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Engine options, top speed, acceleration and refinement

It probably pays not to look too closely at the standing-start acceleration times on offer here. You can fit launch control if you like – and Ford has, and we used it – but whichever way you look at it, the Mustang is a car that weighs 1745kg, wearing winter tyres and tested on a damp winter’s day.

The bigger wonder is that it reaches 30mph in 3.1sec at all, and it means there’s no shame in its 5.2sec 0-60mph time.

The Mustang’s Electronic Line Lock is nothing more than Ford assisting with tyre-melting burnouts

To get a broader idea of the Mustang’s performance, take a look at the 20mph increments it deals with in fifth gear.

You can select the gear at less than 20mph and it’ll take you all the way to the other side of 140mph, getting there well within a mile, and pulling hard all the way. A naturally aspirated 5.0-litre V8 is as out of kilter with the times as a print newspaper, but for engaging a gear, planting your foot and rolling with it, there’s still very little like one.

Curiously, though, it comes with fewer fireworks than you might expect if you’re unfamiliar with brawny American V8 metal, as fitted here, or in Chevrolets (and Vauxhall-badged Holdens). Whereas, say, an AMG V8 fires with a rowdy bark redolent of a Nascar paddock, the Mustang’s V8 just turns over with a gentle woofle.

Give it a blip of its lazy throttle and it’ll still rock the car gently, but V8s are such a non-novelty in the US that it seems Ford is content to do without the show and just let the engine get on with its job.

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Which, as it turns out, is no bad job at all. It’s strong from idle through to the 6500rpm redline. Throttle response improves the further around the gauge you go but is never searing, and the positive gearshift helps you to drop the Mustang into whatever cog you most fancy. So, no, it’s not the most sensational powertrain, but it is one of the most straightforward and effective.