The Ford Mustang is coming to Australia in late 2015, EFTM’s Chris Bowen has already driven one of the incoming models from this iconic nameplate around the streets of San Francisco.
The 10 Minute Test Drive.
I’ve never really been a Ford man, so hopping into a Mustang has never been on my wish list. But when the keys were handed to me for a quick drive over to The Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco I rapidly changed my mind. Even better was the fact it was the GT 5.0-litre Ti-VCT V8 model, not that the streets of this epically hilly, tram ridden and stop sign obsessed city would let me have too much fun.
You slip down and into the Mustang, it’s a typical sports car experience. Discovering how wide and long-nosed the bonnet is really hits you. Judging the dimensions proved a little nerve-racking at first but things soon settled down.
The cabin has been crafted to a level that I feel sits well above the Ford Falcon XR8 and marginally aloft a Holden Commodore SS. It felt tight and neared what you’d call premium, leather across the dash and aluminium look trims across the central console added to the charm. There are still plenty of hard, cheap plastics down low but my initial reaction was that it had that “special” feel to it.
It’s a decent cruiser at low speeds, I wouldn’t say the steering was light by any measure. There’s a definite level of weight in your hands, but it steered reasonably predictably and easily.
The 6-speed gearbox with paddles shifters wasn’t the fastest box around, but flicking through the cogs with your fingertips is simply fun. Why it took so long to introduce them to certain locally produced V8’s I’ll never know.
The engine note wasn’t the overt V8 soundtrack many long for. Think more of a muted and deep muscular type sound, creamy but never raucous.
The ride was a little stiff, especially over the type of pavement found around San Francisco. But overall the entire drive experience was well above that of a Falcon XR8 or Holden SS.
Ins And Outs
The Australian GT Fastback model scores the 303kW / 525Nm 5.0-litre Ti-CVT V8 with an aluminium block and heads, four valves per cylinder and twin independent variable camshaft timing. In the brake department you score 380 x 34 mm vented front discs, Brembo six-piston 36 mm fixed aluminium calipers riding on front 19 x 9 inch Ebony Black Painted Alloy wheels and 19 x 9.5 for the rear (275/40 R19).
There are plenty of highlights across the range with Remote Keyless Entry, Stainless Steel Dual Exhaust, Rear Diffuser, HID headlights, LED taillights, Fog Lamps, Daytime Running Lights (DTRL), Mirrors – Heated, Body Coloured, Dual Power with Integrated Turn Signals, Pony Projection Lights and Rain Sensing Wipers.
The Tech Inside
Ford drivers will be familiar with the SYNC2 system which offers the usual range of connectivity found in most cars these days. It’s hardly a dazzling system like some others and its third incarnation which was previewed during our stay leaves it for dead. The system is displayed via a high-resolution 8-inch colour touch screen with voice control for directing the navigation, climate control and mobile phone functions.
The Hip Pocket
The Recommended Manufacturer’s List Price for the Aussie Mustang kicks off at $44,990 for the 2.3-litre EcoBoost Fastback with manual transmission. Prices top out at $63,990 for the automatic convertible at $63,990. The car I sampled is listed at $57,490.
The EFTM Rubber Stamp
I had the opportunity to ask Moray Callum, the Vice President of Design for Ford Motor about how the new arrivals will be received, “I think the Mustang will do well, it might revive the good old V8”. Time will tell, but in my mind there’s little doubt the Mustang will hardly be an exclusive sight on our roads in years to come. Already 2000 customers have forked out deposits with Race Red being the most popular choice. Aussies love big, brash and radically styled muscle cars. Practically the Mustang is hardly a replacement for a Falcon, with two doors and limited rear seating space. But the type of person who forked out on an XR8 did it based on emotion, so in that instance perhaps the same buyer will be swayed by the return of the Pony. Based on what I’ve seen the Ford Mustang is worthy of the EFTM Credit Rubber Stamp of Approval.
Chris travelled to San Fransico as a Guest of Ford