Ford Mustang (US) Driving, Engines & Performance | Top Gear
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Wednesday 6th December


What is it like to drive?

The Mustang has many personalities, and that’s especially true with the V8 GT. If you just get in and go without fiddling with drive modes or steering weights (yes, that’s adjustable), the Mustang is easy to get used to. The clutch has a great weight and the tech on hand that smooths out upshifts and downshfits makes the stick a lot more accessible for newbie manual drivers. That’s a good thing.

If you buy the Mustang hoping for a muscle car, you’ve got one. You can lay into the V8 and run each gear up past 7,000 rpm, slam the six-speed stick through the shift gate, and have a whale of a time. Ford doesn’t publish official 0-to-60 acceleration specs, but hot damn does the Mustang feel quick. All the while, you’ve got a great free-breathing V8 soundtrack filling the cabin. It’s a peach.

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Want a car more adept to canyon roads? Hey, the Mustang’s good there, too. That limited-slip diff really helps shuffle power across the rear axle, and gosh, that MagneRide suspension is just the best. You can dip into corners with more precision thanks to the quicker steering, and the 19-inch wheels come wrapped in summer tires with oodles of grip.

Is the Dark Horse worth the upcharge?

Yes and no. If you're going to track the Mustang, then by all means, get this one. The stickier tires and stiffer chassis components make this a much more focused sports car. On the other hand, if track days aren't in your future, the Mustang GT can be had with the MagneRide suspension and its own set of handling upgrades, and it's a real darlin' on winding roads. Honestly, we can't imagine needing more than that.

You really like the V8, huh?

It’s not so much the V8 as it is the six-speed manual which, again, is only available on the GT and Dark Horse. This combo just feels so right, so perfectly Mustang. It sounds good, there’s a wallop of power, and the automatic rev-matching tech smooths out downshifts, meaning you don’t have to try and heel-and-toe across the big coupe’s wide pedalbox.

Dare I ask… what about fuel economy?

Ha, fuel economy. What a thought! But in all seriousness, if you buy a V8-powered Mustang, you’re going to pay for it at the pump, especially because you will be digging into the throttle at all times. The EPA says you can expect 14 mpg city and 23 mpg highway with the manual transmission, or 15 mpg city and 24 mpg highway with the automatic. Really, though, good luck ever seeing real-world numbers above the mid-to-high teens.

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With the turbo engine, however, the EPA estimates 22 mpg city and 33 mpg highway, and since Ford's 10-speed automatic transmission is pretty well behaved, it'll do its best to keep you revving low while delivering the meat of its torque. The EcoBoost's 26-mpg combined number will likely be much easier to achieve.

Didn’t you say there were driver-assistance gizmos?

Sure did. Obviously, you won't be getting things like partially hands-free driving tech, but Ford still offers the Mustang with lots of goodies – for an extra cost, natch. Adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, pre-collision braking, and lane-centering tech in a muscle car. What a time to be alive.

Highlights from the range

the fastest

Ford Mustang 5.0 V8 449 California Special 2dr Auto
  • 0-624.8s
  • CO2
  • BHP450
  • MPG
  • Price£51,805

the cheapest

Ford Mustang 2.3 EcoBoost 291 2dr
  • 0-626.6s
  • CO2209.0g/km
  • BHP291
  • MPG
  • Price£41,560

the greenest

Ford Mustang 2.3 EcoBoost 291 [Custom Pack 2] 2dr
  • 0-626.6s
  • CO2209.0g/km
  • BHP291
  • MPG
  • Price£43,125

Variants We Have Tested

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