This Mustang is starting to get into the territory of performance oriented European options.
There are few cars on the market today that are as iconic and as easily recognizable as the Ford Mustang. Ford has done a commendable job keeping the Mustang relevant for over 55 years and while it has had its highs and lows, I’d say it’s enjoying a high point right now – both in performance and popularity. It’s a safe bet that the Mustang will be a part of our automotive landscape for the long term. What better way to celebrate summer than with the infamous 2019 Ford Mustang GT Convertible.
The Mustang is in its sixth generation, which was originally released for the 2015 model year and received an exterior facelift for 2018. The car looks exactly like, well, a Mustang. It carries one of the most iconic shapes in the industry and merges a nice balance between aggression and tastefulness into its styling. It’s more conservative looking than a Camaro or a Challenger (reviewed here) but doesn’t lose any of its domineering road presence.
What’s really interesting though is the seemingly endless configurations with which you can option a Mustang from the factory. Tthe Mustang is an extremely common car in the Toronto area, but you’d be hard pressed to find two that look alike. It’s available in 10 different colors, three stripe options, and in the case of our GT tester, seven different wheel options.
This tester was finished in Kona Blue, which is a bit boring for my tastes, but the optioned Performance Package fitted our car with the 19×9” black lace style wheels hiding the big Brembo brakes that also come with the package. Still, thanks to the prominent 5.0 and GT badging along with four huge angle-cut exhaust tips, it’s pretty clear that this particular Mustang is a real-deal performance car.
As good as the Mustang looks outside, the interior layout remains one of its strongest points. While relatively unchanged since the 2015 model year and lacking a little bit in terms of material quality and fit/finish, the overall space is a really nice place to be. It does have a way of making you feel like you’re in a proper muscle car, thanks to the “engine spun” faux-aluminum trim on the dash and prominently placed oil pressure and vacuum gauges, also added via the Performance Package.
The 12” LCD gauge cluster is customizable to deliver whatever information you might care to see, and how you’d like to see it, right down to the color scheme. Of course, Ford’s SYNC 3 system is also on-board with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capabilities, and the system itself is fairly intuitive, responsive and easy to live with.
Our tester came with the upgraded leather seats, which are both comfortable, supportive and include adjustable lumbar. They are heated and ventilated (optional), but oddly the seat back adjustment is manual only – which likely has to do with providing access to the rear seats. The ventilated seats are a great feature to have, especially in a convertible with black interior, and make top-down driving in the sun more comfortable. Storage up front is pretty generous, with decent console cupholders, deep door pockets and a usable center console storage cubby.
The rear seats don’t offer much at all in the way of legroom, and access with the top up requires some super-human contortions. That said, with the top down we were able to easily fit the rear facing baby seats for my 11-month old son who enjoyed his first ride in a convertible! The trunk, which is fairly long, is shallow and the opening is awkwardly small, making it difficult to get anything bulky inside. After some fussing we were able to get a stroller in. Not that a Mustang is intended for family hauling, but it is nice to be able to go out for a family drive in a convertible and leave the SUV at home.
After all, driving is what the Mustang is all about, and the 2019 GT delivers driving fun in spades. Powered by the 5.0L Coyote V8 making 460 horsepower and 420 lb-ft. of torque, the GT offers more power than you’ll want to really unleash on public roads, but it does make any sort of acceleration or passing an absolute blast filled with a snarly rumble through the Active Valve Exhaust system. The 5.0L doesn’t offer gobs of low-end torque like the Camaro SS or Challenger 392 does, but it does rev right up to an impressive 7,400RPM, long after the other cars have run out of steam and need an upshift.
Shifting can be handled the old-fashioned way through a six-speed manual, or through the recent 10-speed automatic. Our tester came with the automatic, which performs great under hard acceleration with lightning quick shifts that feel just right. When you’re not all over the gas, the 10-speed does have a tendency to trip over it self a bit, which can be a distraction from an otherwise great drive.
The transmission aside though, the Mustang GT really is one of the great driving experiences of our time. Slamming on the throttle delivers instant response and a deep throbbing howl from the exhaust that can be heard blocks away, it’s as good as any muscle car ever was. It’s not all power though, the Mustang is much more tactile than that, with sharp response from the Brembo brakes and handling that rivals just about any other mainstream car out there. The steering is excellent – quick, well weighted and confident. The Mustang always feels light on its feet, alive and eager to please, making it really hard to get out of the driver’s seat.
The good news is, you shouldn’t have to get out often as the Mustang really is quite livable on a daily basis. It’s surprisingly quiet inside, and ride quality is no worse than the average sports sedan. Fuel consumption, if you’re able to keep your right foot in-check, is relatively frugal as well. The observed average for our week of rush hour commuting sat at 11.4L/100km; though highway results were much stronger with numbers below 10L/100km observed on a three-hour road trip out of town.
Clearly, I like the Mustang GT quite a bit, but there is one small flaw here, and that’s the price. While you can get into a Mustang for as low as $28,699 for a base EcoBoost Fastback or $33,699 for a basic convertible, you’ll need $39,799 for an EcoBoost Premium Convertible. If you want the V8, and you should, the GT Fastback starts at $44,525 or $50,105 for a GT Premium Convertible like our tester. Fifty grand might not be so bad for a 460 horsepower convertible Mustang, but once you take a look at the options sheet things can get out of hand fast.
Our tester came pretty well fully loaded with a sticker price of $65,255. The option list is massive, but some of the highlights would be the ten-speed automatic ($1,750), 401A equipment group ($2,350) adding the cooled seats, heated steering wheel, voice activated navigation, 12” LCD gauge cluster, and other high-tech toys. There is also the Safe & Smart package ($1,500) which delivers all the modern electronic driving aids like adaptative cruise control, lane-keep assist, pre-collision assist, rain sensing wipers and auto high beams.
Next up is the $4,200 Performance Package (Level 1) which adds some real equipment like the true summer tires and the 19×9” wheels, Brembo six-piston brakes, heavy-duty front springs, K-brace, larger radiator, spoiler delete, TORSEN® Differential with 3.55 (3.73 in the manual) axle ratio, strut tower brace, larger rear sway bar, and some refinements to the chassis and driver aid systems. The Performance Pack is not cheap, but if you intend on visiting the track with your Mustang, it’s the only way to go.
Add all those packages, plus a few à-la-carte options and you’re looking at one very pricey Mustang, one that starts to get into the territory of performance oriented European options, or the Shelby GT 350 (reviewed here). What impressed me most about the Mustang was its daily livability, without any sacrifice to the raw and visceral feeling you get from behind the wheel. There’s no doubt why this icon continues to be so popular today. By trimming off some of the unnecessary luxuries, buyers can find themselves in a true modern muscle car for around the $50,000 mark.