
- image 702250

Note: Standard Ford Mustang pictured here.

The modifications in this section are limited compared to what was done to the exterior. In fact, it’s arguably the weakness of this tuning build since all we can look forward to are the Recaro leather seats, the Sundial window tint, and a new audio system by Kicker. On the bright side, the audio setup helps give the Mustang a real custom tune feel to it. On the other hand, the absence of any other meaningful upgrade means that ‘Stang owners can probably get more bang for their buck if they look elsewhere for their cabin upgrade needs.

Drivetrain

- * Borla Exhaust
- * 310 Horsepower
- * 350 Pound-feet of Torque

2018 Ford Mustang By Air Design
- image 740033
Borla Exhaust

Note: Borla exhaust system pictured here.

Air Design’s single upgrade in this section of the car is a Borla exhaust system

The donor car for Air Design’s tuning build is the base Mustang. That means that it’s only carrying Ford’s 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine. It’s still good enough to produce 310 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque, but it’s a ways away from what its V-8-powered counterpart is capable of. The Mustang GT, for those who aren’t familiar, packs 460 ponies and 420 pound-feet of twist. But 310 horses is still decent for a base model and owners can even maximize its performance credentials by pairing it with a 10-speed automatic transmission and dressing it up with Ford’s own Performance Package. That’s a good route to take, something that I’m not quite as sure of when it comes to Air Design’s upgrades for the muscle car’s smaller EcoBoost engine. In fact, Ford itself indicated that Air Design’s single upgrade in this section of the car is a Borla exhaust system. That’s it.

I’m sure that the new exhaust system will spell improvements for the Mustang, but at the end of the day, there’s not much to see here, at least if you’re looking for power and performance enhancements. You can find better options elsewhere, including some other ‘Stangs that will participate at the event. The good news is that even with a lack of significant enhancements on this section, the tuner didn’t leave out the upgrade offerings it has for the muscle car’s chassis and suspension.

These mods come in the form of a new brake system that makes use of six-piston callipers in the front and four-piston units in the back. Drilled and slotted rotors from Wilwood - 15 inches in the front, 12.9 inches in the back - complete the drivetrain upgrades for the Air Design-tuned Ford Mustang GT.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a kit that gives the Ford Mustang a meaner and more imposing mug, you won’t be able to do a lot better than what Air Design is showing off at the 2017 SEMA Auto Show. The kit really is all about looks and the tuner nailed it in that regard. The addition of an exhaust also spells improvements from a performance standpoint.

But, if you’re looking for something entirely different, something that stretches the capabilities of the muscle car past the point of its own performance prowess, then this program isn’t for you because it’s not going to do any of that. It won’t be the fastest Mustang. It won’t be the most powerful Mustang. But as far as looking the part of a muscle car, Air Design’s program for the ‘Stang is as good a choice as anything that you’ll see at SEMA.

  • Leave it
    • Minimal engine upgrades
    • Nothing too special in the cabin
    • Better options elsewhere

References

Ford Mustang

2018 Ford Mustang High Resolution Exterior
- image 702254

Read our full review on the 2018 Ford Mustang.

The Kia Stinger Gets Baptized For SEMA
- image 739814

Read more 2017 SEMA Show news.

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