Ford Mustang review - V8 GT, EcoBoost, Bullitt and Shelby GT350 driven

Flawed, fun and fast - Mustang's not a great sports car, but it's a great muscle car

Evo rating
from £37,645
  • Looks, noise, performance
  • Dynamically limited as the road becomes challenging - awful automatic transmission

Ford has quite a history of building performance cars for the people in the UK, with hot versions of Fiestas, Escorts and more proving to be a blue collar favourite for those who could and couldn’t afford them. Of course the same sentiment is also felt in the much larger United States, with the much larger Ford Mustang – and now it’s in the UK.

The recipe hasn’t really changed much in its travels from the New World either, combining a massive two-door coupe or convertible bodyshell, V8 engines (EcoBoost four-cylinder variants are also available) and all the subtlety of a clown in a funeral home, in a way only an American muscle car can.

Subscribe to evo magazine

Subscribe today to have every issue of evo delivered straight to you. You'll SAVE 39% on the shop price, and get evo for its original cover price for a whole year!

> Read our full review of the Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R

It’s a genuinely satisfying car, with a thundering soundtrack and a real sense of fun whether you’re on the daily commute or driving briskly. That Ford has chosen to finally offer it in right-hand drive is something in itself to celebrate.

If you live across the pond, then you should seriously consider the Shelby GT350 and recently revealed GT500. Their 5.2-litre flat-plane crank V8 (the latter supercharged) and more focused chassis helps transform the Mustang into a much more serious road and track car. It requires commitment when driving fast, but is an incredibly engaging and truly unique driving experience. But for now, is the Mustang worth a punt against more traditional performance car alternatives?

Ford Mustang in detail

> Performance and 0-60 time - The Mustang GT is the UK's best performer, dispatching 0-62mph in just 4.3sec despite a lardy 1818kg kerb weight

> Engine and gearbox - The 5.0 V8 is thirsty, but brilliant at embracing the muscle car vibe, whereas the 2.3-litre EcoBoost turbocharged variant doesn't provide the performance, fuel economy or soul needed to upstage its bigger brother.

> Ride and handling - Despite finally adopting an independent rear suspension set-up, the Mustang still resolutely adheres to its American heritage by lacking resolved body control and feedback from the front wheels to thrill on European roads.

> MPG and running costs - Low running costs were never going to be the Mustang's strong point, but they are at least trying with the EcoBoost model. Comparative fuel and tax bills might make that BMW 430i look a little more enticing though.

> Interior and tech - Unlike Mustangs of old, the interior is not the plasticky affair you might expect, although it still doesn't get close to German and Japanese rivals. Ford's excellent SYNC 3 infotainment system does make a welcome appearance though.

> Design - Ford didn't hold back on the design of the Mustang, appealing to its retro heritage, while still appearing contemporary. In a sea of BMW 4-series and Audi A5s the Mustang will definitely get you noticed.

Prices, specs and rivals

Sitting at the foot of the Mustang range is the £37,645 2.3-litre four-cylinder EcoBoost; next up the ladder is the 5-litre V8 GT, priced at £42,745. This duo comprise the entire Mustang model line-up in Europe, where the GT350 models aren’t offered, although there are limited editions from time-to-time.

A manual gearbox is standard, although an automatic transmission is available for a hefty £3350 on both variants. Either can also be had in convertible form for a £3500 premium.

Cylinder count, swept capacity and performance aside, the differences between the 2.3 and 5.0 aren’t major. As standard the EcoBoost car comes well equipped, benefiting from a limited-slip differential, LED headlights and Android Auto/Apple CarPlay compatibility. To rein in the V8’s extra grunt it gets more powerful Brembo brakes, and there are line-lock/launch control functions, too.

The Bullitt is only available as a V8 paired to the manual transmission, and starts at £48,145, but features plenty of extra kit such as Recaro seats and bespoke styling elements, as well as slightly more power from the engine, uprated suspension and underbody bracing.

Rivalry comes in the shape of the evergreen Nissan 370Z and spritely BMW M240i. The Japanese coupe offers the budget option, priced some £7000 less than the smaller-engined Mustang, but its charms are starting to wear thin in its advancing years.

BMW’s junior coupe, the £37,390 M240i, may compete in a different size bracket, but it splits the two Mustangs in performance terms. It’s more polished than the Ford and better built too. That said, it’s not a full-fat M-car, so doesn’t carry the exclusivity factor like the American pony car.

But the Mustang's recent update has corresponded with a reasonably chunky price rise - meaning a near-£50k Mustang is now a reality, which is suddenly a large amount of money to pay for a Ford - regardless of what's under the bonnet.

More on Mustang

Ford Mustang coupe

Ford Mustang55 special celebrates ‘Stang’s 55th year, but misses UK

New special Ford Mustang, updates for the Ecoboost, and another year of Bullitt production
25 Jul 2019
Ford Mustang coupe

Ford Mustang Boss 429 restomod brought to SEMA

Classic Restorations has brought its ultimate Mustang Boss 429 to SEMA
1 Nov 2018
Ford Mustang coupe

Ford Mustang Bullitt priced from £47k

Ford’s Mustang Bullitt will arrive in the UK later this year to top the pony car lineup.
8 Jun 2018
Ford Mustang coupe

2018 Ford Mustang review - pony car ponies up even more fun

Facelifted Mustang's improvements are welcome - and it's still a unique driving experience in the market
23 May 2018
Ford Mustang coupe

Ford Mustang Steeda Q500 Enforcer review – A V8 Mustang with a European attitude?

Pumped-up Mustangs not doing it for you? Then Steeda’s more subtle changes could be the answer
24 Apr 2018
Ford Mustang coupe

2018 Ford Mustang Cobra Jet to crack the quarter-mile in sub-9 seconds

A limited upgrade package developed by Ford Performance manifests itself in a drag-strip special – the 2018 Ford Mustang Cobra Jet.
18 Apr 2018
Ford Mustang coupe

First spy shots of the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 emerge

Due to arrive in 2019 the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 will have over 700bhp and the option of a manual gearbox
16 Apr 2018
Ford Mustang coupe

Shelby Mustang Super Snake review – A wild supercharged muscle car

This 800bhp monster can bite bad, yet the Shelby Mustang Super Snake is not all about horsepower
10 Apr 2018
Ford Mustang coupe

2018 Ford Mustang 10-speed automatic transmission: everything you need to know

Ford has developed a new 10-speed automatic transmission for the 2018 Ford Mustang
14 Mar 2018
Ford Mustang coupe

Steeda Q500 Enforcer Mustang revealed with 480bhp

Steeda’s turnkey upgrade adds a more sporting focus to the Ford Mustang 5.0 V8 GT.
11 Jan 2018
Ford Mustang coupe

The Ford Mustang GT Performance Pack Level 2 – more focus and sophistication

A collection of revisions and upgraded hardware bestow the refreshed Mustang with a sportier edge
24 Oct 2017
Ford Mustang coupe

Spare your neighbours a rude awakening with the Ford Mustang exhaust scheduler

Ford keeps the peace with optional Mustang exhaust that allows the V8 to start and run in a more silenced fashion during preset times
5 Oct 2017
Ford Mustang coupe

New 2018 Ford Mustang revealed for Europe ahead of Frankfurt

Refreshed Mustang to offer a raft of new features alongside styling, suspension and engine updates
11 Sep 2017
Ford Mustang coupe

Sutton Mustang CS800 review – massive power in a monstrous-looking muscle car

Comprehensive engine and chassis upgrades amplify the Mustang's attitude
30 Jul 2017
Ford Mustang coupe

Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R review – A muscle car for the track

We test Ford’s highly strung muscle car-turned trackday toy at Thruxton
6 Jul 2017
Ford Mustang coupe

First ever Ford Mustang hardtop up for sale at Mecum Indy auction

Mustang chassis number 00002 is set to cross the block - alongside a host of other desirable American muscle
23 Mar 2017
Ford Mustang coupe

Ford Mustang hits the wall with 2-star Euro NCAP score

Lack of modern safety technology and other flaws mark Ford's sports car down in the latest round of tests
25 Jan 2017
Ford Mustang coupe

750bhp Mustang to celebrate 50 years of the Super Snake

Shelby upgrades the latest Mustang with supercharger and uprated chassis
20 Jan 2017
Ford Mustang coupe

Ford Mustang to get hybrid variant in new electrification push

V8 levels of power and torque when Ford's hybrid pony-car arrives in 2020
3 Jan 2017
Ford Mustang coupe

Hennessey HPE800 - 808bhp supercharged Mustang goes on sale

New model, based on the Shelby GT350, sprints to 60mph in 3.3sec
13 Oct 2016
Ford Mustang coupe

Sutton Mustang CS700 review - muscle car tuned to 690bhp

Supercharger and extensive upgrades bring big performance to new Mustang
12 Oct 2016
Ford Mustang coupe

Ford Mustang EcoBoost review - is the V8 worth the extra cash?

Does a smaller engine mean smaller thrills in the Mustang?
6 Apr 2016
Ford Mustang coupe

First right-hand-drive Ford Mustangs roll off Flat Rock production line

Ford releases production stats of its UK-bound Mustangs
24 Aug 2015
Ford Mustang coupe

Shelby takes Ford Mustang to 750bhp with Super Snake

Iconic American tuning company turns its attention to the latest Mustang
17 Jun 2015