Few cars generate positive attention like a Ford Mustang. The quintessential American muscle car arrived in the UK in late 2015.
The first ever right-hand drive Mustang received universal acclaim. Last summer I spent a week driving the convertible version with the five-litre V8 engine.
This time round it was the “sensible” model that spent nights on my driveway in Dundee – that’s the 2.3-litre four cylinder hardtop version.
Diehard purists may complain it’s not a proper Mustang if it doesn’t have the big V8 but the 2.3 is the same engine found in the phenomenal Focus RS, albeit detuned from 345bhp to a “mere” 317bhp.
That’s still three times more than your average family runaround, though, so it’s pretty quick. Zero to 62mph comes up in comfortably under six seconds and top speed is a heady 145mph.
It’s also a good deal more fuel efficient than its thirsty stablemate, returning 35.3mpg to the V8’s paltry 20.9mpg.
In the real world, the 2.3 will do around 30-31mpg and the V8 gets 20-22 so there’s not as big a difference as it appears on paper but every little helps. Going for the smaller engine also saves you around £4,000 on purchase price as well.
Speaking of price, my car cost £33,645 and had a couple of thousands’ worth of optional extras on it.
When you look at how much it would cost for an equivalently powerful BMW or Audi, that’s tremendous value for money. And people love it more. Buy a fast German brand car and the public sneers at your ostentation. Overtake them in a Mustang, though and a big grin is what you get.
Alright, fit and finish is not up to Audi standards. And the Mustang certainly doesn’t handle like a BMW. In fact it’s not particularly agile at all.
It is comfortable though. Ride quality is excellent and it’s a terrific car to take on long journeys.
Inside the cabin there’s plenty of room up front. The rear seats are only really useful for kids, or for chucking shopping on. There’s a nice touchscreen that displays the Mustang logo when the car starts up (lights hidden in the wing also beam the galloping horse on to the pavement after dark).
Overall, the 2.3 litre Mustang serves up most of the thrills of the five-litre. If I had the money I’d still go for the V8, though. That majestic rumble is what muscle cars are all about.