Often times, Mustang enthusiasts tend to have a difficult time in deciding which generation Mustang to get; S197 vs S550. So we at LMR have decided to put together a thorough article explaining everything that you need to know when making this important decision about which generation you think is better.
The S197 is the 5th generation of Mustang that was made between 2005-2014 Mustang and was built on Ford’s D2C platform. The D2C stands for D-Class 2 Door Coupe and is one of the platforms for Ford’s rear-wheel-drive automobiles. The S550 Mustang is the 6th generation of Mustang that was made between 2015-present. This has been the 1st Mustang to be marketed and sold globally and was also the first time that they had produced a right-hand drive as well.
Throughout the 2005-2014 Mustang lifetime, a few various V6 and V8 Mustang engine options were available including a supercharged V8 engine. The new body style in 2005-10 brought about a new and better version of the 4.6L Mustang GT engine for the Mustang with 3 valve heads. 2 of the valve heads featured intake valves and 1 was an exhaust valve that helped bring the V8 to 300 horsepower and 320 torque. Starting in 2011, this engine was replaced by the 5.0 Coyote motor. This 4 valve Mustang GT Coyote brought 412 HP and 390 ft/lbs of torque which made it a huge increase in performance from the years prior!
For 2015+, the new base V6 Mustang model came with a 3.7 V6 engine from the previous generation. The Ecoboost model has similar performance features to the V6, but instead of the 3.7 V6, it has a new 2.3 turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. The Mustang GT model comes with a 5.0 V8 engine, with the most current 2020 Shelby GT500 coming equipped with a 5.2L supercharged V8. In 2018, Ford dropped the V6 option and only offered a Mustang GT engine or 4 cylinder option.
Much different from 1979-04 Mustangs, the S197 Mustang used a MacPherson-strut front suspension that featured the coils built onto the shocks instead of sitting in the front control arms. The S197 also has reverse “L” control arms and a new three-link rear suspension that includes a Panhard bar, this controls the vertical and lateral movements of the axle and is completely explained in our What Is A Mustang Panhard Bar article.
Due to many complaints of the S197 not having an independent rear suspension, the S550 came equipped with this rear suspension which better-improved cornering and even better overall performance with track racing. The generation of the S550 began the process of changing the mindset of Mustangs only having the suspension to be a drag car, to also having highly promising track car suspension capabilities that can compete with the best of them.
The S197 brought many new changes to the Mustang such as creating the body based on the classic 1964-73 Mustangs. The New Edge generation before had very aggressive sharp lines and were traded in for a smoother, wider body that the S197 Mustang provided. Here are some key features of the S197 (05-09):
Keeping the same fastback style shape as 2005-09 model, the 2010-12 model received a few new features:
In the final two years of the S197, 2013-14 Mustangs received a new front/rear makeover!
The S550 Mustang got its final design locked in around June 2012 by Ford management and the 1st S550 prototypes were built five months later in May 2013. The S550 expanded onto the S197 idea of using the classic body style Mustangs but added sharper body lines much similar to the New Edge model to bring back the aggressive styling that many had missed over the years. Here are some key exterior changes:
The S197 ditched the curved dash of SN95 (94-04) era and was mixed with classic styling with a touch of modern. Here are some key changes:
The S550 definitely had more comfort in mind due to the larger cabin which offered a little more space to the front as well as the backseat. Here are some key features:
Between the S197 and S550 Mustang, many different types of Shelby Mustangs came about. For the S197, the 2007-09 GT500 had 500 HP and 480 lb-ft of torque. For the S550, the GT350R was a performance staple for this generation due to it finally producing a track based model to finally keep the Mustang from being always looked at as a one-dimensional drag car. Ford tied the knot with the 2020 GT500 which produced a whopping 760HP! As far as power is concerned, the S550 Mustang definitely won this battle against its S197 competitor.
Below we have compiled a list of many essential mods when it comes to your S197 and S550 Mustang. Check them out in the articles below!Top S197 Mods
A ton of factors play in when it comes to choosing the best generation Mustang to suit your needs. We at LMR hope this thorough guide has helped in weighing your pros and cons on the S197 vs S550. For all things, Mustang, always keep it here at Late Model Restoration.