The Mustang Saga - By Kyle Edward
The Legend Continues
It's not every day you come across a vehicle that has so much heritage behind its name. Production of the Mustang first started in March of 1964. It had been Ford's most successful vehicle launch since the model A. The Mustang essentially created the muscle car, class of automobiles that represented high power engines with output to the rear wheels which in turn could do burnouts all day long. Which is a thought synonymous with American muscle cars. Today we’re going to look at two incredible Mustangs, the 2018 Mustang Performance Pack 2 and the GT350, both worthy of the Mustang nameplate.
The PP2 Mustang has a 5.0 V-8 which creates 460 hp @ 7000 rpm and 420 lb-ft @ 4600 rpm, coupled with a 6-speed manual transmission. The GT350 has a 5.2-liter flat-plane crank V8 with redline north of 8000rpm and creates 526 hp @ 7500 rpm and 429 ft-lbs. @ 4750 rpm. Both vehicles make insane power and it’s hard to tell the GT350 has more power until you’re running at high speeds and call up all the horses. I have to say I was incredibly impressed with the GT PP2 Mustang for the price you get so much performance. Yes, the GT350 is still king but for price you really can’t beat the PP2.
The PP2 Mustang features unique suspension, steering, and ABS tuning; new 19-inch wheels; upgraded brakes (15.0-inch front rotors with six-piston Brembo calipers); a Torsen limited-slip differential; and an underbody K-brace, strut-tower brace, and front-subframe brace. A chief differentiator for the Performance Package Level 2 is its wider, stickier rubber. Level 2 gets 305/30R-19 Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s on 10.5-inch-wide rollers up front and 11.0-inchers at the rear (the GT350 has the same tires and the same size front wheels). In addition to more grip, the lower-profile tires give the Level 2 a slightly lower ride height. With all of the added features, it makes this Mustang ready to hit the track from day one. Now the GT350 being racing focused from birth it gets MagneRide adaptive dampers standard. The selectable settings (Normal and Sport) provide an comfortable highway cruise or an incredibly firm ride for the track. Both the PP2 and GT350 have very focused racing tuned suspensions regardless of the mode, it’s just the nature of the beast. It’s satisfying taking either vehicle onto curvy switchback roads but with the added horsepower the GT350 is slightly more fun.
If you love a thrilling exhaust note like I do, you’ll instantly fall in love with either car. From the factory the PP2 gets an upgraded exhaust system with four different modes (quiet, normal, sport and track) well the GT350 only gets two (normal and sport). I actually found the exhaust note on the PP2 to be slightly more satisfying then the GT350 but of course both sound amazing.
Both Mustangs look relativity similar with giant racing tires and a low profile. Unless you’re extremely familiar with the Mustang line, it’s hard to tell a different at first. But a closer look will reveal Super Snake badges all over the GT350. Well the PP2 gets a less exotic treatment with a standard 5.0 badge and a GT logo across the hatch. I personally liked the look of the PP2 over the GT350. It gives off a younger less refined vibe which is something I actually really liked about the PP2. It’s just raw power and a few racing features added along the way. But for someone who is looking to hit the track then a fancy dinner after the GT350 is centennially more equipped for that duty. People actually look at the GT350 as an icon they stare and take pictures but when driving the PP2 you will occasionally get a glance or a head nod.
Bare Bones Interior
When compared to a Chevy Camaro, the interior across the entire Mustang lineup falls a bit short. It’s not as refined and lacks some tech features like a HUD (heads up display). The fit and finish is somewhat poor with cheap plastics lining the door panels and most of the dash. The GT350 gets a cool flat bottom Alcantara wrapped wheel the PP2 gets your standard pony wheel. The infotainment system is quick to respond and works well overall. The Recaro racing seats are awesome. Especially the custom GT350 seats which GT350 stitched across the headrest. Yes, the interior is dated and a bit cheap but you’re not buying this car for the interior. It’s for the performance.
Vanilla or French Vanilla
I look at the PP2 Mustang as vanilla. It’s your standard GT with some cool added features which make it very track capable. Plus, with a price of under 45k it’s an incredible deal! But if you really want a Mustang which was literally born to run laps and be a true show car then the GT350 is your ticket. But that legendary nameplate will cost you with a starting price of just over 57k. In the end, I see the PP2 Mustang as a young man’s youthful choice. It’s loud, fast and affordable. Where the GT350 is for someone who has already experienced a lot of life and wants something more refined and showy like the Shelby GT350. I loved both Mustangs and each have their own place in the lineup.