Might Honda be planning an e Type R? Plus what to expect from TG season 28
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Bet that’s got the four cylinder Ecoboost in it. Bang on, they’ve supercharged it, added a hyperdrive and now it’s up to 825bhp and 660lb ft. Really?! Of course not. Mind you, the bit about the hyperdrive was the only porky pie. This really is an 825bhp Mustang that’s available in the UK. Not through Ford itself, but specialist dealer Clive Sutton. The popularity of the Mustang in the UK means there’s a growing appetite for mods. At this point our US readership will be shaking their collective heads in disbelief, having enjoyed over 50 years of tuned Mustangs from a vast array of suppliers. But in the UK this is a relatively new phenomenon – at least on a decent scale.
Do I have to have all that… carbon stuff? No. This is not a one model offer. Instead Sutton has a wide range of options and it’s up to you how deeply you plunder them. You could just add a set of window tints to your Mustang, a quick engine upgrade or you could choose to completely deck your car out. Or you could buy brand new from Sutton. I want 825bhp. Of course you do. Child. Now listen. We drove the pre-facelifted CS800 a couple of years ago, and weren’t fully convinced. There was too much lag in the engine, too much inertia, too little easy-access torque and response. But this car uses the new direct injection engine. Same power as before, a little more torque, but much enhanced usability. There’s more torque at everyday engine speeds, and less delay when you ask for it. However, as with the car we drove last time, and compared to other cars with this level of power, the McLaren 720S, Ferrari F8 Tributo and so on, this doesn’t feel mad fast. It’s heavier of course, but performance is probably more in line with a quick GT such as the Bentley Conti GT. It feels fast because it sounds fast. It makes an 825bhp noise alright. Sounds every bit the supercharged V8. Sounds like a thunderclap. Ferocious noise means it feels like you’re accelerating faster than you are – which is probably the best way to be. Although you will be attracting attention. From a long way off. How does it make that much power? Well, you can have the Whipple supercharger by itself and that gets you up from 443bhp of the standard car, to 725bhp. This one then features a Stage 2 conversion with larger throttle bodies and high-flow injectors to liberate the extra 100bhp. Let’s just say fuel economy is disastrous and leave it at that. How’s the handling? Messing around with engines is comparatively easy. Modifying suspension tends to have side effects. So this Mustang features the standard MagneRide adaptive dampers, but with optional shorter, stiffer springs. Unless you’re doing track days, I’d avoid them. There is an intermediate spring which might be the sweet spot, but this set-up doesn’t have the control on the steering in order to justify the harshness in the suspension. The steering fights and fidgets in your hands (the fat 285-width tyres on 20-inch rims play their part in that), and the wheel itself is mostly made up of lumps and curves. Think very hard before you spec that. The steering isn’t sharp enough and doesn’t turn-in with enough aggression to match the suspension. The best component in the cabin is the £990 Coyote manual gearlever. I know, that sounds a ridiculous sum of money, but it lends not just the transmission, but the whole drivetrain, a heavy crispness and accuracy that makes the whole car feel taut. Much better that than the £936 steering wheel. Does it feel connected? Not really. Even with the adaptive dampers stiffened right up they don’t quite work harmoniously with the springs, so you don’t get enough feel from the back axle when accelerating out of corners – and when you’ve got this much torque heading to the rear wheels exclusively, you need a sense of what might be about to happen. Bumpy B-roads are not its happy place. In fact it can be quite unnerving, so you end up driving along them at speeds that would hold up a Golf GTI. But twisting tarmac is not what any Mustang is about. This is a muscle car. It’s only right that it’s over-powered and under-suspended, because that’s what makes them so amusing. And this is a fun car. Not fun in the traditional way that we Brits understand, all that scratchy chin stuff about nuanced handling, but fun in a broader, more open sense. How’s the cabin? Not as overwrought as the bodywork. Outside there’s over ten grands-worth of carbon and it looks rather… dubious. You get the impression it’s an all or nothing venture though. The carbon bonnet alone would look daft – you need to balance it with the splitter and spoiler. Inside, apart from the ridiculous £5,400 Recaro electric race seats, the trimmings tend to be more affordable. But if it was us, we’d be tempted to leave the visuals close to standard, and simply upgrade the engine and gearlever. Maybe a new set of wheels. A small suspension drop. A subtle chin spoiler. Congratulations – it’s a slippery slope and you’ve just taken the first step down it. Score: 6/10