The history of the Ford Mustang has been covered many, many times before and if you like your cars, which I assume you do, most of you out there will already be fans of this iconic piece of American muscle. The only criticism of the legend that is the Mustang has been from those of us over here in the U.K. who have had to wait fifty years or so for Ford to work out how to put the steering wheel and dials onto the correct side of the car and suspension that will allow for, what we like to call, corners. And now, after listening carefully, Ford have finally seen the light and bequeathed that the mighty Mustang will indeed be seen, officially, on this side of the pond. Believe you me, and you certainly should, we are eternally grateful.
If you’re going to buy a muscle car then you need one with genuine muscle rather than a facsimile which, in my mind, means an engine with at least eight cylinders and a capacity of 5 Litres or more and in this respect Ford are right on the money with their 2015 Mustang offered with a 5.0I V8 as any more cylinders or capacity and the respectable (for a muscle car) combined 22.1 mpg and CO2 emissions of 289 g/km would surely become uneconomical for our U.K. sensibilities. As it stands, if you expect a car such as this to be able to replicate the efficiency of the same brand’s all new Fiesta, then you’re clearly looking at the wrong type of car.
So you’ve made the correct decision and are looking at putting a Ford Mustang 5.0I GT Convertible 2DR Auto 6SP on the drive for all to admire and you know what? This is by no means a car for a shy, retiring type of driver. Indeed, the convertible on test is the first car in a long time to elicit such glorious responses from young and old alike when out and about on the highways and byways of this green and pleasant land of ours. I have never spent so much time answering questions from passers by or shouting details to other drivers whilst waiting in traffic as I have when in the Ford as despite the Mustang becoming a slightly more familiar sight on our roads it still has that unique Mustang ability to leave people both stunned and amazed by it’s form. It would appear that the Mustang is still the coolest car on the road and probably has been since it’s inception way back in 1964. The only difficulty as far as I can see is which model to buy, do you go for the convertible as tested, with it’s stunning profile and incredible rear or the more classic Fastback style à la Steve McQueen’s iconic 1968 GT in the classic movie, Bullitt?
So we’ve established that the 2015 Ford Mustang has still got what it takes despite being over 50 years old, that it’s ability to impress both young and old alike is undiminished, which is certainly important, but the Mustang must have more than an achingly pretty profile if it is to be a worthy successor to it’s forbears.
Sitting down into the cabin and what’s immediately clear is the attention to detail bestowed upon the interior with a quality feel to all controls. Switches feels chunky and solid, as if hewn from a single ingot of metal, the dials infront of you glow with an intense, green luminosity which contrasts beautifully with the blue ambient lighting and stark metal of the retro switches and muscular gear shift. Retro touches abound with the speedometer proudly displaying its impressive ‘groundspeed’ nomenclature, a touch of yesteryear that will surely please Mustang fans of old and a feature that raises a smile every time you look at the speedo. There’s the iconic double-brow facia with it’s ‘Mustang since ’64’ badge directly in your passengers eye-line, those aircraft style toggle switches for hazard lights, traction control, steering and driving modes whilst the leather clad steering wheel feels just right in your hands.
Amongst all of these quality touches, Ford have still been able to combine the throwback features from a more analogue age with bang up to date digital technology. Between the dials there’s a digital feedback screen offering selectable information depending on need, such as mpg, distance to empty, trip, odometer and such like whilst both Convertible and Fastback have a centrally mounted 8″ colour touchscreen which, Ford say: Connects with your smartphone applications using AppLink, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, letting you con gure your home screen the way you want it. New swipe and pinch-to-zoom features, plus the latest 3D map view with one-box search tool make SYNC 3 even easier to use. Mustang’s new SYNC 3 system lets you control music, manage your calls, text messaging and phone Apps, satellite navigation (optional) and climate control with simple voice commands. And in everyday use? The touchscreen is so simple to use that it becomes integral to your enjoyment allowing you to configure your Mustang exactly how you want it to be.
What you all want to know though is how does the Mustang drive? Does it manage to move away from the clichéd view of American muscle car from days gone by, that of demolishing straights but being demolished by corners? Or does the Mustang usher in a new era of sports car handling to go with it’s phenomenal levels of power?
With keyless ignition it’s foot on the clutch time and a press of the red rimmed start stop button to wake the 5.0I V8 before getting to see how this Mustang Convertible performs. Oh My word, that rumble, it is so expressive, so visceral, you can feel the power and fury of the Mustang’s power plant as it fills the cabin with the guttural sound of mechanical beats. You can’t help but sink back into the comfortable leather drivers seat and blip the throttle one more time just to enjoy the moment. Indeed, there’s a feeling that something special is about to happen every time you reach across and forward for the gear shift when it’s finally time to engage drive and don’t worry, you get exactly the same feeling every single time you start the engine. Superb.
leaving the Mustang’s driving and steering modes alone should make for a relaxing drive as there’s dampness in the air and pulling away onto the A650 for the trip back towards Bradford, West Yorkshire gives no hint of the power underneath the hood, it’s just you, the Mustang, that delicious rumble and those unforgettable banks of glowing rear lights that let people know something rather special has just passed by.
Once the traffic begins to thin and confidence grows in the neutral handling of the Ford it’s time to become more daring with the throttle, add a little more pressure, feel the power being transferred through the rear wheels onto the tarmac and revel in how the Mustang begins to come alive. Even in normal driving mode the Mustang easily lives up to it’s muscular reputation as you feel your way through the revs. Stick to gentle touches and the Mustang rewards you with silky smooth power but search a bit deeper and you can sense the Mustang’s true personality lurking just beneath the surface. The remaining journey back to Bradford passes by in somewhat of a blur, the first drive leaving you wanting more as you turn and drink in the details once again, noticing the accentuated rear wheel arches and perfect proportions once more as you do so.
The 5.0I V8 is perfectly suited to the car, infact, an upgraded valvetrain and cylinder heads help the engine develop around 410 bhp and 390 Ib/ft of torque whilst a specially developed intake manifold also improves low speed breathing for better fuel efficiency and emissions. But honestly, none of that really matters when you’re driving the Ford as when you’re in the driver’s seat you can only think about the here and now as the connection between you and the car, roof up or down, is absolutely brilliant. As your confidence in the Mustang’s abilities grow, helped no doubt by the the specially developed chassis with fully independent suspension making this the most agile Mustang ever, then your relationship builds, trust is gained in both directions and as with the very best, you automatically begin to search out the long way home. Add to that the Ford’s low centre of gravity, a limited slip differential and selectable driving modes and you find that the Mustang is equally at home on the hairpin bends of a mountain pass, on the motorway or in Bradford.
With the engine moved up into sport+ the smooth automatic gearbox works it’s role with relish, changing up and down the ‘box with nary a whimper whilst utilising all of it’s six gears, but begin to push and the whole character of the car starts to change. As you add more pressure to the pedal, the gears quickly drop down allowing the engine to sit bang in the middle of it’s torque curve creating a sense of unlimited acceleration as the bonnet gently rises and rear tyres scrabble for grip, testing to the limit the Mustang’s all independent suspension, suspension that Ford say: has been tuned to provide anti-squat, anti-lift and anti-dive characteristics. This helps keep the Mustang’s body more level under hard acceleration or braking. And it’s a feeling that you’ll never tire of, the noise, the sense of occasion and the feeling of power is utterly addictive.
Obviously, you’ll be respecting the road, conditions, traffic and Mustang but when the opportunity arises for a bit of fun then you absolutely must take it. Drive the Ford like you would a small two seater and it will bite you, there’s just too much bulk and power for that but take control and push the Mustang where you need it to go and you’ll be rewarded with a beautifully controllable piece of American muscle. And when pushed too hard and you start to feel the rear beginning to break away, things appear to slow down inside the cabin as the Mustang is so forgiving and feels so controllable making it so simple to bring everything back in line and continue the drive. But don’t forget, amend the engine mode back to normal and this is a car that you can drive to the supermarket for your weekly shop or spend the week commuting to work and back through the centre of town, it’s an incredible engine and chassis.
There aren’t many cars these days that create such a strong feeling of desire so very, very quickly and would appear to offer an almost perfect mix of power, poise and looks to the consumer. Unlike other supercars this 5.0I V8 all American icon can be on your drive for between £38,095.00-£44,895.00 and that is an absolute bargain.
I adore it and I desperately want one.
Where will you go?