Road tests

Ford Mustang GT review

The legendary Mustang GT coupe is better than ever, offering huge performance for the money

In keeping with America's reputation for huge portion sizes, the Ford Mustang GT comes with large dollops of power for around the same cost as an Audi, BMW or Mercedes coupe with a humble 2.0-litre engine. Under the GT's muscular bonnet lies a vast 5.0-litre V8 engine that sends 444bhp to the rear wheels, and a rumbling soundtrack out of the tailpipes. And despite the UK being the land of exorbitant petrol prices and high taxation, the iconic GT routinely outsells the more economical 2.3-litre EcoBoost Mustang thanks to its legendary status.

This demand has been exacerbated by our inability to get hold of a Ford Mustang in the UK until 2015. Before this, you'd be restricted to a left-hand-drive import or watching Ford's muscle car in films and internet videos. Costing from just over £43,000, the GT is around £5,000 more expensive than the standard Mustang. The V8 accounts for some of this, but you also get bigger Brembo brakes to help stop the GT as quickly as it gets going. Other extras include launch control (manual gearbox only), 19-inch black alloy wheels, a different front grille, GT badging and an active exhaust system with four tailpipes.

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Even the standard Mustang has a well equipped interior, with an eight-inch SYNC 3 infotainment system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity, rear-view camera, heated steering wheel, automatic LED headlights and folding door mirrors that project the Mustang logo on the ground at night.

If this all sounds too good to be true, and like we should all be driving around in Mustang GTs, there are a few caveats to note. The first is the claimed fuel economy of 23.9mpg, making the V8 Mustang GT as expensive to keep fuelled up as some supercars. Another is its CO2 emissions of 268g/km, which see it go straight into the top 37% Benefit-in-Kind band for company-car drivers. Road tax is £150 a year, but because the GT costs more than £40,000, a £325 surcharge applies in years two to six, bringing the total to £475 in this period.

These costs will relegate the Mustang GT to being a weekend toy for those that can afford it, while others will simply look elsewhere at models like the Audi TT and BMW 2 Series – with smaller, turbocharged engines. But let's not forget the Mustang GT is also the cheapest V8 on sale, with comparable performance to expensive models like the BMW M4 Competition and Audi RS5, making it a bargain in some respects.

It's certainly fast, and thanks to a 38bhp increase in power for the 2018 facelifted Mustang, it now launches from 0-62mph in just 4.9 seconds. With Ford's new 10-speed automatic gearbox fitted it's even quicker, covering the same benchmark in 4.6 seconds. We wouldn't recommend it, though, because it feels too lazy to respond and the six-speed manual suits the V8 engine's character perfectly.

Improvements to the suspension also make the Mustang GT feel more impressive than ever along a twisting stretch of tarmac. It's not a small car, but a balanced chassis helps the Mustang change direction quickly and body lean is kept well in check. The ride is relatively comfortable, and choosing Ford's optional MagneRide adaptive dampers makes comfort and handling even better. It costs a significant £1,600, but gives the Mustang GT a level of polish and sophistication never seen before in the model.

For added exclusivity, buyers can spec the Mustang GT with several personalisation options including three leather trim colours and optional black leather Recaro sports seats costing £1,700. Heated and cooled seats and a 1,000-watt audio system with 12 speakers also make the options list.

To add a more unique look to the Mustang GT, buyers can spec black or white body stripes, in a homage to the Mustang GT Fastback of the late 1960s. Other styling options include a larger rear spoiler, a black contrasting roof panel, and 19-inch silver forged alloy wheels.

None of the equipment on the options list makes the Mustang GT any faster; for more performance you’ll need to look at the Mustang Bullitt, which costs £50,000. Power is upped to 453bhp but the gulping air intake, new throttle bodies and rowdy exhaust make the increase feel like significantly more than that. Paying tribute to the classic Steve McQueen movie, the Bullitt model is finished in Highland Green paintwork, but it's the pulsing V8 rumble that really makes it feel special.

Verdict: 3.5/5

If you want to buy a Ford Mustang GT, the chances are you've always dreamed of owning one and can only recently make it a reality. The good news is, the right-hand-drive GT is a better Mustang than ever, with more sophisticated handling and plenty of features that make it great to live with day-to-day. On the downside, its characterful V8 also has a thirst for fuel that could relegate it to being a second car, or persuading buyers to opt for an Audi TT or BMW 2 Series with a smaller engine instead.

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