By on January 15, 2020

2020 Ford Mustang GT PP2

2020 Ford Mustang GT PP2

5.0-liter V8 (460 horsepower @ 7,500 rpm; 420 lb-ft @ 4,600 rpm)

Six-speed manual, rear-wheel drive

15 city / 24 highway / 18 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

16.1 city, 9.9 highway, 13.3 combined. (NRCan Rating, L/100km)

Base Price: $39,355 (U.S) / $47,025 (Canada)

As Tested: $51,640 (U.S.) / $60,275 (Canada)

Prices include $1,095 destination charge in the United States and $1,850 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, because of cross-border equipment differences, can’t be directly compared.

In order to promote the Mustang Mach-E that would be unveiled later that night, Ford gave journalists who’d flown to California for the reveal the chance to drive the rest of the Mustang lineup.

From Shelby GT500s and GT350s to GTs and EcoBoosts, they were all on hand for a run up the Angeles Crest Highway.

Perhaps unintentionally, the drive was a reminder that the Mach-E probably isn’t going to fit right in. It may actually be fun to drive – certainly, as an EV, it will have plenty of torque – but we won’t know that for a while. Still, it’s hard to picture it running the mountain the same way the two-door coupe Mustangs do.

Which is to say, pretty damn well.

(Full disclosure: Ford flew me to Los Angeles last month for the Los Angeles Auto Show, Mustang Mach-E reveal, and to drive a bunch of Mustangs on Angeles Crest Highway. The company provided food and board.)

With all the hoopla surrounding the EV crossover Mach-E, it’s easy to forget just how good current coupe Mustangs are at their assigned task. While not flawless, current Mustangs also display fewer faults than in the past – they at least feel better put-together than the cowl-shaking pony cars of just a few years ago. And the move to an independent suspension certainly improves ride and handling.

2020 Ford Mustang GT PP2

There are still brickbats to be given. The rear seat in any Mustang remains useless except for infants or parcels, there’s still too much cheap plastic for this price point, and the interior is starting to look a tad dated.

Yet, there’s a lot that can be cured by a 5.0-liter V8 that makes 460 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque, and the six-speed manual remains a slick-shifting unit.

Take that package to the lovely Angeles Crest Highway high above Los Angeles, and you can put it to good use.

Light yet communicative steering, strong brakes, tires that stick, plenty of power for the straights – the ‘Stang has all that. It tracks well in corners, too. While it’s not nearly as good as the Shelby GT500 I’d piloted part way up the hills – duh – it’s a plenty fine dance partner for weekend drives should you live near the right kind of road. Even when you leave the car in “normal” mode instead of “sport.”

2020 Ford Mustang GT PP2

All that with the still-sounds-cool V8 rumble, and a pleasant-enough ride around town (at least on LA’s smooth roads).

My drive in the GT Performance Package 2 was short, just half the downhill run towards L.A. and then through traffic back to the hotel, so this review will be shorter than most (save your applause). But I didn’t need much time to get a sense of what this pony can do.

I’m not sure if it’s the PP2 that makes the car feel so much improved over GTs from a few years ago, or the simple tweaks that happen from year to year, or both.

All I know for sure is that while the Shelbys have topped the Mustang news this year, and the Bullitt remains the Mustang I’d be most likely to buy, the GT with the PP2 is quite the charmer on the backroads. And it better be, considering Mustang GTs are no longer a performance bargain. Hell, a nicely kitted EcoBoost four-banger isn’t exactly a value buy these days.

2020 Ford Mustang GT PP2

Indeed, the GT I drove started at just under $40K, and it crossed the $50K mark, although not by too much, when optioned out.

Standard equipment included capless fuel-filler, fog lamps, LED headlamps, logo-projection lamps, hood vents, LED taillamps, quad dual exhaust tips, ambient lighting, 12-inch LCD digital instrument cluster, dual-zone automatic climate control, split fold rear seat, USB port, split-fold rear seat, independent rear suspension, electronically assisted power steering, limited-slip rear axle, keyless entry and starting, rearview camera, selectable drive modes, satellite radio, Sync infotainment, track apps, and reverse-sensing system.

One option package included uplevel trim and floormats, nav, blind-spot information system, and rear cross-traffic alert for $2,200. The $6,500 Performance Package 2 gives you a 3.73 rear axle, unique rear spoiler, 19-inch wheels, and magnetic damping. Recaro leather seats cost $1,595, while an exhaust system that allows the driver to control the amount of noise cost $895.

Add in the $1,095 destination fee, and the total comes out to $51,640.

$50K for a Mustang GT seems dear. Especially since, if some basic Googling is correct, a Fox-body GT that was priced for a bit under $14K in 1990 would be a reasonable $27K in 2020 dollars. The Mustang was once an affordable sports car, even in the highest-performance trim with V8 power. Not anymore.

That’s the price of growth. Ford has improved on the Mustang formula over time, but in so doing, it went from affordable sports car to full-blown muscle machine, especially when equipped with eight cylinders. The competing Camaro has followed a similar path.

The need for speed transformed these machines from cheap speed options to toys for the well-off. That said, if you have the means, a Mustang GT PP2 is a solid option from the pony-car stable.

[Images © 2020 Tim Healey/TTAC]

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32 Comments on “2020 Ford Mustang GT PP2 Review – Pony Car Essence, at a Price...”


  • avatar
    jack4x

    “Especially since, if some basic Googling is correct, a Fox-body GT that was priced for a bit under $14K in 1990 would be a reasonable $27K in 2020 dollars. The Mustang was once an affordable sports car, even in the highest-performance trim with V8 power. Not anymore.”

    I’m the biggest V8 fanboy on this site, but even I know better than to make this comparison. The Ecoboost is the fairer comparison to the 1990 GT in every way except sound, and is priced accordingly.

    • 0 avatar
      Rick Astley

      I just did a build & price on an ecoboost premium mustang: $39,415

      Ecoboost premium: MSRP: $31,685 (oops, i’m already over the $27K of a base ’90)
      Handling package: $2K (requires mandatory High Performance Package: $5K)

      And yes, I believe an ecoboost premium should be the cross-shop to a ’90 GT.

      Even removing premium trim still has you at $36K large for an ecoboost. Ultimately there isn’t a lot of extra package going into these cars to jump their price up by 20-25%, yet they are still well over their 30 year old counterparts in ace-of-base trim. And yes, you’re getting a lot more car now, but time is relative so the improvements in manufacturing and just-in-time inventory systems are lock-step with the advancements in the cars.

      • 0 avatar
        jack4x

        Why do you need a Performance package or Handling package? The lowliest ’20 Ecoboost would lose a ’90 GT on a twisty road in no time.

        The Premium package is even sillier, what kind of features came standard on a Mustang 30 years ago? An AM/FM radio and bucket seats? The Premium Pack is touchscreen audio, heated and cooled leather, etc. You may find those not to be worth it, but they aren’t a fair comparison to a 30 year old base model.

        Compare base car to base car, the 2020 Ecoboost starts at $26,670. It’s not as if you couldn’t add options to the older car either.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          It’s uncalled for, dogging on the ’90 GT. What gave you better bang 4 the buck? OK the LX 5.0 did, notch especially, but everything else (that’s still around) offers similarly improved tech/hp/etc.

          Just look at the ’90 Corvette and how dare you?

          • 0 avatar
            jack4x

            I would much much rather spend $35K on a base model ’20 GT or $26K on an Ecoboost than $27K on a stripper ’90 GT transported to 2020.

            That’s really my point, for how much everyone likes to complain about modern cars and pricing, there has never been a better bang for your buck than modern vehicles. It’s not a Mustang specific thing, I wouldn’t pay the inflation adjusted price of a ’90 Corvette or 911 either.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Then why take the ’90 GT downs a couple pegs? It compares directly with the ’20 Mustang GT nicely, as everything has progressed across the board. If anything, ’20 GT should be fairly embarrassed.

        • 0 avatar
          Blackcloud_9

          Yes, but the Fox-body GT wasn’t the base car it was near top of the line-up. The base mustang of that era had a 2.3 4-cylinder.
          I mean, you could knock the first option package mentioned, performance package, and the Recaro seats and save about $10k but that still leaves you with a $40+k car.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Yeah for 40K I coulda had a V8. Configurator says $40,475 for MY20 GT Prem.

      • 0 avatar
        Tim Healey

        See my comment to Jack4X

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      The issue with a ’20 Ecoboost is that stuff like the ’20 Accord and ’20 GTI have also made large performance gains over their ’90 counterparts. And that is really what any 2020 Mustang is competing against, not a car from 30 years ago.

      I feel like to keep that same gap between your Mustang and the normies you still have to go with the GT.

    • 0 avatar
      Tim Healey

      You make a fair point, but remember in 1990 the four-banger was an insurance-beater, not a performance option. If you want to accuse me of forgetting that today’s turbo four can be a performance engine, that’s fair, I may have been thinking old-school as I wrote this. But to me, part of the Mustang’s appeal in the 80s and 90s was the availability of a V8 for reasonable money. Yes, it’s true today’s four can do what the old V8 did. But some folks want the full eight cylinders without laying out mega bucks.

      • 0 avatar
        jack4x

        @DM, no offense intended. The Fox GT was a fine car for its time. I think most cars would come off poorly compared to their 30 year newer equivalents for similar money.

        @Tim, The GT was marketed as affordable performance in the 80s-90s, just as the Ecoboost is now. That’s why I think the comparison is fair. I too prefer 8 cylinders though and mourn their disappearance from affordable vehicles, but considering a 2020 GT opens at $35K I’m not blaming Mustang for that disappearance.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Well put.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      Wasn’t the most expensive Fox Body Mustang offered equipped with a Turbo 4? (SVO)

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        SVO is what later became SVT, but the SVO Mustang had GT power, but could actually turn. And stop. It was an M3 fighter.

        But I don’t agree the $14K Fox GT was the poorman’s answer to “affordable” V8 performance. The manual shift notchback 5.0 LX with crank window and radio delete was.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Base Price: That’s Nice.

    As Tested: No thank you.

  • avatar
    JMII

    If the mag-ride is anywhere near as good as the one in my C7 Z51 ‘Vette I would highly recommend it. Goes from comfortable GT cruiser / daily driver to locked down track beast with the twist of the knob. Same goes for the exhaust system that can be adjusted by the driver. While the V8 sounds great there are times when you prefer it toned down (or up!) a notch.

    When I sat in a co-worker’s I noticed long, flat hood made for poor foward visibility. My C7 has a similar problem with the wheel aches but overall it feels more open inside. Might be due the large rear glass hatch. Too bad they don’t make fastback ‘Stangs anymore.

    Amazing the level of HP and performance you get in today’s car for the money. The super cars that decorated my walls in the 80s would be crushed by this ‘Stang.

  • avatar
    Russycle

    I walked by a new GT this morning, and I have to say the sound from that V8 is just lovely. Not loud, but a nice low rumble as it pulled away from a stop.

  • avatar
    N8iveVA

    One thing I often don’t like on Mustangs are the Ford wheel designs. That being said I love the rims on this one.

  • avatar
    cprescott

    I can understand calling that electric thing a Mustang. Calling it an electric Escape would be too honest and would not garner the free press that selling out your best product brings.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      It has nothing in common with the Escape. Completely separate platforms; one is RWD and the other FWD.

      It has nothing in common with the Mustang either, but “electric Escape” it is not.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    I love the Mustang GT, but the PP2 seems like a lot of drawbacks and not much benefit unless you’re regularly doing track days.

    Mine would be a PP1 with spoiler delete and all the gizmos.

  • avatar
    Jim52

    Kool Aid has been drunk by Tim…
    “Standard equipment included capless fuel-filler, LED headlamps, hood vents, quad dual exhaust tips, power steering”. My daughters Focus has capless-=-it was free.

    What’s next: standard equipment 2 doors, steering wheel….radiator.

    Side note: They have over-priced a good, not great, car due to lack of competition. I test drove and rented a Camaro. I wanted to like the 2SS, but the vis is terrible. Interior ditto.

    Boon-doggle free trips to LA can color your world.

  • avatar
    22_RE_Speedwagon

    This or a brand new 2019 Stingray for 45K?

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    Based solely on these annual sales figures, I should be preparing for a recession (compare to 2008-2009):

    http://carsalesbase.com/us-car-sales-data/ford/ford-mustang/

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    The best $51K Mustang is a BMW M240i. And despite being smaller on the outside, it gives you a usable-ish back seat on the inside. And the option of a nice discount for European Delivery.

    On paper, rather less HP, but in the real world those German ponies seem a tad stouter than the ‘Murican ones given the tiny difference in ultimately unusable performance.

  • avatar
    jdowmiller

    I paid just over $33k for my brand new ‘19. No options. You don’t need any in this vehicle. Yes, I realize that I was able to get that price because there are many people out there who will buy the most recently released version of anything and for that I thank them.
    I’d like to take a moment to put the back seat complaints permanently to rest: I’m slightly over six feet tall and can sit behind myself – although quite uncomfortably. My 14 year old and his friend are both 5’ 10” and I drive both of them home from basketball practice without a complaint. I occasionally drive all three of my kids (the two little girls sit in back) to school and they love it. Sure, it’s probably not a good idea to ride cross country in a mustang. Why would anyone do that? But the fact is I drive all my kids to school in a 460 horsepower six speed rwd car. And yeah it’s my “daily driver”. After dropping them off I head to work 40 miles away.

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