In 1965 arguably the most successful people’s champion was born in America. The Ford Mustang was a desirable, stylish, but most of all, attainable icon that every blue collared worker could have in their driveway. Available in more flavours than Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, the ‘stang was totally classless with Steve McQueen and Chad the construction worker walking into the dealership. In the UK the closest thing we were given to the Mustang by Ford was the Capri. It too became “THE” car to own of its era, but it went away and never came back. The blue oval has decided to bring its pony car across from the land of the quarter mile to supply the masses with value for money performance. Can this right hand drive 2016 Ford Mustang 5.0 V8 capitalise on our two nations “special relationship” or will this horse end up as popular Findus Lasagne?
The new car is as striking to look at as a Mustang should be. Obviously it is not for the shy with its long bonnet, broad shoulders, and aggressively sloping coupe roofline. Bulges in the bodywork and raked headlights adds to the aggression of the car. Ford’s new family grill has been well integrated and the black finish matched the alloys of our test car. In the metal it does look purposeful and something that very much stands out on British roads.
Take a seat on the “correct” side of the car and allow the supportive leather seats to hug you. Your view out and onto the bonnet that stretches out to the horizon is characteristic of the breed. Interior quality has taken a huge step forward in comparison to the imported models of the previous generation. Whilst there are still a few hard plastics, the interior is nicely broken up with silver elements. A historic plaque sits proudly on the dashboard stating “since 1965.” The console features Ford’s Sync 2 infotainment display which is easy to navigate using the 8 inch touchscreen. Below, the air conditioning controls are a little fussy in their arrangement, but I’m nit picking really. Moving rearward you will find two seats ideal for children or occasional use.
We have already driven the 2.3 litre turbocharged EcoBoost Mustang, but here we have the full fat 5.0 litre V8. Under the bonnet that naturally aspirated engine produces 410 BHP and 524 Nm of torque. At low speeds it has that classic lazy V8 trait of being able to make strong progress in any gear. Refinement levels are also higher than expected at these speed with the 2016 Ford Mustang being hushed and surprisingly cosseting. The car offers several selectable modes ranging from Normal, where the steering is light, to Race where the throttle response is increase and the cars electronic nanny will let you have some fun. There is also a Wet/Snow option for our rather unpredictable European weather. Putting the car in maximum attack and unleashing it at Silverstone reveals a machine with much more sophisticated handling dynamics than you might think. Whilst the Mustang is not a light car and body roll is noticeable, the shifting of the weight as you corner is enables good understanding of what the chassis is doing beneath you. Precise steering lets you kiss those apexes and a pleasing short throw manual transmission keeps you involved. Open up that burly V8 and its sounds meaty. 0-62 MPH takes 4.8 seconds and the car will go onto a top speed of 155 MPH. Roaring down the straights you get a real sense of the power being delivered to the rear wheels. Prod the throttle at that crucial moment and the car gracefully swings its tale out in a very manageable fashion. However, the most impressive part of this next-generation package for me would be its brakes. The large Brembo discs are “primed” meaning that the moment you touch the pedal is the moment they react. You can really lean on them as their performance and ease of modulation is confidence inspiring. If you aren’t quite done depleting the worlds supply of rubber when you come to a stop, then why not try Line Lock? This feature locks the front wheels in place whilst you hit the throttle and burn rubber for up to 15 seconds. Ford says its for warming the rear tyres ready to do a drag run, we say it’s just bloody good fun!
The 2016 Ford Mustang V8 is one of those “feel good cars” that you just can’t help but smile when driving. It isn’t going to set you the fastest lap time, but this American beauty defines all that is good about Ford’s global car program. A more civilised product has been produced as a result of the Mustangs time in Europe and now you can enjoy one in the UK. At less than £35,000 the 2016 Ford Mustang V8 also represents a great “bangs for your buck” ratio.