Just typing “Ford Mustang” in to the title of this post gives me butterflies. Is there a more iconic car in the world? If there is, it is debatable. It is part of our cultural fabric, a part of our car fantasies and dreams. Let me start by taking you back to when CGI didn’t exist and car chases were raw, authentic and had to depend solely on the car (and Steve McQueen) to conjure up drama and excitement.
Just let the number 9.8 million sink in to your head for a moment. That’s 9.8 million Mustangs sold since 1965. We have had 2 642 sold in South Africa since 2016. That same year it was the world’s best selling sports car. And when you think just how small this segment is and the 1-2% of market share it holds, that is quite a feat.
I headed out to Montagu this week to test drive the brand new Ford Mustang and what a trip it was. Not only did I drive the 2.3 EcoBoost model, but I also got to experience the 5.0 V8 AND the even more iconic Bullitt. Yislaaik you must be so jealous reading this post.
THE NEW FORD MUSTANG, LADIES AND GENTLEMAN
Ford calls it the sleeker, faster and more technologically advanced new Ford Mustang. The are changes to the front and rear of the car. The bonnet profile is now lower with integrated air vents, combined with a revised lower grille design. The rear sees a re-modelled bumper and diffuser element, accommodating standard quad-tailpipes for the 5.0-litre GT model.
There are also three new colours on offer; Kona Blue, Orange Fury and Velocity Blue. 19-inch alloys can round off the look for you.
The new Mustang doesn’t blow you away when you sit inside. Don’t get me wrong, it is all Mustang in there, but it just doesn’t deliver the punch I am after. It is lacking in build quality and refinement. Even with the soft touch materials which now feature for the door linings and the door handles which are finished in aluminium.
You can place your bum in leather-trimmed, heated and cooled seats. And the customisable, all-digital, 12-inch LCD instrument cluster delivers information displays optimised to match the selected Drive Mode – similar to the Ford GT supercar.
For the first time Mustang is equipped with Adaptive Cruise Control and Distance Alert technologies that help drivers maintain an appropriate distance to the vehicle ahead, as well as Lane Departure Warning. It is also offered with a comprehensive range of driver assistance technologies including Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection.
BUT NOW FOR THE GOOD STUFF
As much as a Mustang is all about the looks, the feel, and the image, it is the engines that lie at the very heart of it. The 2.3-litre EcoBoost petrol engine delivers 213 kW and 441 Nm of torque – which is an increase of 11Nm. Sure, it is still fun, but it doesn’t really get the heart racing quite like the 5.0-litre. For obvious reasons.
The 2.3-litre is obviously not as engaging to drive. And the convertible top means that there is a lot of wind and road noise penetrating the cabin. Put that top down, though, and the appeal changes somewhat. Wave at the onlookers, because there will be many.
The 5.0-litre V8 engine delivers more power and a higher rev-limit than ever before. Peak power climbs from 309 kW on the previous model to 331 kW, with an accompanying torque peak of 529 Nm. This is supported by the introduction of Ford’s new high-pressure direct injection and low-pressure port fuel injection system which improves low-end torque.
The sound escaping the exhausts can bring even the most hardened car lover to tears. Ok that is a tad dramatic, but you get my point. This car is just all about the fun. That is it. What else does it really need to be?
YOU’RE SO VAIN
This, my friends, is the car you drive when you want outright attention. There is no escaping the beady eyes that follow your every move in this car. From petrol attendants to road workers to farm workers to pedestrians to CEOs and restaurant owners. There is no one this car doesn’t affect.
The quaint town of Montagu was in for the shock of its life when we all arrived. I think the town might still be shaking. Especially after we were afforded the opportunity to take the Bullitt out on a run.
Thankfully, Ford has produced what they call “Good Neighbour” mode. It means you can start the engine in a quieter manner so as not to anger your neighbours. Put it Race Track mode, however, and you might just be evicted…or become the most envied neighbour on your block.
MANUAL ALL THE WAY
As much as the 10-speed auto is mated well to both the 2.3 and 5.0 engines, there is just something refreshing about driving the Mustang in manual guise. Taking it back to old school. The Bullitt is something else. If you want to see just how I drove it (on a closed road…if you notice my speed) then go to my Instagram profile and check out my Insta Stories.
There are only a limited number of 50 Bullitts coming to South Africa. 25 have already found new homes. Best you get in there quickly if you want one.
VALUE FOR MONEY
There are few cars, if any, at this price range that can do for you what a Mustang can. It is just every thing you think it is going to be, and more. Sure, the performance numbers might not scream out to the true enthusiasts out there, but there is no denying the charm of a Mustang. If you want to drive with a permanent grin on your face, take a Mustang for a spin.
PRICING OF THE NEW FORD MUSTANG
Mustang 2.3 Fastback 10AT R768 000
Mustang 2.3 Convertible 10AT R831 000
Mustang 5.0 GT Fastback 10AT R915 800
Mustang 5.0 GT Convertible 10AT R978 400
Mustang Bullitt 5.0 V8 GT Fastback 6MT R995 400