AFTER WAITING over half a century for it to show its face on our shores, it was a no-brainer the 2015 Mustang was going to be a roaring success.
Within three years it sold over 20,000 units and now a new one has arrived with the promise, like soap powder, that it’s new and improved.
And it is.
The 2019 Mustang GT is much more refined with more grunt, more gear, and in its 2019 clothes, I think much better looking.
In every way it’s measurably better than its predecessor and still great value at $66,290 plus government gouging.
Ford went over every nut and bolt to create a faster and more finessed thoroughbred to attract new buyers and tempt current owners out of their steeds.
At a glance it might look familiar but Ford’s crayon twirlers have further sculptured its muscular physique and I reckon the nip and tuck job gives it a meaner more purposeful persona.
BODY: 2-door coupe
ENGINE: 5.0-litre DOHC V8
POWER & TORQUE: 339kW/556Nm
PERFORMANCE: 0-100km/h 4.3 seconds – top speed 250+km/h
TRANSMISSION: 10-speed automatic
BRAKES: Disc brakes front and rear
Changes include a low-set new-look grille, a gently curving bonnet with cooling vents, piercing LED headlights and fog lights. The rear bumper and LED tail lights are also new and four large exhausts poke out through a bigger rear diffuser.
Carried over are the 19-inch alloy wheels that are wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport tyres, the same as worn by the AMG E63 Benz and Porsche 718 Cayman GTS. Good company.
The analogue instruments have been given the flick for a hi-tech 12-inch TFT customisable read out that Ford claims draws its inspiration from its Le Mans-winning Ford GT.
The colours and layout can be changed from classic to battle stations and a few in between by one of 16 buttons on the leather-clad and heated sports steering wheel.
The handiest button is MyMode that lets you dial in and save your favourite drive settings, including suspension and steering preferences.
The leather seats are as cossetting, supportive and comfortable as the previous model with this latest version getting a padded knee bolster on the driver’s side of the centre console and brushed aluminium trim around the door handles, instrument pod, across the dash plus an aluminium starter button. There is a distinct reduction in scratchy plastic surfaces.
Carried over is Ford’s terrific Sync 3 infotainment system with its eight-inch screen now with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Ford has upped the safety kit in the 2018 model with the addition of autonomous emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection plus adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist, but it still only scores a three-star ANCAP safety rating.
Behind the pony on the grille is the familiar DOHC 5.0-litre V8 that’s the highest revving GT yet with a 7400rpm redline. Power is up by 33 kilowatts to 339kW and torque up by 26 to 556Nm and when coupled to the new 10-speed auto, it’ll bolt to 100km/h in a tad over 4 seconds, which is faster than the manual version. While it’s a few extra neddies than before, it feels much livelier than I remember and there is a bucketful of mid-range torque on tap for any occasion.
Unlike its muted predecessor, this new Mustang GT makes the sound it always should have. An active exhaust valve system has four modes – ‘Normal’, ‘Quiet’, ‘Track’ and ‘Sport’ – each with its own distinct sound and volume. Every morning I forgot to press ‘Quiet’ mode and woke the neighborhood with ‘Sport’ engaged at start up, but all seem to love the deep bellowing soundtrack.
In addition to the exhaust modes, there’s a menu of drive modes to play with including ‘Normal’, ‘Dynamic’, ‘Snow’ and ‘Drag Strip’. Slot it into ‘Drag Strip’. Nail it and with each savage upshift, the Mustang kicks its tail out. Brilliant.
When doing my Allan Moffat impersonation in the previous Mustang it became a twitchy critter and very tail happy, which is fun but not all the time. It’s a bit like teasing a Rottweiler – sooner or later it’s going to bite back… Hard.
However, this 2019 version is much more forgiving and settled thanks to new dampers, retuned stablisier bars and improved lateral rigidity, as a result giving you the confidence to have a go.
While it still doesn’t need much encouragement to wag its bum, it does so more progressively and at times almost feels agile, something that could never be said about its predecessor.
Also improved is the ride especially at low speeds, so it’s a win all round in ride and handling, but the steering could be a bit more communicative. The meaty brakes do a fine job of arresting speed with the brake pedal having a solid, progressive feel.
Thanks to the raft of top to tail improvements across all areas the latest Mustang GT is a significant step up with more pace, style and grace. One last thing I like, the Mustang name is so iconic that there isn’t a Ford badge on it anywhere. Nuff said.
ACCOMPANYING the 2019 Mustang GT is a stunning 1967 289 V8-powered convertible belonging to Victorian Mustang Owners Club Vice President, Joe Borg. Joe bought this car in San Jose California and then drove it to Alabama via Las Vegas on the 45th Mustang anniversary run.
He then spent several weeks driving around the States before shipping the convertible home. On arrival he dismantled it, restored and repainted it over 18 months and the results are a credit to his skilled workmanship. It is even better in the flesh.
Joe drove the 2015 Mustang for Unique Cars shortly after its arrival and has now sampled the 2019 model.
To say he was impressed would be a bit of an understatement.
“It has an enormous amount of power that’s very usable and it is quite easy to drive,” said Joe.
“The brakes are sensational and I was surprised for such a big coupe, how good the all round visibility is.
“You can really feel a noticeable difference between the drive modes and the steering is nicely weighted and very precise.
It certainly deserves the Mustang badge,” he added.