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