Brought to America by the Conquistadors, the stereotypical Spanish horse was described as being "mesteño" - wild and strong willed. Overtime Mesteño morphed to Mustang as the wild horses spread across the vast continent of America. Speed forwards to 1908 and the beginning of car mass production. The Ford Model-T sounds the death bell of the horse as transportation, then many, many cars later in 1964 Ford reinvent the Mustang with a V8, a few weeks ago I got to drive one.... the 21st century version.
Back in old times one Mustang equalled one pony, now one Mustang equals 449 ponies, all galloping though a 10-speed auto gearbox to the rear wheels, a 6-speed manual also available for those with an old-fashioned disposition. The four legged mustangs only neighed, the current one growls, roars and burbles though a stainless steel exhaust featuring four actual tail pipes (yes, proper ones for a change) and fancy active valves that add abit more pony power on demand!
No replacement for displacement, 5.0 litres of all American muscle..
Under the bonnet the Mustang is decidedly old school. A naturally aspirated V8 aluminium block generates lots of low down torque exiting through a stainless steel exhaust. As you can imagine the Mustang emits a lovely rumble as you cruise. In the exhaust are some rather snazzy "active valves." These open varying amounts depending on the drive mode selected. Their primary purpose is to help the engine get rid of the waste gasses as fast as possible, resulting in a few more ponies plus a rather wonderful noise.
As you can see from the video below I was fortunate to have the use of a convertible GT, possibly the best way to experience the Mustang's auditory delights. (I even tried little bit of presenting to camera, please be nice...)
Something which has caused some conjecture with our American cousins is the implementation of the "induction sound tube." This tube apparently pipes some of the induction sound (the sound of the engine sucking in air) into the cabin. In all honestly I couldn't really hear it, most of the time I had the roof down and even with the roof up the exhaust is dominant in the cabin.
No eco-boosts here...
As well as the preset Comfort (normal), Sport, Track, Snow/Wet you also get the slightly ludicrous Drag Strip mode! Each mode changes the throttle response and gearbox calibration, as well as suspension and electric traction and handling aid settings. In MyMode (symbol is the famous pony logo) you have free rein to choose the exhaust settings - it's all great fun and enables you to personalise your driving style.
The quiet mode was perhaps the least exciting setting, but I can imagine how useful it can be. Someone over at Ford USA obviously has a fragile relationship with their neighbour as you can program your Mustang to start in quiet mode!
So big engine, big exhaust, iconic shape oh and the steering wheel is on the right side. Does anyone fancy buying me a Mustang?
Many thanks to the Ford Britain Press office for this opportunity, one of the dream cars crossed off the list!
Photographs and Video © Richard P Walsh