Pony to gallop
9 January 2004

Leading the charge for Ford at the Detroit Motor Show is the 2005 version of the iconic Mustang. Now in its 40th year, the latest incarnation is a real return to form for the original ‘Pony’ car.

Mixing ancient and modern, the stylish four-seat coupé was sired by last year’s stunning concept car and features numerous design cues from the Mustang’s ’60s glory days (see picture), such as the familiar grille shape with inset spotlamps, sculpted C-scoops in the flanks, a rakish fastback shape and three-piece tail lights. A wide, muscular stance and short overhangs add a touch of modernity.

The Mustang will be available in two distinct models when it goes on sale in the US in the autumn. Prices start at ‘less than $20,000’, equating to £11,300 for the Mustang V6 with cloth bucket seats, 16in alloys and a new 202bhp 4.0-litre overhead-cam V6. The range-topping Mustang GT gains 17in alloys, front fogs, leather trim, a discreet rear spoiler and V8 power from the ubiquitous Ford all-alloy 4.6, with 24-valve heads and variable cam timing boosting power by 40bhp to 300bhp. Both versions are available with either Tremec five-speed manual or a new five-speed auto driving the rear wheels.

Front suspension is by MacPherson struts and, at the rear, it remains true to Mustang tradition with a solid axle, though the ’05 model features triple links and a Panhard rod to ensure better locationduring hard cornering. Larger disc brakes are ventilated at the front and have four-channel anti-lock. Intelligent traction control keeps the 300 horses in check. A six-inch-longer wheelbase boosts cabin space and rear passengers sit in individual bucket seats.

Inside are more retro touches, with a ’60s-style double-binnacle aluminium dash fronted by huge chrome-rimmed speedo, rev counter and handsome three-spoke wheel. The instrument panel changes colour at the touch of a button to suit the driver’s mood.

Ford might have decided not to bring the new Mustang to Europe, but British enthusiasts will be able to get their hands on left-hookers just weeks after its autumn launch from importers such as Bauer Millett. ‘There is a real niche interest here for fully loaded V8s, which we’ll sell for around £25,000,’ said owner Lawrence Millett.

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