You can read Jack Baruth’s extremely thorough track-test of the 2013 Mustang V8 here.
All right stop, collaborate and listen:
The Mustang’s back in a brand-new edition,
Recaros, grab a hold of me tightly –
Flow through the corners daily and nightly
“Will it ever stop?” Yo, I think so,
It’s got grabby pads and brakes by Brembo.
To the extreme: a drag car that can handle,
Light ‘em up, stage, then wax a chump like a candle.
Right, I think that got all the Vanilla Ice out of my system. Let’s drive this damn thing.
It’s brony week at TTAC and things are looking good for Ford with
Back Jaruth Jack Baruth Beardy McShinyshirt calling the ‘Stang, “the best, most thoroughly realized product Ford makes.”
Oh, Ford makes this thing? Well that’s weird: why there aren’t any dang Ford badges on it? I’ve got a galloping steed up front, “5.0” on the flanks and a big ol’ GT belt-buckle out back so that the guy in the 3-series knows that at least he didn’t get smoked by a V6.
Welp, there ain’t no bow-ties on a ‘Vette neither. The Mustang is a brand all to itself, which is exactly why it has such a clear feeling of identity. This latest edition obviously has the blood of its sixties ancestors pounding in its veins, although I can’t say I’m in love with the tweaked front end. It looks like Moose thinking about something sad.
This car is American, inside and out. Frankly, I love it. The materials aren’t luxuriant – dear me, no – the pebbled dash is textured like the backside of a vulcanized rhinocerous and why does chrome-look plastic even exist? Why? Matte-black would do just fine.
The steering wheel is leather everywhere you don’t touch it and plastic at the 9- and 3- o’clock positions. And the retro-look speedometer is useless with metric markings, but serve me right for living in an igloo.
Ignore all that. The Recaro seats fit perfectly, the cabin is clean and simple and spartan and it feels really well put-together. You get the feeling that the person (well, robot, I suppose) that screwed all the plastic bits down watched the car go out the factory door with a satisfied nod. Made in America, and that’s a good thing.
I suppose I should mention something about the on-board
infotainment entermation. The optional Shaker Pro system is incredibly loud and comes with an after-thought trunk-mounted subwoofer that looks like a metastasizing desktop PC. If you play Motörhead through it at high-volume, all vegans within a five-mile radius spontaneously combust. Fun!
But then, the glorious V8 soundtrack is about half the reason to buy a GT over the V6 in the first place; why cover it up? Save your money for an aftermarket exhaust. Or, just put the window down.
Overall, the inside of the Mustang’s a bit like a pair of jeans. Not useless skinny jeans nor saggy-crotched baggy jeans nor hyper-expensive ass-framing euro-denim. Just jeans. The kind you wear when you’re going to fix something or hammer nails into stuff. “Getting-shit-done” pants.
Yeah, that’s it. The inside of the Mustang feels like a place where you Get. Shit. Done.
This is the ranch, where I keep my four hundred and twenty horses. They’d like to run to 7500rpm. Too bad the fuel cut hauls on the bridle at 7K.
The Coyote loves to rev. Point that big nose down the on-ramp, stomp on the throttle and don’t forget to shift – there’s no top-end dead zone to remind you. 1-2 from a roll-out around town is giggle-inducing; 2-3-4, you shut up and pay attention.
As a sort of sauerkraut sorbet to whet my palate pre-Stang, I spent a few days behind the wheel of six-speed M3. Let me just put this out there: while the ‘Stang’s Chinese-sourced 6-speed may be inferior to the Boss Tremec option (deferring to the opinion of my colleagues here), it’s better than the Bimmer’s. And, dare I say it, I like the Mustang’s engine better too.
And then there’s the cornering…
Whoever designed the Mustang’s traction control was either a genius, or a red-neck, or a redneck genius. Mishandle the ‘Stang, yank at the wheel and stomp on the go-pedal and the back-end riverdances about like Michael Flatley, pulling back just before it falls right off the stage.
Sure you can disable it for the track, but on the street it’s less hand-slapping e-nanny and more Master P: shake dat ass – but watch yo’self! Stickier tires would not go amiss though.
This car had the glass roof, high-mounted weight which should theoretically affect the handling like a lead cycling helmet. That and the soft-ish suspension might have track-addicts hunting down the Boss instead – or heading for the aftermarket. As a street car though, you’ll be having too much fun to care.
There’s a caveat. For all the talk of muscle-car-turned-sports-car, the Mustang is a big machine. With an upright seating position and long front-end, it’s like being in a canoe (albeit a canoe with twin Mercury outboards) compared to the “sit-in” kayak hip-pivot feel of something like a MX-5. Not disconcerting, but something to get used to if you’re stepping out of anything lighter than 3000 pounds.
And then there’s the fuel economy which is not… good. If you’ve got a commute, and you’re on the fence about the V6, be aware that you won’t get any pleasant surprises from the V8.
But I pay for my own gas when I’m evaluating a car, and I begrudged the V8 not a single drop. Sure it did a pretty thorough job of processing petrochemicals into noise and shimmy, but I expected it to.
There are basically just two kinds of cars in the world. There are those that you climb into after a long day’s labour and suddenly you find yourself half-way home on autopilot, living out the Talking Head’s “Once in a Lifetime”.
Then there are those cars that straighten out the workday slouch and quicken your step as you walk towards them in the empty parkade. You’ve put in extra hours to make the bigger payment and the nine-to-fivers are already gone for the day.
Rush hour has tailed out, the roads are quiet and you pause before you crank the starter to mute the radio and drop both windows. The Coyote barks, hollow echoes bouncing off the concrete. Dinner’s in the fridge, kids already in bed – no need to drive straight home.
Yo. Word to your mother.
Ford Canada provided the car tested and insurance.