Waltz with a redneck
As you spend days scrolling down the news feed and do nothing to go after your dreams, dreams suddenly knock on your door.
And so it happened - the mountain came to Mohammed. And although it might sound that Detroit Americans have discovered Europe as a real continent with people, by that I mean something else. As you spend days scrolling down the news feed and do nothing to go after your dreams, dreams suddenly knock on your door. Didn’t have time to dream about the new Mustang? Bear with me.
When on a halfway through 2015 I found out that a Lithuanian Ford dealer has ordered a couple of Mustangs, where one of them would be given for regular mortals to try out I was struck. Normally the dealers which bring more powerful cars for sale, shove them behind the glass and instead of showing the car to the people, they preserve them to survive any alien attack. It was a different story this time, meaning, we’d have a go in it as well. Just like it got popular in USA back in ’64, the Mustang comes to us with hands wide open, and the charm of its’ accessibility. While the easy-going attitude is not something you might like on someone you think of marrying, same feature is just perfect for a wild one night stand. The thrill closest to this feeling is what you get from a brand new Mustang.
I remember driving the Mustang ‘67 and I was impressed by couple of things. First - the power (it was my first muscle car to drive) and then the brakes. I mean, the imaginary brakes. So, any progress in half a century? There is some. Although the design re-launch started in 2005 the sixth generation decided to move on from it and create a new standard for muscle cars.
The angriest ever front perfectly combines both ancestors touches and the latest Ford model range trends. Looking from the drivers position - a marquee shaped empty center rising of the bonnet probably has no other purpose than sheltering cats, but “let there be beauty” said the Mustang designers and left the room. So what, if this crook is blocking the road view, so what that the nose of the car ends behind the horizon – character and charisma over common sense is what any car-minded person will respect with no doubt. Oh and then the tail! Where the rear wings somehow remind of J-Lo, with a tapering end of the cab it tells only one thing, they’ve snatched the looks from an Aston! I was looking on the side mirror to the back of the car and the view was screaming it was not an ordinary Mondeo, rushing to start it.
My finger immediately found the white, round, industrial machine-style button with a red frame. It was mounted next to other tomboys’ fantasy control switches, and it gave me an impression of an atomic bomb launcher trigger.
Checked myself still being in the real world and hit the START. My ears filled with 5.0-liter V8 sound. Divinely strong, devilishly sinister, with lusts to feel the life in most vivid colors. The only reason to depart gently and slowly, is to win some time to get on with this demon monster. I have never ridden a wild horse so excuse me if I’m wrong, but I think the Mustang name is just too soft for this 412BHP engine. Literally they could have came up with a mythological monster and it would still reflect only a fraction of the brutal force which radiated this modern 5.0 V8 400 hp engine.
To put it simple, you cannot leave the side road in civilized manner, but blatantly drawing attention to yourself, without extra effort. Now some of you might know that it’s not about how deep you press the accelerator, but how sudden the kick was and even nowadays I haven’t met a lot of cars with such an accurate response.
As soon as I got on the road I wanted to check the controllability to compare it on how it was 50 years ago. Fact: the old Mustang handling had not been invented back then, then over the decades the evolution never really impacted it, so the results could only be described with a word that starts with S (and it’s not splendid).
But not this time - as Ford were preparing for a debut in Europe they have shown some signs of responsibly. It’s hard to imagine, but I think they might have even called their colleagues in Ford Europe and asked: "What do you Europeans constantly ponder about the subtleties of handing? And why has everyone gone bonkers about the Fiesta ST? " Because whatever connects the driver and the tires of this car is a great piece of metal, rubber and wires! It is really enjoyable to drive and I dare saying it even handles better than most of modern average “European or asian anything”.
While I left the car in the parking and went upstairs I started contemplating what was the closest to Mustang experience I had with cars. And although the logic with the facts looked contrary to my thoughts I only came up with one car – the F-Type. The charisma, the speed and the emotion, all came back to me like a deja vu. The key difference is of course, the weight and you can tell that by the feel of it. Where the F-type is smaller, lighter and noisier it does classify as a sports car. Whereas the Mustang? Well, it is what it’s ought to be – a muscle car carrying it’s 2.4 ton of muscles with its’ discreet five-oh without a hint of a struggle.
My point? Both cars are expressive, well-sounding. F-type with a price tag varying from 70 to 100,000 € was already considered as shockingly cheap for a car in its class, and then you get the Mustang digits.
FROM 36k €. Yes, From 36 grand or in other words from thirty-six thousand Euros! And this already includes VAT (~7-8 thousand Euros which in some EU countries you can claim back when buying it as a company car)
Of course there is much more practical metal available - any Kia Optima, which after 10 years will continue to be unknown and unseen or any modest BMW. Oh wait... You would struggle to even get a front-wheel drive for that amount of money.
To look at it more serious, the glitter talk is not so shallow. Just as the Mustang arrived to Europe it has even become a serious headache for such manufacturers like Porsche. With the price of tinned beans, the ‘stangs has ravaged and profaned sports car sales charts in Europe, boosting the Mustang ahead of the 911 on contract numbers.
And I'm not surprised why - there are thousands of Mustang lovers in Europe. There are thousands of sea Containers stuffed with minced Mustangs which then get put together and reach us a surrogate of what the Americans can drive for half a century. So here it is - a dream car, for cents, groszhshszshs, pennesies, krones or anything you pay for your daily lunch and it’s worth it! With guarantee and full service, just like any other daily Ford.
By the way if we look a decade back, this is when the Mustang got into the hearts of Europeans – in 2005 it presented a design, which no longer tried to pretend it is modern or in other words - European... The Mustang is a symbol of America no less than the Bald Eagle or a hotdog. Want proof? No one in Europe is buying the 2.3 Ecoboost, which was supposed to vouch the Mustangs’ arrival to Europe.
The 2.3 Ecoboost just can’t deliver that feeling of the muscle car and whoever got into the que at the Ford dealers where the ones who waited for this arrival for too many years not to buy the thoroughbred.
Yes, the 5.0 is more thirsty, averaging 20 liters/100km, but this amount also includes the fun and the thrill that you get from 412 horses. Oh and I heard a couple of eco-rally drivers went on a 350 km trip to see what is the minimum they can do in it, and they managed to do 8.8l/100km. This is the consumption of a five times smaller 1.0 Ecoboost in town! Of course, it is impossible to get such figures for anyone who has the willingness to have a life, but it’s just for our information. I also made a little experiment while standing with the engine running and it was showing 13l/100km. So here it is, the standstill minimum required to run the five liter power-train.
I just can’t stop writing about it and OMG have I not told you about the apps menu yet. To start with it has a G force radar that shows what kind of demons and the forces of physics are beating you while going sideways. And then the world's first ever car to have the... LINE LOCK mode Burnout! WHAT DID YOU SAY? I said, the machine wants you to burn them wheels! Burn them real good! True story! I have no doubt that this is a quiet thoughtful idea given to Ford by the tire manufacturers to increase sales. And I simply had to see it myself. After all, this is a standard car feature, same as a stereo, or seat belts. Ladies and gentlemen, you are finally presented with a logical explanation on where clouds come from, but I am sure the Burnout tribe will give more details on that.
That’s it, that’s all you need to know of what happened in Lithuania and Europe recently.