The latest version of the Ford Mustang comes with a very considerate “quiet start” mode for those owners who don’t want to annoy the neighbours.
I have to admit it came in handy at 6.30am as I scraped the ice from our test car, and after a brief bark as it fired into life the big V8 settled down into a gentle rumble no louder than the clatter from my neighbour’s diesel Qashqai.
It’s a sensible, grown-up feature to include and, as such, has no place on the Mustang. This 5.0-litre posing machine is not about being sensible or subtle or worrying about what other people think, it’s about being a bit silly, making a noise and getting noticed, even at 6.30am.
The earth-shaking rumble from the quad exhausts is just one part of that. A minor facelift last year tweaked the Mustang but left the overall looks the same so this is still a massive, long, low and wide muscle car unlike anything else on British roads. It’s still enough to turn heads even four years after its launch.
The performance is also something to turn heads and open eyes. The sprint to 62mph takes just 4.5 seconds in ideal conditions and the GT comes with a host of features designed for use on the track, including line lock for tyre-ruining burnouts and a dedicated drag strip mode for the ultimate getaway.
Last year’s update boosted the V8’s power to 444bhp as well as offering upgrades to the transmission and suspension. All that power in cold wet weather still feels a bit hairy, even with the 10-speed auto trying to keeping it in check. Wet/snow mode is a welcome feature but you still need to rein in your enthusiasm – there may be traction control but it’ll only do so much.
Keep it pointing in the right direction and the Mustang’s steering is pretty sharp and responsive, with different speeds and weighting for different drive modes. Beneath the surface the optional MagneRide suspension offers a tighter and more composed ride and handling than before but while it’s fun to chuck around there’s no escaping the Mustang’s substantial size and weight on challenging roads. For all its big power and fancy suspension the Mustang feels more at home cruising along getting noticed than tearing up the Tarmac.
Ford Mustang GT convertible
Price: £46,310 (£50,225 as tested) Engine: 5.0-litre, V8, petrol Power: 444bhp Torque: 390lb/ft Transmission: 10-speed automatic Top speed: 155mph 0-62mph: 4.5 seconds Economy: 13.4-27.7mpg CO2 emissions: 285g/km
As one of Ford’s flagship models, the Mustang GT comes with all sorts of toys, including adaptive cruise control, a suite of collision-mitigation systems, digital instruments, dual-zone climate control, an eight-inch touchscreen with smartphone mirroring and powered an automatic assistance for almost everything. However, that comes at a price.
The big attraction when the Mustang first launched in Europe was that you could get a rear-drive V8 muscle car for around £35,000. Sadly that’s no longer the case and the price creep has robbed it of some of its appeal. Our test car started at £46,310 but by the time you add the adaptive suspension (necessary), fancy paint (unnecessary) and £1,500 custom pack with 1,000W B&O stereo, sat nav and climate controlled seats, you’re looking at a price tag north of £50,000.
That’s getting into the territory of far more dynamically capable cars such as the Toyota Supra, BMW M2 Competition and the Alpine A110 and if it’s a driver’s car you’re looking for it makes the Mustang harder to recommend.
Of course, if you’re more interested in dramatic looks and sound, plus plenty of kit, than on-the-edge performance the Mustang still has plenty to shout about – regardless of the time of day.