PONY UP (some text hidden)
By Jonathan Crouch
Ford's Mustang gets serious in this improved sixth generation guise. What hasn't changed is this model's mantra of plenty of power at an affordable price. Jonathan Crouch reckons that there's nothing quite like it.
Ten Second Reviewword count: 83
The sixth generation version of Ford's iconic Mustang has been smartened up for European markets - but not beyond recognition. As before, there's a choice of both 'Fastback' coupe and Convertible bodystyles but in both cases, there's a smarter look, both inside and out. The big 5.0-litre V8 gets more power - and there's a fresh 10-speed auto gearbox for the base 2.3-litre EcoBoost derivative too. What hasn't changed is that pricing continues to make many comparable European performance cars look very expensive.
Backgroundword count: 158
It's almost a national pastime to take pot shots at American sports coupes. The specialist magazines tend to dismiss them as crude, lumbering fuel hogs that couldn't get out of their own way if they tried. Historically, some of that has been down to jealousy. Traditionally after all, many US sportscars haven't been sold here in right-hand drive form, leaving the 'experts' yet another reason to bitterly snipe away at Corvettes, Camaros, Mustangs and Vipers to their hearts' content. And then, a few years back, Ford announced it was going to make the Mustang in right-hand drive and offer it for sale in the UK, which meant that the same dealer selling Fiestas could also, rather incredibly, offer you a 5.0-litre V8 Mustang. Suddenly American sports coupes didn't seem so stupid any longer. Sales since have been strong, so much so that Ford has moved to further 'Europeanise' this car. But will that dilute it's appeal? Let's see.
Driving Experienceword count: 364
As before, the Mustang offers a choice between two very different powerplants. While there will be many who don't see the point in choosing anything other than the 5.0-litre V8, Ford predicts a good take-up of the 2.3-litre Ecoboost turbo four. With UK pump prices being what they are, you can see the logic. It's not exactly limp-wristed either. With 290PS to call upon, it'll get to 62mph in around 6 seconds in six-speed manual guise. As an option, Ford now offers an auto transmission with no fewer than ten speeds. The brand claims that this new auto 'box offers greater fuel efficiency and improved acceleration. The gearbox's electronic control system enables settings that optimise performance for the car's various Drive Modes, plus there's real-time adaptive shift-scheduling that allows the transmission to adapt to changing conditions and select the right gear in any situation - from coast-road cruising to the drag-strip. In short, for the right buyer, the 2.3-litre EcoBoost Mustang variant could now be quite a tempting proposition. Look at the ballistic V8 version though and your resolve might weaken. Its output has now been increased to 450PS, plus there's more low-end torque than there was before. As for driving dynamics, well Ford claims to have improved these for European buyers with this enhanced model. Recalibrated shock absorbers should improve stability through corners, while the rear suspension has been stiffened with a cross-axis joint that reduces unwanted movement at each corner that can lead to body flex. Thicker anti-roll bars also better control body-roll for sharper handling. A new optional MagneRide Damping System can deliver a lightning-quick response to changing road conditions. Plus there are two new Drive Modes in addition to the usual 'Normal', 'Sport', 'Track' and 'Snow/Wet' settings. 'Drag Strip Mode' optimises performance for maximum acceleration from standing starts. And 'My Mode' enables drivers to select their own preferred settings for performance, dynamics and exhaust sound. In addition, the car also has a 'Good Neighbour Mode' that can be programmed to automatically limit the exhaust's noise output at pre-programmed times of the day to avoid disturbing your neighbours, not least when firing up the legendary 5.0-litre V8 early in the morning.
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