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The iconic Ford Mustang legend lives on

'Mustang Sally, think you better slow your Mustang down... All you want to do is ride around Sally, ride, Sally, ride...and so the lyrics in that hit song by Wilson Pickett goes. And I can think of a slew of other songs that can be associated with a truly legendary sports car, but Pickett's ditty stands out the best.
I was also told to slow that Mustang down and all I wanted to do was to ride around all day, especially in the 5-litre derivative. One look at this sports car is enough to send shivers down your spine, so imagine driving this beauty. At stance, it reflexes its muscular athletic styling. Start it up and it roars to life, quite literally. Music to my ears!

So what’s new?


The new Ford Mustang has an enhanced powertrain and quite expectedly, advanced driver-assist technologies which I will delve into later in this review. But there is more. ‘The Tang’ clearly has sharper driving dynamics and enhanced engines. The sleeker styling and athleticism is accentuated by clear and crisp LED lighting and lively new exterior colours. The interior offers soft-touch finishes accompanied by clearly crafted aluminium tones.

The Mustang also offers an enhanced 2.3 EcoBoost and 5.0 V8 engines, a 10-speed auto gearbox boosts acceleration and improved fuel efficiency. Advanced driver assistance includes Adaptive Cruise Control, Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection, Lane-Keeping Aid and customisable 12-inch digital cluster.

Neale Hill, the managing director of Ford SA was excited about the launch, saying “We have made a couple of changes to the vehicle to build upon that iconic status that the Ford Mustang is known for. We have added more power, a few more safety features, a facelift and a nip and tuck just to keep it very relevant but, most importantly, maintain that iconic Mustang look”.

Driver passion


“The passion for Mustang is stronger than ever, proven by this legendary model’s unrivalled dominance of the sports car segment globally, which has made it one of the most revered sights on local roads since it first went on sale in South Africa in 2016,” says Doreen Mashinini, general manager of marketing at Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA).

I have to agree wholeheartedly. There are very few sports cars that deliver such a combination of style, heritage and performance to such a wide audience. And with its very competitive pricing and features, it blows the competition away, quite literally.

Available in Fastback and Convertible body styles, the instantly-recognisable, powerful Mustang profile now features more refined aerodynamics and is enhanced with LED lighting technology and a choice of nine bold exterior colours.

Bullitt: Get in quickly


Adding further appeal to the new range is the special edition Ford Mustang Bullitt that will be available at launch, paying homage to the Mustang GT fastback that featured in the legendary 1968 Warner Bros. film starring Steve McQueen.

Offered in classic Bullitt-exclusive Dark Highland Green or Shadow Black, along with a range of unique styling and feature enhancements, only 50 units of the stunning Mustang Bullitt will be available, powered by an uprated 338kW version of Ford’s 5.0-litre V8 that delivers enhanced performance and a more engaging driving experience thanks to the fitment of a six-speed manual gearbox.

Unmistakably Mustang


It has a more athletic appearance while retaining the instantly-recognisable character honed through more than 50 years of production. The bonnet profile is now lower with integrated air vents, combined with a revised lower grille design to give the Mustang a sharper, more assertive and aggressive face while improving aerodynamics.

The Mustang’s dramatic rear-end design is further enhanced with a re-modelled bumper and diffuser element, accommodating standard quad-tailpipes for the 5.0-litre GT model that testify to the power and performance available.

Crisp, clear and energy-efficient, the Mustang’s headlights, daytime running lights, indicators and iconic three-dimensional tri-bar tail lights now all feature LED technology as standard, combined with LED fog lights.

Ultimate performance


Exhilarating performance and a fun-to-drive experience have been at the heart of the Mustang’s DNA since the first model was launched in 1964. New powertrain, chassis and technology enhancements enable the new Mustang to deliver the most rewarding driving experience yet.

Ford’s 5.0-litre V8 engine has been further developed to deliver more power and a higher rev-limit than ever before. Peak power climbs from 309kW on the previous model to 331kW, with an accompanying torque peak of 529Nm.

Ford’s pioneering 10-speed automatic transmission is standard across the range – except for the Mustang Bullitt – and uses an electronic control system which enables settings that optimise performance for Drive Modes

Love thy neighbour


New Active Valve Performance Exhaust technology means drivers can, for the first time, adjust the intensity of the Mustang’s exhaust ‘noise’ to suit their mood and the driving scenario. The innovative Good Neighbour Mode can be programmed to automatically limit the exhaust’s noise output at pre-programmed times of the day to avoid disturbing neighbours, not least when firing up the legendary 5.0-litre V8 early in the morning.

Play it safe


The added safety features of the Mustang really excites Hill, “Safety is the key element in the Ford Mustang. Whilst there is a lot of power on tap, you also want to be able to stop the vehicle without any compromise. There are four driver modes, one of them being the snow or wet road conditions. This really helps the driver to stay fully confident behind the wheel.”

“Stability and traction control is a must but added to that is a high list of safety features all designed to keep the driver on the road and most importantly to enjoy the Mustang”, says Hill.

For the first time, Mustang is equipped with Adaptive Cruise Control and Distance Alert technologies that help drivers maintain an appropriate distance to the vehicle ahead, as well as Lane Departure Warning that can warn when drivers unintentionally drift out of lane, and Lane Keeping Aid that can apply torque to the steering wheel to steer the vehicle back into lane.

Pricing

  • Mustang 2.3 Fastback 10AT: R768,000
  • Mustang 2.3 Convertible 10AT: R831,000
  • Mustang 5.0 GT Fastback 10AT: R915,800
  • Mustang 5.0 GT Convertible 10AT: R978,400
  • Mustang Bullitt 5.0 V8 GT Fastback 6MT: R995,400
All models come standard with Ford Protect, comprising a four-year/120 000km comprehensive warranty, three-year/unlimited distance roadside assistance and five-year/unlimited km corrosion warranty. A six-year/90 000km service plan is included, with 15 000km service intervals.

Verdict


This is an iconic vehicle, offered with all the bells and whistles at a very competitive price. It has a legendary status that is poised to live on for another 50 years. This is my go-to sports car. It’s a machine. Period.
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About Naresh Maharaj

Naresh Maharaj is a petrol head who loves cars and writing about them. He is also a Member of the SA Guild of Motoring Journalists. Naresh is also an international sports correspondent and an acclaimed corporate MC and voice-over artist. Naresh is a sports/news producer for community radio stations and also an award-winning sports journalist. Contact Naresh on .
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