Ford Mustang review - V8 GT, EcoBoost and Shelby GT350 driven

evo staff
25 Sep 2017

Still not quite comfortable on British roads, the Mustang is nevertheless fast, good value and a lot of fun

Evo Rating: 
From £33,645
Looks, noise, performance, value, right-hand drive
Unravels on rougher roads, we don't get the Shelby GT350

The Ford Mustang is not the polished driver’s car its new European focus and independent rear suspension might suggest. Unfortunately, it lacks the body control of its best performance car rivals (irrespective of price) and doesn’t transmit enough information through the steering.

But it’s still a genuinely satisfying car, with great styling, a thundering soundtrack and a real sense of fun whether you’re on the daily commute or driving briskly. That Ford has chosen to offer it in right-hand drive is something to celebrate.

The Mustang is offered in both 2.3-litre Ecoboost and 5-litre V8 GT forms, and it's the latter we'd go for. Yes, you pay more for the privilege and it'll probably use more fuel, but if you've been waiting years for an officially-sanctioned European Mustang then falling at the final hurdle by opting for four cylinders seems like a great shame. The V8's noise, feel and performance are all textbook pony-car stuff.

If you live across the pond, then you should seriously consider the Shelby GT350 or GT350R. Its 5.2-litre flat-plane crank V8 and more focused chassis helps transform the Mustang into a much more serious road and track car. It requires commitment when driving fast, but is incredibly engaging.

> Read our full review of the Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R

Ford Mustang in detail

> Performance and 0-60 time - The Mustang GT is the UK's best performer, dispatching the 0-62mph in just 4.8 seconds depsite a lardy 1771kg kerb weight, while the Ecoboost requireds another second to hit 62mph and can only hit 145mph.  Read about the Ford Mustang's performance here

> Engine and gearbox - The 5.0 V8 is thirsty, but brilliant at embracing the muscle car vibe, where as the 2.3-litre Ecoboost turbocharged variant doesn't provide the performance, fuel economy or soul it needed to upstage its bigger brother.  Read about the Ford Mustang's engine and gearbox here

> Ride and handling - Despite finally adopting an independent rear suspension set up, the Mustang still resolutely adhere's to its American heritage by lacking resolved body control and feedback from the front wheels to thrill on European roads. Read about the Ford Mustang's ride and handling here

> MPG and running costs - Low running costs were never going to be the Mustang's strong point, but they are at least trying with the Ecoboost model. Comparative fuel and tax bills might make that BMW 430i look a little more enticing though. Read about the Ford Mustang's mpg and running costs here

> Interior and tech - Unlike Mustang's of old, the interior is not the plasticy affair you might expect, although it still doesn't get close to German and Japanese rivals. Ford's excellent SYNC 3 infotainment system does make a welcome appearance though. Read about the Ford Mustang's interior and tech here

> Design - Ford didn't hold back on the design of the Mustang, appealing to its retro heritage, while still appearing contemporary. In a sea of BMW 4 series and Audi A5s the Mustang will definitely get you noticed. Read about the Ford Mustang's design here

Prices, specs and rivals

Click past the options tab on the configurator and the Mustang still sits round the £34k point. You’ll be handed to the keys to a 2.3-litre with a manual ‘box, a similar powertrain setup to that found in the Ford Focus RS which is priced about £1500 cheaper.

The self-shifting option pushes the price past £35k. If you’re after all eight cylinders – you should be – then you're just a few thousand short of £40k, where the automatic version sits. If you want the benefits of open-top motoring a £3500 surcharge applies across the range.  

Choosing a rival is tough, since very little on the market shares the Mustang’s honest ethos. For Mustang money you’ll get a Focus RS and some options from Ford’s own stable. The Focus would run rings around even the V8 on a twisty road, but it can’t get close to matching the ‘Stang’s sense of occasion.

Nissan’s 370Z Nismo is a more serious driver’s car than the Mustang and has a similarly back-to-basics feel – a little more sophisticated perhaps, but still pleasingly burly. But at £39,375 it looks quite expensive, lacks a pair of cylinders and is starting to feel long-in-the-tooth. A regular 370Z isn't as good to drive, but the £29,185 price tag is more palatable.

BMW’s M240i is compelling too and at £36,415 it’s similar money to a V8 Mustang. It’s not perfect itself, but it’s quick, and an example of the sort of polished product you can get from a European manufacturer.

The sort of polished product you get from a Japanese manufacturer - the Lexus RC200t, compared with the BMW and the Ford in issue 225, is stylish, luxurious and swift, but lacks the BMW's all-round abilities and the Mustang's character.

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