From £31,9107
Will a healthy shot of extra muscle make the Mustang Convertible more appealing? We try the V8 version in the UK

Our Verdict

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What is it?

We’ve previously sampled a Mustang Convertible and we were not totally convinced. Partly to blame was the car’s engine: the 2.3-litre Ecoboost may be a strong performer, but it lacked the aural fireworks you might expect from an all-American automotive institution.

So surely ticking the box for the 5.0-litre V8 should be the answer to all our woes? There’s certainly plenty of power: 410bhp guarantees serious performance even with the additional weight of a folding top and chassis bracing.

There is the worry that it could all be a little too much for the soft-top Mustang, though - after all, even the Ecoboost-powered convertible could be lairy at times. We’ve tried the manual and automatic in the UK to find out.

What's it like?

Thumbing the red starter button, you can’t help but smile as the V8 woofles into life. There’s no doubt that it completes the Mustang experience, and it’s no surprise at all to hear that 68% of buyers - and there are plenty of those - have opted for the 5.0-litre engine option.

Although it’ll tickle along at a little over 1000rpm, it needs a few revs on the clock to feel properly quick. Keep the revs high, however, and the Mustang will push you back into the seat with a satisfying amount of force while emitting a brutish roar.

In a straight line it’s hard to feel short-changed even if it’s not quite as rapid as the coupé, but the V8 Convertible is still not as accomplished as the hard-top when it comes to cornering.

The open-topped version feels softer, both in suspension stiffness and structural integrity. Hit a few bumps and you see the rear view mirror jiggle in your peripheral vision and feel the car shudder slightly. Turn-in isn’t as sharp as that of the coupé either.

While the Mustang will understeer, it seems to spend far more time twitching its rear end. In the dry, you can deploy a lot of the V8’s power without too much drama, apart from some slight movement of the back axle.

Try the same when it’s wet or even slightly damp, and the rear of the car is prone to stepping out even with the traction control switched on. Thankfully it’s easy to catch, but it's still a surprise that isn't always welcome.

The manual gearbox is a pleasingly mechanical thing to use, although it does require a firm hand. The automatic slurs through ratios smoothly when pootling but isn't the quickest to shift when you start playing with the paddles. Arguably, though, the auto is better suited to the Convertible's laid-back demeanour.

This is especially true considering the size of the Mustang. Not only is it wide, but it’s a long old thing, too. It’s therefore disappointing to see parking sensors as an option and not bundled into the not inconsiderable purchase price.

It might be big on the outside, but there’s not much room for those in the back. You’ll need a short driver to fit anyone with legs behind them and the seats are mounted high too. Front seat passengers have plenty of space but may not be so impressed by the interior quality. It looks stylish enough but there’s an awful lot of hard, scratchy plastic.

Should I buy one?

It’s no surprise to find that the V8 engine does make the Mustang Convertible a much more appealing car. Even at a cruise, you can appreciate the burble of the V8 over the hum of the Ecoboost, while many will appreciate the additional performance.

The trouble is that the extra grunt exacerbates the handling issues we experienced in the lower-powered open-top. It really doesn’t take a lot to overwhelm the rear tyres if it’s damp underfoot. 

It’s also thirsty - you don’t have to being trying that hard to get the fuel consumption to tumble into the teens. Still, we can’t see many people using a Mustang to commute, and if the Convertible's cruise-before-cornering set-up tempts you, we’d definitely go for this V8.

Ford Mustang 5.0 V8 GT Convertible

Location Oxfordshire; On sale Now; Price £38,495; Engine V8, 4951cc, petrol; Power 410bhp at 6500rpm; Torque 391lb ft at 4250rpm; Gearbox six-speed manual; Kerb weight 1786kg; Top speed 155mph; 0-62mph 4.9; Economy 20.8mpg; CO2/tax band 306g/km, 37%

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Comments
27

31 March 2016
"This is especially true considering the size of the Mustang. Not only is it wide, but it’s a long old thing, too." So, in future Autocar you'll mention the size of a Ford Mondeo, a Vauxhall Insignia, a Peugeot 508 etc, all of which are longer and only marginally narrower than the Mustang. Or what about cars in the class above like an E-Class, which are bigger in all area. Or what about the Jaguar F-Type which while shorter, is wider. You've even banged on about the size of the Corvette which is the same size as a 911, but the Porsche never gets criticised for being big.

31 March 2016
Good point about the increasing width of cars, which is more of an issue than length in real world driving conditions. My F-type convertible is only a couple of inches wider than the Boxster it replaced, but it really does feel significantly bigger when threading it through the narrow streets of the market town where I live. The vulnerability of the 20" alloys to kerbs exacerbates the issue. It's fine on open roads, but a bit of a chore around town.

1 April 2016
Incidentally, was that an implied criticism of a JLR product on your part? Who are you and what have you done to Roadster?

1 April 2016
@Roadster: I totally agree with you. The British motoring press always have negative things to say about American cars and on the other hand praise European cars that similar traits. It's become rather tiring.

31 March 2016
Why do I constantly have to comment on the blatant bias and lack of respect shown towards any Ford products here? The article itself started of from quite a negative undertone that it could only peter out into a lukewarm but reserved conclusion.
Most of the Autosport reviewers are steeped in preferences towards the upper end of the motoring world and with a heavy dose of obedience towards the Japanese offering even when stylistically and dynamically they are worse than the Fords. I am afraid I do not read these reports to come t a conclusion anymore but to see the extent to which they would go to prove their point one way or the other.
Like it or not the Mustang will always be an iconic car.....

31 March 2016
Customers are increasingly drawn to retro looking cars - Mini, 500, Mustang - This says a lot about the poverty of contemporary design. And the DS brand is missing a trick by not referring to the original DS. Now that this Mustang is a commercial success, Ford should think about reviving and updating the stylistically brilliant retro Thunderbird of 2002

31 March 2016
...long old thing??? This car is perfectly modern (being just introduced in 2014) and only slightly bigger than many european coupes (i.e. BMW M4). Your bias is showing...

31 March 2016
Having had my 5.0 V8 Auto convertible for just over two weeks now I feel able to address some of your comments - I ordered my car with the option pack as virtually everyone seems to have done so rear sensors already fitted. I had the front sensors installed as a £399 extra - can't agreed with the comment about 'not inconsiderable purchase price' & everyone else is raving about the value for money £42k OTR.

This car is all about enjoyment & you get plenty of that - it's size is not an issue after a few miles & whilst I agree the interior is not to the same standard as my Bentley I could have purchased 4.5 Mustangs for the price of the Bentley Continental. I was very pleasantly surprised by the interior quality when I collect the car as all the magazines have been banging on about the poor quality & it's nothing like a bad as I expected.

Yes the handling on damp surfaces needs to be respected but it's an American car tuned for British roads & will not be perfect.

I ordered a 2+2 & that's what I got.

All in all a great value car to be enjoyed - the noise alone is worth the money.

i

31 March 2016
The Vauxhall Cascada is better than this. The 1.6 turbo cost 33k and got 4 stars in an Autocar review.

31 March 2016
winniethewoo wrote:

The Vauxhall Cascada is better than this. The 1.6 turbo cost 33k and got 4 stars in an Autocar review.

Ha Ha... this a joke, right?

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