I wonder if there has ever been a car like the Ford Mustang, it’s been an iconic film star appearing in at least one James Bond movie and not to be forgotten in one of the greatest chases ever witnessed by cinema goers in Bullitt with the Hollywood legend the late Steve McQueen in the driving seat. If you’ve seen the film you’ll never forget the car chase through the streets of San Francisco.
Through its colourful history various models of the Mustang have reached our shores in left hand drive form, and small numbers sold to diehard fans of the legend. Now for the first time you can pop along to your Ford dealer and get your driving hands on a right hand drive version.
Still manufactured in the USA at Flatrock, this muscle car from Ford is more appealing than ever. Here in NI we have the choice of two power units, the awesome 5 ltr and a more Europeanised 2.3 ltr.
Purists will no doubt opt for the V8 version, but having driven the Mustang with the big unit and the small unit, my choice is clear, I vote for the 2.3 ltr engine. According to Ford 80% of customers have opted for the Fastback and 68% of sales are going in the direction of the 416PS V8. At time of writing 3,500 have been ordered in the UK.
More than half of the orders feature the six speed manual transmission as opposed to the six speed automatic which features a paddle shift. I can’t comment on the automatic version as I did not get the opportunity to try one.
The 2.3 ltr packs a greater punch than I imagined it would, a respectable 300bhp plus and over a route with roads akin to what we have in Northern Ireland it was much more nimble in the handling department due to the slight weight improvement over the bigger 5 ltr.
0 to 62mph takes just 5.8 seconds, a mere one second slower than the big brother and also lower emissions at 179g/km.
I can see why many will opt for the more powerful 5 ltr, with is glorious roar and history, it is closer to the rich heritage of the Mustang than the smaller engined version. The car also enhances driving enjoyment with selectable drive modes – Normal, Sport+, Track and Snow/Wet. Track Apps feature Launch Control for optimised performance off the line; accelerometer for recording acceleration forces; and Line Lock for warming the rear tyres. You can only imagine the fun you can have with that set up!
Performance and driving dynamics are tuned to meet European driving conditions. Advanced suspension, stiff body and lightweight materials deliver balance, response and up to 0.97g when cornering. All of that points to a lot of fun on the bendy bits.
I tried both versions over the exact same route allowing me to deliver a fair comparison. Fuel economy as you would expect is better from the 2.3 ltr engine which is widely employed by Ford for some of its European models. But it wasn’t a massive gap, just a 4 mpg advantage over the 5 ltr which delivered in my hands an average figure just shy of 25mpg. This is good when you consider the power and size of the Mustang.
The new Mustang available in either hardtop or soft top guise would be a perfect weekend car or for that occasional sporting drive. I found comfort levels vastly improved compared with Mustangs of an earlier generation. This car has all of the creature comforts you’d expect in a modern European car of similar price. You get SYNC 3, an eight inch colour screen, a nine speaker DAB radio and USB connectivity so plenty for the gadget fans to play about with.
Colour choice is excellent and the really good news is on pricing, the 2.3 EcoBoost from £30,995 and the V8 from £34,995, a lot of motor car from quite a modest investment when you make price comparison to German rivals.
If you do join the Mustang club expect to be noticed, I doubt if few cars can come close on street cred and raw performance.
Thanks to Ford for continuing a legend – the Mustang, one that so far has endured 50 years, the next chapter is only beginning.
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