Right-hand drive production may very well make a telling difference to the number of Britons who’d seriously think about owning this all-American muscle car, but it doesn’t instantly make the Mustang a natural fit either for UK roads or for the class of competitors in which it will find itself here.

Nor should it. The car’s fundamental difference is to be celebrated – but not before it’s properly considered. Because even this newly modernised sixth-generation Mustang is a big old lump of Michigan metal. It’s fully 2ft longer than an Audi TT, a good 3in wider than a BMW 2 Series Coupé and, in V8 form, 200-300kg heavier than those like-for-like Germans.

Matt Prior

Matt Prior

Road test editor
You can spot the official European cars by the daytime running lights integrated into the foglight housings

The car’s biggest outward differentiators from its predecessor are sleeker A-pillars and C-pillars, ‘pillarless’ construction in between, a lower roofline and wider flanks, the rear track in particular having grown by 70mm.

Ford considers the car’s trapezoidal radiator grille, ‘shark-bite’ front bumper and ‘tri-bar’ LED tail-lights to be design hallmarks, and mostly we’d agree. The car looks menacing and seductive in equal measure and will probably appeal to most owners as powerfully for its looks as it will on bang for your buck.

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Made of a mix of high-strength steel pressings, ultra-high-strength castings and forgings and steel tube all laser-welded and bonded together, the car’s underbody is 28 percent more rigid than the outgoing version’s. Suspension is via MacPherson struts up front, while an ‘integral link’ multi-link set-up at the rear replaces the unsophisticated live axle that the Mustang has depended on until now.

Official European examples get Ford’s Performance Pack as standard, adding front strut braces, a thicker rear anti-roll bar and stiffer springs to the specification. They also get uprated front brakes, a bigger radiator and an additional oil cooler compared with their non-passport-carrying cousins. In October 2016 Ford's performance division created a range of kits to increase the power of the V8 and 2.3-litre Ecoboost Mustangs. The packs themselves are available in the US, but there is no definite confirmation they are set to arrive in the UK. The Ecoboost Mustang sees its power increase to 335bhp from 310bhp, and gains a 70lb ft leap in torque – with the pack fitted. 

Meanwhile, the 5.0 V8 Mustang GT gets three different performance kits. The mildest of these adds 13bhp and 16lb ft, and the mid-range pack provides 21bhp and 24lb ft. The most potent kit provides a power hike of 37bhp and 5lb ft, and extends the engine's redline to 7,500rpm.

UK sales will be limited to fastback and convertible bodystyles, 2.3-litre four-cylinder turbo and 5.0-litre atmospheric V8 petrol engines, and six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmissions. And although the Ecoboost four-pot promises an intriguing combination of sub-6.0sec 0-62mph sprinting and 35mpg-plus touring, it’s still the ‘Coyote’ 5.0-litre, the model we’ve chosen to test, that’s expected to dominate sales.

Using port fuel injection and only just having inherited proper variable camshaft timing, it’s not the most modern V8 in the world and unlikely to surprise anyone with its fuel economy. But then, 410bhp for less than £35k is damned hard to argue with.

Ford's home market naturally benefits from some additional models, which the firm has indicated won't be available in the UK, including an entry-level naturally aspirated 3.0-litre V6 and the potent 518bhp Shelby GT350 and GT350R, however, if you feel the 410bhp that the 5.0-litre V8 Mustang produces isn't enough and modest performance kits don't quite satisfy your demands, then fear not. London-based supercar dealer, Clive Sutton, may just have the answer in the shape of the Sutton CS700 and CS800, which produces an astonishing 700bhp and 800bhp respectively.

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