Few cars are as iconic as the Ford Mustang. Introduced in 1964, the car defined the class of rear-wheel drive, front-engine performance coupes that would dominate American performance car culture. Always billed as affordable performance, the newest generation doesn’t disappoint. With a starting price of only $35k for a 5.0-liter V8 powered, manual transmission sport coupe, there’s a ton of bang for the buck. Let’s take a look at the latest generation of an American classic.
There are lots of subtle changes for 2018, not the least of which is a boost in power to 460hp from the four-cam, 32-valve V-8. This is a modern reinvention of the V8 engine, not the same old engine freshened up over the years. The power delivery is relentless, and it revs beyond where you think it should. It’s a really rewarding engine to push, and the exhaust note is fantastic. The active exhaust allows you to ‘be a good neighbor’ and dial the sound down for morning startups, and there’s even a timer lockout that keeps you from waking up the kids by not allowing it to be in the loudest setting at certain times. All the tech seems a little antithetical to the idea of an analog, manual transmission coupe – but it’s seamless enough not to spoil the party.
Another new feature for 2018 is the all-new LCD instrument cluster, coupled with the Sync-3 infotainment system, which allows for a customizable layout. It almost feels like a racing dashboard, which evokes the Mustang’s rich racing heritage. The Sync-3 system is such an improvement over past iterations that they probably should have just renamed the whole thing. It’s one of the båetter car interfaces out there.
The interior is comfortable but business-like. The seats hold you quite well, and there’s a cockpit feeling from the center console to the dashboard. And it’s a good thing the seats are supportive, this thing can corner like you wouldn’t believe. You’d think a muscle-car like this was just for the drag-strip, and available line-lock lets you do burnouts like a pro NHRA driver – but the steering is light and precise, with incredible feel and control of the nimble chassis. From turning through mid corner and exit, there’s always a ton of grip on hand and a ton of feedback to keep you on track.
The reality of car prices these days is that it’s easy to spend over $40k on even the most pedestrian of sedans, and certainly on most imported sport coupes. The fact that you can get one of these American rockets for below $40k, even with some options, makes it one of the best values on the market. The recent announcement that Ford would stop selling cars in North America, except for the Mustang and one Focus model, shows that they know how important this car is to preserve their heritage. And it’s nice to know that performance car enthusiasts will have something to look forward to in years to come.
The Mustang is also available with an Ecoboost 2.3-Liter 4-cylinder that makes 310hp, and the V6 engine has been dropped for 2018. But none of that matters, because the V8 is the one you should be getting. This is really one of the most fun cars to drive on the market, and with older generations being quick in a straight line, but somewhat awkward in the turns, this newest generation of Mustang really is an all-around performer. If you have $35k to spend, and are looking for a performance car, then run – don’t walk – to your Ford dealer to check out the Mustang. I bet one follows you home!
Special thanks to Ford Motor Company for providing the 2018 Ford Mustang GT for review.