Gone in 60 seconds? The cult Pony car
For the first time in 50 years since the release in 1965, Ford have manufactured the Mustang for global market sales in a (RHD) right hand drive variant and exported globally since 2015. This car is now in it’s “sixth generation” production of what Ford class as the Pony car, which was aimed at producing an affordable sporty coupe with long bonnets and short backs.
This gave rise to the competition with the likes of the Dodge Challenger, Chevrolet Camaro, Chrysler’s Plymouth Barracuda, Pontiac Firebird and the AMC Javelin. This Mustang pony car was credited for inspiring the designs of coupes such as the Toyota Celica and Ford Capri.
The Ford Mustang was also made famous by the Original movie Gone in 60 seconds released in 1974 and the remake in 2000 with Nicholas Cage and Angelina Jolie, featuring the 1973 Mustang Fastback code named Eleanor. It also featured recently with the GT350 model in the 2014 film Need For Speed. Steve McQueen featured in the 1968 film Bullitt driving a 1968 Mustang GT390 Fastback in a famous chase scene which gave the pony car celebrity status in the 1960’s. Wilson Pickett recorded a famous song in 1966 called Mustang Sally about a man who bought a Mustang for his ungrateful girlfriend, which offered free advertising for Ford.
You can see from all this that the Mustang has been a part of our lives for a very long time and has always been a sought after car, often featuring on young boy’s walls as favoured posters whilst growing up. Me being one of them. This is why the Mustang being released for retail for the first time globally and with right hand drive has brought so much attention to Mustang fans worldwide. When you saw the first Mustang driving around the streets of Cape Town, people stopped in their tracks to see it hurtling past with the iconic sound track of muscle engine pandemonium.
You can imagine my excitement when I sat behind the wheel for the first time. I had been wanting to drive this car since first hearing the news about the global launch and seeing one for the first time on the streets of Cape Town. Well, I can tell you this; it was everything you could have dreamed about and more. Not perfect, with plenty of room to improve, but definitely a great first global release in a RHD.
Click here for my video road test review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NRH5bYUwFIA&t=2s
Now, let’s get down to how it drives on the road. You’d expect from watching the movies and seeing the Mustang outrun a cop chase, power down a drag strip, that it would only be great in a straight line. Or to let the tail flick out and power round a corner, but that’s not the case with this model. Thanks to the Integral-link independent rear suspension with coil overs and twin-tube dampers with a solid stabilizer bar for the first time in the Mustang, doing away with the old solid live rear axle, you can expect a comfortable ride with the likes of its German competitors. They’ve also used double ball jointed MacPherson struts in the front, making room to use uprated 352mm vented discs with 330mm vented disk in the rear, making use of an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) and Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) sitting pretty on sweet 19″ rims. This means the quick cornering and change of direction sees no body roll or swaying, giving you tight flat cornering ability and the confidence to tackle those corners with a more sporty approach.
That being said, you have plenty of power coming out of the 2.3L inline 4 cylinder EcoBoost twin-scroll turbocharged engine which produces 233Kw of power and 430 Nm of torque, giving you quick throttle response for low down revs all the way up to redline at 7000rpm. Applying this power onto the ground from the rear wheel drive system, typical of a muscle car, hurtling you from 0-100km/h in a mere 5.8 sec and reaching a top speed of 239km/h with plenty of g-force to throw you back into your chair. It even manages to keep the fuel economy down to an average of 9.8L/ 100 km or 10.2km/L.
When sport+ driving mode is selected using the toggle switches similar to those found in an aircraft, you’ll find the throttle response very twitchy and sensitive and it doesn’t take well to a slow pull off in traffic; it wants full on acceleration and will jerk and throw you back and forth if you try to feather the throttle off the line. However, this is not the case when driving in normal comfort mode, so nothing to be concerned about. It also has a snow/wet driving mode, which makes use of a more sensitive approach to acceleration, gear changes, steering weighting and breaking. Lastly, my favourite is the track mode, which allows you to make use of the track apps viewed on the instrument panel, which give you an accelerometer indicating g-forces, acceleration timer and break performance, allowing you to time your own sprints at the local track on open days or street to strip drag events held on Wednesday nights at Killarney. I believe the kind of buyer interested in the Mustang would enjoy the attention received by the crowd at a motor car sporting event, as driving around the streets it already receives a lot of lust full stares from passers-by.
The sound the engine makes is wonderful too, considering this model does not make use of the 5.0 V8 engine found in the big brother GT version. Surprisingly the noise you hear is pleasing to keep your adrenalin pumping, even getting some feedback from the turbo. This however, is a lot tamer than you’d expect from a muscle car and is certainly a lot quieter than your Mercedes AMG or Audi RS models. Perhaps that’s because we’re so used to the loud sounds by now. This is not the case in the V8 Mustang model, so if that’s what you want, you’re welcome to spend the extra R140K and you’ll get 306Kw and 530Nm.
All in all, I found this Mustang to have met my expectations, especially since it’s the first real American Muscle car I’ve had the pleasure in drive. I’d definitely recommend buying this over the similarly priced VW Golf GTI Clubsport S, Honda Civic Type R and Subaru WRX STI Premium, to be different and stand out from the crowd, as this car will get you in with the cool crowd with its aggressive looking front end and matching headlights. You’ll be sure to attract all the right kind of attention. See my vehicle comparison at the bottom.
The Mustang is also packed full of features which comes standard with all the latest tech with keyless entry and push start and stop ignition button, dual climate control, seat warming and cooling, a large 8inch voice activated infotainment system, which is customizable and can be paired via bluetooth to more than one device with multiple inputs from usb, to aux for ipod. Automatic models come standard with paddle shifters. All models come standard with steering wheel controls, daytime running lights (DTRL), fog lights, automatic rain sensors and heated electric side mirrors. The drivers dash features two analog gauges for rev counter and tachometer for watching your speed and a secondary 4.2inch digital message display between the clusters showing you further information. Rear distance park sensors and rearview park assist camera comes standard. You’re also surrounded by comfy 6-way power adjustable leather seats with lumbar support and aluminium trims on the doors, sills, pedals and steering wheel. A 6 speaker shaker audio sound system is standard too. In fact, the only thing not standard is the optional mag choices.
You have the choice from 10 different colours, paying R1500 extra for metallic paint finishes as shown below from Ford’s catalog, which can be found at: https://www.ford.co.za/cars/mustang/#overlay/content/ford/za/en_za/site-wide-content/overlays/forms/download-brochure.html?nameplate=Mustang_AF
You can also opt for manual or automatic transmission and Fastback or Convertible models.
Great peace of mind is guaranteed by Ford with their 4year/120 000 km warranty, 5 year/100 000 km service plan as standard with a 3 year/ unlimited km roadside assistance and even a 5 year / unlimited km corrosion warranty and an optional extended 2 year / 80 000 km warranty when purchased before the standard warranty expires. That makes your first 5 years basically maintenance free (tyres and brakes excluded of course).
Prices are as listed on Ford’s website: https://www.ford.co.za/cars/mustang/specifications/price-list/
A very special thank you to Mekor Ford in Claremont and Raeez Gaffoor for arranging the test drive of the Mustang.
My vehicle comparison: