Mustang, welcome. The original ‘pony’ car, long in hood, short in deck and often vast in engine, has too long lingered in the tall grass of European car culture.

In the US, its fame in Ford’s canon is rivalled only by the impossibly influential Model T and the unimaginably big-selling F-Series trucks.

Since its launch in 1964, it has never been off sale, even if its popularity has waxed and waned. But away from North America, and certainly in the UK, the car’s import status has rarely progressed beyond ultra-low-volume novelty – despite widespread nameplate recognition.

The reasons for this are simple enough. From Ford’s perspective, it did export the Mustang, but it was the idea, not the metalwork, that was dispatched across the Atlantic.

Thus Europe’s cheap-to-build fastback coupé was the wildly successful Capri, followed, inauspiciously, by the charmless Probe.

In retrospect, this was no bad thing. Cared-for, impossibly pretty mid-1960s classics and V8-engined, late 1960s Mach 1 muscle cars are the Mustangs most encountered in Britain, ensuring that the badge remains largely unsullied by at least three generations of intervening mediocrity.

Around a decade ago, though, with the fifth generation, Ford rediscovered its stride. Moreover, with the European version long dead and the concept of ‘global’ cars suddenly fashionable in Dearborn, the possibility of the model’s expansion overseas was finally on the table.

The sixth generation, engineered from the outset for right-hand drive, realises that ambition. Offering inimitable space, scale and style, it will be sold in both fastback and convertible guises here, starting at just over £30,000 for one with a turbocharged four-pot petrol engine or, more tantalisingly, a little under £35k for one with a 5.0-litre V8. Guess which one we opted to test?

Top 5 Affordable sports cars

  • Porsche Cayman
    The Porsche Cayman is now in its second generation

    Porsche Cayman

    1
  • Here is the fourth-gen Mazda MX-5 - the definitive small sports car

    Mazda MX-5

    2
  • Toyota GT86
    The stated criteria for the GT86 read like a purist's manifesto: rear-drive, no turbo, ordinary tyres

    Toyota GT86

    3
  • BMW M235i
    The BMW M235i is a rear-wheel-drive turbocharged coupé which rivals the likes of the Porsche Cayman

    BMW M235i

    4
  • Lotus Elise S Cup
    Road-going version of the racing Elise. Suspension mods help make it an unbridled joy.

    Lotus Elise S Cup

    5

First drives

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