I am still pinching myself in disbelief that I have finally driven the iconic Ford Mustang Muscle car. It’s a car I have only read about, seen in videos and pictures. But now it’s finally here and what better way for it to enter here than with a roaring naturally aspirated V8 under that long hood. This original American pony car took over 50 years to reach our shores. So was it well worth the wait? Answers surely came flying as we are drove this legend at the beautifully flowing 5.1km Buddh international circuit in Noida.
Although this is the first Mustang to be designed for the global market, it still keeps its predecessor’s hefty proportions. It now carries a lot of design cues from the modern Ford line-up like the slim headlamps but its design language is unmistakably Mustang-esque -- the upright grille, muscular wheel arches, strong crease running across the side and the striking rectangular tail lamps will make every person notice you as you drive by.
The profile looks familiar with the hong food, two prominent creases slashed across the side and the tapering roofline which blends into the stubby boot. It makes the car look dynamic and helps it stand out from the traditional sportscar crowd. The muscular look is further complemented by the huge wheel arches and the large 19-inch wheels. But it’s from the rear that this car just looks menacing. The boot section is fat, the three slat tail lamps look rustic and the twin tail pipes point at what’s lurking in its heart. Unlike the old car’s boxy proportions the new Mustang looks more rounded but Ford has done a fabulous job of retaining the essence of what this pony car stands for.
Open the big wide doors and you are welcomed by a dashboard that seems like a modern take on the traditional Mustang cues. The twin-pod instrument cluster, three circular centre vents, toggle switches for different driving modes and the badge which says ‘Since 1964’ lets you know you are driving something with a rich history. The knurled knobs to control the music system is made of good quality too and add to the retro theme inside. You also get a touchscreen interface which is very similar to the one found on the new Endeavour and is not the most intuitive to use.
Thanks to the absence of B-pillar and large windows, visibility is fantastic and this also makes the cabin feel wide and airy. The thick rimmed steering wheel is unusually big and it is loaded with as many as 18 buttons for music system, Bluetooth, cruise control and voice command system. Though the cabin has some retro elements the ambience doesn’t look that distinct and it doesn’t make you feel special like the new Audi TT does. Although the quality is decent, some plastics lack the plush feel. We particularly didn’t like the plastics on the dash and door pads which lack soft touch and that all-important expensive feel.
The front seats are well contoured with good lateral support and are comfortable. But they are placed a bit too high for my liking. Although the Mustang is big car on the outside, space at the rear is best for kids for short stints.
A muscular 5-litre V8 powers the Mustang and although its power output of 400bhp might sound moderate its on the go that this motor really impresses. For starters there is ample torque as soon as you step on the throttle and despite it being quite an old engine it is smooth and free-revving too. As soon as you press the starter button this large bore motor comes to life with a deep gurgle and settles down to a vibe-free idle. As soon as I opened the taps on this naturally aspirated V8 on Buddh’s kilometre long straight I was catapulted forward in a long linear burst and I felt so calm in the Mustang that I even had the time to glance at the speedo which was nudging 240kmph. What was also impressive was the flexible nature of this motor. Coming out of the slower bends like the final corner, you can get away with being in a higher gear. This is a good thing as it makes up for the 6-speed automatic gearbox that is slow to respond and has a mind of its own. Upshifts are slow and it refuses to downshift near the redline which is vital during spirited driving.
We were a bit baffled when Ford invited us to drive the Mustang on a racetrack. This muscle car is known for its straight-line thrust than corner carving abilities. But not anymore. The new Mustang is suspended by modern all independent suspension and it also has the electronics to involve you around bends which the old could only dream of. The Mustang felt extremely stable and surefooted especially around long corners with good poise and fantastic grip. The long wheelbase, wide stance and wide tyres give it huge amounts of grip, and there’s almost no shifting around, even at really high speeds. Of course you can't cheat physics and this 1.8-tonne car thanks to the heavy V8 lump feels front heavy and washes wide at will. In the tighter technical corners on the track, all that girth can get a bit unnerving initially. But there is a way of driving this beast. The way to drive this car is enter corners at sedate speeds and then use all the V8 thrust to propel you out of corners. Of course if you are a bit over enthusiastic on the throttle it will wag its tail. But it happens so progressively that it is more fun than being scary. This car's weight also means the Brembo brakes take hammering if you drive it hard for a considerable period of time with considerable fade. So while this is no Porsche Cayman, it surprisingly still is a fun car to drive hard.
|Max. Power (bhp)||396bhp|
|Max. torque (Nm)||515|
|Fuel Capacity (in litres)||60.9|
|Tyre size||255/40 R19 front 275/40 R19 rear|
|Independent rear suspension||Yes|
|touchscreen infotainment system||Yes|
Competition All Specs
|Engine Capacity||2.0-litre four-cylindrr||5.0-litre|
|Max. Power (bhp@rpm)||227 @ 4500||396bhp|
|Max. torque (Nm@rpm)||370 @ 1600||515|
|Fuel Capacity (in litres)||55||60.9|
|Tyre size||245/ 40 R18||255/40 R19 front|
If you want to get noticed wherever you go then absolutely yes. The Mustang’s immense road presence alone will get you load of admirers. It also has a naturally aspirated 5.0-litre V8 which gives it loads of go and once behind the wheel a big plastered smile is guaranteed. Of course, it has its shortcomings. The gearbox is slow, plastics aren’t great and cabin doesn’t feel that special. Priced at Rs 65 lakh (ex-Delhi), you get a lot American muscle for your money. The Mustang has a rich heritage, an icon and is better than ever before. I am ready to sell off my kidneys to buy one.