When the current sixth-generation Mustang debuted in 2015, the motoring world was all too happy to welcome the newest iteration of Ford’s legendary muscle car. Sales figures soared for the sporty two door, seeing a 74 percent improvement for 2016 alone. It’s now being sold in 140 countries including the lucrative Chinese market.
However, there is a facelifted replacement for 2018 that’s just waiting in the wings. So before this stallion gets “put out to stud,” let’s take the ‘Stang for one last gallop, and find out what makes it one roarin’ ride.
For starters, the Mustang came out of the gates with some more aggressive styling. The front end was rendered with a sharper nose, accentuated by the longer but narrower headlights. Where the older model appeared more squarish up front, this new coupe no doubt looked sleeker and meaner when it appeared on your rearview. Familiar traits such as the vertical accenting on the tail lights were carried over, as was the fastback profile of the hardtop models.
New for the model line was the availability of the 2.3-liter turbo 4 Ecoboost engine which offered a healthy 310 horsepower. This engine made the Mustang a more flexible option outside the US, as fuel efficiency and tariff concerns could be addressed. The biggest change, though, was Ford’s use of an independent rear suspension. Long lambasted for its continued use of a live axle rear suspension (which was good for drag racing but archaic for handling and comfort), the Mustang’s growing sales finally justified the more expensive independent rear setup.
Of course, true fans of the Mustang will always gun for the big daddy model, the Mustang GT. This is the car with the five-liter V8 engine that pumps out 435 horsepower and 542 Newtonmeters of twist! And, staying true to its Detroit Muscle roots, it has the bonafide engine soundtrack to boast. Vroom, vroom.
Equipped with a six-speed automatic, the Mustang can be clocked to 100 kilometers per hour (kph) from stop in the mid four-second mark, and roar to a top speed in excess of 260 kph. Quite impressive for a car that weighs at least 3,700 lbs. Ford also installed some nifty Track Apps in the Mustang, affirming this pony car’s playful demeanor. With these toys, you can time acceleration tests like 0 to 60 or one-fourth mile runs, measure G forces via the accelerometer, and even engage launch control for that optimized wholeshot take-off. Of course, the most fun to use is the line-lock feature, a tool that automatically brakes the front wheels so you can do smoky burn-outs. Quite juvenile, but hella fun!
Within the car, passengers also get treated to the Mustang’s retro themed cabin, recalling the glory days of the car. The circular steering wheel with the Mustang logo in the middle is reminiscent of the ’60s-’70s models, as are the round dash gauges behind it.
Aviation-inspired instruments are seen below the center stack, where flickable switches alter the driving modes and other functions. If you look close enough, you’ll notice “groundspeed” written on the speedometer, which again is an allusion to an airplane cockpit. Even the layout of the door panels resembles those of yesteryear Mustangs.
What’s it like to drive?
Your first instinct behind the wheel is to see what it’s got, and this means flooring the pedal at every chance. The sound of that big V8 is intoxicating, as today’s puny four cylinders and turbo diesels won’t hold an octave to the Mustang’s rockstar vocals.
When you do find a long stretch of tarmac to unleash the brute, you begin to sense that things have to be taken more seriously. The 435 horsepower is no joke, and if you take your eye off the ball too long, this bucking bronco will hurl you off the saddle. That independent rear suspension has tamed this steed all right, and you find a more flowing progression to your driving. The sixspeed transmission may struggle coping with your ups and downs, but it’s mentally present for the power it needs to transmit.
Still, it’s a slow-in fast-out affair with the Mustang when attacking turns, as there’s no disguising that heavy nose. Bury the throttle and it will gallop relentlessly, although not as scintillating as a tinier sportscar. Engine decibels flood the cabin, roaring louder and louder as that tach needle whips towards the 6,500-rpm (revolutions per minute) redline. You notice the speed, your palms sweat, heart pounds, as you’re reining in a real horse.
Even with the Brembo brakes shod on the GT, there is a momentary lull upon initial engagement, when you think “oh shit”, but the Mustang manages to haul itself down to saner speeds. Still, if you just want to cruise on for miles on end, the Mustang will happily oblige comfortably like any American-made vehicle.
True to its roots
Affordable power and desirable styling used to be the hallmarks of the pony car segment. These pint-sized muscle cars were perfect for the working man’s need for speed. The sixth-generation Mustang takes this a step further, by offering more comfort and space, while retaining that V8 power and sound.
With technical enhancements, it’s also found a knack for twisties. And at a price just over P3,000,000, it’s one great performance bargain! There is a refreshed model soon to launch next year, and I can’t wait to get back on the saddle!
Photos by Angelo Puyat.
This story first appeared in the December 2017 – January 2018 issue of Metro Society.