SN95 & New Edge Mustang: The Complete Breakdown
The fourth-generation SN95 Mustang was almost the Mustang that never was. Just as the Fox Body Mustang was entering service in 1979, consumers’ attitudes towards fuel economy shifted as America endured a second oil crisis. Thinking it was keeping up with the times, Ford sought to move the Mustang to a fuel-friendly front-wheel-drive platform.
As enthusiasts learned of the automaker’s plans, Ford was inundated with outrage. With so much already invested in this wannabe Mustang platform, Ford instead launched the Probe for the 1989 model year. The company had to develop a solution for a new Mustang that wouldn’t take forever (in automotive terms) and not clean out Ford’s coffers.
Fox Body Lives On In The SN95/New Edge Mustang
The new plan involved stretching out the Fox Body Mustang lifespan through 1993 and using this platform as the basis for the fourth-generation Mustang. While keeping the basic Fox chassis, Ford engineers and designers wanted the next Mustang to be more performance-oriented while offering an improved driver experience as far as handling and noise, vibration, and harshness.
The challenge with Mustang design is capturing the pony car’s classic elements while presenting a modern and appealing vehicle, essential considerations in a competitive marketplace. With this in mind, the SN95 was designed around an open grille with a galloping pony badge, sides with a C-shaped scoop, and tri-bar taillights. At the same time, the fourth generation ‘Stang presented a streamlined, athletic body that was easily distinguishable from the blocky shape of the Fox Body.
SN95 Mustang vs New Edge Mustang
SN95 was Ford code for the Specialty segment in the North American market, with 95 being the next sequence number in the company’s project flow. You’ll also hear the fourth-generation model referred to as the New Edge Mustang, which refers to the 1999 model year mid-cycle makeover. Launched to coincide with the Mustang’s 35th anniversary, the 1999 model was based on a wholly reworked body that shunned soft lines in favor of a crisper design. This aggressive stance is further accented by a sweeping hood and shortened back end. Yet, classic Mustang body characteristics are still visible. So think of an SN95 Mustang as model years 1994-1998 while the “edgier” or New Edge SN95 Mustang running from 1999-2004. And yes, by definition, the SN95 designation refers to the entire 1994-2004 production run.
SN95 & New Edge Mustang: Through The Years
Now that we’ve reviewed SN95 Mustang history and New Edge Mustang history let’s look at the year-by-year happenings of the fourth-generation Mustang.
1994 Mustang: Details
SN95 Pace Car
The debut year for the SN95 Mustang not only saw changes in body shape, but the lowly four-banger Lima engine was put out to pasture. The base engine becomes the 3.8L Essex V-6 making 145 hp and 215 lb-ft of torque. GT versions of the Mustang carried over with the still-respectable pushrod 5.0 V-8 making 215 hp and 285 lb-ft of torque. In addition to the new body, the SN95 Mustang featured an all-new cabin designed around a striking dual-cockpit configuration.
Special editions for 1994 include the SVT Mustang Cobra and its reworked 5.0L engine that was rated at 240 hp and 285 lb-ft of torque. Interestingly, at 6.3 seconds from 0-60, the Cobra was only a tenth of a second faster than the GT. Ford produced 1,000 copies of the 1994 Indy Pace Car, a convertible version of the Cobra available only in Rio Red.
1995 Mustang: Details
1995 SVT Cobra R
SN95 Mustang specs for 1995 carried over without much change. No surprise, as this was only the second year for this generation of ‘Stang. Seeking to split the difference between the base model and the GT, Ford released the GTS, which had the GT’s powertrain but the more stripped-down equipment level of the base V-6 Mustang.
For this year, special editions get interesting as the SVT Cobra continues, but Ford releases a 250-unit run of the SVT Cobra R. With a 5.8L V-8, the Cobra R embraces 300 hp and 365 lb-ft of torque which translates into a standstill to 60 mph time of 5.2 seconds; respectable for a Mustang of any era.
1996 Mustang: Details
1996 SVT Cobra Engine
1996 Mustang specs undergo exterior changes as the car gets a new grille and the taillights go retro with a vertical orientation. While in years past, bumping up the horsepower of the base engine (the Essex V-6 now puts out 150 hp) might be considered begin news, the really BIG NEWS was assigning the Mustang’s pushrod V-8 to Ford’s dustbin of history. 1996 was a revolutionary year for Ford’s pony car with the introduction of the 4.6L Modular V-8 OHC engine. Some loyalists squawked while futurists realized that overhead-cam technology was the only way Ford could provide Mustang performance while meeting increasingly more stringent emissions and fuel economy mandates. In SOHC configuration, the GT enjoyed 215 hp and 285 lb-ft of torque.
For the year’s only special edition, the SVT Cobra receives the Modular 4.6L engine but with a DOHC setup making 305 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque.
1997 Mustang: Details
1997 Mustang SVT Cobra
Not much was going on with 1997 Mustangs, considering the previous year’s breakthrough with OHC engines. Another change is made to the grille as the honeycomb insert is dropped, and the GT gets new star-shaped five-spoke wheels. Likewise, the special edition SVT Cobra carries over with a minor grille change and a new color, Pacific Green.
1998 Mustang: Details
Knowing that the New Edge Mustang was just around the corner, it’s no wonder that 1998 was a bit of a snore-fest. To save a few bucks, Ford eliminated the stand-alone clock in favor of the time being displayed in the radio unit. And, you could say that Mustang joined the modern age as air conditioning became standard in all models. The Modular 4.6L engine in the GT gets an increase to 225 hp and 290 lb-ft of torque.
For special editions, the SVT Cobra carried on essentially unchanged, and the GT Spring Edition was available as a cosmetics-only upgrade with special graphics and unique 17-inch wheels.
1999 Mustang: Details
35th Anniversary Mustang
As 1996 was a noteworthy year for fourth-gen Mustang engines, 1999 was equally significant for Mustang appearance. New Edge Mustang specs were still based on the SN95 chassis, but the sharper, crisper lines of the new body were almost the polar opposite of the softer, rounder shape of earlier fourth-generation Mustangs. 1999 Mustangs also enjoyed an upgrade under the hood. The Essex V-6 was now rated for 193 hp and 223 lb-ft of torque, and Mustangs so equipped could hit 0-60 in 7.1 seconds. Not bad for a base engine. Output for the GT’s 4.6L engine was cranked up to 260 hp and 302 l-ft of torque.
Engine improvements continued for the special edition SVT Cobra as Ford squeezed 320 hp and 317 lb-ft of torque out of the car’s DOHC Modular V-8. In another 1999 offering, less than 5,000 35th anniversary editions of the GT were produced in coupe and convertible form.
2000 Mustang: Details
2000 Mustang SVT Cobra R
The 2000 Mustang welcomed the new century with little fanfare as the model soldiered on with no significant changes to the base Mustang or the GT. For the first time in SN95/New Edge Mustang history, there was no SVT Cobra. Instead, 300 lucky Mustang lovers got to buy the special edition SVT Cobra R, a track-oriented Mustang with 385 hp and 385 lb-ft of torque. At 4.6 seconds from 0-60, this very limited edition racer could quickly put smiles on the faces of its owners.
2001 Mustang: Details
2001 Mustang Bullitt
While not much changed with ordinary Mustangs (and apologies to anyone who thinks a Mustang GT doesn’t fit in the normal category), 2001 marked the return of the special edition SVT Cobra after a one-year hiatus. Engine specs were unchanged from 1999, but the rear bumper cover was now emblazoned with “COBRA” instead of “MUSTANG.” But, 2001 marked the first year for a very noteworthy special edition, the Bullitt Mustang, which evoked memories of the storied car chase scene from the 1968 movie Bullitt. For the Bullitt Mustang, Ford squeezed an extra 10 hp and 3 lb-ft of torque out of the GT’s eight-cylinder engine. The variant enjoyed suspension improvements and other upgrades.
2002 Mustang: Details
2002 was a ho-hum carryover year for Mustang as changes were primarily cosmetic. Perhaps the biggest news for the year was the 16-inch wheels were now standard for the base Mustang.
2003 Mustang: Details
The thing about a Mustang is that a lackluster model year is often replaced with an exciting one. And this proved true for 2003 as Ford resurrected the Mach 1 nameplate, which hadn’t grace a Mustang since the 1970s. Power came from an upgrade Modular 4.6L engine with 305 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque.
The special edition excitement continued for 2003 as the SVT Cobra was now supercharged with output at 390 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque. To celebrate a decade of factory performance products, Ford released a 10th Anniversary appearance package for the SVT Cobra in either coupe or convertible body style. You could call this a special, special edition. Marking the company’s one hundred years in business, Ford introduced a Centennial Anniversary package only available on black GTs.
2004 Mustang: Details
2004 Mustang SVT Cobra, Mysticchrome
As Ford closed out the final year of the SN95/New Edge model, enthusiasts said goodbye to the Fox Body chassis and last year of Mustang production at the Dearborn plant. 2004 also marked the Mustang’s 40th anniversary, so Ford released a commemorative trim package option (although all Mustangs from this year had special anniversary badging). The special edition SVT Cobra and Mach 1 Mustangs carried over for the year as well.
Everything You Need To Know
Did we answer all your questions about “What is an SN95 Mustang?” and “What is a New Edge Mustang?” For more details about the fourth-generation Mustang, check out another Steeda article, 1994-2004 Mustang Horsepower & Torque Ratings.
Source: Mustangs & Fords, Mustang Specs