The term ‘icon’ gets thrown around a lot in the automotive world, sometimes a little too much.
However, when people like Lee Iococca have a vision that comes to fruition, a vision that radially changes vehicle designs, then goes on to thrive over 50 years later, that is something that deserves the term ‘iconic’.
For the 6th generation of the Ford Mustang, a lot has changed in refinement, technology, and power, yet the original concept of the pony car is alive and well in 2018. Our first drive of the new Mustang provided us with an opportunity to learn about the updates for 2018 before rolling up and down a section of Mullholland Drive, Southern California. Not that we rushed through the presentation or anything just to get behind the wheel. While the new version is easily identifiable as a Mustang, it now has a longer, lower hood with a new grille insert that says this is a modern performance car. There is LED lighting all round that includes the Mustang required sequential turn signals on a rear section that appears to be taking styling cues from the popular ’69 Mach I model. The rear fenders and wheel opens also seem from a time gone by, although this is not a retro vehicle, but somethings are just classic Mustang.
Inside, the sporty pony car styling continues with a new 12-inch LCD digital instrument cluster that will let the driver view up to eight gauges. This is particularly handy when in track mode, not that the Mustang is all about performance, even if you want it to be. The interior is a sport design with new colors available to enhance the performance look or even a more sophisticated look. Push button start, a new centerstack look, and even a first time offered heated steering wheel shows Ford knows what the new Mustang buyer is looking for.
Under the hood, there are two different engine options. We eagerly got behind the wheel of the 2.3-liter to see how the small for a Mustang engine performed. Our ride was backed by the new 10-speed SelectShift automatic transmission as we headed off into the hills above Las Angeles. With 310-horsepower and 350 lb.-ft of torque the 10-speed was able to quickly find the gears without spreading out so far that it had to make a lot of multi-gear adjustments. The paddle shifters didn’t seem to have any lag, getting to the gear about as fast as I could pull the trigger.
Then of course, we had to step up to the GT for another run through the hills. The new 5.0 V8 now puts out 460-horsepower and 420 lb.-ft of torque through the same 10-speed automatic as in the 2.3L car. There is a six speed manual gearbox, but we found the automatic to be very worthy and less ‘work’ which translates into more driving enjoyment.
The performance promise is easily filled in the new Mustang, except for perhaps the pro track driver. The track mode with options that include a line-lock can combine on a drag strip or a road course to provide the driver experience a Mustang owner will be looking for. The steering is responsive and hangs to the road as far as I would push on a public road. To truly experience the capabilities of the GT, a road course track would be needed, as well as a ride along with a pro driver.
Of course it also could be a daily driver with the new suspension providing a compliant ride that makes the Saturday Nite cruiser become a sporty date night ride or even a cool grocery getter. Add in the upgraded interior, audio, and even more technology, the 2018 Mustang becomes a horse of a different color.
Yes, I just did that, couldn’t pass it up.
We will have a detailed report and more drive impressions once we get additional time in the 2018 Ford Mustang. For more information you can visit www.ford.com or visit your local Ford dealer.