– Attractive all-round styling
– Improved cabin trim and tech
– Power, ride and handling
– More expensive than ever
– Tight rear seating
– Some hard cabin plastics
The last time we drove the latest Ford Mustang, it was the EcoBoost turbo-4 model and we were debating whether it’s blasphemous to have a Mustang with anything less than a V8, even while most of the ones running around the UAE are of the V6 variety. However, screw the debate and let’s check out the real deal — the Ford Mustang GT, complete with a hairy-chested “5.0” V8.
The new Mustang is a new-from-the-ground-up design. Longer, wider and taller than before, we weren’t fans of the softer new styling direction compared to the old one, but it’s a great-looking coupe on its own merit. There are intricate details, such as the sharp chin spoiler and the chrome trim around the tail lamps, that are noticeable only when you’re standing right next to it. However, there’s also no easy way to tell your “5.0” apart from the EcoBoost and V6 models, aside from badges and wheels mainly.
While the interior still uses retro design elements from the previous model, it is hugely improved from the hard-plastic tub of old, with generous use of soft-touch surfaces, well-padded leatherette and chunks of metal dash trim. There are still hard-plastic panels in the lower half of the cabin, but that’s standard for this class. With pretty gauges, a big LCD touchscreen and metal toggle switches for certain functions, the premium ambience is miles ahead of the plasticky Chevy Camaro, aside from having better outward visibility and general airiness as well.
The GT is sold only in fully-loaded form, so it comes with the SYNC multimedia touchscreen with Bluetooth, blind-spot monitoring, partially power-adjustable leatherette seats with heating and cooling functions, a good dual-zone auto a/c, smart keyless entry and start, adaptive cruise control, HID headlights with LED running lamps, fog lamps and more. Interesting gimmicks include side-mirrors that throw pony-shaped lights on the ground as you enter, and the possibility to change the colours of the in-car mood lighting. Oddly enough, the navigation software is an aftermarket affair, retrofitted to the existing touchscreen so the look and feel of the interface is different.
While very spacious up front, the rear seats are still not fit for adults. Access to the rear also remains tight. The boot looks to be bigger than before, and of a very useable size. There are door pockets, an under-armrest cubby with USB/AUX ports, the usual glovebox and two open cup-holders up front, but otherwise there’s no other place to keep your phone.
For 2015, there are the aforementioned base 300 hp 3.7-litre V6 and mid-range 325 hp 2.3-litre turbo-4 options, but the most desirable version remains the GT with the 5.0-litre V8, now making 435 hp at 6500 rpm, with 542 Nm of torque at 4250 rpm. During our December test, a brake-torque launch at around 2000 rpm with stability control off produced a 0-100 kph time of 5.4 seconds, about the same as the crude old GT. The transmission in our car was a 6-speed automatic, now with paddle shifters if you wish to use them, although a manual gearbox is also available. The rear wheels put the power down on the tarmac via sticky Pirelli 255/40 tyres, wrapped around 19-inch alloys that are part of the “50th Anniversary” package. Our car burned petrol at a rate of about 15.5 litres/100 km, as per the trip computer, which is respectable for a V8.
The new Mustang now comes with independent rear suspension, unlike the solid axle of old, which makes it remarkably more refined than the outgoing model. Fair feedback and instant responses to inputs from the moderately-weighted steering and linear-acting brake pedal, as well as a willing 6-speed automatic gearbox in ‘sport’ mode, make it a pleasure to drive without “modern” annoyances such as laggy dual-clutch trannies or grabby brakes that afflict many European sports cars. While the old Mustang had an odd tendency to want to powerslide around every corner, even at low speeds, the new one feels less frisky on a city drive.
There’s also tons of grip around corners, with minimal body roll and neutral behaviour. The Brembo brakes are strong enough for hasty street driving. About the only minor issue we noticed was a slight floatiness over certain road imperfections, likely a side-effect of a more compliant ride.
Indeed, the new Mustang rides softer and quieter than any before it. Mind you, it’s no Rolls-Royce, as those low-profile do pick up some of the harsher bumps, but it’s a car you can easily commute in now. Wind noise is still noticeable at highways speeds, but it’s entirely bearable.
Now some might think the new Mustang is now “too refined,” but we don’t see how a 435 hp rear-driven car can ever be that. It has defeatable traction control and even a line-lock feature to make burnouts easy, neither of which we actually tried. But they’re there, should you feel the need to lose your licence. For those not living in the imaginary world of 1970s movies, this new Mustang GT is as good as it gets in this price bracket, even if it costs a fair bit more now, as the only things better are stupidly-overpriced cars from the Germans.
Current Model Introduced in:
Test Acceleration 0-100 kph:
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