Caroline and the Ford Mustang Bullitt!
Caroline and the Ford Mustang Bullitt!

Caroline drives the Ford Mustang Bullitt.

The Ford Mustang needs little introduction because it’s the icon of American muscle cars. The name is enough to get you dreaming of hot dusty highways and dry asphalt, miles and miles of it. The arrival of the latest generation of the Mustang to this continent in 2015 was the first time Ford ever got serious about marketing this car in Europe. It was also the first time the car was produced in right hand drive.

The Ford Mustang in Ireland

I remember attending the Irish launch of the car in early 2016 and feeling the excitement that the pony car was in Ireland at last. It arrived here with two engine options that were a cause for lots of discussion. In corner A was the 2.3-litre EcoBoost and in corner B, the classic V8. With that sort of muscle under the bonnet when everyone else is downsizing, neither was attempting to appeal to anyone other than die hard petrolheads. The story continued in 2018, when Changing Lanes enjoyed a memorable launch drive of the facelifted Mustang range in France.

Then in 2019, it was the return of the Mustang with a special birthday edition to celebrate the pony car’s most famous cinema appearance. The Ford Mustang Bullitt in the photos was built to celebrate 50 years of the classic film Bullitt featuring Steve McQueen. Finished in a modern mix of Highland Green just like the original, this special edition V8 would take your breath away even before you start it up.

Physically imposing, long, lean and green, the Mustang Bullitt looks like it’s from another planet among the SUVs, superminis and saloons that make up most of the Irish fleet. You’ve got to love attention because the Mustang is a magnet for it. Priced from €75,155, this is the ultimate Mustang and sits at the top of the range. To recap, you can slip into the Mustang EcoBoost from €53,063 and the Mustang GT from €68,268.

The Mustang Bullitt pictured in the Blackstairs Mountains
The Mustang Bullitt pictured in the Blackstairs Mountains

What’s so special about the Mustang Bullitt?

But there’s something special about this Bullitt with more presence, power and noise. It’s been debadged and shod with unique 19” black alloys with red Brembo brake calipers and black NitroPlate exhaust tips. At the back the Bullitt logo replaces the GT one. Inside there are some magnificent Recaro sports seats with green stitching that set the exclusive historic ambience. There’s also a Bullitt logo on the steering wheel, and an individually numbered plaque in place of the traditional Mustang emblem on the passenger-side dashboard. As a nod to the original car’s interior, the gear shifter features a white cue ball gearshift knob.

The 2020 Ford Mustang Bullitt also benefits from the facelift in 2018 and so gets Ford’s new 12-inch all-digital LCD instrument cluster. It adds a bit more modernity and watch yourself rev out with fun in high definition! The high spec continues with a B&O PLAY audio system delivering 1,000 watts through 12 high-performance speakers. It’s Tom Petty’s American Girl on full blast down the highway.

Ford’s 5.0-litre V8 engine is non negotiable in this edition. Praise the Lord! It’s the full fat Mustang experience but even better with an Open Air Induction System, uprated intake manifold, 87mm throttle bodies and unique powertrain control module calibration. There’s a massive 460 hp (up 10 hp on a ‘standard’ V8) and 529 Nm of torque to play with, with a 6 speed manual gearbox as standard. The Mustang Bullitt also introduces new rev-matching technology for seamless gear changes accompanied by a blip of the engine when downshifting. An active valve performance exhaust system enhances the V8’s signature sound.

The interior of the Ford Mustang Bullitt
The interior of the Ford Mustang Bullitt

Driving the Mustang

Nothing can prepare you for the rumble of a V8 Mustang. It’s the antidote to all those 1.0-litres and hybrids. It makes noise, lots of it. It drinks fuel like it’s going out of fashion (it is). It makes you feel like a superstar every time. Short errands to the shops are magnificent experiences that leave you feeling like a demi-god, just as you come out to find the car surrounded by kids with smartphones. All eyes on you!

Tuned for European roads and driving style, the new Mustang is a big barge on Irish roads but feels more friendly and dynamic than ever before. The optional MagneRide dampers are a must as they really improve the car’s ability to handle the road with more finesse, making a big car feel dramatically less clumsy and sportier.

I was very pleased to find that the Ford Mustang Bullitt was not just an expensive novelty cosmetic makeover. There’s real meat to this car. The engine upgrades and exhaust magic make this the ultimate Mustang on sale in Ireland right now, while the unique look never goes out of fashion.

Of course cars like the Mustang are unfashionably bad for the planet. Even Ford is taking the Mustang name and placing it on the new electric Mustang Mach-e SUV that will arrive in Ireland before the end of the year. But this is one motoring moment you will want to relive again and again. Nothing moves you like a V8 ‘Stang.

The Mustang Bullitt is available from €75,155 in Ireland
The Mustang Bullitt is available from €75,155 in Ireland

By Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Ford Mustang Bullitt 
Engine: 5.0-litre V8 petrol
460 hp
Torque: 529 Nm
4.6 seconds
Top speed: 263 km/h
Fuel consumption:
12.4 l/100km
CO2 emissions:
270 g/km
Motor Tax: €2,350 per year

Watch Caroline’s video review of the new Ford Mustang Bullitt