In the automotive Pantheon of greats there are many beautiful, successful, and iconic cars, but there is perhaps no other car within that hall of heroes as iconic or as emotionally charged as the Ford Mustang.
Stylish and charismatic while remaining attainable, for over 50 years the American icon has been driving its way into the hearts of drivers across the globe, and despite never having been offered for sale here in the UK it has always maintained a passionate following. Finally Ford has decreed that the Mustang will be sold right here in little old Blighty, but can this latest generation of the quintessential muscle car cut it on our shores?
It is a mistake to get into a Ford Mustang and expect Germanic levels of precision and overall quality, this isn’t a car to break records with sheer performance or wow you with a luxury interior. The purpose of the Ford Mustang as a car is solely to assist the driver in enjoying the experience of driving on the road. The types of experiences you have with the Mustang really depend on which body style you pick. A classic fastback body oozes villainous intent even when stationary, and you end up grabbing the car more by the scruff of the neck once you turn the key.
It’s stiffer than the convertible of course, and if you’re the kind of driver who likes to push on and get the power down, this is the Mustang for you. With the Mustang’s roof cut off, you tend to take things at a more leisurely pace. In this form it is far more prone to body roll in the corners, and while it is just a bit too lacking in rigidity, the truth is most people opting for this body style won’t be exploring the dynamic limits of the car. As a side note for those worried about American car sizes on British sized roads – don’t be – it’s not as big as you might expect it to be.
A lot of talk around the new Mustang has been the addition of the new 2.3 litre, 4 cylinder Ecoboost engine – the very same engine you’ll find inside the upcoming Focus RS. On the launch, we were given the opportunity to drive both engines available to customers; the new Ecoboost in a convertible Mustang, and the famous large capacity 5.0 V8 inside the fastback. Both cars obviously provide a very different driving experience, but they are both rewarding to drive smoothly and the more precise you are in your driving style the better they get.
The cynics surrounding the Ecoboost will tell you that it isn’t an engine suitable for the car, and while it’s true a lot of the character of the Mustang is lost in the absence of the V8, the Ecoboost is a fine engine with plenty of mid-range torque and it feels every bit a 313bhp engine. The charisma and sheer theatre of the traditional V8 really does deserve the extra rigidity of the fastback body style, and in that form it settles brilliantly in the corners, riding out bumps and crests with a fine sense of composure.
Clearly the Mustang isn’t going to blow everything else off the road with sheer pace and agility, but you won’t care because you’ll be having far too much fun just driving it. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, and that’s a charming and increasingly rare attribute to find in a performance car.
Ultimately the purists will tell you that the 2.3-litre Ecoboost is 4 cylinders short of being a good car, but they’re wrong. The Ecoboost isn’t perfect but it is a powerful unit and – like almost everything else in the world – it’s cheaper to run than a big V8, which is an engine in the autumn of its existence within the automotive world. British buyers wanting a Mustang to use a daily driver will struggle to get past the monumental running costs of the V8, even if it is by far the best engine for the car.
Starting from £29,000, the new Ford Mustang is exceptional value if nothing else. It’s an incredibly handsome machine that’s very easy to fall in love with, and at around half the price of a BMW M4 – and quite possibly more fun – if you’re in the market for a saucy coupe with bags of character, it’s very easy to make a compelling case for purchase. It may have taken 50 years to arrive with us, but Ford has provided actual physical evidence for that famous old adage – ‘good things come to those who wait.’ ‘Good’ though, just doesn’t do the new Mustang justice, It’s brilliant.
2015 Ford Mustang Specifications
|Performance & Economy||Ford Mustang Fastback 2.3 Ecoboost||Ford Mustang Fastback V8||Ford Mustang Convertible 2.3 Ecoboost||Ford Mustang Convertible V8|
|Engine||2.3-litre 4-cylinder turbocharged||5.0-litre V8||2.3-litre 4-cylinder turbocharged||5.0-litre V8|
|Transmission||Six-speed manual, front engine, rear-wheel drive||Six-speed manual, front engine, rear-wheel drive||Six-speed automatic, front engine, rear-wheel drive||Six-speed automatic, front engine, rear-wheel drive|
|Power (PS / bhp)||317 / 313||421 / 416||317 / 313||421 / 416|
|Torque (Nm / lb.ft)||432 / 318||530 / 390||432 / 318||530 / 390|
|0 – 62 mph (seconds)||5.8||4.8||6.0||TBC|
|Top Speed (mph)||155 (limited)||155 (limited)||145||TBC|
|CO2 Emissions (g/km)||179||299||184||306|
|Combined Economy (mpg)||35.3||20.9||34.4||20.8|