Review: Ford Mustang 5.0 V8
Big, brash, bold and distinctly American, the V8 Mustang is exciting and fun to drive and will turn heads wherever you go. But is the UK ready for it?
It’s the noise. Just turn that V8 engine on and wait. Soon people start to flock from their offices to take pictures and hang around the fabled animal, while others shut their windows to try and escape the roar.
Rev that engine and laugh as those windows shake in their frames. There is no escape from the aggressive and untamed majesty of the Ford Mustang.
And aren’t we glad to finally have it in the UK, uncensored and unfiltered thanks to Ford’s global marketing strategy?
5.0 V8 GT 2dr Auto
- 8k Miles p/a
Per Month, INC VAT
Initial Payment: £4,720.77
When you think of a muscle-car, chances are the Mustang will spring to mind. It is iconic, and its 2016 edition continues the tradition of being big and bold and brash and thoroughly American. Its low roof and width give it an undeniably sporty look, blistered wheel arches and 19 inch alloys finishing it off. It looks at the same time retro yet modern and on UK roads it is the epitome of a head turner.
Squeeze inside and this theme of retro and modern, muscular and powerful, continues in the cabin. While the three-spoke sport steering wheel has an elegant touch to it, the infotainment command buttons remind you it’s 2016. Similarly, the row of toggle switches for selecting drive modes and whatnot are a subtle nod to muscle-cars of yesterday, just beneath the oh-so-modern climate controls. It is a car of balance, and it works wonderfully.
Similarly the tech on offer is cohesive to the retro elegance and adequately blends in – there’s a handy trip computer which gives a comprehensive amount of information, and it comes complete with Ford’s Sync2 touchscreen infotainment unit. As with every other current Ford I’ve been in, I found the voice functionality one of the best in the business, which helps as the display buttons are a little fiddly.
The Mustang is a head turner ... when you start that engine everyone will look.
As I mentioned briefly, the Mustang is a head turner and when you start that engine everyone will look. It’s great.
Even idling at traffic lights, people can’t help but turn and look and try and identify where that deep rumble is coming from (hint, it’s the big metallic-blue sports car taking up a whole lane-width).
Driving the five litre V8, it is undeniably the flagship model available. A 2.3-litre EcoBoost is available, but 70% of people specify the V8, and why not, it’s the cheapest V8-powered car currently available in the UK. Paradoxically, that comes at a price. And I don’t mean that in some illusive way where you lose performance, I simply mean that your wallet will be hit hard as the Mustang is expensive to run.
The cheapest V8-powered car currently available in the UK.
You’ll do no better than 20ish mpg if you’re driving it like it’s supposed to be driven, and road tax is in the top bracket (£515). But if you lease one, the tax will be taken care of as part of your lease agreement.
In addendum, the Mustang is in groups 41-46 for insurance, meaning you’ll pay as premium there too.
What you might not be able to handle is how out of place the Mustang feels on UK roads. Okay, it’s great that everyone looks at you as you cruise by, and it is a thrill to drive, but the UK road and housing infrastructure seems utterly out of its depth to deal with something like the Mustang.
Turn into a side road and you’ll be sweating due to the sheer length of the bonnet. Drive down a narrow residential street and attempt to pull into the driveway of your two-bed semi-detached house and you may find yourself doing an impromptu three-point turn. And while the Mustang may be well balanced, take it on narrow and windy road and you may find you are conservatively taking corners at 10mph because it feels so unwieldy.
Get it on the motorway and it feels much more at home, although the long gearing means there’s not a whole lot of engine noise (y’know, that one thing you kind of want from your Mustang).
These are just a few of the concessions you must accept and make if you are to drive a fabled Mustang. In regards to how it handles our poorly maintained roads, the suspension takes each bump with ease and the drive is always brash and comfortable.
In England we want the glitz and the glamour and the larger-than-life lifestyle our Stateside brethren experience – be that all-you-can-eat hot dog competitions, celebrity romance or V8 engines – only when we get it, we often find that us Brits are just not cut out for it.
That pretty much sums up my experience of driving the Mustang on UK roads, using it for the daily commute, shopping at Sainsbury’s and parallel parking on a terraced street. We’ve waited all these years for one and when it comes we find it might be wasted on us long term.
But as a car to lease for few years it’s a fantastically filthy fling, a wonderful weekend car, a car that you can look back on and say—“Yeah, I once had a Mustang.”
Model Tested: Mustang 5.0 V8 GT
|Official fuel economy:||23.5 mpg|
|CO2 Emissions:||281 g/km|
|Car tax band:||M / £515 per year|
|Engine:||5.0-litre V8 petrol|
Average lease rate for tested model:
*Personal lease rate: £607
*Business lease rate: £508
*Average monthly lease rates calculated using ContractHireAndLeasing.com data and based on typical 6 + 35 10k deals. Correct at time of writing.