Ford Mustang review - V8 GT, EcoBoost, Bullitt and Shelby GT350 driven - Performance and 0-60mph time

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

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

Performance and 0-60mph time

It comes as little surprise to say right away that a V8 engine is imperative for the Mustang. The 2.3-litre turbocharged four-cylinder EcoBoost unit is not only at loggerheads with the very ideology of the Ford Mustang, but it’s also objectively rough, slow, laggy and wholly unsuited to it. Not that you’ll need to know, but the EcoBoost Mustang takes a glacial 5.8sec to reach 62mph when fitted to the manual transmission, with the automatic shaving 0.3sec off that time thanks to the short gearing.

Don’t go thinking then that this might be a lower, rear-drive Focus RS, and trust us, stick to the V8. When you do, the naturally aspirated 5-litre ‘Coyote’ unit is everything you might reasonably expect of an American V8. Performance is impressive, since its mid-life update, picking up some extra power and torque. It’s high kerb weight does take the sting out of the mid-range, but work the boisterous engine and it absolutely feels its power figure, hitting 62mph in just 4.3sec when fitted with the automatic gearbox, and 4.6sec with the manual. Convertibles add 0.2 of a sec to the respective transmissions, thanks to a little extra weight.

Subscribe to evo magazine

If you're passionate about the world's greatest performance cars, experience the thrill of driving with evo magazine. Try your first 5 issues for £5.

Ford has also released a Mustang Bullitt as well, available exclusively with a V8 engine and manual transmission. Despite an extra 9bhp over the standard V8, its slight weight gain means it doesn’t improve on the manual V8’s performance times.

The Shelby GT350 reaches 60mph from a standstill in 4.3sec, and although it certainly hasn’t been designed to simply win drag races, it will certainly go fast in a straight line.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

The flat-plane crank V8 produces a fascinating noise; it’s gruff and rumbly low down, then from 2000 to 4000rpm there’s a Subaru-like burble before sounding like a sonorous V8 up to 6500rpm. During the final 2500rpm, up to its 8250rpm limit, you almost hear a VTEC timbre – a slight vibrato that’s unexpectedly harsh.

Initially the natural point at which to change gear seems around 6000rpm, rather than waiting until the red line. When you do brave the final quarter of revs it’s almost intimidating. The 5.2 doesn’t possess the screaming, free-revving top end like one of Maranello’s flat-plane crank V8s, and so it’s better to revel in the natural-feeling band between 4000 and 6000rpm.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/alfa-romeo/21322/alfa-romeo-to-launch-new-700bhp-8c-and-600bhp-gtv-coupe
Alfa Romeo

Alfa Romeo culls sports car programme in wake of FCA merger

Italian’s future performance models killed off in favour of more profitable SUVs
11 Nov 2019
Visit/caterham/201924/caterham-620r-v-ariel-atom-35-v-elemental-rp1
Caterham

Caterham 620R v Ariel Atom 3.5 v Elemental Rp1

Flight Club - lightweight track day toys with heavyweight powertrains, Steve Sutcliffe compares them on track at Anglesey circuit in Wales
5 Nov 2019
Visit/maserati/granturismo/201792/maserati-granturismo-zeda-run-out-model-revealed
Maserati GranTurismo

Maserati GranTurismo Zéda run-out model revealed

It’s out with the old, in with the new as the final GranTurismo paves the way for Maserati’s ambitious electrified future
12 Nov 2019
Visit/features/22907/hyundai-i30-fastback-n-versus-the-col-de-turini
Hyundai i30 N hatchback

Hyundai i30 Fastback N versus the Col de Turini

We take the Hyundai i30 Fastback N up the Col de Turini, a 31km stage of the Monte Carlo World Rally Championship
19 Jul 2019