- Post is under moderationSutton Mustang CS700 / 643BHP MUSTANG fire up the new Mustang V8 for the first time
Test location: B645, Cambridgeshire
GPS: 52.256728, -0.311346
Photography: Aston Parrott
The clue’s in the name, and this is indeed one very hot ’Stang. But is Sutton’s conversion kit worth the substantial cost?
A taste as to how far Ford can take its current Mustang is easy to savour with the company’s own 526bhp GT350 – a car our very own Henry Catchpole feasted on back in issue 221. Head off-menu stateside and the likes of Shelby will serve current Mustang owners with a full platter of tuning options to salivate over. It’s all very tantalising when you can dine at European supercar horsepower tables for the cost of a drive-thru. Although in the case of this British-made Sutton CS700, it’s quite an expensive drive-thru.
Built by the ‘Bespoke’ division of exotic car dealer Clive Sutton, the CS700 is the UK’s specialist take on the aftermarket, all-American muscle-car dream. With a potential for as near as damn it 700bhp, you can have a rear-drive Mustang with the performance a 911 Turbo.
Naturally, the engine is the main course. The £14,587 ‘Power Pack’ conversion – on top of a £34,495, 410bhp Mustang 5.0 V8 GT donor car – focuses on the fitment of a Whipple supercharger and an active exhaust system, plus a new rear valance so it all fits. As the name suggests, 700hp (690bhp) is possible, but to achieve this you’ll need the larger throttle bodies and the new carbon intake system that Sutton also offers, for a further £1134. This rather conspicuous demonstrator does without both of these, so it’s just the 643bhp to digest today.
The other big mechanical change is to the chassis, which features KW’s Variant 3 adjustable coilovers, complete with a 25mm front and 15mm rear drop in ride height, and lighter 20-inch alloys, all for £6283. In the visual stakes the CS700 doesn’t hold back. Like the look of the carbon bonnet and other aerodynamic accompaniments?
That’ll be £9651. Inside it’s a more subtle approach, with only the dashboard being upgraded (for an extra £2580), but don’t be fooled by its carbon appearance and dismiss it as a mere fascia – the Sutton team removes the standard item and builds a new one entirely out of carbon.
One criticism of supercharged engines is that they never provide that kick in the back that the performance figures suggest. This isn’t helped by the supercharger needing to draw so much power from the engine in order to get going. Squeeze the throttle of a 650bhp turbocharged car and even with a hint of turbo lag it will still make its presence felt like a hidden chilli in a chicken korma. It’s why a well-sorted turbocharged engine can be so thrilling.
It’s also the root cause of why the CS700 can feel a little less than tantalising after an initial taste. The natural grunt of the 5-litre V8 is there, although it still feels a little lazy on initial throttle input, as per the standard car (and not helped by this car’s six-speed auto). There’s a faint whine from the ’charger with every throttle serving, but if you keep the revs below 4000rpm, you’re only sampling the plain V8 with none of the ’charged side orders. Switch the engine map to Sport+ or Race, pull the gearlever back to S and use the paddles to change gear and the CS700 is in its most responsive setup. The noise hits you first, the whine building with gusto and adding meat to the soundtrack with every couple of hundred extra revs. Hit 4300rpm and you can do little but hold on and hope your right finger pulls back on the upshift paddle before the tacho’s needle spills over the red line.
As you get to 5000rpm the engine turns up the heat, the whine turns into a howl and that gradual climb in performance you associate with a big-capacity V8 is switched to a frenzied and frantic delivery you’d expect of a highly strung four-cylinder engine. But it never feels 644bhpquick, not like a McLaren 650S does.
Other elements of Sutton’s work are instantly more rewarding, such as the chassis changes. The KW coilovers offer a wider spread of control and answer some of the criticism of the standard car’s low level of feedback. They would also, we suspect, tighten the chassis further on track, too.
Ultimately, though, this car is about pace, and sadly the CS700 never feels that quick. In bursts, on arrow-straight roads where you can focus purely on going quickly in a straight line, the rate at which it piles on speed is impressive, but any of today’s turbocharged cars feel equally as quick and Jaguar’s 5-litre supercharged V8 is a far better balanced engine that serves up its performance in a more satisfying and palatable way.
When Mustang values drop to Fiesta money, the temptation of a near-700bhp engine conversion will be hard to resist, but at more than £72,000 for a car with all the kit, the CS700 is too expensive to stomach for the improvements it brings. However, for £5068 you could have a CS500, which includes a more freely breathing air intake and a switchable exhaust (and the rear valance) to bring about 493bhp, which sounds like the best choice on the menu.
‘As you get nearer 5000rpm, the engine turns up the heat and the whine turns into a howl’
+ Chassis control improved; McLaren 650S power figure
- Not as thrilling Specification as it should be; expensive
Evo rating 3+
TECHNICAL DATA #2016 #Sutton-Mustang-CS700 / #Ford-Mustang-CS700 / #Ford-Mustang-Sutton-CS700 / #Ford-Mustang-Sutton / #Ford-Mustang-MkVI / #Ford-Mustang / #Ford / #Sutton-Mustang / #Sutton /
Engine #V8 , 4951cc, supercharger / CO2 n/a
Power 643bhp @ 7400rpm
Torque 479lb ft @ 5580pm
0-62mph 4.4sec (claimed)
Top speed 180mph (claimed)
Weight c1750kg (373bhp/ton)
Basic price See text
Above left and top right: carbonfibre options include a bonnet and a rear wing. Above, middle: new dial adjusts how vocal the active exhaust is.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationCLASSIC ON THE CUSP
2016 #Ford-Mustang-V8 / #Ford-Mustang-MkVI / #Ford-Mustang / #Ford / #Ford-Mustang-V8-MkVI / #2016
Cost new 3,995
Value now £46,000
Yes, it’s brand spanking new, but this Ford is guaranteed future classic.
I will make no apologies. The latest Mustang is a full-on classic. The first Pony car ever to have a steering wheel on the right is outrageous fun, value and oozes muscle car mischief. £34,000 buys the 5.0-litre V8 that can crack 60mph in 4.8 seconds and run to 155mph. Throw in independent rear suspension, adjustable steering resistance, a locking front wheel function for drag racing starts plus a limited-slip diff, and the 2016 Mustang looks an unbelievable package for the price. And that’s before you revel in the symphonic 410bhp V8 soundtrack.
And unlike every #Ford-Mustang-GT-MkVI since that momentous launch day in April 1964, this one is the closest to that original winning formula that saw 20,000 orders taken in just 24 hours. Both the convertible and fastback (there’s no notchback coupé) have drawn heritage styling cues with classic Mustang front grille and sequential rear lights. The landmark packaging of long bonnet, short boot is still there too and if you opt for GT spec there’s the same circular badge in the middle of the back panel – just like a ’65 version. And it’s no pale facsimile of the original either because when you wind the V8 up it cackles demonically. There’s endless urge, a crisp six-speed box and the sort of road manners that Sixties Mustang owners can only dream of. That’s the biggest surprise – this Mustang handles.
Ford must have put a very strong padlock on the design room doors because all the fun-stoppers clearly had nothing whatsoever to do with this car’s planning. Only wildeyed designers would include an electronic Line Lock Function, which applies the brakes to the front wheels so you can sit stationary, happily spinning the rear tyres wreathed in smoke. And you can switch the traction control off to ensure cinematic power-sliding exits from junctions. Bluechip car companies aren’t supposed to include bad behaviour buttons on their options list. And the man usually responsible for inserting vibration and crudeness into Mustangs was kept out of design meetings too, because the chassis feels slick and sophisticated.
Of course there’s a waiting list and the first Mustangs are fetching over list – exactly what happened in 1964. I’ve seen dealers asking £13k more than list for the #V8 cars that make up 70 per cent of all orders. My advice is to wait until prices calm and bag a convertible. As a thunderous four-seater drop-top the new Mustang is an outrageous alternative to predictable Audi and BMW rivals. Twenty mpg and zero subtlety are the only barriers to entry. Neither of which bothers me – I’ve just ordered one.
‘There’s a waiting list and new cars are fetching over list price – just like they did in 1964’Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationRock ’n’ roll invasion. Will the right-hand-drive Ford Mustang rock the sensitive souls of the British Isles? Admittedly there’s not much roll… Words Glen Waddington. #Ford-Mustang-MkVI / #Ford-Mustang / #Ford / #2016
For the First time in the Ford Mustang’s five-decade-plus history it’s available in right-hand drive from your local British Ford dealership. It’s also the first time the Mustang has been engineered deliberately to make it saleable globally. And now the very first right-hand-drive examples are here. This 5.0-litre #V8 #Fastback costs £34,000, which would buy you a moderately equipped Golf R or Audi S3: subtle, ubiquitous, four cylinders, a turbo, circa 300bhp. Whereas Ford is offering a full-size coupé (wider than a Mercedes-Benz S Class W222; 1700kg) with 415bhp and 390lb ft. It’s loaded too: leather, touchscreen nav, climate control, keyless entry, limited-slip diff.
A lot of car for the money. Oh, and one key spec item: fully independent suspension. Yep, no live rear axle at last, and Ford’s really proud of that. We’ve already driven the new ’Stang on its home territory and in Germany, so this latter revelation might come as no surprise. But it’s significant, especially in the UK, as tight and narrow British B-roads (getting lumpier each winter) could be the Mustang’s sternest test. First impressions are good, particularly the build quality: trim materials are no better than you’ve a right to expect at this price, but it feels tightly strapped together.
You’ll need to want to stand out, mind. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been pointed at. A near-5m-long coupé on black 19s doesn’t exactly fade into the background, and the styling details are heavy-handed: there’s significant relief in every panel crease. But while the ’Stang looks pure Detroit, don’t expect some baggy-riding, all-torque wafter.
If anything, the suspension is too firm. Early road-tests elicited the concern that it might be ill-suited to broken British tarmac and Ford promised to tinker. Even so, firmness at town speeds never lets up, and the Mustang jinks and bucks over bad sections of motorway. On B-roads you notice it more as over-developed roll stiffness, as the wheel movements force a matching wiggle of the body. The result is that you back off where you might charge harder in a more supple car.
We’ll forgive the steering some numbness, as electric racks aren’t great for feedback, but it’s too low-geared; only 2.5 turns lock-to-lock, granted, but the turning circle is big. The manual shift (a sixspeeder) is short and enjoyable in isolation, though let down by ill-matched inputs elsewhere, particularly the brakes, which feel over-servoed and deny heel-and-toeing. It’s not an easy car to drive smoothly, especially at low speeds, and the throttle’s initial over-sharpness gives way to a lot of travel so you still end up having to hoof it for all that V8 torque.
Thankfully, when you do, towering acceleration is the result, though the soundtrack is rather more muted than the looks. I’d like to hear a bit more old-fashioned V8-ness to go with the oomph.
There’s potential for a great car here, if only someone can hone it a little better for British roads. A more compliant ride, decent auto trans and more consistent control actions would turn it into a continent-basher, but as a sports car the Mustang takes up a bit too much room for these islands.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
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- Post is under moderationAll new #2016 #Chevrolet-Camaro-SS vs. all new 2016 #Ford-Mustang-GT / #Ford-Mustang / #Chevrolet-Camaro / #Ford-Mustang-MkVI / #Chevrolet
Two icons of American muscle drive straight past the drag strip and deep into sports-car territory by Eric Tingwall / Photography by Charlie Magee
There was a time when the American muscle car performed all its tricks with the steering wheel pointed straight ahead. Detroit iron built its image on burnouts, quarter-mile runs, looking fast while parked, and chasing pedestrians out of the crosswalk with a prod of the throttle. But if it weren’t for that #V8 snarl and their burly bodywork, today’s muscle cars might pass as legitimate sports cars. America’s blue-collar heroes still charge hard in a straight line, but they now corner with the confidence of a European coupe. It’s the result of decades-long evolution, but also recent strides in chassis dynamics.
Ford’s breakthrough arrived in 2014, just in time for the Mustang’s 50th birthday, when engineers included for the first time an independent rear suspension across their entire pony-car lineup. They created the most civilized, the most docile, and the most tossable Mustang outside of the odd be-stallioned track-day special. The 2016 edition is essentially unchanged from the car introduced two years ago, although it has spawned the race-bred Shelby GT350 and GT350R, cars that smear the distinction between juiced-up muscle and flexible sports cars into an indistinguishable blur of racing stripes and eight-cylinder thunder.
As it was in the beginning, so it is now: Just like in the ’60s, #Ford ’s Mustang success has Chevrolet playing catch-up with its new Camaro. The #Chevy-V8 now turns out an additional 29 horsepower, but it’s clear that the engineers directed most of their energy toward the chassis. Reborn on GM’s Alpha platform, the new, sixth-generation Camaro uses the same core that forms the basis of the German-baiting Cadillac ATS and CTS. It is lighter and trimmer than the Zeta-platform-based Camaro it replaces and benefits from the suspension and steering expertise that is quickly — and surprisingly — becoming a #GM hallmark.
We left the Dodge Challenger on the bench for this test. After its third-place finish in our December 2014 comparison, where a similarly equipped Mustang took the gold, we knew where the Challenger would place in this round. If it wants to run with these two athletes, Dodge needs to cut the fat. The Challenger is more than nine inches longer than either car here and weighs some 400 pounds more.
For this test, the manufacturers provided the top-performing versions of the common man’s V8 muscle car. For Chevrolet, that means a Camaro SS with the 455-hp, 6.2-liter V-8 equipped with magnetorheological dampers ($1695) and the eight-speed automatic transmission ($1495). The $895 dual-mode exhaust doesn’t make the car any more powerful, but it delivers a Metallicavian aural assault. The top-tier 2SS trim includes cooled and heated seats, blind-spot monitoring, and ambient interior lighting that can be set to one of 24 colors (one-quarter of which are variations of pink), bringing the total price to $47,480.
Ford brought its 435bhp #Ford-Mustang-GT-MkVI enhanced with the $2495 Performance pack. That add-on brings a strut-tower brace, revised suspension tune, a larger radiator, #Brembo front brakes, and a limited- slip differential with a shorter final-drive ratio, and it’s available only with the manual transmission.
We’re beginning to believe that bringing a manual transmission to a drag race these days is akin to handing out Obama stickers at an open-carry meeting, but the manual Mustang actually puts up an admirable fight. In previous testing, the three-pedal version ran dead even with the automatic Mustang GT. The Premium trim makes our test car every bit as upscale as the Camaro, but with a price almost $4500lower at $43,070.
To give these two increasingly competent corner-hunters a proper challenge, we pointed them toward southeast Ohio, to the Hocking Hills and roads so twisted and rural that you’d suspect them to be dating their cousin.
2. FORD MUSTANG GT
There’s nothing else like the Mustang in Ford’s U.S. portfolio. It’s the lone eight-cylinder car and the only rear-drive vehicle in Dearborn’s arsenal that isn’t a truck. That’s both a blessing and a curse. On the upside, Mustang engineers have the freedom to craft their car without the constraints of shared parts. But neither does the Mustang benefit from the trickle-down economics that comes with building higher-performing Corvettes and more-expensive Cadillacs.
In a vacuum, you could be lulled into thinking that Ford perfected the American muscle car with this Mustang. Freed of its stick axle in back, the original pony car now handles corners and busted concrete with ease. The competent chassis musters 0.94 g of grip around the skidpad and executes a 70-to-zero stop in just 157 feet. The steering effort builds in a linear fashion and offers a modicum of feedback. The brake pedals in both of these cars are firm and responsive, yet the Mustang’s binders start biting earlier with less pedal travel.
But when you start to draw comparisons about those dynamic attributes so essential to driver satisfaction, the Chevrolet exposes the Ford’s vulnerable spots; simply put, the Mustang GT is softer than the Camaro SS. The Mustang leans in corners. Under acceleration, the haunches squat and the hood rears back. The slightly slow, fixed-rate 16.0:1 steering hides a small dead spot on-center, and despite wider tires, there’s not as much front-end grip as in the Camaro. That makes the Mustang more prone to understeer and less willing to rotate under throttle.
The Mustang rides on nonadjustable dampers, so even though you can toggle through the same four drive modes as those in the Camaro, you can’t alter the Ford’s roll resistance or ride quality. That said, the single tune of the Performance pack nicely balances ride and handling. Body motions, though large, are always deliberate, never clumsy or inaccurate. Hustling the Mustang over hills and around bends is oldschool, organic fun. The Camaro, damping out impacts with minimal body motion and no sacrifice in ride quality, proves that the technology exists to do it better.
With a torque deficit of 55 pound-feet and a redline 500 rpm higher than the Chevrolet small-block’s, Ford’s 5.0-liter Coyote engine needs to be spun out to keep pace. Its intensity builds exponentially with revs, and, around 4000 rpm, the energy swells in an intoxicating crescendo toward 435 horsepower and the top of the tachometer.
Launched at 3500 rpm, the Mustang GT will break 60 mph in 4.4 seconds and trip the quarter-mile in 13.0. The six-speed stick moves with tight, precise action, but the throws are a touch longer and the effort a bit stiffer than we prefer.
This dual-overhead-cam engine is smoother and more civilized than the Camaro’s pushrod V-8, but that doesn’t necessarily rank as a positive. For one, the Coyote is too quiet. Even at full throttle, it emits a muffled thrum rather than a visceral yowl. The Camaro gets it right. Its unapologetically lumpy idle and gruff exhaust note are precisely why you didn’t spend your $45,000 on a BMW M235i .
If there’s one aspect where Dearborn has Detroit handily beat, it’s that the Mustang is a much more practical car and far easier to live with on a daily basis. The timeless lines of the Mustang include a taller roof that, combined with a slightly higher seating position, eases ingress and egress. There’s excellent outward visibility over the long hood, to either side, and through the rearview mirror. The cabin, aided by a lower beltline, feels much roomier than the Camaro’s.
The Mustang’s cockpit is a simple place. Considering the headaches that abound inside the Camaro, this is meant as a compliment. The clean, straightforward center stack even offers the perfect array of knobs and buttons to make the imperfect MyFord Touch tolerable. We really only have one complaint about the Mustang’s cabin: The turned aluminum that spans the width of the dash is slathered in so much clear coat that it might as well be plastic.
The Ford Mustang effortlessly balances performance, comfort, sport, and practicality. It is a powerful, engaging, and valuepacked daily driver. But as a performance car, as a machine designed to provoke exhilaration, the Camaro has it beat.
1. CHEVROLET CAMARO SS
In doubling down on the retro-caricature style of the fifth-generation Camaro, Chevy appears to have designed for the next Transformers movie rather than the buyers who will live with the car. Stylists injected steroids into the bodywork and, almost unbelievably, knocked the roof about an inch lower to make the greenhouse even shorter. The stocky Power Wheels proportions suggest that a full-grown human would have to poke his or her head through the sunroof to drive this thing.
A human does fit inside, although you should probably pass on the $900 sunroof to seize precious millimeters of headroom. The Chevy’s cabin is far more crowded than the Mustang’s, and the form-over-function exterior creates some ergonomic woes inside. Hang an arm on the windowsill and your elbow rises to ear level. The high trunklid and low roofline squeeze the view out the back into a sliver. Wide B-pillars and the rising beltline render the rear quarterwindows useless. When the feds make blind-spot monitoring mandatory in the coming years, you’ll have this car to thank. There’s more natural light entering Guantanamo’s solitary cells than the Camaro’s cabin, and yet designers struggled to shield the navigation screen from glare.
Their inelegant solution tilts the screen toward the floor, an awkward angle that also reflects the faux-metal bezel surrounding the shifter. The panel gaps of the instrument- cluster hood—directly in the driver’s line of sight—should make Bob Lutz weep. And when the interior-design team ran out of room up front, they simply used the real estate in the rear. The map pockets in the doors and the wireless phone-charging pad are effectively in the back seat.
Despite the voodoo ergonomics, the new Camaro’s interior is still a massive improvement over the outgoing car’s. The materials belong in an actual motor vehicle with a considerable price, as opposed to a toddler’s toy, and the switchgear is both attractive and easy to use. A digital screen in the binnacle between the analog gauges is packed with useful information, and the nav-screen graphics are crisp. Honestly, though, this cabin could be trimmed in cellophane and crayon markings and we’d still gush over the way the car drives. While the new car looks stockier, the switch to the Alpha platform trimmed 2.3 inches in length and roughly 100 pounds as equipped for this test. The high cowl means you can only guess at where the corners of the body stop, but that’s less of an issue since the new Camaro drives like a much smaller car. That’s a stark contrast with its predecessor, which felt as if it grew in size the more carefully you tried to place it on the road.
There’s a precision in the Camaro’s handling that until now was reserved for track-oriented models such as the Z/28 and #Ford-Mustang-Boss-302 . Credit the same chassis integrity that’s baked into the Cadillac ATS and CTS; Chevy says structural rigidity is improved by 28 percent over the last-gen car’s. The magnetorheological dampers hold the fenders level in corners and relax the ride on the highway. The electrically assisted power steering reacts to minute on-center tweaks and tightens the car’s line with a ratio that quickens as you wind in lock. There are touring, sport, and track modes, plus a weather setting to appropriately finesse the steering effort, dampers, transmission mapping, and stability control. You can also lock the steering and shocks into your preferred setting regardless of the mode. We favor the lightest, most natural steering weight that comes with touring. Regardless of the drive mode, the Camaro follows a path earnestly and intuitively. Its best virtues are symbolized by a wonderfully sculpted, flat-bottomed steering wheel.
Not that the 6.2-liter #LT1 V8 , imported from the Corvette Stingray with only minor changes, is any slouch. The small-block’s torque peak of 455 pound-feet comes 150 rpm higher than the Mustang’s, but it fills in the lower half of the tach with palpably more grunt. From idle to 6600 rpm, it sounds as if its gargling 91 octane and spitting pure anger out the tailpipe. There’s a smart side to this Detroit legend, too. Direct injection, variable valve timing, and the ability to run on only four cylinders when paired with the automatic gearbox helped the Chevy extract 1 additional mpg over the Ford’s smaller-displacement engine.
With lower weight, higher power, more gears, and greater grip, the Camaro walked all over the Mustang in our performance testing. #Goodyear Eagle F1 rubber helps produce a Porsche-like 147-foot stopping distance and lateral grip that flirts with 1.0 g. While it favors understeer in most situations, the Camaro was far more wieldy running through the slalom, pivoting better than the Mustang under acceleration and deceleration. In a straight line, breaking four seconds to 60 mph put the Chevy half a second ahead of the Ford, a gap that grew to 0.7 second by the end of quarter-mile. The Camaro’s Corvette powertrain and Cadillac chassis are some of the best parts in GM’s storerooms. The Camaro SS rockets to triple-digit speeds and whips around corners with poise. It’s the small-block–powered ATS-V that Cadillac will never build, yet it costs almost $20,000 less than the turbo ATS-V that it does. This Camaro defines an era where the eight-cylinder American muscle car is more than cheap power and brash styling. But it hasn’t forgotten the cheap power or the brash styling.
Top: Even with narrower front tires, the Camaro has greater front-end grip. Above: Gun-slit side windows are too small for big guns.
Chevrolet Camaro SS
+ Corners as well as it accelerates, small-block snarl.
- Concept-car design wreaks havoc on the cabin, the options you want aren’t cheap.
= Rippling with American muscle, but as sophisticated as European iron.
Ford Mustang GT
+ A 7000-rpm redline and a willingness to get there, no-gimmicks interior.
- Steering and chassis could be tauter, yacht-rock soundtrack.
= Draws more parallels with a grand tourer than a sports car.
Above: Speak up, son. We can’t hear you. The 5.0-liter V8 engine at least carries a pretty big stick. Left: Baby seats for baby-sized adults.
IF IT WEREN’T FOR THE V-8 SNARL AND THEIR BURLY BODYWORK, TODAY’S MUSCLE CARS MIGHT PASS FOR LEGITIMATE SPORTS CARS.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationHorse flies / The #Shelby name returns – and makes this an extremely rapid #Ford-Mustang indeed / Words Glen Waddington / Photography Matthew Howell / #Ford-Mustang / #Ford-Mustang-MkVI / #2016 #Ford-Mustang-Shelby / #Shelby-GT-Mustang / #Shelby-GT350
John Simister has already raved about the latest #Ford Mustang in these pages, but on both occasions he was talking about the standard car. You know, the one that leaves the Ford factory as Ford intended. Just imagine if the original had done only that. No #Shelby-GT350-MkVI , no GT500. Less of a legend, in other words.
The Shelby name has been synonymous with power-pumpin’ Ford V8s and go-faster Fords for so long. And while the Mustang has basically been a bit crap for two or three (maybe four) decades, it has now undergone the kind of resurgence that can’t be ignored. And Shelby American Inc, even without ol’ Carroll himself in the saddle, hasn’t missed it either. The starting point is any Mustang 5.0 V8. A good car in its own right, with proper rear suspension at last (they had live axles out back until this year) and the kind of interior that won’t repulse Europeans any more. Yours, in right-hand drive no less, for about 40 grand, and sophisticated enough that you could think of it as a more distinctive alternative to a Mercedes-Benz E-class coupé, complete with a burbling V8 and six-speed #Tremec in place of a four-banger diesel auto. But what if you want an alternative to an E63 AMG?
This car (left-hand drive but completed by Surrey-based specialist Bill Shepherd Mustang; www.billshepherdmustang.com) is not only the car to do that but also the very first of the breed. Three packages are available, the first offering the carbonfibre bodykit (bonnet, tail panel, sills etc) and billet alloy grilles plus freeflow stainless exhaust and intake, a short-throw gearshift, 20in forged alloys and matching tyres, uprated springs, dampers and anti-roll bars and altered suspension geometry, as well as various cosmetic identifiers. To that you can add Shelby Wilwood brakes (six-pot calipers up-front, and vented, cross-drilled discs) and, finally, the Shelby Power Upgrade: Ford supercharger, intercooler, intake and ECU remap – for the full yee-haw corral of 627 horses (actually 618bhp).
This car has all three, plus uprated driveshafts and a sprint diff ratio, on top of a full-house option spec that would probably cost an extra mortgage on that Merc. You can have your own built to order (with a Shelby chassis number); meanwhile, this one is offered by Bill Shepherd Mustang for £79,950. It looks quite menacing: think Black Series Merc though at ‘production’ AMG prices. Americans tend to paint over carbonfibre and it’s fair to say that the raw weave here looks exactly that, with a few wobbles in the weft and the odd sharp edge. Inside, the ambience feels suitably transatlantic, referencing the 1960s ’Stang as well as the bodywork does yet without feeling overtly retro. Only ersatz stitching on the centre console jars. All of which you’ll forget when you put your foot down. Your ears are assailed by a proper oldfashioned V8 beat, overlaid with supercharger whoosh, while you push up through the gears (a proper stick on the floor, though first is almost redundant!) with utterly indecent haste.
The shift is extremely tight and precise, the steering feels organic and quick-witted, the ride is very refined yet, depite generous dimensions, the Shelby feels well-contained and superbly poised. That new rear suspension works very well indeed, and the Shelby upgrades haven’t introduced undue harshness.
If you’re not in rodeo mood you get to enjoy hushed though still insistent forward motion. This is one car that lives up to its GT moniker – and its Shelby badging – in equal measure.
Above. New Mustang expertly references 1960s original, and Shelby upgrades make it distinctive without being distasteful. Huge power, speed and nimbleness come at no cost to refinement.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
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