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The Ford Mustang needs little introduction: it’s a modern icon that’s instantly recognisable and effortlessly cool. It’s now officially part of Ford’s European line-up and it’s available in right hand drive for the first time in the Mustang’s history. The Mustang is truly an iconic American muscle car and Irish buyers can now enjoy this big slice of Americana with a more European flavour from €55,500 for the coupé.
There really is nothing quite like the Mustang on Irish roads and if you want a car with presence, then this is it. You had better like attention because the Mustang draws attention wherever it goes. There is something slightly old fashioned about the design, but maybe we are just not used to seeing classic American ‘fastback’ styling on our roads yet. But this car is just so honest and cool, and you’ll want to snap every detail – from the legendary pony on the front grille, to the mean-looking tri-bar rear lights.
Inside the Mustang manages to feel special and uniquely different to any other Ford, with the Sync 2 infotainment system being the only piece of kit that’s been carried over. There’s not much sophistication to the interior, but that’s not really a criticism because it’s part of this car’s democratic appeal. There are two tight individual seats in the back. Head and legroom back there is okay rather than great, but your passengers will probably put up with a bit of mild discomfort for a trip in this car.
Standard equipment includes 19″ alloy wheels, xenon headlamps, electric folding mirrors with Mustang logo projection lamps, Ford SYNC 2 with 8” touchscreen, full leather, keyless entry/start, auto lights and wipers, rear parking camera, and dual zone climate control.
For this first ever version of the Mustang to be sold officially in Europe, Ford has ‘Europeanised’ the Mustang to make it a better drive. The idea is that it won’t just be fast on the straight bits – it will be good in the corners too. It’s got a new chassis with independent front and rear suspension, a limited slip differential and the handling has been developed to deliver high levels of balance, responsiveness and fun.
The Mustang is rear wheel drive with a roughly 1700kg kerb weight depending on the model so it needs big engines to move it. There’s a V8 with 415bhp and 524Nm of torque or a 2.3-litre EcoBoost engine with 312bhp and 434Nm of torque.
My test car had the 2.3-litre EcoBoost or let’s call it ‘Mustang-lite’. The V8 sounds better than the EcoBoost, and has got more power, but it’s actually only marginally quicker in a sprint to 100kmh (5.8 seconds versus 4.8 seconds). If you’re interested in economy, the EcoBoost will return you more miles per gallon. But in Ireland, you will pay significantly less to tax the Mustang Ecoboost, €750 per year versus €2350 for the V8.
The EcoBoost feels like a more manageable Mustang financially but it does miss some of the drama of the V8. There is extra engine noise synthesised through the speakers when you put your foot down hard on the accelerator, but the way the car surges forward is the same – it’s pure magic. This car is at its best when you’re just cruising along, enjoying the ambience, and the only reason you’ll be going anywhere near that gearbox is just to drop a gear to hear the engine wake up again and take off because this car is hugely flexible and powerful in any gear.
There are some limitations to the Mustang that make it less appealing as a performance car. In Ireland at some point you and your Mustang are going to end up on a tight, narrow, twisty rural road. And the Mustang just cannot disguise its size and weight in those circumstances – it’s just not sophisticated enough. You can’t fling it in and out of corners with the same zest as a hot hatch. But once you have acclimatised to being behind the wheel of a big rear wheel drive machine you will discover that there is lovely balance to the car and you can get pleasure from tucking that big nose neatly into tight corners. You’ll just be exhausted from the concentration required to do it at any great speed.
The Ford Mustang does seem like great value though for sheer power and attitude. Pricing starts at €55,500 for the Coupé EcoBoost and €71,500 for the V8. The Mustang Convertible starts from €61,500. Driving the Ford Mustang is an experience like no other and the EcoBoost engine makes the Mustang far more accessible, while still retaining much of the Mustang’s natural charisma. It’s not perfect, it lacks sophistication, and it can’t disguise its size and weight on Irish roads (and in the car park), but that’s all part of the Mustang’s charm and appeal, and it’s unlikely that you’ll ever regret buying it!
Model tested: Ford Mustang 2.3-litre EcoBoost Convertible
0-100km/h: 5.8 seconds
Official economy: 27mpg
CO2 emissions: 184g/km
Motor tax: €750 per year