First Drive: Ford Mustang 5.0 V8 GT 2dr Reviews 2023 | Top Gear
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First Drive

First Drive: Ford Mustang 5.0 V8 GT 2dr

£36,040 when new
Published: 07 May 2015


  • BHP


  • 0-62


  • CO2


  • Max Speed


  • Insurance


So it's finally here, then?

Not quite. This is the Mustang, the global Mustang, the one they will be selling in Britain in right-hand-drive. But not until autumn. This is the left-hand-drive version.

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We've driven it in Germany, and it has the same spec as the UK car, and we know the UK prices. So it is tantalisingly close to being here, but it isn't quite... finally... here... yet.

What's it got, what'll it do and what's it cost?

It's pretty similar to the US version, but with the America's optional performance pack fitted as standard. That means a 421bhp all-aluminium four-cam V8, six-speed manual, limited-slip diff, big Brembo brakes and 19-inch wheels.

It'll do 0-62mph in 4.8secs, claims Ford. And with standard launch control, track timer and g-meter, climate control, colour media screen and xenons, it's just £33,005. Premium audio and navigation, and big-bucket Recaros, are on the good-value options list, as is an automatic gearbox.

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A bargain, then?

Yes, lots of on-paper spec and performance. Look at it in terms of European rear-drive coupes: it's the size of a BMW 6-Series V8, at the price of a 2-Series four-cylinder.

But does it feel cheaply done?

The engine is hale and hearty, the dynamics engaging, and the cabin is on-par with Euro-Ford levels of quality but has a character all of its own. Neither premium nor cruddy. On the road it's refined, a quiet high-speed cruiser, and the structure feels reassuringly solid.

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What of the go and stop departments?

The V8 is generous but the effect isn't blazingly quick because it's working against 1651kg of prime US beef. You need to use revs, but it's happy to join you in that enterprise. The sound is key to the very Mustang-ness of the thing: an honest harmony of metal and gases.

TG drove a US-spec 'Stang through every American state. See how we got on here

There's transmission shunt at low speed (improved since we drove the early US cars, but still present) and a mismatch in weight between the meaty shift and over-light brake pedal, at least until you start braking harder and find the calipers' natural progression.

Is it a cart-sprung American wallow-barge with no idea about cornering?

Oh do keep up. This Mustang has all-new independent suspension. It corners very entertainingly, with progressive reactions and a wide choice of angles from neat-and-tidy to smoky-and-lairy.

At high speed the steering is a touch nervous, and in tight corners there's a rubbery smudginess to the reactions, but work through that and it's very capable. The suspension is a little soft at speed - and the weight doesn't help - but that allows it to work well over the sort of broken roads we get in Britain.

Big, though?

You really won't let your prejudices drop will you? Although you might have a point this time. It feels wide, but no more so than some of Europe's grander coupes. And this helps make it a useable everyday prospect, thanks to a decent boot and kid-capable back seats.

Gas guzzling?

OK, OK, another prejudice confirmed. This V8 Mustang rates at 20.9mpg and 299g/km. Sure that's a lot of tax, but mentally offset it against the low price of the actual car.

And the thing is, you might well match that consumption day-to-day. Downsized Euro-engines with turbos seldom get near their official figures. More of an annoyance is the pathetic 61-litre fuel tank, so the comfortable range is under 250 miles.

Anyway, if you want this as a company car, there's always the 2.3-litre, four-cylinder Ecoboost version, at 179g/km and 5.8-second 0-62mph time.

Do I still want one?

If you always fancied a Mustang, this is the one that you buy without your petrolhead mates laughing at you. It's really perfectly competent under any stony-hearted analysis, while still being able to paint a muscle-car grin clear across your face.

I suspect down a B-road it won't see which way the new Focus RS went, but Ford's Performance division is giving you lots of choices these days and for that alone we can be grateful...

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