We had to wait half a decade to take a pony ride. Has it been worth it? Well, looking at the illustrious history and its sticker price, it’s pretty clear that the Ford Mustang has a huge fan base waiting to lift it to glory. So, to better understand the legend behind the car, Ford India organised a day out at the track (none other than the Buddh International Circuit) to give us a better feel at the saddle. Good thing, since only the big, hulking 5.0lt V8 engine will make it to India and not the weedy 4cyl Ecoboost version, which would be like removing the ‘B’ from a ‘BLT’ sandwich. With more than 390bhp and 515Nm on tap, the proper Ford Mustang needs an open road, and in rain-lashed Delhi NCR, the only place that could be achieved was at the circuit.
All-new inside, familiarly new outside
The design is unmistakeably Mustang and the design team has done a fab job of fusing the original elements with a dash of modernity. Bits like the triple-blade tail lights and DRLs up front, the strong shoulder haunches and the squat stance make the car look mean, angry and loud, even before you turn it on.
Step inside, and the interiors are all new, with a generous 8in touchscreen dominating the dashboard. It runs on the Ford Sync 2 voice-activated infotainment system and is similar to the Ford Endeavour we reviewed earlier. In addition to the usual voice-activated music, phone and sat-nav commands, this system can also serve as a hotspot to create your own Wi-Fi zone in the car. Sound is via a 9-speaker Shaker system and does well to belt out dynamic and punchy audio - there's also a DSP that will allow you to select a sweet spot for either the driver or all passengers.
The cockpit-inspired interior design is an amalgamation of many cars - there are toggle switches like the Mini and circular AC vents like the AMG GTS; but one original detail is the "Ground Speed" printed on the speedometer, which puts a little smirk on your face. The plastic's quality is scratchy and hard, even on surfaces that are exposed to the touch, but I guess Ford had to swallow the bitter pill, plonk a big engine under the hood and cut corners elsewhere. You do get all the bells and whistles since Ford is importing the top-spec model to India, although brand officials claim that some packages might be made available later as options. We think a louder exhaust and bigger wheels are in order.
No driving Miss Daisy here
Out on the track, the Mustang retains its “big GT car” characteristics with a relaxed feel as you make yourself comfortable in the big seats. Seat adjustment is electric, but the steering adjustment is manual and you will have to work at it for a while until you find the right position as the cowl is quite high and the dashboard height itself is greater than other sportscars. The steering is loaded with buttons but remains logical, and the paddle shifters fall easily at hand. The dual-clutch 6-speed auto is the only option coming to India and it can handle the ample torque the Mustang is capable of producing. Power goes only to the rear wheels, and with a little option called ‘Line Lock’ which you can access via the menu, you can shred the tyres with a blow-out start. Track Apps syncs with your phone and updates you on meaningless but fun data like heart-rate during acceleration, lap times, brake performance and more.
The drive itself is quite different from other aggressive German sportscars in the V8 category. The Mustang delivers the power in a linear, non-hurried manner that builds speed progressively all the way up to a top whack of 250kmph. The Brembo brakes do well to stop you precisely, but wear out over time and could overheat after a few hard laps on the track, causing the car to “limp” home to the pitlane. Handling is impressive and the direct steering is quick to turn in with the car, providing loads of mechanical grip. I was able to clip apexes with ease, and even in Track mode, the tail slid out only enough for me to get it back in line with a jab of the throttle and minor corrections from the steering. The four available modes include a Sport+ and Track for those times when you feel frisky, and in these modes, it will hold the revs all the way to 6500rpm. The engine note is muted, but has the V8 burble that is so addictive.
Fancy a pony ride?
Eventually, the Mustang remains a car for those who want a car that looks great, makes them look great and makes the world outside look great. It’s a piece of history you buy into, not just a piece of metal. And that is what Ford India is betting on. With a shocking sticker price of ₹65 lacs (ex-showroom, Delhi), it’s the most affordable big block on sale today and nothing else provides as much bang for your buck.