No other sports car has captured the imagination of automobile lovers across the world as much as the Ford Mustang. The Pony car as it is famously called has featured in hundreds of movies, many a music videos and has been a part of popular folklore for decades at a stretch. Be it Steve McQueen who drove a Highland Green 1968 Mustang GT 390 fastback in the famous chase scene in the 1968 film Bullitt or the 1971 James Bond film, Diamonds Are Forever which featured a Mustang Mach 1, this iconic car has made a mark like no other. Every single generation of the car has been better than the other. But the current sixth generation has seen one major difference, that for the first time ever the Mustang has come in a right hand drive avatar. And as soon as that happened the American car maker decided to bring the heritage car to India and got us motoring journalists to the Buddh international circuit to experience the car first hand.
What has stayed intact in the 52-year history of the Mustang is the design philosophy. It has always stood out in a crowd and the story continues now as well. The shape is all-new, yet is unmistakably Mustang. Key design elements are retained which includes the long sculpted bonnet and short rear deck. A lower, wider stance with a reduced roof height works well for the car. A sleeker profile is enabled by more steeply sloped windshield and rear glass. The car features 19-inch wheels, automatic HID headlamps that come with vertical LEDs along with three-dimensional, tri-bar tail lamps. The signature shark-bite front fascia and trapezoidal grille just make the sporty picture of the Mustang complete.
Look inside and the drivers will find information and controls readily accessible in the aviation-inspired cockpit, which I have to say is executed with the high degree of craftsmanship. A large, high-definition display screen puts vehicle information right in front of the driver with tactile switches & knobs improving ergonomics and providing better control. There’s dual-zone climate control, 9-speaker sound system, and voice-enabled SYNC 2 connectivity with an 8-inch color touch screen as standard equipment. The Mustang comes with the six-way power-adjustable driver and front passenger seats which are both heated and cooled. According to Ford, the added width and a new rear suspension contribute to improved packaging and shoulder and hip room for rear-seat passengers but it’s a 2-door coupe access to the second row and the leg room once you’re there isn’t very comfortable.
What has stayed intact in the 52-year history of the Mustang is the design philosophy. It has always stood out in a crowd and the story continues now as well. The shape is all-new, yet is unmistakably Mustang.
This is what the Mustang is known the most for. To win over the enthusiast in you, Ford has armed Mustang with its latest edition of the throaty 5.0-litre V8 engine, featuring an upgraded valve train and cylinder heads, delivering a peak power of 401 PS with 515 Nm of torque with a top speed of 250km/h. There are shift paddles as well with rev-matching downshifts that come with a six-speed automatic transmission. The steering itself has three different modes – Normal, Sport and Comfort while the there are 4 different driving modes as well. Each setting activates a predefined power train and chassis calibrations suited to that particular driving situation. Along with Normal, Sport+ and Snow/Wet mode the Mustang also comes with a track mode which produces a more powerful engine sound and provides a performance driving experience by allowing the engine to respond directly to the driver. This certainly came in handy while driving at the famed Buddh track.
Ride & Handling
There’s a new fully independent front and rear suspension system which Ford says is expected to be the nimblest and most comfortable to date. At the front, a new perimeter sub – frame helps to stiffen the structure while reducing mass, providing a better foundation for more predictable wheel control that benefits handling, steering, and ride. Handling has forever been the biggest highlight of the Mustang and this new generation also sets benchmarks for the brand, delivering dynamics that are impressive. The new Mustang also has an electronic line-lock – which automatically locks the front brakes and releases the rears so you can spin and heat up the rear tyres like a true drag racer to help the car launch.
The new Mustang certainly ticks all the boxes. It’s always been a great car to drive but even in terms of design, features and comfort it can give most luxury cars a run for their money. Innovative technologies along with safety features like eight airbags and belt pre-tensioners make the Mustang an all-rounder. There’s a glove box knee airbag for front passenger and additional crash sensors which are located on the front, sides and center of the car to control the deployment of airbags. The sticker price of Rs. 65 lakh (ex-Delhi) has managed to impress most and those of you who can spend this much money to buy a true blue sports car, it will be very difficult to look beyond the Mustang.
Shams Naqvi is an anchor/producer for the News X motor show Living Cars