From £31,310
The 2011 Mustang combines the raw edge of an old-fashioned muscle car with a surprising degree of refinement and poise.

Our Verdict

Ford Mustang V8 Fastback

Now with right-hand drive, but is the rest of it suited to UK driving?

21 November 2011

What is it?

This is the 2011-model of the Ford Mustang. This model-year sees a serious upgrade in power thanks to a comprehensively upgraded and re-designed all-aluminium V8 motor. As well as being lighter, the engine now also gets what Ford calls twin independent variable camshaft timing and a stainless steel tubular manifold. The upshot is a leap in output from 2010’s 315bhp to today’s 412bhp.

Also new for 2011 is the electrically-assisted power steering with three settings (comfort, standard and sport). The steering set-up also features something called ‘active nibble control’ which is designed to compensate for out-of-balance tyres and compensates for the road camber, keeping the car running in a straight line without the need for driver corrections.

Read Autocar's review of the 2013 Ford Mustang GT500

The damper and spring rates have been revised (for both handling and NVH reasons) and the anti-roll bushes stiffened. The lower rear control arm has also been re-designed. There’s more high-strength steel in the body (which also means the cabrio Mustang is 12 per cent stiffer) and more sound proofing, including near door seals and rear arch liner, to kill road noise.

What’s it like?

Remarkably good. One of the most stand-out features - for the European driver, at least - is that fact that the Mustang still has a beam axle. When we’re talking about that axle having to deal with a meaty V8, it’s easy to dismiss the Mustang as a new-world crudity.

In fact, this Ford Mustang handles and rides like something of a thoroughbred. On the winding and dipping country roads above Los Angeles, the Mustang was impressively accurate and controlled.

It’s a very stable and level-riding car, with an impressive ride but the big surprise was the steering, which is very accurate indeed and makes the car very easy to place on the road, so reeling off a series of switchbacks is an undemanding, though satisfying, task. Adding to the ease of rapid progress is the excellent, closely-spaced, six-speed manual box.

The body control, steering accuracy and unflappable poise in bends provide an intriguing contrast to the sheer exuberance of the V8 engine in full-flow. This is a very quick car, but also one that delivers a classic, no-substitute-for-cubic-inches, sense of thrust. Although refined at part-throttle, the engine’s max-attack noise is now channelled directly to the cabin from the engine’s intake, and the driver gets an in-cabin soundtrack that you’d swear was sampled straight from Bullitt.

What really lifted this particular car as a driver’s device was the optional Brembo brake package (which comes as part of the Premium Package, including leather trim and a rear-view camera). These brakes were first-rate, picking up as soon as the driver touched the pedal and proving to be superbly controllable, making it easy to take the braking force right up to the point they were likely to lock. This might not strike you as immediately useful, but the sense of finely-tuned control offered by the Brembo brakes were a large part of making the Mustang such an impressive cross-country machine.

The only downsides were the crazy mix of instrument graphics (old-school, dowdy and blue dot-matrix) and the uninspired cockpit styling, It felt well-made, though.

Should I buy one?

Even at £25k in the UK, this car would be worthy of serious consideration. But the chance of Ford ever producing a right-hand drive Mustang is very small. Understandably, the company probably thinks that European enthusiasts will not be able to look beyond the received wisdom about American performance cars: all grunt and not much finesse. Nothing could be further from the truth, however.

The 2011 Mustang combines the raw edge (and aggressive performance) of an old-fashioned muscle car with a surprising degree of refinement and poise. It delivers the satisfying feel of a classic with the refinements and control of a modern machine.

Ford Mustang GT (2011)

Price: From £19,695, Price as tested: £25,850; Top speed: 155mph (limit); 0-60mph: 4.9sec; Economy: 33.6mpg (highway); CO2: n/a; Kerb weight: 1655kg; Engine: 8 cyls, 4951cc, petrol; Power: 412bhp at 6500rpm; Torque: 390lb ft at 4250rpm; Gearbox: 6-spd manual.

Join the debate

Comments
28

28 November 2011

Now, that is some praise! I want this Mustang badly!

28 November 2011

[quote Autocar] Understandably, the company probably thinks that European enthusiasts will not be able to look beyond the received wisdom about American performance cars: all grunt and not much finesse. [/quote]

I don't think this is the case at all. Ford are shrewd enough to look at a business plan and know this car is too far through it's product life cycle to be worth converting and even if they did for the few that would be sold it probably wouldn't be economically viable.

They also know cheap V8's just don't sell in the UK at the moment and residuals would be criminal. Even the V6 would be touch and go - it's just the wrong time.

The image of the car in the UK would be down to the press and their interpretation of it, rather than general old school preconceptions. As much as you love it in the US, how critical would Autocar be of it when it got here, priced at £35,000 against the European competition?

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

28 November 2011

[quote TegTypeR]I don't think this is the case at all. Ford are shrewd enough to look at a business plan and know this car is too far through it's product life cycle to be worth converting and even if they did for the few that would be sold it probably wouldn't be economically viable.[/quote]

That is one spot on observation. But really we do need Muscle cars as alternatives to european sports cars, Detroit three why don't you think about it?


28 November 2011

it sounds like a huge improvement on what was already a good car. You really have to hand it to the Americans, they get real value for money and have a sense of fun with some of their cars that we just dont 'get' this side of the Atlantic.

28 November 2011

Massive "yes please". Autocar, would you like me to run one for you, say six months? I'll happily pay for the petrol if you cover the £25,850 shortfall I have to the asking price.

  • If you want to know about a car, read a forum dedicated to it; that's a real 'long term test' . No manufacturer's warranty, no fleet managers servicing deals, no journalist's name to oil the wheels...

28 November 2011

[quote JackB]Now, that is some praise! I want this Mustang badly![/quote]

There is a company in Germany, greymarkets.de, that converts Mustangs to RHD and South African legal spec. Currently they are developing a conversion kit for the 2011 Mustang in V6 and V8 form. I expect it would not be cheap but they also covert up to 5 year old models.

28 November 2011

Sounds promising - would like to know how it does on UK roads.

28 November 2011

I put 2700 miles on a brand new rented base-spec Mustang V6 convertible (the new, 305bhp V6) a couple of months ago and was impressed, especially knowing what they cost new over there. Main downside was the autobox, but it made a good noise, had plenty of 'go' and didn't feel like it was going to fall apart too quickly. I spent most of my time on the open road, and it returned an average of 33 UK MPG over the trip.

Would have loved a V8 and a proper gearbox though...

29 November 2011

Well change from £26,000 fior a 400+bhp Mustang looks pretty good value when the new Toyobaru b*****d love child with less than 200 bhp will apparently cost £28,000 (probably

BARGAIN.

29 November 2011

I really wish they would bring it here. And when Autocar say:

Understandably, the company probably thinks that European enthusiasts will not be able to look beyond the received wisdom about American performance cars: all grunt and not much finesse.

To be honest. As a European, I can't look beyonds Ford UK's current range or utterly boring Rep-Mobiles.

I used to love Ford. And indeed globally, there are plenty of Ford Models I would buy and would love to own, including the Mustang, but their current UK range stinks of company car fleet fodder.

Ford NEED somthing like the Mustang to inject a bit of life into their range. I don't think there is much you can get over a 2 litre at Ford. At least Vauxhall/GM treat us with a little bit more respect with the VXR-8 and the Camaro. It doesn't matter if they don't sell that many, it will at least give the Ford brand a bit of a boost.

Get with it Ford.

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