The new Ford Mustang is here and I drove it at the media launch in Montagu, in the Western Cape earlier this week. Excitement levels were through the roof as I got to drive the new limited edition Bullitt, made famous by Steve McQueen in the 1968 movie of the same name.
Before I get into the actual models, the Mustang is an icon that needs no introduction. Since it came out in the mid-60s, a total of 9.8 million Mustangs have been sold globally. Back in South Africa, 2 642 have sold since the re-introduction in 2016. As of 2019, Ford says it’s the best-selling sports coupe in the world for the last four years.
I drove it in San Francisco in 2015, but what sticks out most was driving it when it came to South Africa in 2016, I was fortunate to have received it for a week. It remains the car that received the most attention on the roads; I had to wear sunglasses while driving to hide from the looks. That said, it certainly appeals to a driver who wants the attention. You can’t own one of these and not be in the spotlight.
The three models available for us to drive at the launch was the limited edition 5L V8 Bullitt that comes in a manual transmission; the 5L V8; and the 2.3L EcoBoost. It comes in a Fastback or Convertible options in a choice of nine colours.
I had the most fun driving the Bullitt; I love driving a manual and loved what it sounded like. Also, the folks in Montagu were just as excited see and hear the Mustangs roar through their little town. If you’re into muscle cars, this is probably a bucket list item and I feel really lucky to have had the opportunity to drive the Bullitt. Don’t you agree the green shade was made for me? There are only 50 Bullitts that will sell in South Africa and most of them are already sold.
I also had more fun driving the V8, distinguished by the 5.0 on the door, versus the 2.3L. These two models have a 10-speed automatic transmission, with the 5L V8 peaking at 331kW and the 2.3L delivering 213kW of power. There’s a new pony button on the steering wheel that brings various customisation features to the 12-inch digital instrument cluster. I liked the race track mode; and there’s also a super fun exhaust mode so you can switch between being quiet to really loud. You can also customise the display colours.
The new Mustang has Adaptive Cruise Control and Distance Alert. I tested it on the highway and chose the distance I wanted to keep to the car in front of me, and the speed so it adjusted or braked accordingly, all while I sipped on my coffee safely. I still had to control the steering wheel, it does not turn for you.
You can use a smartphone safely in the vehicle with Sync 3, compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The 8-inch infotainment touchscreen offers voice commands which I didn’t get to try, and supports pinch and swipe gestures. Navigation comes standard on the vehicle.
Everything I’ve written about the Mustang so far will not be read by someone who will purchase the vehicle, that’s obvious. Buyers already know they want one, and clearly can afford it. Let’s be honest, there’s no real competition here. If you want one, you’re not going to check what else it matches up to, it’s that unique.
Speaking about affordability, the Mustang price surprised me, as it comes in at under R1m for the most expensive limited edition Bullitt.
2.3L Fastback – R768 000
2.3L Convertible – R831 000
5L GT Fastback – R915 800
5L GT Convertible – R978 400
5L V8 Bullitt Fastback – R995 400
Welcome to Wired to the Web. My name is Nafisa Akabor and I’m a technology journalist covering business and consumer tech for the last 13 years. I’m passionate about start-ups, smartphones, mobile payments, travel tech and electric cars. I’m usually unashamedly taking food photos (@nafisaeats on IG).