£35,245 - £42,540 Price range
20 - 34 MPG
With a history that stretches back more than 50 years, you may be surprised to learn this is the first time the Ford Mustang convertible (based on the coupe) has been officially sold in the UK and in right-hand drive. It rivals more mainstream alternatives such as droptop versions of the BMW 4 Series, Audi A5 and soon-to-be-launched Mercedes C-Class convertible.
Its imposing looks are bound to be one of the Mustang’s main selling points to buyers. The chiselled front end harks backs to the classic models that precede it, as do the three-bar-vertical tail lights.
Sadly, the sheer size of the thing might put some buyers off – at 4,638mm in length and 1,916mm in width it is 146mm longer and 91mm wider than a 4 Series, making it a bad match for the tight country roads you’re likely to come across here in the UK.
On wider roads the new Mustang is less likely to feel the poor equivalent of its European rivals. It’s the first Mustang to come fitted with sophisticated multilink rear suspension and the engine range is also strong. Of most interest is the turbocharged 2.3-litre EcoBoost petrol, which promises decent performance and reasonable running costs. But more befitting of the Mustang is the 5.0-litre V8 that provides a thundering soundtrack and performance to match.
Central to the Mustang’s appeal is the value for money it offers. It’s cheaper like-for-like than any of its rivals and all models come fitted with powerful HID headlights that operate automatically, climate control, auto wipers, and Ford’s SYNC2 infotainment system complete with an eight-inch touchscreen.
As with the exterior, the interior carries strong design cues over from previous models. It gets a classic Mustang twin-cowled dashboard, a trio of circular air events and a row of toggle switches used to adjust the steering and choose from four driving modes. With a wide band of metal trim running the length of the soft-to-the-touch dashboard, the interior feels mostly well built, but further examination reveals cheap-feeling scratchy plastics that you wouldn’t find in a BMW or Audi.
The SYNC2 infotainment system is the same used version in Ford’s more mainstream models – such as the Focus and Mondeo. It’s easy to use and can read text messages aloud before you dictate a reply, while also offering voice recognition for the car’s main systems.
Ford Mustang convertible interior space
Converting its huge exterior dimension into a spacious interior has always been a problem for the Mustang and it’s still a problem in this new model, meaning rear-seat space is tight for adults. Up front, tall adults will fit with ease and there’s none of the cocooning effect (which you may or may not like) that you do get in sporty coupes such as the Jaguar F-Type convertible.
Ford Mustang convertible boot space
Thanks to its folding fabric roof, the convertible’s boot is just 76 litres smaller than the coupe’s – at 332 litres in total. That makes it more than 100 litres bigger than a BMW 4 Series convertible’s load bay, which has a retractable metal roof, and the Mustang’s luggage space is 12 litres bigger than the boot in an Audi A5 soft top.
Chopping the roof off a car – especially one as large as the Mustang – tends to have a negative effect on its structural integrity and you can feel it on bumpy, potholed roads. On surfaces such as these the Mustang’s body flexes and shimmies in a way that the coupe’s doesn’t, and the ride is quite firm. That said it’s still a vast improvement on the old model; the independent rear suspension makes the car easier to drive quickly round corners than any Mustang that came before it.
Its large proportions mean that, here in the UK, its still better suited to motorway cruising than B-road blasts and at the national limit there’s little wind noise thanks to the 10mm of insulation sandwiched into the two-layer roof.
UK models come complete with Ford’s Performance Equipment package as standard. It includes stiffer suspension, bigger brakes and four (Normal, Sport+, Track, and Snow) selectable driving modes. They make the engine more responsive and loosen the inputs of the car’s stability control system. Drivers can also adjust the steering between Comfort, Normal and Sport settings – making it heavier as you move through the presets – but the settings don’t add any extra feel through the wheel.
The upgraded brakes offer strong performance and decent feel that makes it easy to judge how much force to apply. Mustang buyers can choose from a slick-shifting six-speed manual gearbox that’s easy to use or a six-speed auto that blips the throttle on downshifts to keep the car balanced as you scrub off speed. The latter is only available in conjunction with the four-cylinder EcoBoost motor.
While the 2.3-litre four-cylinder EcoBoost petrol is without doubt the most sensible option in the Mustang’s line-up, the 5.0-litre V8 is the engine to go for if you want the full Mustang experience. Its charismatic engine note is enough to make up for the chassis’s shortfalls, and with 418hp and 390Ib ft of torque it’s quick, too. The sprint from 0-62mph takes just 4.4 seconds and the engine doesn’t run out of puff until it hits the electronic limiter at 155mph. In short, it offers BMW M4 performance at a fraction of the price. What it doesn’t offer, however, is affordable running costs – with the drama of the big V8 comes fuel economy of just 20.8mpg and CO2 emissions of 306g/km that mean road tax costs £505 per year.
Ford Mustang Ecoboost engine
Relief from the V8’s appetite for the contents of your wallet comes in 314hp 2.3-litre EcoBoost petrol form. It improves fuel economy by nearly 15mpg and costs £225 to tax owing to CO2 emissions of 184g/km. There’s a performance drop off of course – it gets from 0-62mph in six seconds and hits 145mph flat out – but we certainly wouldn’t call it slow, and Ford even uses a sound synthesiser to make the four-cylinder sound a little more exotic than it truly is.
Standard equipment is strong, but can be improved upon with a visit to the options list.
Key additions are the rear parking sensors (£295), which make parking the big Ford significantly easier, and the premium Shaker sound system that includes sat-nav (£795), plus heated and cooled seats (£495). The Custom Pack bundles all those extras together and adds 19-inch alloy wheels, as well as chrome window surrounds for £1,795.
While its size and somewhat low-rent cabin will put many UK buyers off, this is the best Mustang Ford has built. The car’s sophisticated rear suspension means it drives better than any of its predecessors and it comes with a 50-year heritage that none of its rivals can match.
Its most convincing selling point remains its price, which means you can have a top-of-the-range V8 model parked outside your house for close to the price of an entry level rival.
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