Fifty years ago, in 1967, the first Ford Mustang was driven nearly to hell by Steve McQueen in that epic, iconic chase in ‘Bullitt.’
Tom Scanlan drives a brace of America's finest, the Mustang Convertible 5.0 V8 GT and Mustang Fastback 5.0 V8 GT
Well, whatever people say, that’s just not true, because the Mustang, after a totally different prototype, first galloped onto the American scene three years earlier, in 1965. The McQueen Mustang was a 1968 car. So, the two Mustangs that we see here are only forty-nine years after Bullitt.
There are, though (well done, Ford designers) hark-backs to McQueen’s Mustang, if we can still refer to it as such. Inside, the speedo and rev-counter instruments are binnacled likewise and the dashboard is double-headed to give symmetry to both the driver’s and passenger’s side. And outside there are those three-bar rear-light clusters (also now nabbed by Peugeot’s 3008 — check it out).
The Ford Mustang is the UK's favourite classic car, but todays choice right now is between the new convertible and the Fastback. And do you go for the manual six-speed or the automatic? And the engine. Ford Mustangs have two on offer. There’s the 5-litre V8 and a 2.3 Ecoboost that sets you back around ten grand less.
No contest; it has to be the V8. And 70% of buyers back this choice, because that is the proportion who have gone for the V8. According to figures from Ford, maximum power for the Fastback is 416 PS, while the convertible has 421 PS. Emissions, likewise are a touch more with 299 g/km against 289 g/km.
The official combined consumption figures vary from 20.9 mpg to 22.1 mpg in favour of the auto convertible; my figures, according to at least to the trip computer, were the other way round: 23.2 mpg for the convertible and no less than 28.0 mpg for the Fastback...but driving conditions for the Fastback were more on motorways and dual carriageways. But, note, these returns were better than the official figures. That could be unique in the industry. In which case, I have to cover myself and say that the stats were not derived in a scientifically proven way.
V8 engines, apart from being THE motor for your typical enthusiast of American cars, have been built in so many millions that they are have come to be almost bomb-proof. Not only that, they sound great!
And the gearbox: auto or ‘six on the floor’?
The manual is a touch notchy. There was also, in the Fastback test car, some obvious transmission noise, possibly from the linkage, and a sort of loose feeling in the gear-change. The manual transmission also had a very audible whine at 2000 rpm, which was at just over the 70 mph limit. The automatic, though, had fast and faultless changes, so I know what my choice would be, especially with the usual paddle and manual gear shift operation available.
The convertible Mustang’s roof comes down in seconds. It’s not totally electrically-operated. First of all, a hand-lever unlocks the front of the hood from the windscreen. Then you press the switch for the motor to quickly stow the hood away and the windows back to full-up position all in ten seconds.
With the roof up, the convertible is relaxed and quiet at the motorway maximum, with only a whisper of wind noise. If you like quiet, it’s not quite so quiet as the Fastback. Visibility out is great with the hood down, but not so good with the hood up and loses out to the Fastback in this respect. However, bonus points go to Ford for providing sun visors, which is not always the case with convertibles. Maybe a minus, though, for the handbrake to remain on the left-hand side of the central console.
Compared to the Fastback, the convertible gives an extra dollop of that glorious exhaust sound out back. The convertible is also commendably quiet and free from wind-buffeting at 70 mph, but both versions let you enjoy that big, unmistakable 8-cylinder chorus when you red-line the rpm and, if you do this from zero, it’s less than five seconds to 60 mph. That’s a lot of fun for the money.
The brakes worked really well in a securely powerful manner and the Mustangs were very comfortable to ride in. The driver’s seat I found to be perfect for my particular shape, once the various adjustments were operated. The suspension provided a somewhat jiggly ride on some of my local roads, but generally managed very well and the Mustangs cornered powerfully.
Mustangs provide a memorable experience...sitting at the wheel looking down the ridge in the bonnet at the road ahead, that V8 power and noise. And at around more or less £40,000 depending on your choice of options, the Ford Mustang is very nearly (but maybe not quite) a great car for the money.
Car reviewed: Ford Mustang Convertible 5.0 V8 GT - Base Price On the road £39,515 0-60mph 4.8 secs Top speed 155mph Fuel Economy combined 20.8mpg CO2 emissions 306g/km Engine 4951cc V8 EU6 Petrol Max Power 416PS@6500 rpm Torque 530Nm@4250rpm Transmission 6-Speed manual
Car reviewed: Ford Mustang Fastback 5.0 V8 GT- Base Price On the road £38,095 0-60mph 4.8 secs Top speed 155mph Fuel Economy combined 20.9mpg CO2 emissions 299g/km Engine 4951cc V8 EU6 Petrol Max Power 416PS@6500 rpm Torque 530Nm@4250rpm Transmission 6-Speed manual
FUN, FUN, FUN and it's not a T-Bird
Fabulous 'must-have' V8 Engine
A memorable car
Fuel consumption and emissions
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