By on June 12, 2012

Two years ago, we met the five-liter Mustang at Summit Point’s Shenandoah course and pronounced it to be an outstanding track car with perhaps too emphatic a nod of the head to the bare-bones aesthetic. This year, we have a 2013-model five-liter with the same performance equipment but another eight thousand dollars’ worth of options and product improvements. Is this loaded Mustang GT worth considering as a trackday toy, or should you go straight to the Boss 302?

The drive from sunny Powell, Ohio back to Shenandoah means putting four hundred and ten freeway miles, each way, on our “Gotta Have It Green” tester. This car has nearly every major option but the glass roof, and although said roof is just a delight for late-night cruises with your favorite girl beneath your favorite stars, it really is too much of a giant weight at the top of the car to be seriously considered by part-time track rats.

Depending on your region and incentives, this car could run as much as $42,747. That’s a full ten grand above our 2011-model tester, and it brings the Mustang into some pretty exotic neighborhoods, chock-full of loaded Infiniti G Coupes and BMW 3ers. On the road, however, all the extra equipment is welcome. Even the “track-focused” Recaros are a surprisingly good choice for six or seven hours’ worth of continuous droning at 75-85mph, with the on-board computer reporting a solid 22.8mpg.

While the 2013 update adds some pretty wicked exterior cosmetics, including a black-out retro tail panel and some functional-ish-looking scoops and vents, the best news is found between the instrument dials. The Mustang isn’t a full MyFordTouch car; instead, like the Super Duty trucks it has a good, solid SYNC system that reliably recognizes my squeaky voice as I demand everything from the location of the nearest Pizza Hut to an eleventh mind-numbing repetition of Corrine Bailey Rae’s “Call Me When You Get This”. The center LCD display is informative, readable, and even includes a nice g-meter, which is shown above, and maxed-out, by your humble author.

At the end of our freeway grind, I’m convinced that the Mustang really is the best, most thoroughly-realized product Ford makes. It has no actual competition: the Camaro and Chally are pigs in contrast, even if they are handsome pigs like Wilbur. Such a situation is a recipe for stagnant development, but it’s hard to argue that the current Mustang has not been continually improved everywhere it’s been necessary. Every positive tradition associated with the Mustang name is faithfully replicated in this vehicle…

…except, perhaps, value. It depends on how you look at it. The car simply doesn’t offer $42,000 worth of superslab-cruising or baby-seat-carrying value. An Audi A5 is a far more pleasant vehicle in which to travel long or short distances. It’s a tough choice: do you buy the $32,000 GT and have the fastest car that amount of money can buy, or do you buy the $42,000 GT and, well, okay, you’ll still have the fastest car that amount of money can buy, but wouldn’t that sexy little grad student who lives next door be more impressed by some four-cylinder BMW?

Once we arrive at Shenandoah, all that social-impact crap goes out the window. Time to take a lap, so feel free to open up your track map and follow along.

Join me as we pass the start/finish line and prepare for Turn One. Was our entrance to the Turn 22/Turn 1 combo, which should be taken as a single corner, adequate? Who cares? The five-liter rotates the car at will in the most wonderfully safe and controllable manner possible. The throttle programming on this engine is sublime, allowing you to add 100-rpm increments with precision while cranked over at one-gee-plus cornering. We’re full-throttle from the exit of 1 to the entry of 5, and here the GT shows its inferiority to the Boss 302, both in the annoying P-Zero-Nero all-season tires and the roly-poly nature of the non-adjustable suspension. The transition requires commitment, even if it doesn’t require muscle thanks to power steering that never runs out of juice, even after multiple back-and-forth swings. For most of us who were raised on small, sporting cars, the mental adjustment required to ignore the Mustang’s long-hood view on the track takes a few laps. The steering’s trustworthy nature helps with that; after a while, we no longer worry that the nose will “get away”.

Five requires a pretty vicious stab on the brakes. The GT doesn’t like curbs the way the Boss likes them, mostly because the adjustable suspension is Boss-exclusive, but it’s okay to use the curb as a bit of a bouncer down the “Stone House Straight”. The five-liter’s heroic nature asserts itself here, and it’s a perfect partner for the 3.73 rear end. Never does the GT feel out of breath or starved for torque. If you’re used to, say, the VQ/FM Nissans, this will blow the cobwebs out of your mind and recalibrate your notion of what “fast” means.

Perhaps our mind wanders during this short Stone House Straight. Maybe we think for a moment about how the 5.0 “Coyote” is just soooo much more satisfying than the GM LS engines. Why? It’s simple. The damn thing revs without complaint. It loves to rev. It’s like two Honda fours together. The Chevy small-block has never been an enthusiastic revver, even in LS6 or LS7 trim. Yes, it will rev, but the Coyote leaps for the redline where the GM loafs.

What a shame, then, that the GT doesn’t come with a nice Tremec transmission through which to put all this power. I don’t want to belabor the point about the Chinese-assembled six-speed, but it needs to be said. The Mustang deserves better. Ford’s in the habit of premium-pricing their vehicles, so why not install a premium transmission and charge the difference?

Alright. This car’s so rapid we don’t have time to navel-gaze any more. Time for the big brake stomp into Six and Seven, which we take as a single “V” shaped line, adjusting with throttle as necessary. This Mustang, just like the 2011 model, just like the Boss, requires brake management. If you don’t know what that is, I can teach you at a 2012 TrackDAZE event (SPONSORED CONVERSATIONAL MESSAGE!) or you can contact an instructor such as Peter Krause. (UNSPONSORED CONVERSATIONAL MESSAGE!)

The 8-9-10 complex we take in a broad curve before throttling down to 11. This is where the infamous live axle should sabotage the car. It doesn’t. It simply requires respect when you hit the curbs. If your front wheels aren’t straight when you bump a curb at speed, the car won’t be straight when it lands. Fair enough? Last week, we talked about how the Hyundai Genesis doesn’t suffer from this problem. This does not mean a Mustang GT will ever suffer from the problem of being passed by a Hyundai Genesis on a racetrack.

The accursed P-Zeros require patience through 11, and I mean patience. The five-liter wants to run. Make it wait. Yes, the 5.0 can adjust the corner exit with throttle, but that means you will have hot rear tires for the rest of the lap. Best to wait and then let the engine pull you up the Bridge Straight. We’ll be well over 110 miles per hour when all four wheels leave the ground over the “bump jump”. How well does a nearly-two-ton car jump and land? Just fine, thanks. The unibody just feels solid. Then it’s time to hit the ABS and dive into the replica Karussell. Now we’re glad that we are in a Mustang, because unlike a lot of more delicate cars, we can enter at 55mph or so without ripping off the nose. Aren’t you glad you didn’t buy a Boss Laguna Seca? That splitter would be in the grass, son.

Here, too, the fundamental soundness of the Mustang structure shows itself. It rattles less than a new 997 or Corvette through the concrete bowl, and it fairly leaps out with a big sideways step from the Torsen-diffed rear end. Make sure you buy the limited-slip rear diff. Without it, you can’t make the back tires do what’s required to manage understeer.

Turns 14, 15, and 16 are simply run straight by the curb-chomping Mustang. Again, this car is big and solid like a Panther and it accelerates like a NASA American Iron racer. Better stop the car a bit, managing the brakes, for Turn 17.

This, dear reader, is where you will miss your Civic. More pertinently, you will miss the Fox Mustang, and maybe even the SN95 Mustang. Why, oh why, exactly, does this vehicle have to be soooo large? The P Zeros are partly to blame for the eternal wait in this very slow right-hander, but most of it is really just due to the fact that the Mustang is 105% of the proper size. Blame the Lincoln LS and its donated platform, but one ride in a Camaro will show you that there are worse platforms from which to build a ponycar.

What’s left on the track? A dyno test in the form of a long curve and back straight. With proper tires, the GT wouldn’t even need to brake for “Big Bend”. With the Pirellis, you need to be a little careful. The steering is your ally here, faithfully reporting the amount of grip in a way that Corvettes can’t always accomplish. Then we hit the brakes hard for 20 and then again for 21… bringing us to the start/finish line.

You have questions. I have some answers.

  • Should I buy this over the Camaro or Challenger? Yes, if you will ever track it. If not, consider the Challenger, which has increased street presence and more room.
  • Should I buy this loaded GT or a Boss? A Boss. If you can afford it. The real transaction price difference between a $42K GT and the $45K Boss with Recaros and Torsens is likely to be on the high side of six thousand dollars. If, on the other hand, you just want a nice street car, the Boss is a waste. Get a GT, and buy the glass roof with it, too.
  • Is there a comparably-priced vehicle which can keep up with this on the track? Almost certainly not.
  • How much faster is this than a G37, 328i, A5, or plain CTS Coupe? Much, much faster.
  • What’s the best thing about this Mustang? The engine.
  • And the worst? The transmission, for track rats. For everyone else, probably the trunk, which verges on parody.

Time to head back home to Ohio. With a slightly bigger set of brakes and a Tremec transmission, this would be the must-buy car of 2013, particularly for people who are worried about what the next Mustang will look like. Even with those flaws, this is still a gorgeous, big-hearted, hugely quick car which didn’t rattle, squeak, or display any quality problems over the course of nine hundred road miles and about eighty racetrack laps. It’s the best all-around ponycar in history, and the head of its class.

Photography — Julie Hyde and Ed Gately

Ford provided the vehicle and insurance for this test. TrackDAZE provided the space on the track and a rather decent lunch for two days. The author is a TrackDAZE instructor and can be requested by novice and intermediate-level drivers at many 2012-season TrackDAZE events.

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94 Comments on “Review: 2013 Ford Mustang GT — Track Tested...”


  • avatar
    TEXN3

    The most difficult part of getting a Boss is trying to locate one!

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    Thanks, Jack,
    Great review and I really like this ‘track tested’ series.

    But I really do take issue with the rear suspension on Mustangs. Not that I will ever drive at a pace where I’d notice, but I think the time of live axles in passenger cars has long since passed. Like carbs, points and drum brakes, it’s time to move on and embrace the technology of the 1980′s.

    The excuses given – that it is a heritage move, that drag racers prefer it (all 80 of them), that it saves money on a $30K car — just don’t cut it.

    But I do love the “gotta have an S5 green”!

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      @ sherborn, that’s 79 more people than the ones who road race the car and probably half as many who even know what a rear suspension is.

      You needn’t fear though, 2013 mules with an IRS have been spotted. I don’t particularly care either way, except I expect the Mustangs IRS to be equally at home on the drag strip as well as the road course. Ford was able to do so with the live axle and to implement an IRS that works well on a road course and falls to pieces in the 1/4 mile is a step backwards.

      Anyways as a Mustang fan I give this review 4 gold disco hoodies!

  • avatar
    KitaIkki

    “… the fact that the Mustang is 105% of the proper size.”

    It’s the biggest Mustang ever. Larger and heavier than even the 1971-1973 “Clydesdale” Mustangs in every dimension save wheelbase.

    But it’s the lightest and smallest of the modern pony cars.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Good review. Interestingly enough, the Camaro ZL1 trounces the GT500 in handling, at least according to IL. Obviously a completely different beast, and not at all meant to discredit your assessment of the GT vs SS. But it is interesting how things change as power goes up.

    Still waiting on the IRS Mustang, if for nothing else in the hopes that the IRS will open up the trunk + rear seat. I still don’t get how a BMW M3 can manage to have an equally massive V8, about the same interior volume, a legit back seat and just slightly less trunk space while being close to a foot shorter than the Rustang. I am hoping the next Mustang really sorts out the packaging and feeling of size, though that might be something its buyers like.

    • 0 avatar
      replica

      It’s such a rare occasion I notice the live rear axle. Perhaps on super choppy pavement, will my stang give a little hop. Hop is probably a dramatic overusage of the term. It feels like you ran over a stick.

      I’m not a fan of the IRS idea because I think the pricing will go up. We’ll see. There are a few ways to “fix” the live rear axle feeling, namely LCA’s, Panhard bars, and a Watts Link.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        With all that extra hardware, you might as well separate one wheel from the other.

        Plus the Mustang’s live axle is kind of an anomaly. Ford could cheat and adapt the rear suspension from the AWD Taurus/Flex/Exploder. Maybe even make a few live axles to sell separately through Ford Racing for folks dead set on drag racing. Their parts bin is deep.

      • 0 avatar
        Athos Nobile

        Why use the Explorer set up if they got the Falcon IRS down here. With what seems to be (from the curbside) a double wishbone in the front… as a bonus ;-)

      • 0 avatar
        outback_ute

        @Athos Nobile, the front end was double wishbone but they have since split the bottom wishbone for a “Virtual Pivot” dual ball joint setup where the comparable location of a single ball joint is roughly in the middle of the rotor, which does good things for the king pin axis angle and offset.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      @sportyaccordy

      IRS won’t do much for the Mustang except slow it down. Keep in mind, uneven, tore up pavement can upset IRS almost as bad, if we’re talking equally stiff suspension. The fatter the sway bar is, the less independent it really is.

      Then at the racetrack or smooth blacktop, IRS has no advantage. In fact it’s more of a liability.

      Either way, will we be seeing a Mustang in your driveway when it does go IRS?
      That’s what I thought.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        I’ll be in the market for a car around that time, so its not unreasonable/unrealistic.

        And not everyone will be getting the track pack V8. It could make a difference, especially if it enables more interior room. Mounting the diff low rather than leaving room for that big pumpkin to travel would help a lot. Plus they could share the platform. It’s about way more than performance.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Sharing a platform does seem like the way to go, especially in a 4-door, 3-series fighter configuratiion, but when buyers are more concerned with trunk volume and the rear seat’s leg room over say performance, I don’t envision a pony car in their immediate future.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    JB’s favorite color too!

    So how fast is it? Probably 5 seconds faster than a BRZ/F86 around that track?

    • 0 avatar
      replica

      According to the internet, nothing is faster than a BRZ/FT86 around a “circuit”. Well. That’s not true. The only thing faster than an FT86 is another FT86 with a stuffed animal hanging off the rear tow hook and some poorly fitted “hella flush” rims/tires.

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    Would you take this over a 1 year old C6 or a 3 year old Z06 for a 70/30 street/track car? Assuming no need for a back seat, the Vette has a 20 cu ft hatch, and gets the same or better gas mileage, and a real T56.

    Track impressions between the 2, Jack?

    • 0 avatar
      Jeff G

      The MT82 in the mustang had much closer ratios than comparable 6 speed transmissions. Sixth gear is the only overdrive gear. Some mustang owners have swapped transmissions only to be disappointed with the huge gap between gears.

      I went the cheap route and installed a transmission bushing to replace the mushy stock bushing. No increase in NVH and much smoother shifting. (Unplugged the skip shift solenoid while I was under the car.)

      • 0 avatar
        replica

        Just got my Barton shifter bracket yesterday.

      • 0 avatar
        raph

        Indeed, part of what allows the current car to punch above its weight is the MT82 and its two very short first gears. IIRC, in order for the TR6060 to match the MT82 would require a 5.xx final drive for 1st and a 4.xx (4.30 I think) in 2nd. The rest of the spread isn’t so bad, although the MT82′s single OD is a plus here as well.

        I prefer the brute TR6060 over the MT82 as well since its a more capable transmission when it comes to throwing gross amounts of horsepower at the problem.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      I will always take this over a Vette of any kind unless we are looking at almost exclusive track use. Back seats, capable of driving in major cities without ripping the nose off, better visibility, less likely to get keyed or bumped.

  • avatar
    Thabo

    Can someone explain the attraction of this car to me? I just can’t see driving it on a daily basis and the front still looks like a dogs breakfast. Noisy and from my time in 2010 GT (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=112zJ5OOafw) it seemed very heavy and plasticy on the inside.

    Perhaps I just don’t get the “Stang” thing!

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      100 HP and the legitimate capability to beat a way more expensive BMW M3 around a track, for starters

    • 0 avatar
      Athos Nobile

      I just stepped down from a manual LS3 car, and I’m intoxicated by the torque, acceleration, power and noise.

      I am corrupted, forever.

      No matter how many turbos, rice, pasta or kraut they put in the thing, you can’t beat a good American V8

      • 0 avatar
        Speed Spaniel

        and in a world of 65 MPH speed limits a car with this much power makes NO sense….

      • 0 avatar
        raph

        @ Speed Spaniel – Its not like there isn’t any number of closed course tracks (be it road or quarter mile) where you can’t legally excersise the power or handling.

        My brother used to own a early 80′s Chevette, it would do 65 with its meager power and in a pinch with the wind toward your back 80 mph, by comparison in a world with 65,70 amd 75 mph speed limits what sense does any car with more power and speed capability make sense?

  • avatar
    Thabo

    Can someone explain the attraction of this car to me? I just can’t see driving it on a daily basis and the front still looks like a dogs breakfast. Noisy and from my time in 2010 GT (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=112zJ5OOafw) it seemed very heavy and plasticy on the inside.

    Perhaps I just don’t get the “Stang” thing!

    • 0 avatar
      Jeff G

      Yes, you don’t get the stang thing. A pony car is not a Lexus ES350. Most owners complain the stock exhaust is too quiet. Many owners treat them like a blank slate and the aftermarket is HUGE for providing the modding fix.

    • 0 avatar
      replica

      Interior seems on par with any other car in the $20k price bracket.

      The attraction to Mustangs is that they’re so basic and simple. There aren’t too many cars like it these days.

      • 0 avatar
        bikegoesbaa

        “Interior seems on par with any other car in the $20k price bracket.”

        Right. The problem, of course, is that this car stickers at more than twice that.

        I like the Mustang as a cheap, quick, trashy car.

        However, it’s much less appealing as an expensive, quick, trashy car.

      • 0 avatar
        replica

        Hmm. Mine was less than $20k.

        The entire dash is soft touch, there aren’t any rattles, the buttons are of good quality and the markings don’t come off. The premium/Boss/GT500′s all have really nice steering wheels. The base cloth seats are nice.

        I’m not sure why people gripe about Mustang interiors. Must be a carryover complaint we expect to have about Mustangs. The ONE thing that will make most consumers vomit, is the base steering wheel. It’ll give people the impression the entire interior is crap.

      • 0 avatar
        bikegoesbaa

        Right. But *this* Mustang stickers at more than twice that.

        If your criteria for a good interior is limited to “the dash is soft, nothing rattles, and the letters don’t come off the buttons” then I can see why you’re happy with it.

        If we had it parked side-by-side with a $40k car that is not based on a sub-$20k car; I’d be happy to walk you through the differences in person and show you in detail why the interior of the Mustang specifically and the overall package in general is cheap and trashy.

        Since that’s not practical, I’ll just say that I’m glad you like your car and I’m glad to live in an era where a 400+ HP car can be bought new off the showroom floor for the price of a midlevel family sedan.

      • 0 avatar
        Jack Baruth

        bikegoesbaa,

        Just out of curiosity, which $40,000 car would you say has a much better interior than the Mustang GT Premium? Not agreeing or disagreeing with you, just curious

      • 0 avatar
        DaveDFW

        I don’t think you have to spend $40K to receive a better interior. For a comparison, you don’t even have to leave the Ford dealer’s lot–just go sit inside a Taurus.

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        The old urethane steering wheel on base models felt cheap – but the 2013 models all come standard with the leather wrapped wheel.

        The current Mustang interior is a major step up front he 2009 and before models. The only really cheap feeling bit is the hard plastic on the interior doors. The base models still have the plain plastic dash front, but the premium models at least upgrade to a nice aluminum panel that really upgrades the interior.

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        @replica – yours was under $20k because you didnt get a GT. Today I saw a true base GT advertised for $27k, for that price I think the interior would be OK. But at $35-45k for the optioned up GTs, I can see why some would find the interior subpar.

        I just happen to feel that if you are worried more about the interior than the 400+hp, you are not a Mustang guy. :)

      • 0 avatar
        bikegoesbaa

        Jack,

        If you want just one example, how about the CTS? I’m not picking it because it’s the best interior from the class of $40k; but it’s a good example that will keep everything domestic and avoid accusations of Euro-bias.

        Granted, the *styling* of the CTS interior may not be everybody’s favorite. I don’t really care for it myself. But the materials, quality of construction, and attention to detail on the CTS are significantly better than the 2012 Mustang I drove.

        Maybe the 2013 Mustangs are substantially improved, I haven’t been in one yet.

        As noted above, you don’t need to pay $40k to find a better interior, or even leave the Ford lot. A Taurus or top-level Focus is better made inside than even a Premium Mustang.

        Yes, I realize that the Mustang offers significantly more performance content than any of these cars, and that the money to pay for that has to come from somewhere. I also realize that the interior of a late-model Mustang is dramatically better than anything ever put in a Mustang before. None of that means that it’s actually comparable to, much less competitive with, the standard that exists for $40k luxury cars.

      • 0 avatar
        DaveDFW

        I admit the post-2010 Mustang interior is much improved. My main complaint is with the continued use of hard, textured rubber-like surfaces. I know for certain this material is used on the door panels, but it might also be used on lower portions of the console.

        Mustangs are still a great performance bargain for the customer who can tolerate the interior. For me, it was a deal-breaker.

    • 0 avatar

      As the owner of a GT stang (albiet a convertible) who previously owned a long line of European and Jap sports cars, I thought like you. Even the test drive of the stang did not impress, felt like I was driving a brick. But the price was too good to pass up so now after nearly two months I would not trade it for a BMW M3 or G coupe. Why? because unless you have driven the stang for a while you will never know the stang thing.

      • 0 avatar
        raph

        @ bikegoesbaa

        The CTS starts out at 35k for the sedan (38k for the coupe), the Taurus at 26k and the Focus at 16k compared to the Mustang at 22k. (performance variants start at 23k for the ST when it arrives, 39k for the Taurus SHO, and 65k for the CTS-V – which I suppose is more closely aligned with the 54k GT500)

        Of the three with “better” interiors (I’ll take your word for it) only the focus starts at a cheaper price point and all three cars you mentioned ride on newer platforms.

        Yet one of them offer the breadth of options that stack the price on the Mustang. I optioned out a manual CTS, but could not get a V8, Brembo brakes, handling package, Recaros, et al without stepping up to the CTS-V obviously

        Same with the Taurus and the Focus (although you can get leather clad recaros in the ST3 package which adds 5k to the ST’s base price)

        In order to “step up” to a better interior at a cheaper price, you have to ditch the RWD V6 coupe for a FWD I4 hatch.

        The GT starts at 30k but again in order to “step-up” in interior quality you have to go either the cheaper FWD I4 hatchback or the FWD V6 Sedan or pay 8k more for the RWD V6 Coupe.

        So I’m just not seeing how this isn’t some sort of baseless comparison? None of the cars you mentioned offers any of the features with the level of performance at the Mustang’s price point. You dont get a substantially different interior with the CTS-V, the Focus ST or the Tarus SHO. Why then when optioning out a Mustang GT should somebody expect Ford to fit a completely different interior (essentially upgrade the materials, fit & finish for free – just because you opted for the V8, the brake and suspension package, infortainment, and sport seat options).

        I suppose with the coming of the next generation Mustang, Ford might see fit to improve the interior quality of the car – then again maybe not in its quest for the everyman’s M3 (This seems to be the case with the Corvette)

      • 0 avatar
        bikegoesbaa

        I largely agree with your assessment. If somebody wants a 400+ hp Mustang they are unlikely to be happy with a CTS, Taurus, or Focus regardless of the interior zoot. I explicitly stated as much in my previous post.

        I’m not sure what the value of the comparison is, either. I was just responding to Jack’s question as to what $40k car I think has a better interior than a Mustang. The CTS is a specific example. The real answer is “most of them”.

        Honestly, I think the late-model Mustangs offer the most compelling performance bargain on the market today. Maybe ever.

        I think they are a good answer to the question of “What can I buy that’s cheap, fast, and cheezy?”. However, $43k is a lot to pay for cheezy, no matter how quick it is.

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        I think the true complaint about the Mustang interior isn’t so much a quality issue as it is a style issue. The 2005 Mustang had that retro interior that looks boring today, and Ford decided it was too expensive to redo at this stage. Exterior refinements are cheaper and easier, and more noticable to most buyers. It doesnt bother me that much, but to a lot of buyers who are not already Mustang fanatics, its a deal breaker.

        I have to agree, the Mustang interior is NOT on a par with cars in the price range the GT sells for. Even at $22k for the base models, it is lacking, simply because of the style. A Focus or Elantra has a more stylish interior, even if the materials are equal. The next Mustang will probably have a dash and doorpanel design similar to the Focus now.

  • avatar
    joneill1955

    Where’s the video review?

    • 0 avatar
      gmichaelj

      Indeed. I enjoyed watching the last one. I hope you are still sporting the cool wind-breaker!

      Also, last time I recall you wrote more about potential purchase alternatives.

  • avatar
    dts187

    For that money you could just get two V6 Mustangs!!!!!

    • 0 avatar
      Lumbergh21

      If you buy a V6 Mustang, most of the time you are driving it will be spent thinking “I coud’ve had a V8.” The new 6 is fine, until you drive the GT and feel all of that power. After that you really don’t want to go back.

      • 0 avatar

        Lumbergh – oh so true

      • 0 avatar
        nrd515

        A friend of mine recently bought a Charger with the 3.6 and the 8 speed auto. Not bad, but he got backed into by an old guy in a parking lot 3 days after he bought it and the dealer gave him an R/T to drive. He realized he screwed up. I think the charger will be going bye–bye if he gets the same bonus he got last year. He’s doing a lot of looking on local dealer’s websites the last few weeks..

  • avatar
    challenger2012

    I think this sums up the review rather nicely.
    • Is there a comparably-priced vehicle which can keep up with this on the track? Almost certainly not.
    • How much faster is this than a G37, 328i, A5, or plain CTS Coupe? Much, much faster.

  • avatar
    hubcap

    Jack,

    You mentioned what the GT would do to the 328i. How would it fare against a 335i, or a Porsche Boxster/Cayman?

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      The 335i still doesn’t have the power to match it. Not even close.

      As far as a Boxster/Cayman, on a small course I can see a Cayman R maybe pulling slightly ahead. In all other scenarios, the Ford will carry the day. Keep in mind, however, that a Boxster or Cayman has proper brakes on all four corners and will be MUCH kinder to tires than the Mustang, so if you have to time the fiftieth lap of the day, bet on the Porker.

  • avatar
    joeveto3

    Hey Jack, did you notice any “throttle hang” in between shifts (when the clutch is pushed in the Revs stay pretty much where they’re at until the next gear is engaged)? And was the clutch easy to modulate with a consistent engagement point?

    I ask because these are two beefs I’ve had with my recent Ford manual transmissions, enough so that I ditched both cars and swore off manual Fords.

    Your comment about the Mustang being 105% of proper size is spot on.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Compared to most modern cars, “throttle hang” is pretty minimal. I didn’t experience any issue with the clutch.

    • 0 avatar
      skor

      Yup, this Mustang is just too big. The 1965-1966 Mustangs were the optimal size for a pony car.

      • 0 avatar
        Lumbergh21

        I own a ’68, they are a little to small if you are an average sized adult, and way small if you played basketball in highschool or beyond. I’m 6’1″ and it is neither quick nor easy to get in and out of it. That said, given that you have no rear seat room and little trunk room why not shrink it a bit both in length and width.

      • 0 avatar
        skor

        Interesting. The original 1965 Mustang sold something like a half a million units its first year. Seems to me that a lot of people had no problem fitting into that car. Were Americans, on average, a foot shorter back in the day? No, let’s stop pretending what happened these past forty years. Americans didn’t get any taller, they got wider. Americans are now a bunch of lard asses, and that’s what most people mean when they claim they are “too big” to fit into a small car. “I’m too big to fit into an original Mustang”. Translation: “I can’t get my 310 pound ass and the six oxygen bottles I need to breath into an original Mustang.”

      • 0 avatar
        Lumbergh21

        OK Skor, let’s cut to the TRUTH. My waistline has nothing to do with the length of my legs. I only have a 32-inch inseam, yet I can’t just slide into the 68 Mustang like I can my 04 Mazda6. I need to put my legs in at an angle and move them around the steering wheel. I agree that modern Mustangs are too big for what they do, but Gen 1 Mustangs are not the answer.

  • avatar
    gessvt

    Excellent review. Just configured a GT on Ford’s site. Base manual GT with Track Package ($2495) and Recaros ($1595)for a total of $35,185. G-meter notwithstanding, this should be the press fleet car.

    • 0 avatar

      Agree, but like the seats on my 2013 GT so would bother with the Recaros.

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      That is exactly the one I configured as well, and I don’t care how much you like the base seats, those Recaros are too nice to pass up!

      a loaded GT is $42k, a Boss is $47k, who cares?!? The real choice is a $34-35k GT with Track Pack or an extra $12k for the Boss?

    • 0 avatar
      bludragon

      I was thinking the same thing. As above the GT with track pack and recaros is $35,185. Truecar has the market average below 33k right now.

      To that you could add track wheels & tires (maybe 2k?), track pads, brake ducts (ford racing list these at $529.00) and have a pretty sweet track car.

      The boss is coming up at 45k with the recaros and diff, or 50k with the laguna seca package. It’s also selling for close to msrp according to true car.

  • avatar
    Trend-Shifter

    Great review without all the fluff. Everything from a long distance commuter to a track car Loved it.

    Example:
    “Last week, we talked about how the Hyundai Genesis doesn’t suffer from this problem. This does not mean a Mustang GT will ever suffer from the problem of being passed by a Hyundai Genesis on a racetrack.

  • avatar
    imag

    That’s about as good as a review gets. Thanks. The size is the killer for me.

    It must be my inner ricer, but I’d prefer an FR-S with $10K worth of supercharging, cooling, and brakes. Even if it wouldn’t be faster, it would be more fun to me.

    I actually look forward to the next downsized Mustang. I’m not sure shrinking it will make it a success, but it will put it back on my shopping list.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Revs are for Acuras and motorcycles.

  • avatar
    86SN2001

    Its such a shame that a fairly decent car is wrapped in such a bland wrapper. Both the exterior and interior leave A LOT to be desired. And whoever designed and then signed off on those tail lights needs to be fired. They look like something that would look right at home on a mid-90s Civic with rust spots, a body kit, and a huge wing.

    The Mustang is a lot like the Camry. It does everything well…it’s just wrapped in blandness…like a bowl of cold oatmeal.

    Sadly though…we may soon be wishing we have this silly retro styling back once Ford butchers the car for the 2015 model year. Probe II is on the way!

    • 0 avatar
      ciddyguy

      Not saying I like this iteration as well as other iterations, but look at the ’70 Stang’s rear tallights, this is in homage to that, though I’d have preferred they kept the rear as it was, pre ’10 ‘Stangs, rather than the tapered ends we see now.

      That said, this car is as close to the original in styling concept, more ’67-70 than 64.5-66.

      I will agree though it needs to be trimmed down size wise some.

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        I was thinking the same thing the other day, how the 05-09 rear end was perfect, but the nose needed a bit more aggressiveness, and the 2013 front is a little too overstyled, but the 2010-2012 is perfect. They should have stuck with the original rear end.

    • 0 avatar
      iwasgointo

      Would you say the Porsche 911 has “silly retro styling”?

  • avatar
    rextang

    Jack, would a set of Koni Yellows and sticky rubber bridge the Boss gap? I get the Boss as a package, but a base model with the seats and track package gives you much more pocket change for spare pads and good rubber.

  • avatar
    duffman13

    Jack-

    Would you be willing to get in a S2k without an aftermarket bar at Shenandoah?

    I ask because it’s the only track that will take me before I get one, and I’m looking at running the Trackdaze event there this fall. I know some instructors get iffy with open top cars and no harnesses.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Absolutely. I don’t give a you-know-what. I have life insurance to make my son rich if you roll it. Put my name in the comments field so they assign me to you.

      • 0 avatar
        duffman13

        Well I place a value on not killing myself, so I’ll do my best to keep us alive. THanks, and I loko forward to it if my schedule ends up allowing it.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    Two awesome car reviews in a week. Thanks a bunch Jack. I like the tail lights, and am willing to accept the tall nose for the only pony that looks like a pony any more. Is the hood height a pedestrian friendly thing, or just design language for “big power”? I can’t imagine I’ll be buying a two door any time soon, but it seems like I can’t help staring at the GT’s. They sure can move on a dry road.

  • avatar
    craigotron

    I am on Day 4 or 5 of ownership of a Mustang GT in Grabber Blue and love the car. Mine is optioned down (not premium) and has the automatic transmission (for the haters: I have a few years of physical therapy left before I should try a stick in beltway traffic) and probably won’t ever see a track. At least for now.

    I had an article here a long time ago when I had an old Lexus LS400… Which I eventually sold and bought a Challenger SE. That exchange of what I gave up vs. what I got always felt a bit uneven; even now I feel like maybe I should have stuck out the LS. But the Challenger, while a joy as a leisurely coast to coast highway barge that got thumbs up from folks, proved to be an absolute bear in my current life situation now that I live in Metro DC. The difference between the old 3.5 Challenger and the Mustang GT is… considerable. I’m also excited my aftermarket options are open to things besides bling and I have some great choices for OEM supported products.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    Excellent review, Jack. I find these columns very educational.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    I enjoy Jack’s track reviews greatly and would like to see it expanded to cars that have no business on a track, say like midsize family sedans.

    The only thing that disappoints me about the Mustang is the tiny trunk for the massive size. My Dad’s 67 can hold two sets of golf clubs (if you take the full size spare out of the trunk) I wonder if the Mustang can do that if you don’t order the Shaker 1000 sound system and its space robbing subwoffer.

    • 0 avatar
      replica

      Trunk isn’t too bad. I’ve never had an issue fitting groceries in it and so on. Though, I think grocery store trips for my single lifestyle differ dramatically than others. The actual space in the trunk is reasonable, it’s the damn opening thats too small.

      I remember buying some plastic lawn chairs without realizing I’d taken the Mustang. They sure as hell didn’t fit in the trunk but with enough Tetris-work, they fit in the back seats.

  • avatar
    IronEagle

    THis was the best car review I have ever read. Nice work!

  • avatar
    slance66

    Great review. Makes me proud that Ford is producing these cars. Every time I see one, I do think they are too big. But then I see a Challenger or Camaro and those look like Nimitz class carriers. The interiors aren’t that big, so where is that space going? An M3 coupe is a much tidier package, and is about right-sized for the Mustang.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      Actually being 6’2″ and 280 pounds I find the interior very roomy, plenty of head room, very generous leg room and lots of girth, I actually find the interior of the SN95/New Edge cars to be little cramped in comparison and the 3 series to be a bit tight as well.

      One thing both the 3 series and the SN95/New Edge cars share is a more upright seating position (more akin to sitting at a kitchen table) and the bubble roof rather than the semi-fastback roof of the current car which requires more space in order to get adequate interior headroom.

      Frankly I like the current car’s size which makes it great to take on very long trips extending its usefulness beyond a track, garage or trailer queen.

  • avatar
    rhears

    My last image of the mustang was a late 60′s 289 belonging to my father. Sounds like they have come a long way. I’ve been discussing this car’s remarkable track performance with some friends and we are at odds about how these two cars would finish, relative to the GT tested here. The 2010/2011 E63 (sans turbo) and current generation C4S (997). On a reasonable track, all i know much about is laguna seca, how would these three finish Jack? I’m saying C4S by a substantial margin, then E63 by a smidge (esp with lim slip diff, 19′s) over the Mustang, even if it had good summer tires. Please let me know your thoughts.

  • avatar
    C P

    40k for a otherwise useless track car. Tell me about the great prizes you win at the track and I’ll fell better…

  • avatar
    como-emagrecer-facil.com.br

    A perfect classic!

    Very good

  • avatar
    iwasgointo

    I don’t understand the big debate about the quality of the interior of this car. I just sold my 09′ Infiniti G37S Coupe, which is the sport model with manual trans, and ordered a 2013 Mustang GT Premium with most options including the Brembo Brake Package.

    I realize the interior of the G was overall higher quality material, but I like the Mustang just fine. The Mustang is not just far faster, but it’s also much more comfortable.

    The Mustang gives me more elbow room, more headroom, a much more comfortable seat, a bigger trunk for weekend getaways, way more power and the same highway mpg as the V6 Infinite. And 2 1/2 years later the Mustang costs about $3,200 less for the same equipment as the G.

    The G was a nice car, but it’s negatives drove me to dump it with less than 16,000 miles on it.

  • avatar
    yokev

    Firstly, VERY FEW people are gonna purchase a $42k Mustang GT. Even less are gonna spend that much on one with a track package. Especially now with the Boss 302′s not moving. If they want to spend that much money on a Mustang and are gonna track it, they’ll buy the Boss.
    Next, anybody that’s even half serious about track-ing their car, is gonna flush out the OE brake fluid with some Motul et al. Most likely even with the ‘low-expansion’ lines, they’ll prolly still install the tried-and-true steel braided variety. They’re also gonna purchase track tires, although 19″ track rubber is pretty$$$, so they might also buy some good 18″ track wheels(Enkie) as well.
    With these ‘minor’ improvements/track day ‘must haves’, there’ll be no brake fade or massive grip loss.
    Lastly, as far as trying to determine which car to get for track use-the GT or the Boss, consider this: You can get a GT with the track package, AND Recaros for under $35k MSRP! That means in reality, a couple G’s less. If you get the best deal on the planet for a Boss, you’re still gonna pay MSRP OTD-$45k(nobody buys the non-torsen-equipped cars). Thats a roughly TEN-THOUSAND-DOLLAR DIFFERENCE!. The ONLY track-’worthy’(and I use the term ‘Worthy’ VERY loosely) item(s) you get on the Boss that you don’t get on the GT w/track pack are the adjustable shocks. Actually looking at the damn things however, reveals they’re single-adjustable(you adjust compression AND rebound with a shared adjuster, i.e. you get MASSIVE inter-circuit bleed), thus aren’t worthy of ANY decent track-day car. If you take your track driving even semi-seriously, the (basically) $600 off-the-shelf Kayaba’s that come on the Boss would get pitched in favor of AT LEAST some fully-adjustable KW’s, so there just went the Boss’s advantage.
    For $35k you can get a GT with the track package and Recaro’s(or if you’re more serious, forget about the $1600 Recaro’s and just buy a Sparco Evo seat and a harness bar, and you save another $1200). For another $2500+/- you can get a set of KWs or any other GREAT entry-level FULLY ADJUSTABLE suspension along with a decent alignment so you don’t roll your tires, and you’re still a WHOPPING $7500 AHEAD of where you’d be had you bought the Boss. Did I mention that you’d also have a car that will RUN CIRCLES around the Boss, a Shelby and a ZL1(just to name a few)? Suspension is the SINGLE BIGGEST area of improvement on a car, and simply installing a set of KWs etc. will give you EASILY 4-seconds a lap improvement over the stock crap. Add tires and you got another 2 seconds. Yes you do not have the neat reflective Boss stickers going down the sides of your car, but while I can’t speak for everyone, personally I think stickers(EXCEPT on the Porsche GT-3 RS, the only car that gets a pass on this one) belong soley on ’86 IROC’s driven by Vinnie Barbarino’s in Jersey, wearing their blue-blockers, Members Only jackets, gold chains around their necks, and glue-on chest hair they picked up at the local Crazy Eddie’s Disco Emporium. On any other car, especially cars that are to be taken seriously, stickers devalue them horrendously.


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