Slip into the Mustang and you’re greeted by a wide tunnel, accommodating seats, some obviously plastic surfaces and some plastics pretending to be metal. A few soft surfaces abound, too, but as always, if you’re expecting the same as Europe’s best, you’ll come away disappointed.
This, though, should not be a surprise. When it goes on sale in October, a V8 Mustang is going to cost £32,995 in the UK. Which is conspicuously cheap for a 5.0-litre, 415bhp coupé.
As with the latest Camaro and the Vauxhall VXR8, though, there are only hints at that sort of potency when you fire up the engine. Unlike, say, a Mercedes-AMG or a Jaguar F-Type, which fairly erupt when you thumb the starter, the Mustang emits a relatively muted woofle.
First surprise, though: although the clutch is as positive and weighty as you’d expect, the gearshift is extremely slick. Not light, but short of throw, brilliantly positive and utterly notch-free. The engine pick-up is smooth, and you’re rolling.
Other control weights and actions are mostly as expected: throttle response is leisurely at low revs, the brakes are positive and strong. All UK cars get what’s called a GT Performance Pack as standard, which includes six-piston Brembo front brake calipers, as well as 19in rather than 18in wheels, superior cooling and suspension that has been retuned from standard US cars.
The suspension settings offered in the pack, though, have changed a bit since we first drove the new Mustang. Then, the low-speed ride was reportedly far too choppy. Now it’s more compliant, albeit still firm over poor urban surfaces.
But the rub is that the Mustang is a 1720kg car. Unless you use adaptive dampers (and they have their drawbacks), to a certain extent you have to compromise, either allowing more compliance or tightening the body control. I reckon the balance is about where the Mustang ought to be.
Since our first steer, Ford’s engineers have also tweaked the front suspension to make the steering more responsive - to make a wide, long car feel more agile, I suppose. It’s certainly direct now, and well weighted and accurate.
Most of the time it’s quite pleasing, but at autobahn speeds it can prove a little nervy around the straight-ahead. Again, though, the balance isn't bad, the Mustang feeling fairly well poised and planted through the limited number of corners we were able to put it.
What has been set in stone for a while is the nature of the V8 motor, whose initial laziness becomes more alert as it passes 4000rpm and takes on a second wind round to the 7000rpm limiter. Exercise it and the Mustang really gets along – feeling every bit the 4.8sec-to-62mph car it is.
As long as you’re in the first five gears, that is. Sixth is massively overdriven, although it still can’t persuade the 5.0 Mustang to emit any less than 299g/km of CO2 or return more than 20.9mpg on the combined fuel economy cycle.
If you want better than that, you’ll have to try the turbocharged 2.3-litre four-cylinder Ecoboost model, although for my money that rather defeats the object of having a Mustang.