Mustang feature

Ford Mustang V8: Excess for the Masses

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The Mustang's now available in RHD, and a choice of engines...

I’ve a confession to make. It’s a slightly unpopular opinion in the motoring profession, so, deep breath, here it comes – I actually like the Mustang EcoBoost.

The ‘little’ 2.3-litre 4-cylinder EcoBoost engine produces an impressive level of power, makes a good noise, and certainly has more than enough about it for most tastes. It’s a modern engine for a modern world, but is it really in the spirit of the Mustang?

Mustang headlight

A few weeks ago I went out for drinks with my best friend. Ok, nothing unusual about that, granted, but we ended up in a little place known as the Black Horse for the obligatory ‘one more drink’. The Horse is an expensive cocktail bar and as it turned out, one drink turned into about five drinks plus a selection of posh meats and cheeses. By the end of the night, we’d blown £100 on the “one more drink”.

It was extravagant and unnecessary but incredibly good fun and after spending time with the Ford Mustang in this all-American ‘what Paris agreement?’ form 5.0-litre V8, it became clear that, as good as the EcoBoost is, this is the only way to Mustang. What you’re looking at in these pictures, ladies and gents, is the motoring equivalent of ‘one more drink’.

Nine times out of ten, there’s no reason to have ‘one more drink’. It’s a treat, it’s an excuse to have a bit more fun, nothing more. Equally, there is literally no reason to have a big 5.0-litre V8. It’s a thirsty, polluting, outdated lump that really only has one trick up its sleeve. It produces an immense chunk of shove that can catapult you down the road at a serious rate. In its defence, the big V8 does something most engines can’t – it turns every single mile – be it fast or slow – into an event. There’s a sense of character, a sort of recklessness and joy that can only really come from really not giving a toss about rules. Insert ‘Freedom’ and other American clichés in at the end of this paragraph, please, Boss.

It drives as you’d expect it would. On a narrow back road, it struggles, especially if that road is wet and if you’re brave enough to turn traction control off and drive as some speed, the rear end is, shall we say, provokable. Play to its strengths though, and you have a car that can carry you vast distances in a very short matter of time, on the motorways the Mustang takes on the spirit of a GT, with a whole keg of power on tap and a relatively relaxed ride. Passers-by – and the Rozzers – prefer it if you go a little slower, though.

Ford Mustang V8

Being a car that has such a strong reputation and spirit, people want to take pictures with it, sit in it, talk to you about it, ask questions and join you in reminiscing  about Mustangs of the past and how cool it is to see a new Mustang with the steering wheel on the correct side. Wherever it is, it gets attention and not in the negative way you might be expecting a muscle car to receive.

Mustang interior

The reason for that may lie in the fact that the Ford Mustang is a fairly modest machine. It isn’t constructed from expensive and rare materials, it isn’t driven by people who want to rub their wealth in the faces of the masses. This car is actually excess for the masses, a huge great big growly engine, a beautifully styled body, and the spirit of adventure for under £40,000.

The Mustang is one of us, a car for people who want to treat themselves but not spend a sum of money more appropriate for a house than a car. It’s also probably the last of its kind.

Really then, this is a case of ‘one more big thirsty V8’ for the road? Yeah, why not. Let’s just hope that one turns into several, hey?

Mustang at dusk

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