From £31,9108
Ford’s inbound American hot rod handles British roads well enough, but leaves tyre marks across your imagination either way

Our Verdict

Ford Mustang V8 Fastback

The Ford Mustang is available in the UK in right-hand drive for the first time, but does the rest of this American muscle car fit the UK car scene?

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What is it?

The acid test for the new Ford Mustang: our first chance to find out how well it copes with life on UK roads. In a left-hand-drive, German-registered V8-form, admittedly, given that the very first right-hand-drive examples are not expected in the country, direct from production at Flat Rock, Michigan, until later this year.

So we’ll have to wait to assess the thoroughness of Ford’s first-ever factory right-hand-drive conversion for the iconic American muscle car. Right-hand drive also imposes a slightly different engine specification than left-hook Mustangs get. Switching the steering rack to the other side of the car means fitting a different exhaust manifold for the 5.0-litre all-aluminium lump, trimming peak power to 410bhp.

‘Just’ 410bhp, then, but for less than £34k (note the cheeky £1000 price increase that Ford of Britain has imposed on the full-house V8 GT since our earlier reviews). Still, it sounds like outstanding bang-for-your-British-buck to us. But what else does your money buy?

What's it like?

A warm, genuine, effusive and enormously likeable thing to drive. Predictably quick, too, although not quite the hot hatchback slayer some may be expecting. And undoubtedly an outstanding driver’s car of a sort, but still emphatically not a sports car – even after Ford’s latest chassis reinvention.

The Mustang conducts itself well enough on British roads, but its size and heft - and ride and handling that’s still lacking in dexterity and precision compared to the best sub-£40k sports cars – make it a car best sampled at a relatively relaxed pace.

The car’s all-independent suspension is alleged to have halved its propensity to squat over its rear wheels under power, to dive under braking and to heave over lumps and bumps. That may be true in as much as the car’s body movements are shorter of wavelength and better controlled than we’re used to from American refugee hotrods. But you can still feel the full effect of the car’s 1720kg in the its ride, its dampers checking its mass heavy-handedly once the road surface calls for it and making the chassis feel unexpectedly firm on a B-road and at urban speeds.

Handling is decently poised and very engaging. There’s a moderate amount of feedback in evidence through a steering system that can be adjusted to your own preference on weight and that feels fluent enough in the less aggressive settings. Lateral grip levels aren’t huge, despite the 19in rims that the car rolls on, but you get dependable feel as it bleeds away from both axles and good balance and adjustability when cornering. Those minded to take advantage of nearly 400lb ft at the rear wheels will find that the stability control can be fully disengaged and that the car takes attitude quite progressively under power. It’s plenty of fun, then.

But guiding a perfect line through a bend will never be the Mustang’s crowning glory. That comes instead from the tuneful old-school V8 engine, whose power is simply delicious to pour onto the road, like warm maple syrup onto pancakes.

Wind it up and the car is quicker than most rivals at the money; our preliminary road test figures suggest 5.0sec to 60mph and under 12 seconds to 100mph. But it’s more enjoyable still just bowling along in touring mode, burbling enigmatically from 2500 to 4000rpm and making ordinary pace extraordinarily special. The car’s manual gearchange is short and heavy and a bit under-defined through its narrow shift gate, perhaps, but still lovely to row back and forth.

And, of course, the cabin is a four-seater with decent passenger space, folding back seatbacks and a good-sized boot.

Should I buy one?

The Mustang is an alternative, unconventional driver’s car, but deserves plenty of success on our shores. Even the casually interested would recognise that it’s probably twice as desirable as the Holden Monaro that Vauxhall imported to Britain a decade ago, but it has a similar anti-aspirational, working-class hero appeal about it. And if everyone who bought a Monaro invests in a Mustang, Ford’s order books will be kept full for a while.

The car’s not an alternative to a good European sports car; its enduring American brief has long been for something more usable, more powerful, more robust and longer-legged than that – and, inevitably, less delicate.

But less rewarding? Not necessarily. Whatever humps your camel, man.

Ford Mustang V8 Fastback

Location Birmingham, UK; On sale now; Price £33,995; Engine V8, 4951cc, petrol; Power 415bhp at 6500rpm; Torque 391lb ft at 4250rpm; Gearbox 6-spd manual; Kerb weight 1720kg; 0-62mph 4.8sec; Top speed 155mph (limited); Economy 20.9mpg (combined); CO2/tax band 299g/km, 37% AF

Join the debate

Comments
47

4 November 2015
You missed a golden opportunity to tell us all about the performance of the fog lights.

4 November 2015
a similarly priced German, a BMW 4 series. Then decide what feels best.

4 November 2015
voyager12 wrote:

a similarly priced German, a BMW 4 series. Then decide what feels best.

Looking at the BMW configurator, that would be at best a 245bhp 4 Series then? Yes, I can imagine that will feel immeasurably better. Or better still, get a diesel one; now you're talking.

  • 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...

4 November 2015
A great alternative to the usual suspects, I'd imagine there will be plenty of official and aftermarket tuning parts available from the US (and elsewhere) to unlock its potential even further.

@voyager12: I'd expect it would be the usual story though versus a 4 series or C-class. Germans, better fit and finish, superior ride and comfort. Mustang: charming character, 'different', straight line performance.

4 November 2015
£505 Road tax a year if brought now. £2000 Road Tax for the 1st year in 2017. £505! For a 34k car!

4 November 2015
winniethewoo wrote:

£505 Road tax a year if brought now. £2000 Road Tax for the 1st year in 2017. £505! For a 34k car!

And nobody buying one will either be surprised or give a shit so your comment is utterly irrelevant

4 November 2015
winniethewoo wrote:

£505 Road tax a year if brought now. £2000 Road Tax for the 1st year in 2017. £505! For a 34k car!

What an Eejit! A perfect example of the staid, narrow minded perspective of some autocar readers. What did you compare it to, a blue motion VW Golf?

4 November 2015
Are you for real?

4 November 2015
Why Old school V8? Why are all american V8's considered old school?

The Coyote V8 was introduced in 2011, all aluminium, quad cam, variable valve timing on inlet and exhaust. Admittedly no DI.

4 November 2015
That was for winniethepoo...

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