Sunday, September 16, 2018

2018 Ford Mustang GT Premium: A Polished, Performance-Oriented Driving Machine

Highlight: A 6-cylinder engine has been replaced by a more fuel efficient 4-cylinder engine.

Test Vehicle's MSRP: $53,260 (Base: $27,115)

Seating Capacity: 4

Standard Safety Features: airbags; ABS; an electronic stability control system; a perimeter alarm system; a rearview camera; and a tire pressure monitoring system

Standard Equipment (Base Model): 18-inch wheels; a rear wheel drive system; a 6-speed manual transmission or a 10-speed automatic transmission; a 3:31 limited-slip rear differntial; an active noise contol system; a dual tip exhaust system; air condition; front and rear stabilizer bars; a push button ignition start system; a limited slip rear differential; power sideview mirrors with integrated blindspot mirrors; an 8-inch touchscreen with AppLink; and a manually operated tilt/telescopic manual transmission;

Standard Equipment (GT): a 5.0-liter V8 (460-horsepower) engine; a quad exhaust system; 3:55 limited slip differential; larger rotor brakes with 4 piston front calipers; engine oil cooler; cloth seats; power front driver's seat; LED foglights; a raised blade style decklid spoiler; a unique high-gloss Black painted front grille; and a unique rear valence

Standard Equipment (GT Premium): selectable drive modes; leather trimmed front seats; heated and cooled front seats; a 9-speaker AM/FM/CD with SiriusXM; an aluminum accelerator, brake and clutch pedals; a universal garage door opener; heated sideview mirrors with a turn signal indicator; and projection exterior lamps, which outlines a Pony

Options: premium trim with clear accent group; a touchscreen voice activated navigation screen; premium floormats with accent stitches; special paint; a magnetic ride dampening system; a Safe and Smart package: a radar activated cruise control system and an electronic blindspot system, an active vehicle performance exhaust system; a 12-speaker Shaker audio system; and a GT Performance Package: 19-inch wheels, a rear wing spoiler, a torsen rear axle; and Recaaro leather seat trim

Other Trim Levels:

EcoBoost Premium Coupe
GT Premium Coupe

Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: a 6-speaker with AM/FM/CD

Bluetooth Connectivity: Standard

USB Connectivity: Yes

Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles

Powertrain Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 2.3-liter, 4-cylinder turbo/310-hp

Recommended Fuel: Regular

Standard Fuel Mileage:

What’s New: For the 2018 model year, Mustang enthusiasts will notice a slightly modified front and rear end design, giving the vehicle a fresh modern update. The sports car also boasts a new, fuel-efficient 10-speed automatic transmission. 

And to top it off, Ford has infused such optional features, as an active valve performance exhaust system, a new driver assist feature and crash avoidance aids such as a pre collision assist system and a pedestrian detection system.

Why: We had an opportunity to review the GT Premium trim, which was outfitted with Ford’s newly redesign 6-speed manual transmission. A stick shift,  is a rarity to find in a sports car or, for that matter, in any car these days. 

Ford's redesign manual now features a twin-disc clutch and dual mass flywheel, which allowed for increased torque capability. By the vehicle being outfitted with a 6-speed manual transmission, it honors the true essence, in our opinion, of what should power every sports car. Conversely, unlike those clutchless systems, which are attached to the steering wheel of automatics, the driver truly feels both engaged and in control of every movement and sound that is produced from the Mustang, when driving a manual.

Speaking of sound, our Mustang was outfitted with Ford’s optional active valve performance exhaust system. The performance vehicle was engineered to produce a variation of sounds to spew from the engine. Unfortunately this could be a touch point for one’s neighbors, depending on the volume of the noise, when starting the vehicle or entering or exiting the neighborhood.

Fortunately, the engineering team at Ford has created a Quiet Exhaust mode, where the driver can reprogram the vehicle through a series of steps the driver can channel through on the instrument panel, where the sound can be reprogrammed.
In fact, in order to alter the vehicle's sound, Ford has incorporated an adjustable timer internally with the vehicle. Yes, we believe this feature is an industry first, where Mustang owners can minimize the sound, when starting the vehicle in the morning, while the neighbors are still asleep.

Besides the aforementioned must-have feature, in order to enhance the driving experience of the Mustang, Ford has provided a variety of settings to adjust the steering wheel, as well as the suspension system independently based on driving needs and/or road conditions.

Moreover, not only does the Mustang GT 5.0-liter pack a host of driver oriented features, but the vehicle now offers  Recaro seats, which are finally comfortable and suitable for a road trip. 

Furthermore, our Mustang didn't forget about the safety aspects that should be incorporated into every sports car. The Mustang GT Premium we reviewed was equipped with an automatic high beam lighting system, a blinding spot lane changing system, a forward collision braking system and a radar activated cruise control system. This was the first time we have driven a manual transmission and was able to use it in conjunction with the cruise control. For long, non congested highway stretches this feature made driving an ease.  

But: Despite all of the comfort features and driving aids, one must not forget the Mustang will forever be a sports car. With that said, don’t expect us to cruise around with two folks in the rear, unless their small kid. There is virtually no legroom in the rear

Also, why wasn’t there a sunroof in the vehicle we reviewed? This should be a standard feature on the GT. 

Lastly, Ford should consider adding a Heads Up Display system to project the speed of the vehicle, at all times on the windshield. In a sports car, this should be placed in the same category as an air bag, meaning it should be standard. Or, at minimum, relocate the speed sign notification from the navigation system to one of the driver gauges.

Verdict:  As the Mustang approaches its sixth decade, the vehicle continues to evolve. From the driving and performance enhancements to the styling tweaks to the ease of use of all of the features, this has got to be the best built Mustang to date. Its no wonder why Ford has decided to keep this seemingly well built icon in its portfolio, as they move away from cars, focusing more on SUVs, crossovers and trucks. This has got to be the most refined, well built Mustang to date! Oh yeah, can we add fun to drive, too!

Competition: 2018 Camaro

No comments: