REVIEW – Ford Mustang V8 GT Fastback [2019]

Editor-in-chief, Senior Reviewer


Ford Mustang 5.0 V8 GT Fastback [2019]
  • Exterior Styling
  • Interior Finish
  • Engine / Performance
  • Ride / Handling
  • Economy
  • Practicality
  • Equipment
  • Value For Money
4.5

Summary

You can’t knock Ford’s attitude to customer feedback. The new 2019 Mustang takes on board all criticism, and comes back bigger, badder and better. The styling is more honed. The 5.0-litre, naturally aspirated V8 engine brings more power and, crucially, an active valve exhaust. That rumble can now be properly heard, and appreciated. And despite the price increasing, you’ll still struggle to find more bang for your buck.


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Exterior Styling

We reviewed the last Ford Mustang, which was the first to come to the UK, in several guises. Both Fastback and Convertible models, with both Ecoboost and V8 engines.

Whilst there was no doubting it looked the part, it lacked a few finishing touches. With this new car, Ford has addressed the feedback from customers and the media. The result is a car that’s even more visually appealing than the previous model.

The body lines are more honed, and sculpted. At the front the shark nose is more prominently defined. The gaping grille is wider, and shoutier. And the angular LED headlights now incorporate signature LED daytime running lights.

In the same three-pronged style as the tail lights, they scream ‘Ford Mustang’ and make sure everyone knows what’s in their rear-view mirror. They also look more premium than the last car’s halogen spots.

You’ll also notice two vents on the bonnet, and a black plastic lower skirt. Our test car was finished in exclusive, and striking, Orange Fury.

The side profile is largely similar to the previous car, including the oversized ‘5.0’ badge for the V8. Optional 19-inch forged wheels finished in silver look rather athletic, and suit a more toned Ford Mustang.

And thanks to the availability of four different custom packs our test car had black window surrounds as opposed to chrome.

At the back the V8 now had quad exhausts as opposed to twin. The three-pronged tail lights are still a prominent feature, as is the large ‘GT’ badge in the middle. A large rear spoiler is available as an option, but we quite like the native duck-tail created by those sweeping lines.

Bottom line, this is a real head-turner; even more so than the previous car.

Interior Finish

The interior finish was certainly a point of contention with the last Ford Mustang. Whilst it may have been (relatively) cheap, it also felt it inside. Nasty plastics were far too plentiful for our liking.

Again, Ford has listened to the criticism, resulting in a revised cabin for the 2019 car. The silver plastic trim is still plastic, but a grained effect gives it more texture. The dashboard brows are finished in a more soft-touch material.

Choose any one of the four custom packs, and the transmission tunnel is trimmed in leather. This was by far the worst area of plastic in the old Ford Mustang, so a welcome revision.

Sounds good doesn’t it? Well it’s still not perfect. Yes, there are more soft-touch plastics, but equally there are still some iffy ones knocking about too. And yes, the transmission tunnel is leather, but it’s hardly the soft, sumptuous leather you’d get on an Audi or Volvo.

You have to remember that the Ford Mustang is a 40-odd grand car, so you’re perfectly entitled to demand a higher-quality finish.

And yet, Ford has managed to save the day with another optional extra: Recaro front seats. Costing £1,700 (or £1,400 with a custom pack) they aren’t cheap, but boy do they transform the cabin.

The style of seat has an almost retro look to it, and that suits the Ford Mustang perfectly. They’re certainly easier on the eye than the standard seats, which are a little bland.

Engine/Performance

Whilst the Ford Mustang has two engines to choose from, there really is only one choice. That would be the 5.0-litre, naturally aspirated V8. Obviously.

In this new car, the V8 has been given a power boost from 416PS to 450PS. That’s an impressive figure, in fact it’s the same as an Audi RS 4!

Our car has the standard 6-speed manual gearbox, which is likely to be the most popular choice. However don’t be so quick to discount the automatic this time around, because Ford’s 10-speed box is supposedly rather good. We’ll let you know once we’ve tried it…

All that power is sent to the rear wheels via a limited-slip differential. So it’s a good job the rear tyres are wider than the front, giving you more contact with the road.

Acceleration is effective – with 0-62mph taking just 4.6 seconds – but somehow feels a little laboured. The Ford Mustang has tall gearing and a 7,500ish redline. First gear is good for 50mph. Second gear takes you up to 80mph. You don’t need any more than that.

There are different drive modes in the Ford Mustang. Snow/Wet is a really useful one, easing off the throttle response and making the car much more driveable in the rain.

One thing missing from the last car was a good exhaust system. The V8 rumble was there, but not as prominently as you’d hope. Now though, Ford has fitted an active valve exhaust to the Mustang.

It has a ‘Quiet’ mode for relaxing motorway driving, and a ‘Race Track’ mode to unleash the true bellow of that mighty V8. It’s a sensory delight, and will undoubtedly put a smile on your face. The Ford Mustang now has the bark to match its bite!

Ride/Handling

Walk around the Ford Mustang, and you’ll probably feel tired. This car looks huge. So we were understandably apprehensive about throwing it round some of our windy B-roads.

Make no mistake, from the driver’s seat you do get a sense of enormity. That bonnet stretches out for miles ahead of you for one. But actually, once you get on the move, it doesn’t feel big, nor heavy, at all.

In fact, you could almost call it agile. Steering weight can be adjusted, and it’s best on the heaviest Sport setting. Turn-in is sharp, and you can point that shark nose exactly where you want it.

The 2019 Ford Mustang has an optional MagneRide suspension. It costs a not-insignificant £1,600 but takes the ride to another level. The system is constantly monitoring the road and your driving style, making thousands of adjustments per second.

The result is not something you necessarily notice, but it certainly works. Because when you cruise along the motorway the Mustang is comfortable. When you head down a bumpy road it absorbs them, without becoming unsettled. And when you corner at speed it remains flat with minimal pitch or roll.

For all those things to be possible without pressing a single button, the MagneRide is clearly doing its job. Our only suggestion would be to build some element of driver control into it. Let us have a bone-shaking or cloud-like ride at the press of a button.

The brakes are similarly competent at their job too. With 380mm discs and 6-piston Brembo calipers, the Ford Mustang stops as well as it goes. And given the size (and weight) of this car, that’s reassuring for the driver.

Economy

This is the most pointless section of a review of the Ford Mustang. Those people who are considering buying one will already know that they will become good friends with the local petrol station attendant. Those who aren’t considering buying one will not car either way.

At the end of the day you don’t buy a dog and complain at having to poop-a-scoop. Similarly, you don’t buy a 5.0 V8 GT car and complain that the fuel consumption is poor. It comes with the territory.

All things considered, the new Ford Mustang isn’t too bad. Combined fuel consumption of 22.7mpg may not sound great, but find a similar car that does much better…

Furthermore, the Mustang will not only achieve this figure the majority of the time, but will actually exceed it on a longer run. Not to brag, but on one motorway run we saw 25.something. Can’t say fairer than that.

CO2 emissions of 277g/km will have environmentalists condemning you as you burble past them in the street. But the only thing it really affects from an ownership point of view is the VED paid.

The first year rate is a whopping £2,070. But let’s not forget that this is absorbed into the purchase price, and the Mustang remains reasonably-priced despite this. It will incur the £310 surcharge for costing over £40,000 however, so VED in years’ two to six will be £450.

Practicality

On paper, you would never expect the Ford Mustang to be any use as anything other than a 2 seater. Or maybe a 2 plus 2 at a push. And you’d be right. The rear seats are no good for any adults, in particular those with heads and legs.

Yet despite the expectation, this is a little frustrating. You see the Mustang looks about 8 metres long, and 3 metres wide. So to climb in and find that the rear space is akin to a shoebox (that’s been folded in half) doesn’t make sense.

It’s a similar story with the boot. At 408 litres, it’s a decent size. You could, theoretically, fit stuff in it. Until you go to open it and discover that the taillights take a big chunk of the opening. So actually larger items become a struggle, even though they would fit based on their dimensions alone.

In terms of living with the car day to day, you better have good spatial awareness, because there are no parking sensors at the end of that thirty-foot bonnet. Width can also be an issue in tight car park spaces, or on narrow country lanes for that matter.

Safety is a concern, too. This new model gets a host of driver aids, including Pre-Collision Assist with autonomous emergency braking. But it still only manages an uninspiring 3 stars in the Euro NCAP tests.

But, at the end of it all, the Ford Mustang is very drivable. It’s as easy to tootle through town at 15mph as it is to blast down the motorway at 75mph. You can fit the shopping in the boot, and the kids in the back (just). And a few niggles here and there can soon be forgotten with a bit of V8 thunder.

Equipment

The Ford Mustang is generously equipped, with only a handful of optional extras available.

The most notable additions to the specification come in the safety department. Pre-Collision Assist with warning and automatic braking is now standard. In addition, Distance Alert, Driver Alert and Lane-Keeping Systems aim to make your life on the road as safe as possible.

The added performance equipment is welcome too, from the standard active exhaust to the optional MagneRide adaptive suspension. Coupled to that more powerful, 450PS V8 it’s a winning combination.

In terms of creature comforts, you get dual-zone climate control, keyless entry and start, adaptive cruise control, automatic lights and wipers, and folding door mirrors with puddle lights. Oh, and the puddle light is the galloping horse, obviously.

The main options available are the four custom packs – which adds different alloy wheels, SYNC3 navigation, B&O Sound 12-speaker system, partial leather centre console and climate front seats. These range from £1,565 if you keep the standard wheels, up to £2,465 for a pack which includes forged alloys.

MagneRide suspension is £1,600 and the Recaro front buckets are £1,700 (or £1,400 with any custom pack). And that’s pretty much it, aside from paint finishes. Exclusive colours, like our Orange Fury test car, are £795.

Value For Money

One of the reasons the Ford Mustang is so popular in America is the affordability. You can have all the style, that iconic status, for a starting price of $26,120 (just over £20,000).

Admittedly, the UK cars are more expensive. With the 2.3-litre Ecoboost Fastback starting from £37,045 the price has crept up from the last model too. The cheapest V8 is now £42,145 but in fairness the product is more polished, more refined, and more fun.

Throw a few options at it and our test car was £48,305. You’d be hard pushed to find this level of performance, and head-turning ability, for less than £50k. Or would you?

You see there is a special edition Mustang Bullitt. It has the Recaro seats as standard, and you don’t need the custom pack because it has exclusive alloy wheels. The Dark Highland Green (yes, the same as the original) is a no-cost colour. The price for this car is £47,545. Add in the £1,600 MagneRide suspension, and you’re still under £50k.

We are hoping to try out the Bullitt model next year, but the word on the street is that they are going to be extremely hard to come by. They could even be a future classic.

Bottom line: if you have £50,000 burning a hole in your pocket, and you want an iconic car that is loved and respected by the masses, then you really have only one choice. What colour Ford Mustang would you like?

Facts and Figures

Engine 5.0-litre, naturally-aspirated V8 petrol
Max power 450PS at 7,000rpm
Max torque 527Nm at 4,600rpm
Drivetrain 6-speed manual gearbox, rear-wheel drive with limited-slip differential
0-62mph 4.6 seconds
Top speed 155mph
Fuel tank size 61 litres
Fuel consumption 22.7 mpg, combined cycle
CO2 emissions 277 g/km
Kerb weight 1,818 kg
Towing capacity N/A
Luggage capacity 408 litres
NCAP rating 3 stars
Base price £42,145
Price as tested £49,280
Company website www.ford.co.uk/cars/mustang

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