Ford Mustang 5.0 V8 GT Fastback22 | 07 | 2016Scotcars rating

    We take new Ford Mustang to the Edge ... and undertake an Oxford-Edinburgh roadtrip

    IT HAS TAKEN just over 50 years for Ford’s Mustang, now in sixth-generation form, to reach our shores as the blue oval’s world car strategy delivers the genuinely iconic pony car with its steering wheel on the right side at long last.

    This means, finally, mature would-be devotees of the American muscle car, Bullitt, and Steve McQueen can dust down their leather bomber jackets, slide on Perso sunglasses and be brazenly different from the herd of German upstarts.

    The “Stang” in coupe (pronounced coop) and drophead forms has, for decades, been America’s accessible blue-collar performance car. Grand Old Opry rather than Berlin Opera House, more bang for your buck; denims and loafers rather than linen suits, silk shirts and Gucci loafers (we drive the Ford Mustang with Marino Franchitti).

    Even the badging on the sinister shadow black example I borrowed had an evocative feel about it. The grille-mounted galloping Mustang, the chunky 5.0 (denoting V8 litres) attached to its flanks, and an unsubtle GT on the tail. And its model designation carries the retro Fastback moniker.

    It has undoubted road presence, sitting on 19-inch colour-coded alloys that are wider at the rear than the front, straddling the respective signature three slat tail lights and shark bite snout air intake.

    Two-feet longer than an Audi TT, and three inches wider than BMW’s 2 Series coupe, it is a substantial hunk of American heavy metal, which weighs in up to 300kgs more than V8 Bavarian and Stuttgart counterparts. For good measure, it boasts a prow-like bonnet that takes a while to adjust to on the open road and in urban car parks.


    The sombre, strictly two-plus-two interior is all dark leather and anodised brushed metal instrumentation, with a classic twin-arced fascia incorporating large round dials.

    There’s also plenty of room for front seat occupants, catering for large and wide Americans. Admittedly, the cabin nods to European tastes with a familiar infotainment system incorporating the Synch 2 touchscreen, although a row of pretend aluminium plastic rocker switches are a touch naff.

    Boot space, at 408 litres, is not voluminous but, without having one handy, a set of golf clubs would probably fit diagonally through the fairly narrow load space aperture.

    Logical souls would not have chosen a Mustang for a circa 850-mile round trip from south of Oxford, via Edinburgh, to Ford’s Edge SUV launch near Kelso.

    But the journey was not a chore and the substantial coupe cruised up the English motorways at a relaxed legal gait, with nearly 31mpg registering on the computer. That was partially down to numerous 50mph limits on uncomfortably narrow lanes, as conspicuously few road workers are apparently preparing a “smart” M6 gantry system between Birmingham and Manchester.

    Having checked the usually academic, official combined fuel figure was 20.9mpg a back-up brim-to-brim calculation confirmed the 31mpg tally. At 70mph the “Coyote” V8 was ticking over at 1800 rpm.

    With Leith the initial destination and a stop over near Biggar, the sinuous A701 past the Devil’s Beeftub and through Moffat provided relief and entertainment after motorway monotony.


    European specification Mustangs wisely come with the performance pack as standard, and Ford’s ride and handling gurus have tuned the car to be more taut and responsive than its default stateside counterpart.

    Gone is the antiquated live rear suspension, with state of the art multi-link springing now fitted, while there are a variety of driving modes available at a flick of a switch. Normal, Sport+, the hard-core circuit only Track option — which eliminates traction control — plus a snow/wet setting.

    While it might lack the ultimate sharpness of steering feedback of German rivals, or the departed Jaguar XK, it is surprisingly agile and balanced for such a large car, with particularly impressive braking. Unlike an AMG Mercedes V8’s visceral bark, the 410-horspower Yankee V8 has more of a marine engine roar to it when extended.

    Inherent tractability involves the ability to accelerate from 20mph in fifth gear to theoretical licence losing speeds in a seamless manner, removing the need for much stirring of the long throw, six-speed manual gearbox.

    Returning to the bang for buck theme, this version costs £36,680, incorporating £1685 worth of options including a window flexing Shaker Pro sound system with satnav, reversing sensors, plus the “premium” black paint treatment.

    This is markedly cheaper than fully-loaded rival BMWs, Mercedes and Audis, and not far above its pocket-rocket European cousin, the Focus RS, both cars being available from Scotland’s five specialist Ford Store outlets.

    Related: Roadtest — Ford Focus RS

    Parking in one of Edinburgh’s colony districts’ narrow, cobbled side streets was delegated to a local, much like a liner using harbour pilots. Front parking sensors would have been prudent. Ford’s brazenly different, muscular American did turn heads, even among diffident capital denizens inured to loud, brash tourists.

    I was tempted to cruise over to Glasgow and use the vertiginous roads of Garnethill district to provide some kind of semblance of the San Francisco terrain used in McQueen’s classic Bullitt car chase. In truth, the Mustang is more of an in-your-face Glasgow kind of motor.

    The trip from Edinburgh, via Kelso, involved Biblical rain, thunder and lightning, en route to the Roxburghe estate Edge launch venue, with prudent application of the rain/snow wet setting instilling confidence.

    And the final recreational flourish — before the M74, M6 and English motorway route home — a sparsely populated A70 found the car in its element on long, sweeping bends where, in conservative Normal mode, it qualified for the GT or grand touring badge.

    Perhaps the Mustang is not a rational choice, but 4370 customers have signed up since prices were announced in January last year, with 80% being in coupe form and 68% opting for the V8, against the decidedly lower CO2-emitting 2.3-litre Ecoboost counterpart.

    In residual value terms it may be a shrewd purchase, with numbers remaining relatively low. Which other car offers the novel touch of “puddle” courtesy lights, which shine pony shapes on to the road at night when you lock those wing-like doors?

    The legend from over there is at last over here.

    Related: Marino Franchitti interview on Ford's return to Le Mans

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    Hugh Hunston

    Photos: Lewis and Hugh Hunston, and Ford (Interior)

    Quick Stats
    Price OTR/As Tested £34.995 / £36,680
    Engine / Power: 5.0-litre V8 normally aspirated petrol, 6spd manual/421bhp
    How fast?: 0-62mph 4.8sec; / Max 155mph
    How big/heavy?: L4787mm W1916mm (excl mirrors) H1381mm / 1745kg
    How thirsty/CO2?: 20.9mpg combined / 299g/km CO2
    InsGP/Road tax: 43/ £1120 first year
    Alternatives: Porsche Cayman, Toyota GT86, BMW M235i Coupe on price and 6 Series Coupe on performance

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