A taste of ‘Murrica
Through and through, the Mustang GT feels positively manic to drive. Hammering the throttle makes the tires scream right through first and second gear.
The Ford Mustang has always been one of the pioneers of the American muscle car as we know it. It took the industry aback with its style and value back in 1964, and continues to be one of the most competitive bang-for-buck vehicles, especially in the “smiles” department. A well-equipped V6 model can be had for well under $30,000, and I personally know somebody who picked up a GT with the thundering V8 for under $35,000. The entire gang of writers and editors here at Double Clutch has a soft spot for the pony cars, and each summer we await the arrival of these toys on the fleet. This year, I was the lucky one who got to spend a fast and furious week with the 2014 Ford Mustang GT.
Badged with Ford’s legendary “5.0” emblem, this Mustang came with, unsurprisingly, the V8 engine. Unlike some recent vehicles I’ve driven, the badge denomination does refer to engine displacement. The pony car puts out 420 horsepower from the motor and 390 lb-ft of torque. I know that because of the excellent value these cars provide, a couple of rental companies stock the V8 models at ridiculous rates for some summer fun. While those come with the relatively boring automatic, my tester came with the proper 6-speed manual transmission.
Through and through, the Mustang GT feels positively manic to drive. Hammering the throttle makes the tires scream right through first and second gear, and it’s not difficult to get a chirp between shifts. Disabling traction control is not recommended for the amateur driver; there is something to be learned from all the Internet pictures of Mustangs wrapped around stationary objects. It’s easy to hurt yourself in the car because of how easy it is to drive. The great shifter and relatively light clutch instill confidence and make rev-matching second nature within minutes.
Even though buyers of V8 muscle cars have no business complaining about fuel economy, I have my fair share of whining. If driving the Mustang GT like a hypermiler, it’s possible to get as good as 12L/100km in the city. However, most of this car’s appeal is finding out what a stomp on the throttle will do. A more realistic number is 15L/100km in the city, and I am not complaining in the slightest. On the highway, I saw numbers as low as 9.4L/100km. I make it no secret that I consider myself a driver, and my week’s average from the 5.0 was 14.1L/100km in combined driving.
Doing what I do, I often have to configure a car online to figure out what my as-tested price is. The window sticker pricing on my 2014 Ford Mustang tester came to just over $52,000. This seems a bit steep, because I remember my local Ford retailer giving away leftover Shelby GT500s in the high $50,000 range. Not to mention that that’s Boss 302 territory as well. However, when configuring an identical car on Ford’s website, I was pleased to see that this car can be had for the meager sum of $41,000. Currently, Ford is offering a series of discounts that make this particular car an excellent value.
Essentially loaded, my Mustang came with the glass roof, the GT Brembo Brake Racing Package, a reverse camera, the optional Shaker audio package, and my personal favourite part, the Recaro leather sport seats. The huge touch screen and SYNC interface in the Mustang has always been a personal favourite of mine. I find it works so much better and is so much more intuitive than the MyFordTouch system in their other applications. Merely hours before I picked up the GT, I briefly drove my colleague’s 1999 Ford Mustang Convertible with the optional Mach 460 audio system. I couldn’t help but notice that the Shaker in the new car is lacking a little bit in the low frequencies.
Everyone has his or her preferred muscle car. I’m not a huge classic car guy, but I maintain that one day I will own a mid-sixties’ Mustang Fastback. It’s not because of the power or the refinement; it’s the menacing looks. Ford redesigned the Mustang for 2005 to be a retro throwback to the very generation I adore, and this current generation is, in my eyes, the perfect evolution of that car.
The Chevrolet Camaro and the Dodge Challenger all offer models to directly compete with this car, and they’re all the same in many ways. Each of the V8 models has around 400 horsepower, they all look like their ancestors, and they all go like a bat out of hell when stomped on. They are also not the most refined cars on the road, and none of them corner particularly well. The fact of the matter is, people love them to death. You don’t buy a Mustang because it’s practical or efficient – it’s not. You buy one because even despite all of its imperfections, the pony car is properly awesome. Few things can match the out-of-body feeling of nirvana you get from a blast through the countryside with that huge hunkering V8 rumbling a few feet in front of you.
2014 Ford Mustang GT Gallery