Fastback 5.0 V8 GT
is Fords latest marketing
buzz its intended to remove our
preconceptions of the brand and past
products. Strange, then, that theyve
been wheeling out nostalgia as a
hook to catch owners wanting Fords
latest and first-ever official right
hand-drive Mustang muscle car...
YEARS AFTER THE ORIGINAL model was introduced in the US, the arrival of the
sixth-generation Mustang in Europe has come about through Ford's global 'One
Ford' philosophy. This allows cars from any of their global sources to be sold
in any of their other markets as long as there is enough demand to make it worthwhile
to produce a product fit for local conditions.
Surprisingly the UK is already the largest market in Europe for Mustangs. Which
has allowed Mustang to officially come here. Over 1,000 UK customers have already
received their new Mustangs and advance sales have already topped 3,500.
Ford can sell as many Mustangs as they have customers for and there's
no restriction on supply from the factory. After the initial demand has been
met, annual UK sales are expected to level out at between 2,500 and 3,000 per
the UK is
already the largest
market in Europe for Mustangs.
Over 1,000 UK customers
have already received
their new Mustangs and
advance sales have
already topped 3,500
and Race Red is the most
Eight out of ten UK customers have ordered the Fastback two-door coupe over
the two-door Convertible. Most of them have also specified the 5.0-litre V8
410bhp petrol engine; and over half have decided to go with a manual transmission.
Not surprisingly, Race Red is the most popular colour.
Buyers love its heritage and know what it is. Of course, part of that knowing
what a Mustang is comes from its 3,000+ appearances in films most notably
James Bond's Goldfinger and, of course, Steve McQueen's Bullitt.
Amazingly, Ford's latest Mustang Facebook page has registered over eight million
But where to get one? Easy enough these new right hand-drive Mustang
Fastback and Convertible models are being sold in the UK through the recently
introduced, 70-strong specialist Ford Stores network who will also handle the
new Ford Focus RS.
Clearly part of the initial demand from UK buyers comes from petrolheads who
love V8 American engines and their dramatic soundtracks; part of the allure
also comes from the Mustang's legendary muscle-car history. And more from the
value-for-money pricing with its raw power and comprehensive specification that
makes the high running costs easier to swallow.
Prices start from £30,995 and rise to £34,995 for the Fastback coupe and £34,495
to £38,495 for the Convertible, both with six-speed manual transmissions. Both
engines are available with a six-speed automatic gearbox option which adds £1,500.
Both body styles are two-door, four-seaters. The initial powerplant options
for both body styles are a 5.0-litre, V8 GT (with a normally-aspirated 410bhp
and 390lb ft petrol engine) or a 2.3-litre, 4-cylinder turbocharged EcoBoost
petrol unit than manages 312bhp and 318lb ft.
Unlike its predecessors from 1964 onwards, the new sixth-gen Mustang, built
in the USA at Ford's Flat Rock Plant in Michigan, has been engineered from the
start to include right-hand drive models.
this side of the 'pond', American muscle cars are not known for their handling
finesse great in a straight-line but not so hot during cornering and
generally with a soft and sloppy suspension. Unlearn that because this new Mustang
is claimed by Ford to be the most technically advanced version ever.
cars are not
known for their handling
finesse great in a
straight-line but not so
hot during cornering and
generally with a soft
and sloppy suspension.
Unlearn that because
this new Mustang is
claimed by Ford to be the
advanced version ever...
features a new chassis of high-strength steel pressings, ultra-high strength
aluminium castings and steel tube laser-welded components all bonded together
to improve rigidity by 28%.
However, it's still over 200kg heavier than some of its German competitors;
and bigger and wider than, say, an Audi TT or a BMW 2 Series Coupe its
potential competitors in terms of price. In terms of size and muscle-power the
more expensive Audi RS7 Sportback, BMW 6 Series Coupe or Vauxhall's VXR8 Saloon
are rivals for your money.
The new Mustang has independent MacPherson strut suspension at the front and
an independent multi-link system at the rear instead of the archaic live axle
and leaf springs system.
Ford claim the handling has been developed to deliver high levels of balance,
responsiveness and fun driving. To this end official European market models
get Ford's Performance Pack as standard (this adds front strut braces, a thicker
rear anti-roll bar and stiffer springs). Also, unlike their American market
cousins these Mustangs get uprated 380mm front brakes with six-pot callipers,
a larger radiator and an additional oil cooler.
Similarly, on-board user-friendly technology includes Ford's voice-activated
connectivity system SYNC 2 that enables drivers to voice control audio, navigation,
climate control and connected mobile phones. Also complying with European requirements
are Selectable Drive Modes to help the Mustang's set-up match driver mood and
On a twisty road or a trackday, a lift of the toggle switches quickly adjusts
steering effort, engine response, transmission and electronic stability control
settings to Normal, Sport+, Track, or Snow/Wet settings. For V8 models there
is also a Line Lock launch control function which applies the front brakes allowing
drivers to spin and warm up the rear tyres.
The latest Mustang retains the long bonnet and short rear deck design, fronted
by a sleek nose, and steeply raked windscreen and rear C-pillars (there are
no B-pillars in between). A low roofline links the two and wide flanks accommodate
significantly wider tracks. Retained is the iconic trapezoidal grille with the
signature galloping Mustang pony set centrally within it. Below that is what
Ford call's the 'shark-bite' front under bumper. These European-market cars
also have daytime running lights integrated in the foglight housings with, at
the rear, 'tri-bar' LED taillights.
how does the new Mustang size-up? Well it's a few millimetres short of 4.8 metres
long, 1,918mm wide and 1,394mm tall. Inside, with the front seats positioned
for adult comfort, rear seat legroom is minimal. The coupe roofline means access
to the back seats needs to be a stooping affair and watch out for those
long front doors; not good for side-by-side UK parking. At just 332 litres the
boot is not big but then who buys a Mustang for carrying luggage?
5.0-litre V8 petrol
engine pumps out
410bhp and now has
variable valve timing with
four valves per cylinder
to meet EU6 emission
While this slow-revving unit provides 390lb ft
of torque at 4,250rpm,
for racier driving full use
is needed of the six-
speed manual box...
cabin is a mix of modern and retro: a high level front fascia panel reaches
out to the high waistline and smallish windows; and there's a hefty three-spoke
steering wheel with some control buttons and two large instrument dials plus
an information panel all viewed through the wheel.
A common feature with other European Ford models is the eight-inch touchscreen
positioned centrally but low down in the fascia which accommodates the infotainment
functions, Ford Sync2, and the reversing camera's views. It's also home to the
SatNav which, oddly, is not standard-fit but is available as an option together
with an uprated 12-speaker sound system for £795.
Beneath the screen are conventional ventilation, heater and air-con controls
and beneath those are cheap looking chrome effect toggle switches shades
of old-school American automotive trim. The Convertible version has a powered
multi-layer fabric roof. The manual gear lever is a dimpled effect, ball-shaped
knob and this provides a firm but short throw gearchange which isn't the slickest
What it lacks are electronic driver aids such as adaptive or adjustable suspension
settings, blind spot monitoring and emergency radar braking that are readily
found in premium brand European sports cars. That said, quite obviously it's
the Mustang's heritage and the desire for being 'retro' that appeals to die-hard
The best-selling 5.0-litre V8 petrol engine pumps out 410bhp and now has variable
valve timing with four valves per cylinder to meet EU6 emission levels. While
slow-revving unit provides 390lb ft of torque at 4,250rpm, for racier driving
full use is needed of the six-speed manual 'box which I found better
than the six-speed auto's slow and inconsistent gearchanges.
The auto's okay for 'cruising' but not so great for 'bruising' fun driving.
Top speed is 155mph and zero to 62mph takes 4.8 seconds although due to its
bulk progress felt slower. There's still enough punch to 'kick-out' the rear
driving wheels under hard acceleration, especially on wet roads.
the Combined Cycle fuel economy is 20.9mpg but we actually achieved 24.3mpg
on busy country roads. Short bursts of acceleration brought the real-life figure
down to 14mpg but overall the consumption quickly recovered to over 24mpg as
provides a modern-day
yesteryear muscle car
motoring. Yes you still
get the burbling sound
from the V8s exhaust;
Yes you still get a shove
in the back as you
accelerate off the line.
But it now handles in a
more precise way,
similar to European
At 299g/km the CO2 means you'll fork out £1,120 for the First Year's road tax
(£515 from Year Two). Should a business executive get a Mustang as a company
car then the Benefit-in-Kind tax will be the maximum 37%. Insurance costs are
high too: Band 46E.
the V8 Mustang provides a modern-day interpretation of yesteryear muscle car
motoring. Yes you still get the burbling sound from the V8's exhaust; Yes you
still get a shove in the back as you accelerate off the line.
But it now handles in a more precise way, similar to European 'muscle-cars':
the ride is on the firm side but generally comfortable; and it corners well
enough and the steering is well weighted. The fact that it's not been too sanitised,
together with its iconic name, heritage and styling, is precisely what's making
it a success here in the UK.
If big V8s are not your forte, the four-cylinder 2.3-litre EcoBoost turbo petrol
unit with 312bhp and 318lb ft will, if you buy one, save you £4K. Top speed
takes a token hit, dropping form 155 to 145mph while the more important zero
to 62mph time takes 5.8 seconds. Real-world fuel consumption for the manual
'box is 22.1mpg and emissions of 179g/km mean road tax is £500 (reducing to
£270 for Year Two).
For those not interested in performance 'bragging rights' but who want the Mustang
for its looks, this could well represent the best 'cruising' choice in terms
of purchase and running costs. However, it feels a bit weak in the engine department,
lacking the 'grunt' of the V8 and the exhaust soundtrack lacked the 'theatre'
of what a Mustang should offer.
Fans will happily live with the thirsty V8 and the high running costs and taxes
to drive one of these 'right hooker' Mustangs because overall they offer excellent
value for money, are highly specced with a roomy front cabin and a comfortable
ride and serve up well balanced handling.
Ford Mustang Fastback 5.0 V8 GT
Maximum speed: 155mph | 0-62mph: 4.8 seconds | Test Average: 24.3mpg
Power: 410bhp | Torque: 390lb ft | CO2: 299g/km