By on September 24, 2018

2018 Ford Mustang GT PP2 front quarter

2018 Ford Mustang GT

5.0-liter V8, dual overhead cam (460 hp at 7,000 rpm, 420 lb-ft at 4,600 rpm)

Six-speed manual transmission, rear-wheel drive

15 city / 25 highway / 18 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

18.7 (observed mileage, MPG)

Base Price: $35,995 (U.S.)

As Tested: $45,390 (U.S.)

Prices includes $900 destination charge.

I’m a very bad person. At least, I’m a bad neighbor. Shortly after we moved into this mature subdivision, I raised the ire of several mature neighbors by foolishly attempting to part out old cars in my garage — and occasionally my driveway, after the projects overflowed. Code enforcement was involved twice.

My car hobbies have evolved, and those neighbors have moved on in one way or another. But I’m still a child around fun cars.

I think the new, younger residents of the house next door have forgiven me for the 2018 Ford Mustang GT PP2 that graced my driveway for a week. I never switched the active exhaust to “Quiet” mode. Rather, I always switched to “Race” mode for a Parnelli Jones-inspired soundtrack with my morning coffee.

2018 Ford Mustang GT PP2 profile

Let’s get this out of the way — the Performance Package Level Two, or PP2 for short, costs $6,500 on top of the standard Mustang GT. For roughly an additional 20 percent over the base MSRP, you get:

  • Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 305 mm wide tires front and rear
  • Special dark-finished ten-spoke 10.5 and 11 inch wide wheels, front and rear respectively
  • MagneRide magnetic damping – with “Track inspired calibration”
  • Brembo six-piston front brake calipers
  • Similarly “track-inspired” springs and swaybar
  • Larger radiator
  • A Torsen limited-slip differential
  • Unique front and rear spoilers

That’s a mighty pile of cash for, save the magic magnetic dampers, stuff that can easily be replicated via the vast Mustang aftermarket. That lovely performance exhaust that can change its tune, allowing you to schedule quiet start times? That’s not included, either — it’s another $895. Nothing is done to the engine . It’s still the 460 hp five point oh Coyote found in the standard Mustang GT.

2018 Ford Mustang GT PP2 front

The nearly-slick 305 mm Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires front and rear stick like pancake syrup on the underside of a filthy diner counter, but they tenaciously follow every little groove in the road. Plus, they absolutely do not like rain — we had a heavy downpour leading to standing water on the surface street, and I was sideways at 20 mph in fourth gear, trying valiantly to keep off the sidewalk.

2018 Ford Mustang GT PP2 rear

My tester was also equipped with the 301A equipment group, adding Sync 3 and dual-zone climate control for $2,000.

So, what is the Ford Mustang GT Performance Pack Two?

[Get new and used Ford Mustang pricing here!]

I’m not really sure. It’s incredibly fun on the street in the dry — more on rain later — and it’s a surprisingly comfortable ride for commuting. The magnetic dampers do a great job of keeping the Mustang supple on crappy roads.

2018 Ford Mustang GT PP2 gauges

But it’s not as track-focused as you’d think, as there are no auxiliary coolers for the transmission or differential — two bits that are nearly mandatory to make a 3,700-pound car last more than a few laps around the track.

It’s a bit of a blank slate, then. It’s a nice bridge between the standard Mustang GT and the hyperactive GT350. The five-liter Coyote engine isn’t the fancy flat-plane Voodoo from the big-brother GT350, but it still spins nicely to 7,500 rpm, singing a song oddly reminiscent of a well-tuned classic pushrod Windsor. It’s more rowdy than a standard GT, with a more finely tuned suspension and aggro aero bits signalling that specialness.

2018 Ford Mustang GT PP2 center stack

Yeah, I love the look of this Mustang GT PP2. The dark wheels, front splitter, and little rear spoiler make an already nicely-styled car just a touch cooler. While plenty have derided the styling of the Mustang since the first S197 chassis hit all of the retro notes in 2005, I’m a fan. The old-school, long hood/fastback style evolved nicely. I like this 2018 model a bit more than the retouched 2019 Mustang Chad drove last month.

2018 Ford Mustang GT PP2 rear quarter

And the Lightning Blue Metallic is stunning. I really wanted to hire a professional shooter to do this paint justice, but on my budget you’ll have to live with my mediocre photography. Trust me, it’s a shade that perfectly highlights every contour on the shapely Mustang.

2018 Ford Mustang GT PP2 front seat

I was surprised at how easy the Mustang was to live with on a daily basis. The Recaro seats on this PP2 were, as one would expect, equally comfortable and supportive for brisk driving and commuting alike. What shocked me was how comfortable the kids were in the rear seats. For reference, I’m 6’4”, and my kids are 5’4” and 4’10”, and both could sit behind me without jamming their knees into the back of my seat. I don’t know that they’d be happy riding back there on a cross-country road trip (no cupholders in the rear!), but for a couple of hours, they’d be fine.

2018 Ford Mustang GT PP2 rear seat

Visibility out of the Mustang is notably better than other performance coupes I’ve driven, with minimal blind spots in the rear three quarters. Audio quality was good through the Sync 3 touchscreen, though road noise from the big Michelins did require me to crank the volume knob.

Were I to buy a new Mustang GT, I’d probably forego the PP2 despite the killer looks. After all, I’m kinda cheap. I’d probably do the level one Performance Pack and save about $2,500 — and the narrower tires would make the car a bit more liveable in daily driving.

I would, however, buy the active exhaust. The programmable quiet mode would keep the neighbors from their pitchforks in the mornings, assuming I schedule it.

I might not.

2018 Ford Mustang GT PP2 interior

[Images: © 2018 Chris Tonn/TTAC]

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31 Comments on “2018 Ford Mustang GT PP2 Review – Packed With Performance, Too?...”

  • avatar

    I get a kick out of how it reads “Ground Speed” on the speedo. I wonder how many GT owners even know what a P-51 Mustang was. Beautiful car though.

  • avatar

    Why have different width wheels front and back if the tires are the same? If my tires are the same width I’d prefer not to have the wheels staggered.

    Rotating tires really does make them last longer.

    • 0 avatar

      Exactly, for most people’s uses, having staggered tire sizes just means you have to replace the tires almost twice as often. And at $350 to $550 a tire, that would add up really quick.

    • 0 avatar

      Its how you tune steering response as well as transient response. As the tire deviates from a bulge to vertical to slightly pulled out (not the exaggerated crap you see where they stuff a tire too narrow on a wheel too wide)it changes the sidewall stiffness and the handling characteristics of the tire and to some degree it effects the footprint of the tire as well.

      That tire bulge people are so fond of by putting tires that are a bit wider than the wheel (and just as bad as the tires too narrow on wheels too wide crowd are the buffons that ignore the approved rim width range and stuff a tire way too damn wide on the wheel) generally slows down steering repsonse and makes the sidewall act softer plus it can minimize the tires tread face as the edges are pulled away from the ground.

      Convresely going in the opposite direction increases steering response, increases sidewall stiffness and places more tread on the ground since the tire is flater.

    • 0 avatar

      That is pretty silly. I see no practical purpose for this, and if it’s for clearance up front, then they should’ve used 295-series rubber on the front tires. If you can’t rotate them anyway, you may as well keep the tire size consistent with the wheel size.

  • avatar

    It’s really too bad the magnetic dampers can’t be had on any car not kitted out for the track. Ford needs to realize the Mustang has to be more than just a muscle car/track car. There are many roles the sole coupe in the lineup needs to play, like a grand touring car.

    I mostly think of my Mustang as a GT car. Were this 1978, I’d probably have bought a Mercury Cougar. Long, low, kind of luxurious, designed around the driver. Adjustable dampers, a sunroof, and non-Chinese transmission are what it would take for me to trade in my current ’16 on a new Kona Blue Mustang.

    • 0 avatar

      Didn’t Ford start using manual transmissions made in China back in 2011?
      I assume your current 2016 has a Chinese made 6 speed.

      • 0 avatar

        Yes, part of the reason I avoided the Getrag manual and went with an automatic. Even Ford knows the Getrag is garbage. That’s why the GT350 gets a Tremec unit.

        • 0 avatar

          The paranoia over the MT–82 transmission is one of the silliest things I can remember as a car guy. Yes, there were some problems with cold shifting the first year (7 years ago) and perhaps it’s not the greatest transmission ever made, but it’s not the ticking bomb that so many people like to pretend it is. I was insane enough to buy a first year Coyote/MT–82 car, am now at 142,000 miles and have had absolutely no problems from the powertrain in any way. I know I’m just one person but I haven’t heard hardly any widespread stories about problems beyond the shifter being a little finicky when cold. Beyond my anecdotal story, if this transmission was really so bad, I would bet Ford would have gone to a new one but here we are, coming up on year 9 and they are still using it.

          • 0 avatar

            That MT-82 only had a 3% actual failure rate. The reports submitted to the NHTSA basically stated it was mostly due to customer unfamiliarity with how the transmission was designed to operate, especially cited was the skip shift feature.

            So the MT-82 is fine. Sure, a little notchy when cold but having a 3% failure rate is fantastic regardless of manufacturer.

            Know what was also specifically cited in the reports FROM the NHTSA in this case??? Yep. Internet forums. Basically the NHTSA called out forums for painting every little nuance as a safety issue and passively as well as aggressively inciting the shark mentality.


          • 0 avatar
            cimarron typeR

            I agree, a lot of failures I’m sure were user error.The much heralded ZF 6spd in my old 330i zhp crunched 1-2 shifts below 40 degrees reliably, even when switching to redline MTL fluid.But it never gave me any concern , even after it was supercharged and tracked.
            Incidentally , this is a good review, in regards to the potential day to day useability of this car, with this option package. Save the 1/4 mile data for the bench racers.

          • 0 avatar

            3% failure rate is not fantastic. Assuming that’s within warranty period that is very high for a transmission, even worse so for a manual.

          • 0 avatar

            What was the failure rate on the 5 speed manual in base model Vibe/Matrix? My wife had the one in her’s eat 3th-4th at 40,000 miles and that was with granny shifting (seriously that woman rarely hit 2000 rpm before shifting.)

            The forums were full of stories with their difficulty in shifting when below about 40F.

          • 0 avatar
            Matt Foley

            Right. I’ve owned an ’84 Fiero that didn’t catch fire, a 3400 GM whose intake gaskets didn’t leak, and a short-nose crank Miata whose Woodruff key stayed put. I’m debating whether to buy a 996 911 (IMS bearing) or a Coyote/MT-82 Mustang next.

    • 0 avatar

      What difference is made on where it was built? The MT-82 that you’re undoubtedly citing (Getrag unit from 2011) that was so failure prone had a 3% calculated failure rate. Yep. 3% caused an internet shit storm.

  • avatar

    I’m almost 6’4″.
    Can you comment on the headroom, legroom, seat support?

    • 0 avatar

      I’m not Chris, and I’m a few inches shorter, but there should be enough leg room. That’s probably the nicest thing about the interior of the Mustang. The front seats have tons of legrooms compared to other cars in the class. Not much in the back though. Though, like Chris, I’ve had a 16-year old and a 6-year old in the back seats with no complaints.

      Headroom might be an issue, but the seats can be lowered.

      As for seat support, I believe those Recaros may be lacking in adjustable lumbar support. They also lose any heating/cooling function. The regular cloth/leather seats have adjustable lumbar, but only in and out, not up and down.

    • 0 avatar
      Chris Tonn

      Ok..for more specifics, I’m 6’4″ish…32″ inseam, which is short for my overall height. 48L jacket, 42″ waist. 250ish pounds depending on lunch.

      So, I’m not small.

      Headroom was sufficient. I’d probably have to lay the seat down a touch were I to wear a helmet, but I was fine.

      Legroom – plenty. I didn’t have to move the lower cushion all the way back – thus, the kids had plenty of legroom in the back.

      Support – excellent. The Recaros are incredible – and yet, not too tight on the kidneys or ass, my widest bits.

  • avatar

    I never thought that the mustang would be the opposite of a sleeper…

    Your sheet metal is the best thing you got going and the rest is birthed of the now rock solid reputation of mindless Ford quality and butchered engineering….

    The only thing sleeping in that beautiful body is headaches…and some Camaro Exhaust. The mustang will never be “faster or quicker than you think”….

    • 0 avatar

      The S550 is decently designed. Had Ford not decided to limit it to a bespoke chassis and like GM got its more expensive divisions (didn’t somebody here mention alpha started as a Pontiac chassis and ended up at Cadillac????) to shoulder the engineering cost they could have gotten more bang for the buck. As it stands Chevrolet poached the chassis (which turned out to be a pretty good plan since sales are so dismal).

      I suspect Ford spent most of the money on chassis and drivetrain then the interior and finally on assembly as the last bit seems to be where it lets down the most.

      Otherwise it does pretty good depsite using more conventional materials in it’s build. Torisional stiffness is right there with alpha at a around 40,000 Hz/deg in twist. Really the only area I think Mustang suffers outside of a bit more weight is with trammaling and exceptionally wide tires. At 255mm and below the car doesn’t have a problem and I’ve never seen any complaints up to 275mm however at 295mm and up to 305mm it seems to be an issue.

      That said, Camaro’s performance edge (when its about as symmetrical as two models can get) comes at a cost in percieved comfort and ease of use. The Camaro demands the driver make concession where the Mustang is fine being a couple ticks slower and doesn’t ask as much from the driver. From a desireability standpoint that definetly works in Mustang’s favor.

      And I guess we live in spoiled world where a mid to low 12 second car (occasionally cracking 11’s) isn’t deceptively fast. Even stabbing the gas in 4th or 5th gear is enough to propel the car from about 40 to 70 in a few seconds and enough to earn you a reckless in some states.

  • avatar

    Seems like the Bullitt would be a better option for similar money.

  • avatar

    The Mustang PP

    PP? Really?

  • avatar

    The rain issue made me think of when SavageGeese reviewed Ecoboost Mustang and the GT with at minimum PP1.

    He was driving the GT in poor weather (cold rain) and a Miata was running away from him. His verdict was if he had to daily drive the car the Ecoboost would be his first choice.

    • 0 avatar

      I daily a 4-pot manual without the performance pack. It’s a perfectly adequate car for daily driving. I get just under 30mpg in mixed use. (or: exactly the same as the CVT Ion that this replaced) Going for the smaller wheels and no performance pack probably kills some of the trackability, but on Detroit pavement you really want the extra compliance.

      It’s nowhere near the rocketship the GT is, but the nose is a lot lighter, which I prefer the feeling of. And hey, it’s still got 300hp.

      • 0 avatar

        I’ve got a 1st gen with 289 V8 and 2 barrel carb so if I were to buy an new Mustang I’d want it to be the best daily driver possible, it would be a 365 car for me.

  • avatar

    Nice color very similar to my Laguna Blue C7. The wheel color is great too, “brake dust grey” is perfect for those that track our cars. One of the most impressive things about my C7 is the mag-ride – it can be rock hard on the track or very composed for daily duties. Same goes for the adjustable exhaust note. At first it seems like a gimmick but after running high flow cats and a true dual exhaust on my previous 350Z I like being to turn down the noise when cruising or opening it to scare old ladies in the parking lot. If you are considering these options I put them on the list of “must haves”.

    My problem with the ‘Stang was front visibility. The hood is long and flat. It seems with this design they knocked down those peaks it had before which where located directly in front of the driver. The view out the front of my ‘Vette isn’t great with the huge wheel arches but amazingly the side view is better then my 350Z due to the outboard mirror location. Compared to the submarine inspired Camaro anything is an improvement.

    Rain, plus wide tires, plus 460 HP is a problem… my ‘Vette has a weather setting which adjusts the throttle response and increases the nanny intervention, does the Ford not have this? If not just go lighter on the loud pedal. If your buying a 460 HP vehicle you have to understand when its appropriate to use that V8. That is why I track my car since on the street its complete overkill.

    • 0 avatar

      I rate mag ride on my GT350 as the single most impressive feature. It was great fun scaring the hell out of an instructor as I ran over the FIA curbing at VIR on purpose to see what the car would do. He was unaware of the mag ride on the car and I suspect felt my car wasn’t the equal of his older 2000 Cobra R until we got a chance to take afterwards.

      Yes Ford has advanced traction control although its only available on the premium cars or with the upgraded infotainment on the base car. You have Normal > Sport > Track > Rain/Snow > Drag in that order and it tailor’s steering, mag ride (if equipped), exhaust mode, throttle response and TCS/ESC threshold based on the user selection.

      I mostly run around in Sport and Normal and rarely use Rain/Snow since the latter really changes throttle response and I find driving the car in that mode tedious since it doesn’t react the way I expect even in inclement weather.

      The real culprit are the tires though. The Michelin Sport Cups just aren’t that great in the rain compared to the standard 4S fitment (It’s competitor when fitted with the Goodyear Supercar F1 Gen 2 tire is the same).

  • avatar

    Gorgeous car. Love the body kit. I might be biased as this blue is almost the same color as what I put on my Supra.

    I’d love to own a piece of snarling American muscle here, in RHD….but these cars are just too big and heavy to be fun on narrow and twisty Japanese roads and parking conditions. A RHD Mustang 10% smaller and lighter but still with a V8, available outside the US for a decent price, would still be a nice toy to have. That or a RHD C7 Vette. My friend has an older (2008?) Mustang he’s thinking of trading in for an S550 so I just sent him a link to this review so he can be all internally conflicted about what to do. ^_^

  • avatar

    That side profile — great that your kids fit in the back seat, but that looks like its achieved at the expense of a giant rear overhang. There’s so much sheet metal in the rear quarter that the rear wheels look undersized. Note: This is comparatively minor aesthetic quibble on an otherwise great looking car.

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