The retro-design of previous Mustangs has been dialed back but is still present.
Ford recently made the announcement that they will no longer make cars for North America, composing their offerings to us of entirely CUV/SUVs, trucks, and the Mustang. It is no miracle that the Mustang is the only car to avoid the guillotine. The pony has been an iconic nameplate for over 50 years, and one that has stepped up its game and capabilities significantly over the last decade. Stepping into the 2019 Ford Mustang GT Premium Convertible you instantly know this isn’t your father’s Mustang.
This particular model, however does hold a significant amount of familiarity to me, a twin if you will. My daily driver is a 2011 Mustang GT Convertible, also in a Metallic Red. Check out the gallery below to see the two cars together. 2011 was a very significant year for the Mustang GT, it heralded the return of the 5.0L Coyote Engine – the engine famously known to be “rollin’ down the A1A” by none other than Vanilla Ice.
The 5.0L changed the game for the Mustang. No longer was it viewed as just a car people bought for their mid-life crisis, or drag racers bought to put blowers on, but with 412 horsepower and 420 lb-ft. of torque, it was a serious performance engine that brought the Mustang GT within 0.1 second of the 0-60mph time the previous generation’s Shelby model was capable of.
The Mustang hasn’t stopped improving since then, and the 2019 model is a clear indication of that. The 5.0L Coyote is still present, now pushing out 460 horsepower at 7,000RPM and 420 lb-ft. of torque at 4,600RPM. An independent rear suspension that was introduced in 2015 makes the Mustang capable in far more than just a straight line. Transmission options are improved as well, with Ford offering up a 10-speed automatic with paddle shifters, or a six-speed manual transmission with rev-matching.
Ford has clearly taken feedback from their customers and made improvements throughout the cabin that make the driving experience a joy. Minor things that annoyed me from day one about my Mustang are nowhere to be found in the 2019 model. The cupholders for instance, are offset from the shifter, meaning you can actually shift without knocking the beverage over.
If you don’t feel the need for the big V8, the non-GT Mustangs come with a 310-horsepower 2.3L EcoBoost turbocharged four-cylinder that can be mated to the same 10-speed automatic transmission or six-speed manual (without rev-matching). The other major configuration option, if it wasn’t obvious, is that the Mustang can be ordered in coupe form instead of the convertible soft top model tested here.
One of the best features about the Mustang is how customizable it is from the driver’s seat. There is even a button on the steering wheel with the pony logo on it that takes you right to the important menu items. Steering response on the Mustang is excellent to begin with, and can be adjusted with the push of a button in the menus to softer or sportier modes. The sound of the exhaust can be modified when equipped with the Active Valve Performance Exhaust which I had running in ‘Quiet Mode’ at times with a sleeping baby in the back seat.
Traction control sensitivity is on the list of adjustments as well, along with several different layouts for the fully digital instrument cluster. These settings all can be changed in harmony with the push of the driving mode switch on the center console, which changes between Normal, Snow, Sport, Comfort, Track and MyMode, the last being a customizable mode that remembers preferences.
The vehicle as tested was equipped with almost every option available on top of the $53,005 Base MSRP for the Convertible Mustang GT. The GT Performance Package ups the ante with 19” Black wheels, Brembo Brakes, dashboard upgrades including Oil Pressure and Vacuum gauges, a larger radiator, 3.73 gears in a Torsen Differential, unique chassis and handling tuning and a larger rear sway bar, while removing the rear spoiler and some other minor aesthetic changes.
The 401A package ($2,350) brings the 12” LCD fully digital instrument cluster, Premier Trim, Heated Steering Wheel and a Voice Activated Navigation System. The very well priced ($1,500) Ford Safe & Smart Package adds collision avoidance and vision systems along with other safety systems, and the aforementioned Active Valve Performance Exhaust comes with a price tag of $1,000. Rounding all of that out, the Mustang is doused in Ruby Red Paint ($450) and an Ebony Racing Stripe ($600) for a total MSRP of $62,605 as tested.
Fuel economy on a big V8 is lackluster, as is to be expected, but this is not a car you buy to save on fuel costs. The 5.0L engine prefers running on Premium fuel, but is perfectly capable of running on 87-octane fuel with marginally reduced horsepower and torque. Ford does not list consumption specs for the six-speed GT, but we saw 9.0L/100km highway over a trip to Detroit and back for the Woodward Dream Cruise. Combined efficiency including heavy traffic was 12.3L/100km on premium 91-octane.
The cabin is comfortable and well laid out. The retro-design of previous Mustangs has been dialed back but is still present. The heated and cooled front seats are well bolstered and are available in different styles. The convertible top has a single center handle latch, versus the two-handle design of previous models, and it opens and closes faster as well.
Audio controls and navigation are provided by the very well received SYNC 3 system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Sound is piped through either the standard nine-speaker sound system, or the optional 12-speaker B&O Play Premium system. There is no lack of technology in the cabin, and the Mustang is not afraid to remind you that it is a modern version of the retro pony cars.
Competition for the coupe does include a number of other fantastic vehicles such as the Genesis G70 and the Dodge Challenger (reviewed here), but the convertible really only has one main competitor in the sub-$100k and that is the Chevrolet Camaro SS (reviewed here). Both the Camaro and Mustang are excellent modern muscle cars with large displacement engines, modern technology and excellent suspensions; constantly trying to one-up each other.
Constantly flexing muscle and nudging other pony cars out of the way for top spot, the 2019 Ford Mustang GT Premium Convertible is incredibly capable. The functional back seat means that even those with little ones old enough to be facing forward can enjoy a drive through the countryside. This latest refresh makes the Mustang the best it has ever been, and an impressive evolution over the last decade.