I’ve never actually been to Detroit (one day maybe), but up until recently, all the images I’ve seen of the place have portrayed the Motor City to be just that, an industrial, concrete jungle whose sole purpose was to provide cars to the rest of the nation—maybe I should stop watching black-and-white documentaries. Anyway, further to relentless and very in-depth research, I have discovered that Detroit is anything but the dour-faced metropolis I’ve always thought it to be.
Detroit has had its fair share of ups and downs, (actually almost too many to count) but once again it appears to be a city on the rise. It’s got a new attitude, it’s fresh thinking, it’s cleaned up its act and with the assistance of both government and big business, it’s reinventing this iconic city. Detroit is evolving and fittingly, so is what it’s producing—time to talk about the new Ford Mustang.
In my opinion, there are very few vehicle nameplates that inspire such raw and gritty emotion as the Ford Mustang and just like Motor City itself, the new release is an exciting tale of evolution.
The year was 1964-and-a-half when the first Mustang hit the Ford production line. Aside from its radical and extremely desirable sporty design, the Mustang won hearts due to its affordability (US$2,368), a figure achieved by stealing parts from the Falcon and Fairlane cupboard. Under the bonnet of the Generation 1 Mustang, was a throaty 289 cu in (near 5L) V8 engine that produced 157kW and offered a thrilling, albeit unrefined, driving experience. A shade over 50 years later and I’m handed the key fob for the updated, Sixth Generation Mustang, something I was reluctant to return.
As I stated earlier, the Mustang has ‘evolved’ and this latest rendition has had minor tweaks throughout. Firstly the bodywork. The long nose has been sculpted further to meet with the sleeker headlights, and bonnet vents have been added to effect. Lower air vents have a more visual join to the sportscar’s shoulderline and the front spoiler now has fangs. Aerodynamics have been improved but not at the expense of masculinity—this is still a muscle car.
The 5.0 V8 heart has been upgraded and now produces 306kW (nearly double the original) and an earth-moving 530Nm of torque, these figures are one thing, but it’s when you stand on the throttle that it all becomes very real—the exhaust note in ‘Track’ is thunderous. As a footnote, there is a quiet mode and also an Ecoboost motor option for those that want it.
The cabin has been spruced up, with better quality feel to the dials and buttons. The review car I had also came with Recaro seats, very supportive but with no heat button—but the trade-off is worth it. Then there’s the electronic instrument cluster that comes straight out of the GT—from colours to dials, views and presentation, it’s so personalisable yet easy to navigate around.
Two last components have evolved in 50-plus years of the ‘stang. Firstly, the ride. My new Mustang came with MagneRide suspension, basically, incredibly adaptive magnetic suspension, and lastly the automatic gearbox has seven, yes, seven extra gears—a ten-speed gearbox that, just like the Mustang’s evolution itself, is constantly changing.
To coin a well-known phrase, ‘the more that something changes, the more it stays the same’. With the latest upgrades to the Mustang, it really has made a difference to the way the sportscar drives, and I emphatically say for the better—yet when you stare down the length of the seemingly endless bonnet and let that V8 roar its lungs out, you realise that somehow nothing has changed at all, this is still very much a Mustang.
Words: Dave McLeod
You can find the 2018 ford mustang at your local ford dealership: ford.co.nz/cars/mustang