Is a roaring V8 Mustang the only car in 2020 you could ever need?
In a world of climate change protests and EV world-changers, the Mustang V8 is a dying breed. It's also influential beyond anything you could think...
I remember the first V8 I ever drove, a Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT. Pushing the start button filled me with adrenaline as the giant HEMI V8 jumped in to life. I daily drove that for a week, costing me £50 a day in fuel - but the smiles it generated made it worth every single penny. Fast forward many years and the single most influential V8 turns up on my drive for a couple of weeks - sorry neighbours.
The Mustang has been influencing music and films since launch in 1964, it has actually had more music written about it than any other car in existence - but that's for another time. Let's just say it was the perfect music based car I could ever dream to have on test.
Subtly styled with a hint of face melting noise!
The Mustang isn't that shouty in design language, longer lines and somewhat sweeping edges are about as fancy as it gets. Whilst it is very distinctive in how it looks (ie: you know it's a Mustang), if you didn't know cars you'd be easily fooled in thinking it was a 2.3 4-cylinder. Look a little closer and you'll start noticing little bits, hood vents - 5.0 branding - quad tail pipes - GT badge on the back. This is no ordinary Mustang, this is a V8 monster.
Understated then, but beautiful - in the same breath. When it arrived I thought it looked a little boring, however within 24 hours it had grown on me in a massive way. The basic alloys made sense, the lack of wing on the back made sense - the fact it was so subtle but yet had such noise - I loved it. Suddenly there wasn't a single bad angle, this car was stunning.
Less of a slouch than I thought it would be...
Lets be honest, I should have known it would be quick - but I fell into the belief that American muscle cars were all show with little go - how wrong I was. 450PS / 529Nm through the rear wheels meant 0-62 can be achieved in 4.3 seconds and power through to a limited 155mph top speed. With the new safety systems the Mustang is also less likely to try and throw you into a tree, unless you drive in the wet with all the systems off. Seriously, now it's actually mega competent to drive, feeling very composed and unlike any Mustang before it. Corners are comfy with little roll, the steering feels direct and the pedal feel isn't spongy at all.
The instantaneous acceleration and brute force torque immersion is like a flat out rollercoaster ride, matched to a V8 soundtrack of gods - it's a completely blissful experience. Even whilst on the motorway, sitting at one speed, I found myself with the sports exhaust on - accelerating from 50-70 just because I wanted to hear it roar. That didn't do wonders for fuel economy, as you can imagine. If you manage to sit at 65mph for long enough, you'll see 35mpg very easily, 30mpg combined is also achievable but expect around 27mpg. Drive it like you're supposed to and 17-18mpg is all you'll see - it's worth it though.
The interior is massively old-school, but that's ok by me!
The first time I sat in a Mustang, it was straight after being in a new (then) Focus RS. Instead of smooth spacious lines, the Mustang had a really old fashioned 'slab faced' design aesthetic everywhere. You quickly get used to it, along with the beautifully comfortable seats - which also have a rather old-school design. The issue with not really changing an interior over the years is when you want to add extra tech in - you have to make it fit as the cockpit is.
B&O have managed this with their 1000watt system, placing speakers the only place they can go but get somehow ensuring the entire cabin gets audio coverage which is clean and crisp. Quality does seem to have been important, with a mix of good quality plastics, metals and leather being used in abundance. Infotainment wise, it's typical Ford SYNC3. Visibility is surprisingly good for a grand tourer, even in busy cities you don't struggle to see.
Rear legroom? Let's not mention it, there's not really a lot - enough for kids... but anyone over 5ft 6 is going to struggle. Boot space, there's plenty. Enough for 2-3 bags of full competition golf club sets.
"Why is it the only car I could ever need, then??"
It's because Ford have nailed the Mustang on every base, pretty much. The looks are beautiful, sleek and understated (even in Race Red) whilst the performance underneath is face melting and epic to listen to. Interior comfort is unparalleled within the price bracket and even the economy is good (for a V8). It's as capable at taking you to the shops as tearing up the drag strip - as easy around town as on the track battling C63s.
Whilst you may see a fair few Mustang's around, very few I see tend to be V8's. Primarily, I assume, due to the first gear VED being £2,135 (thanks to a V8 easily costing over £40k). However you need to remember, this isn't a normal car - it's an epic car. It's also a dying breed - before long, activists will see the extinction of the V8. Even Ford are planning for this with the Mustang Mach-E.
Whilst you still can, before it's too late, buy yourself a V8 Mustang and listen to and enjoy the symphony which is the original Pony Car.
For reference, if you got this far - here's a small list of songs the Mustang has inspired since launch:
1. Mustang Sally - Wilson Picket
2. Go Mustang - The Triptides
3. My Ford Mustang - Chuck Berry
4. Rollin' in my 5.0 - Vanilla Ice
5. Mustang Ford - T-Rex
Additional shots by: @tomkimbell - Edited by: @maxwelltay