2020 Ford Mustang GT PP2 Review - Pony Car Essence, at a Price
2020 Ford Mustang GT PP2
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.
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.”
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.
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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- Robert I have had 4th gen 1996 model for many years and enjoy driving as much now as when I first purchased it - has 190 hp variant with just the right amount of power for most all driving situations!
- ToolGuy Meanwhile in Germany...
- Donald More stuff to break god I love having a nanny in my truck... find a good tuner and you can remove most of the stupid stuff they add like this and auto park when the doors open stupid stuff like that
- John Williams Sounds like a Burnout Special you can put together on any 5.0 F150. Whoever said this was Cars and Coffee bait is right on the money.
- ToolGuy Question: F-150 FP700 ( Bronze or Black) supercharger kit is legal in 50 states, while the Mustang supercharger kit is banned in California -- why??
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.
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.