Each time I drive a Ford Mustang, I am impressed. With every new iteration, Ford’s icon will get just a little bit sharper, and just a little bit simpler to stay with, as nicely. Efficiency and expertise abounds; the Mustang is really a world-class sports activities coupe.
Two large choices spotlight the Mustang’s 2018 mannequin yr adjustments: the GT Efficiency Pack and a brand-new 10-speed computerized transmission. Massive speaking factors, each, however solely one in all them positively impacts the Mustang expertise.
Muscle automobile energy, sports activities automobile poise
Whereas there’s lots to be mentioned for the bottom Mustang’s 2.Three-liter turbocharged I4 engine, I am unable to think about proudly owning this automobile with something aside from the unbelievable Coyote 5.Zero-liter V8. Not solely do you get 460 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque — which is lots for this Three,705-pound coupe — it is all delivered with the kind of predictable linearity that solely a naturally aspirated engine can present. Cap it off with one of many sweetest, most muscular soundtracks on the street at this time, and it is a rewarding mixture that is all ‘Murica.
What’s most spectacular concerning the fashionable Mustang is how balanced and tactile it’s on winding roads. A lot of the the coupe’s improved dealing with is because of Ford’s new GT Efficiency Package deal, a $Three,995 possibility that provides useful upgrades like Brembo entrance brakes, revised entrance springs, a bigger rear sway bar, stiffer chassis tuning and a brand new Torsen limited-slip differential, in addition to beauty goodies akin to distinctive 19-inch wheels and a restyled rear wing. Past that, you may order the Mustang with a MagneRide suspension that repeatedly adjusts damping charges in any respect 4 corners — $1,695 nicely spent.
Alongside acquainted canyon roads, I am having fun with a stage of involvement I’ve solely beforehand felt in Mustangs that put on Shelby badges. Now not a one-trick pony automobile of straight-line velocity, the Mustang has advanced right into a rewarding sports activities automobile, with sharp, correct steering, flat cornering traits and many communication each via the steering wheel and the seat of your pants.
In the event you want much more precision, contemplate upgrading to the Stage 2 efficiency pack. It prices $6,500, however consists of the MagneRide suspension and will get you super-fat, super-sticky 305/30-series Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires. The automobile examined right here has the Stage 1 equipment, so in the event you’re apprehensive concerning the added price of the Stage 2 pack, know that you just nonetheless get a extremely fantastic sports activities automobile must you go for the less-aggressive equipment.
That transmission, although…
I do know that stick-shifts aren’t for everybody, however the Mustang GT’s computerized transmission ($1,595) is an absolute buzzkill. It doesn’t matter what driving mode you are in, and regardless of if the gear lever is in Drive or Sport, the automated is poorly matched to simply about each driving model.
Round city, the shifts are jerky and poorly timed. On the freeway, it is continuously trying to find the proper gear. Within the canyons, it will refuse to downshift earlier than a flip however then maintain gears too lengthy whenever you’re operating at a gradual velocity. You may put the transmission in handbook mode and function it by way of the steering wheel-mounted paddles, however even then, there is a noticeable delay in shift time. This transmission hassle is not simply distinctive to my particular take a look at automobile, both. Editor Jon Wong spent a month with a equally spec’d Mustang GT in Detroit, and his solely main grievance was that awful 10-speed.
What’s extra, the 10-speed would not vastly enhance gasoline financial system, both. The Mustang GT carries EPA scores of 15 miles per gallon metropolis, 25 mpg freeway and 18 mpg mixed with the six-speed handbook, and regardless of having 4 additional ahead gears, the automated solely improves town and mixed scores by a single mpg every. Throughout my week of testing with combined driving, I noticed noticed gasoline financial system of simply 17.5 mpg.
Wealthy with options and tech
The 2018 Mustang is a automobile that is simple to stay with day-after-day. From its snug seats and numerous luxurious facilities to its wealth of onboard tech, there’s lots to love right here. Certain, just a few swaths of crummy plastic nonetheless line the doorways and transmission tunnel, and I nonetheless hate that the toggles on the middle stack solely transfer in a single route (and the fallacious route, at that), however general, the Mustang’s inside is very nice. Comfy, supportive seats are trimmed in leather-based, and are heated, as is the steering wheel. The middle stack is sort of button-heavy, however all of the automobile’s controls are simple to seek out.
Entrance passengers take pleasure in a good quantity of headroom, and whereas there are technically two seats within the rear, I would not ask adults to sit down there for quite a lot of minutes. Ahead and facet visibility is fairly good — definitely higher than a Chevy Camaro, at any fee — although the thick, sloping roofline creates some hearty blind spots.
This GT Premium mannequin comes commonplace with an Eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system, operating Ford’s newest Sync Three software program. It isn’t the prettiest system, with a restricted colour palette and fonts that kind of learn like a large-print greeting card, however what Sync Three lacks in visible aptitude it greater than makes up for in performance. It is an intuitive interface, with fast response instances to inputs and a menu construction that is super-simple to grasp. Manufacturing facility navigation is non-obligatory, both as a part of the $2,200 Premium Plus pack or as a $795 standalone possibility, although in the event you’d fairly save your cash, Sync Three comes commonplace with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The Premium Plus pack additionally will get you Ford’s new 12-inch digital gauge cluster, with crisp, shiny, high-resolution graphics. It is a reconfigurable show, too, with totally different layouts relying on driving mode. It isn’t fairly as slick as Audi’s Digital Cockpit, however contemplating quite a lot of different lower-priced sport coupes do not even supply one thing like this, it is a good improve.
The Mustang will get a little bit of driver-aid tech, too, largely by the use of Ford’s Protected & Good bundle, which might solely be had on the Premium trim. For $1,495, you get adaptive cruise management, computerized high-beam help, blind-spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert, lane-keeping help, rain-sensing wipers and extra. Better of all, it would not require the addition of the automated transmission. Win-win.
Not as fairly anymore
Magnificence is within the eye of the beholder, however I feel Ford completely botched the Mustang’s 2018 mannequin yr facelift. The brand new nostril is hardly an enchancment — what was beforehand smooth and sporty now simply kind of seems to be droopy and dumpy.
That apart, the remainder of this automobile seems to be nice, particularly in fastback coupe type. The Mustang has an awesome stance, particularly right here in all-black with the 19-inch darkish alloy wheels of this GT Efficiency Pack-equipped automobile.
How I would spec it
Ford provides the Mustang as a convertible, in each base and Premium trims, and with four- or eight-cylinder energy. I would in all probability nonetheless purchase the coupe, however I am certain a 2018 Mustang Convertible would make a heck of a pleasant rental automobile to your subsequent trip.
Probably the most primary four-cylinder 2018 Mustang coupe begins at $25,680, earlier than $995 for vacation spot, and you may’t get right into a 5.Zero-liter Mustang for lower than $35,190.
For me, I am going to improve to the GT Premium, which will get me all of the aforementioned niceties for $39,190. Paint mine Lightning Blue (one of many few no-cost colours) and do not you dare add any of the non-obligatory racing stripes. I am going to take the $2,200 401A Premium Plus Package deal, largely for the 12-inch digital gauge cluster and the heated steering wheel, and I am going to go for the $6,500 Efficiency Package deal 2 as a result of, scorching rattling, is it good (keep tuned for a evaluation, quickly). Add $895 for the lively exhaust, and I am out the door for $49,780.
An actual efficiency worth
At $35,000, the Mustang GT represents one heck of a efficiency cut price. You are not going to get 460 horsepower for that little coin from another automaker. Step as much as one of many GT Efficiency Pack vehicles and sure, the worth will get larger. Nevertheless it’s not like you are going to get right into a Chevy Camaro for a lot much less — a comparable Camaro 2SS 1LE mannequin can also be going to set you again $50Okay.
Actually, even at $50Okay, the Mustang provides a sports activities automobile expertise that is extra rewarding than vehicles costing tens of 1000’s of extra. A BMW M4 Coupe begins at $70,000, and I would take the Mustang GT each time. Assuming it would not have the 10-speed auto, anyway.