’Stang’s price hike

Ford justifies price increase with tech, facelift and 10-speed auto

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THE GOOD news is the 2018 Ford Mustang will land in Australia midyear with a comprehensive update of its engine, chassis, interior and electronics. The bad news is prices have risen accordingly.

The range now starts at $49,990 for the EcoBoost Coupe, a $4000 increase, which now produces 224kW/441Nm, 9kW less, but 9Nm more than the current version. Optioning the new 10-speed automatic adds a further $3000 and the auto-only Convertible will set you back $59,990.

For the majority of buyers it’s the V8 that will be of most interest and the GT entry point has risen $5500 to $62,990. If you want an auto that’ll be another $3269 and dropping the top will cost you $74,709.

Those wanting a little extra personalisation will be pleased to learn the options list has grown. EcoBoost buyers can now option the current GT wheels for $500 extra, while V8 buyers can select forged alloys for another $2500. MagneRide adaptive dampers are $2750, black stripes $650 and Coupe owners – Fastback in Ford-speak – can also select from white stripes ($650), Recaro leather seats ($3000) and a rear spoiler ($750).

Offsetting the price hike is more grunt from the 5.0-litre V8 – now 339kW/556Nm, increases of 33kW/26Nm – an active exhaust, revised suspension with Michelin rubber and crucial active safety equipment, including autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and lane-keep assist.

The interior also receives a lift, debuting a 12.0-inch digital dash display and 8.0-inch infotainment screen with smartphone mirroring. Expect 2018 Mustangs to start appearing in dealers from around July this year. –

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HOT NEW A-CLASS TO TACKLE S3, M140i

MERCEDES-AMG will plug the yawning gap between A250 Sport and A45 with the arrival of the all-new A-Class. A new A35 variant will soon do battle with the likes of the Audi S3 and BMW M140i. Expected to appear before year’s end, the A35 will sit neatly between the new 165kW/350Nm A250 and forthcoming A45, which is expected to pack in excess of 300kW.

The 2.0-litre turbo should produce around 250kW/450Nm and dip below 5.0sec from 0-100km/h, with performance and response aided by an electric compressor powered by the 48-volt electrical system.

Drive will be sent to all four wheels, however, the current A-Class’s 4MATIC all-wheel drive system will replace its hydraulic pump with a faster-acting electro-mechanical clutch for a less front-biased driving feel. Expect pricing to sit in the $65,000-$70,000 region when it lands in early 2019. –

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