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Pony express: New Ford Mustang GT still running wild
Muscle car's power remains seductive
Published Sunday, January 27, 2019 2:40 pm
by Winfred Cross | For The Charlotte Post

The 2019 Ford Mustang GT won't sneak up on anyone with a 5.0-liter engine, although it includes a mute switch.

I was saddened when Ford recently announced it would get rid of all its cars within the next decade but was happy to hear the Mustang will survive. The auto gods have heard my cry. They also blessed me with a Mustang GT recently.

It’s been a minute since I’ve driven a Mustang of any ilk, so this was a real treat. I really like the current body style. It has an Italian flair, especially with the wide back and long hood. I wasn’t crazy about the Popsicle orange paint job, though. This car needs little else to draw attention. This paint job almost glows in the dark.

No, you can’t be stealthy in the Mustang GT. The rumbling gurgle from the 5.0-liter engine can be heard a mile away. Oh, it is a sweet sound indeed. To keep peace with your neighbors, Ford has included a switch to mute the engine.

The Mustang GT’s engine makes 460 horsepower with 420 pounds-feet of torque. It can be coupled to a 10-speed auto transmission, but where’s the fun in that. My test car had a glorious six-speed stick. The clutch action was a bit stiff but launching the car to a blistering start was easy after a few tries. Geeeez, this thing has a bunch of power. Put your foot in the accelerator and you get pressed back into the seats — deep. I’m not sure how quick this thing is but I’m guessing in the 4.0 seconds to 60 miles per hour or better. There are track settings for you to determine this but I didn’t get a chance to use any of those settings. I couldn’t find the appropriate stretch of open road that wasn’t guarded by the local police. I’m sorry, but tickets hurt.

I did enjoy taking the car through its paces. The Mustang can be a handful but has enough tech to help you keep it under control. You can select the kind of steering effort you need depending on the type of driving. You can also select comfort, normal or sport settings for the ride. The car never felt overly rough, but it’s not luxury car comfortable, not that Mustang drivers are looking for such comfort.

The car’s handling prowess was improved in 2015 when all Mustangs got an independent rear suspension. That feature was well worth the money. What was once a blunt instrument is now more precise in its execution. Handling twisty roads can be scary if you want, but never out of control. The GT begs for such roads and leaves them in its wake.

The Mustang’s cabin is, let’s say cozy. There is enough room for tall people to drive or ride in comfort up front but the back seat is really for smaller folks. Wherever you sit you will notice the cabin is nicely finished with quality materials. It’s a mix of modern with a splash of retro. The seats are surprisingly comfortable and well shaped. The black leather felt good on the seats, gear selector and steering wheel.

The dash is digital and can be configured to your liking. You can also set your interior lighting to your mood. You are bathed in LED lighting as you drive at night. Many manufacturers are doing this. It can feel a bit odd, but if you find the right setting it’s kinda cool.

The Mustang comes with a great deal of standard equipment for $38,190. Some of the major stuff includes keyless entry, pushbutton start, limited slip rear axle, suite of track apps, SYNC, split folding rear seat, leather, 12-inch LCD touch screen, 5.0-liter V8 engine, six-speed manual with rev-matching tech, dual zone auto climate control, quad tipped exhaust, cruise control and steering wheel mounted auto controls.

Many of the option boxes were checked on this test vehicle, totaling $9,280. The GT performance package took up a big chunk of this with those beautiful black painted wheels, summer tires, rear wing and Torsen rear axle. Ford loves bundling things in numbered packages such as equipment group 401 which upgrades the touch screen with voice activated navigation, premier trim group with premium floor mats. There’s also a Magne-Ride damping system that automatically changes shock rates.

Add those packages with destination and you get an as-tested price of $49,370. Steep? Step up to the Shelby and you may top $70,000.
As sports cars go, the price is about what you pay in the class. The Mustang GT competes very well in the class. It’s stylish, offers a lot of stuff for the price and has the handling chops this class of buyers’ demands. I’m glad Ford isn’t going to put this pony out to pasture.

Email Winfred Cross at cross@alldaytech.com.


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