For years, the UK had to go without the Ford Mustang, much like America had to go without the Honda Civic Type R. Ok, so I know the Mustang has been in the UK for a while, but up until I’ve been too young to drive it – 28 is minimum for Ford’s performance cars – and the has recently had a nip tuck.
The new model has a sharper, more aggressive front end – which I’m not actually a fan off, as well as new toys and a nicer interior. Thankfully, the 5.0 litre V8 remains, no downsizing here, thank you very much. I’ve always been curious about having a go in a Mustang as it’s a car with a legacy as long as your both arms. Thanks to films such as Bullitt and Gone In 60 Seconds, the Mustang has become a prominent figure in the motoring world since its birth in mid-sixties.
“It can’t go around corners”
That’s people often say about the Mustang, so with that in the back of my mind I was keen to see what the Mustang was all about. As I slipped my way in to the car, I was impressed with the updated cabin and the low-slung driving position. I was even more impressed when I fired up the V8, but there is a ‘Good Neighbour’ mode you can select in case you don’t want to become a bane to your local residents.
The Mustang also has a ‘Line Lock’ mode, which is able to help the driver do a burnout with little issue. Not only does this give you the ultimate peacocking moment, but it also means that the rubber is warm for that all important quarter mile. It sounds like it’s been set up to go as fast in a straight line, and that’s it.
Well, you can imagine my surprise when I was able to thread it through the twisty corners of Millbrook’s hill route, without ending up in a hedge- or some strategically placed armco. Through the corners, the V8 Mustang genuinely impresses, it was better than I was expecting, and I was genuinely surprised. This may have muscle car grunt, but it feels like a sports car in the bends. I was even close to calling it nimble. Sure, you can feel the weight of those eight cylinders when you really push the car, but I bet my bottom dollar that the handling will surprise you.
V8 in your ears, wind in your hair
This is doubly surprising when you consider just how much this car weighs in total. With a kerbweight of 1893kg, it’s far from a Lotus Elise, and it’s also 62kg heaver than the Fastback, thanks the extra bracing needed for the lack of fixed roof. The extra weight will soon leave your mind, and in its place you’ll be able to savour the muscular tones of the V8 lump in front of you.
Speaking of which, how powerful is it? With a displacement of 5 litres, it’s able to to produce 444bhp with 527Nm of torque. Performance stats are yet be announced, but expect to his 62mph in less than 4.0 seconds and a top speed of 1155mph, which ought to be enough to keep the majority happy.
No stick shift to be found here
The model tested featured Ford’s new automatic gearbox, which features no less than 10 gears. I know, if only there was more choice. It worked pretty well on my short drive in the car, and it’s able to give the Mustang a nice cruiser element -perfect for lazy, summer drives. That’s not to say this car has gone soft and is no longer willing to flex its muscles. The performance stats are yet to be confirmed by the Blue Oval, but trust me, it feels plenty quick.
Leave the auto to its own devices and there is a bit of a delay to really get the power going, but it by no means detract anything from the experience, plus you can take control of the paddles should you wish to do so. It’s a decent gearbox, but it’s not quite as slick as what Audi would be able to offer you.
One of the biggest changes for the new Mustang is the increase in technology. As well as the new 10-speed auto, there is a new 12″ LCD digital instrument cluster, which helps to bring the Mustang bang up to date, plus there are your usual mod cons including an 8″ touchscreen with smartphone connectivity and navigation.
The previous Mustang didn’t fare well in crash tests, but Ford has looked to improve this for the new model, with features such as autonomous emergency braking, distance alert, lane-keep assist, and driver alert are all fitted as standard.
Living up to expectations
Was my first ever time in a Mustang as good as I thought it would be? I certainly was, especially with the roof down, meaning I could drink in every note that the V8 had to offer. I would like to spend longer with this time to really get to know it, plus I’d want to have some time with the manual, too. There was definitely a lot to like on my short drive with the Mustang GT and it’s easily a car I would want to drive again. Hint, hint, Ford.