We won’t beat about the bush: the Ford Mustang has one of the best car names ever. The original Mustang helped kickstart the muscle car class and has appeared as a star of the silver screen for over 50 years – almost always driven by the good guys in films such as Bullitt and Gone in Sixty Seconds.
In all that time, however, we’ve never been able to buy one through official channels in Europe – let alone in right-hand drive. This hasn’t stopped enterprising enthusiasts from importing over 4,000 cars to the UK and, fuelled by this demand, the Mustang is coming to the UK for the first time in its history.
We’ve been driving the new Mustang for Europe at its launch event in Bavaria and it’s certainly as dramatic as ever. If you’ve always fancied having a Mustang on your driveway, read on, and we’ll update this article over the next 24 hours as we get more time behind the wheel.
It drives like a sports car should
The Mustang has been designed from the start with European roads in mind and this means, unlike many of the American muscle and pony cars of the past, you get independent rear suspension. This means the rear wheels can move independently of one another where they were previously linked via a ‘live axle’.
This may not seem like much of an issue, but it gives the back of the car a more compliant and sure-footed feel than its predecessors. It may sacrifice a few tenths of a second on the drag strip, but you’ll be much happier driving down country lanes.
On our drive over smooth Bavarian roads we found the Mustang to be surprisingly cultured and, even in hardest Sport+ mode, wasn’t too uncomfortable. The steering gains a little weight in its sportier settings over the standard ones to deliver better feedback. We did notice that, thanks to the thick pillars and sloping bonnet, visibility wasn’t great but it’s a small price to pay when driving such an attractive car.
V8 V8 V8!
Just as iconic as the Mustang is its 5.0-litre V8, and the good news is Ford Europe hasn’t wimped out of offering this in emissions-conscious UK. It spits out just over 410hp, translating to a 0-60mph time of under five seconds.
It sounds terrific of course, but with average fuel economy of 21mpg you might want to think twice about flooring it too often. Especially with a 61-litre fuel tank limiting your range to a paltry 280 miles.
Compared to the smaller engine options, the V8 feels more aggressively set up but, when cruising, the longer top gear makes for less engine noise. Although not a scientific test, we felt we could get closer to the claimed efficiency figures in the V8 than in the EcoBoost.
There’s a more economical option too
There are plenty who think the V8 makes the Mustang, but there’s always been a more economical option and it’s an interesting one. Ford has opted to use a four-cylinder EcoBoost engine.
This is a concept that may cause some wrinkled noses among muscle car fans, but it’s the 310hp 2.3-litre unit from the Focus RS. This provides plenty of pace and the slightly reduced weight over the nose makes for a better balanced car. It’s not as far behind in the 0-60mph sprint as you might expect either.
On our test, it felt responsive to throttle inputs and didn’t really suffer from turbo lag. It misses out on the aural excitement of the V8 but, thanks to some clever sound design, still produces a pleasing induction roar under acceleration.
We felt the car was slightly more balanced than the V8 thanks to a better weight distribution but the margins are so fine you’d have to be on a racetrack to notice. Despite being the more efficient option on paper, we found it harder to achieve the claimed fuel efficiency figures on our brief drive.
Plus a convertible and a manual
Britain is a nation of convertible lovers for some reason – we buy more per capita than anywhere but California – and the good news is that you can buy either engine with a convertible body too. It’s a traditional fabric affair rather than a new-fangled metal roof and takes only a few seconds to electrically open and close. On test, the convertible didn’t suffer too badly from wind buffeting making topless motorway conversations a breeze!
Did we mention the price?
If you want a Mustang, you can buy one for £29k. If you have to have a V8, it starts at £33k. We’re not aware of many cars that can come close to the EcoBoost model for power-to-price, but the V8 is astonishingly cheap. It might be 2015’s performance bargain but, if you order one right now, you won’t see it until April 2016 at the earliest…
If you’re tempted by the Ford Mustang, read its full aggregated review and take a look at it in our car configurator to see how much carwow could help you save. For more options, our deals page has some of our latest discounts.