Rock ’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
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.