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It's all a load of bollocks, quite frankly

Mustang Janet

Ford-Mustang-1

It’s a looker, and no longer retro…

Things move on and times change, which is something I’m not always in agreement with but in the case of the new Mustang I personally think it is a very good thing, and it could end up being the best version to date. Mustang is a name known across the globe and they are as recognised over here as much as they are in the US of A, despite never being offered in right hand drive or as an official import. Everyone also has an idea of what a Mustang is or what a Mustang should look like. But many people seem to forget, or want to forget, that there have been a whole host of bad Mustangs, moreso than good. Think the late 70s examples, anything from the 80s and 90s. Second thoughts, don’t think that as I’d personally consign those particular phase of Mustangs to my automotive Room 101. Other muscle cars that rivalled the Mustang in the early days died out. The Mustang carried on, got old, got fat and became a helpless old asthmatic sitting in an Easichair and needed an oxygen mask to get around. Hell, some were even equipped with four cylinder engines. With that in mind and with 2014 seeing the 50th anniversary of the Mustang, Ford need to get this new model right and not end up like one of those clunkers.

With the previous generation Mustang, Ford looked to the past and very nearly got it right. Ford decided to go all retro and make a pastiche of a Mustang from happier times. The styling was fantastic, the engine seemed to make all the right noises though yet again the Yanks seemed to get a pretty lowly BHP figure out of such a large engine. The interior looked the part, however closer inspection revealed that it was made out of plastic milk bottles and had was put together with all the care of a flat pack piece of furniture from a well known catalogue-based home shopping store. It wasn’t a particularly sophisticated drive, either because it had prehistoric suspension and steering.

Mustang

It’s fabulous – look at those lights.

The fact that Ford want this new car to be a global success is highlighted by the fact that it is being produced in right hand drive for the first time. This means it will be in the UK price lists for the first time, it also means it will be sold in markets such as Australia and New Zealand where Ford have recently announced the ceasing of all Automotive production in 2016. This is why the new Mustang is being launched with the so-called four cylinder EcoBoost engine. Hang on, WHAT? OMG 4 CYLINDER? Yes, that’s correct. I can see all the muscle car fans spitting out their Jack Daniels now (myself included when I first heard about it), but wait just a cotton picking minute. No, we’re not just about to see Gary Barlow front ZZ Top and no the Mustang has not turned into the shy, retiring librarian named Janet. It may all sound a bit semi-skimmed but look at it this way, the 2005 Mustang GT which had a 4.6 V8 developed just 300bhp. The 2.3 turbocharged EcoBoost engine is more powerful topping out at 304bhp. True, it’s not a massive power gain but it is a power gain out of a far more efficient engine, and will produce far less emissions and provide greater fuel economy. You do the maths.

It is also pleasing to see that the old cart spring and live rear axle set up for the outgoing Mustang has been dropped in favour of independent rear suspension, with the settings and geometry tuned more in favour of European roads than American roads. Coupled with a lighter engine, we may get a Mustang that handles properly! Because the thing is if they want this car to succeed it has to drive well and not just look the part any more. Trading on the heritage of the old models just isn’t enough and the limitations and drawbacks on the previous models which were once considered character are now considered dynamic flaws.

Now, granted it’s not going to have the same sort of character as the original Mustang, but you shouldn’t expect it. Like I’ve said, things have moved on. We’ve had the original, same as we’ve had the original Mini. We’ve had Sergeant Pepper, Who’s Next and A Night At The Opera – all classic albums but we’re not going to see them again so just admire the old ones. With that in mind, I think Ford seem to have all the right ingredients.

The new interior. Made from milk bottles, or no?

The new interior. Made from milk bottles, or no?

It’s the best looking Mustang in years, it’s stunning. The underpinnings seem to be the right stuff and prices are likely to start from between £30-£35,000. It still remains to be seen whether the interior will be made from proper plastic or milk bottles again. However, for those who still think this isn’t a proper muscle car and is just a “limp wristed” car for having a wretched little domestic four pot motor, I’ve saved the best for last: for those seeking that noise there is going to be a 5.0 V8 version. You’ll be able to tell this apart from the range by the sound and by the huge “5.0” badge on the front wings. Nice touch, Ford.

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December 10, 2013 - Posted by | Motoring

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