Birchwood Ford; sponsors of the Sussex RS Owners Club, of which I am the current Chairman, very kindly gave me the opportunity to try this fantastic car for a weekend, bringing to reality a longterm dream of getting my hands on at least one of the aforementioned iconic beauties, and as luck would have it; I was graced with perfect weather to enjoy the car’s attributes to the fullest.
For me, the drama of this car started before I even opened the door, as Ford very wisely maintained the classic looks of this legendary muscle car, whilst at the same time have given its powerful and imposing demeanour a 21st century edge. It doesn’t really matter what angle you approach from, you just can’t seem to stop your eyes wandering across the beautiful body lines that command your attention, and judging by the amount of admiring looks I (the car!) got whilst driving the Mustang; I think its fair to say that most people would agree with me - it’s a real head turner.
Once I’d slid myself into the comfy leather seats and started to look around, I felt an immediate sense of power. Perhaps because of the iconic pony logos on the dashboard, or maybe it was power bulge in the bonnet that dominated my view from the windscreen, I didn’t really care which, it just felt like I was about to experience something really special, and what followed did not disappoint.
When I pressed the start button for the first time, the magnificent V8 roared into life with a punchy growl which just emphasised the feeling of power even more, and its most certainly a noise that I could never grow tired off. At the same time the digital dash powered up with its flashy display, letting me know that I was in a 21st century car. Without more a do, the shades went on, the windows went down, and away I went.
One of the first things I noticed was how wide the car seemed and how long the bonnet was, both things that might initially have deterred me from buying it (if I were in the market to do so), but, to be fair; by day two I had got used to the size and was throwing it around with nearly the same confidence as I do my own car.
Something else which is immediately apparent is the engine, which can be summed up easily in one word….. EPIC! Ford V8’s have a long and prestigious history, and all that knowhow really shows with this engine, lashings of power and torque, beautifully balanced, and a noise that’s just out of this world! Married with the ten speed auto gearbox, this car is capable of being two completely different animals. In normal drive mode the car is very smooth and quiet, meaning that if you want to just sit back, relax and eat up the miles of a long journey or just potter through your local village unobtrusively, then that’s exactly what it will do. Alternatively, you could (like I did) set the drive mode to Race Track and blast your way along the road in a plethora of noise, grinning like a Cheshire Cat! On top of this, if you really want to be a total hooligan, the Line Lock feature which locks the front brakes to allow you to spin the rear wheels is one of the most fantastic toys I’ve ever had the pleasure to use, it made me feel like a teenager again! I’m still not sure how I managed to control myself enough to return the car with tread left on the tyres!!
As for the handling, well, there’s no getting away from the fact that this car feels heavy, and at nearly two tonnes, frankly, it is. Therefore, corners are not necessarily its forte, it doesn’t feel unstable be any means; and I didn’t have to suddenly start driving like Miss Daisy was my passenger every time I approached a bend, I just had to consider the weight and the capabilities of the tyres before I went ploughing in to a double S at silly speeds. After all, I am used to the razor sharp performance of my Focus RS, currently one of the best handling cars on the planet, so I just had to remind myself that this is not what muscle cars are about, and with that said, the best thing about having to slow down for the corners, was that I had to accelerate out of them, and acceleration is something this car does really really well!
Aside from the pleasure of looking at it, driving it, and smoking the rear tyres into oblivion. The cockpit of this car was also very pleasant. The seats were extremely comfortable, the wide centre console provided plenty of room for both me and my passenger to rest our arms without fighting for elbow room, and the endless amounts of gadgets could all be controlled without having to take a hand of the steering wheel. Some of my favourite touches was the pony emblem puddle lights, complete spectrum of colours that the instrument display can be changed to, and the instrument display that changes between the normal, sport and track modes, to name just a few.
I could pick out a couple of minor idiosyncrasies about the Mustang, but I won’t, because my overriding opinion is one of great positivity. The looks are so good that every time you walk up to car you’ll be feeling excited about the drive ahead, and every time you walk away you’ll be looking back disappointed that the journey is over. The engine is EPIC! The noise is intoxicating. The speed is exhilarating. The interior is comforting and well equipped, and the line lock is just the best feature of any car ever! If you want a car that will lift your mood with every journey, you’d be hard pushed to find a more suitable car than this.