By Nauman Farooq
If you are even remotely into cars, you know a little something about the Ford Mustang. It was perhaps the original, affordable sports car and it looked good, performed well (depending on which spec you picked out), and possibly invented the term “cool car.”
The Mustang got a boost of “Cool” cred, when Hollywood super star Steve McQueen drove one in the movie Bullitt – which has become a big part of this models heritage.
Now, as since 1964, the Mustang is available in various trims, and two body styles – coupe and convertible. So, let’s take a look at two very different Mustangs!
Mustang EcoBoost Convertible: For 2018, the Ford Mustang received some minor styling tweaks, but a big change took place mechanically! Gone is the option for the V6, instead, the turbocharged four-cylinder is now the base engine. Entry level it may be, but it still offers decent get-up-and-go, serving up 310 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque (on 93 octane fuel). Power is sent to just the rear wheels via either a six-speed manual, or a 10-speed automatic. My tester had the automatic gearbox, and while it works fine when used in casual driving, it just isn’t quick enough (or smooth enough) when being pushed. So, the four-cylinder is more of a cruiser, which suits the character of the convertible just fine.
The day I picked it up, the sun was shining, and I had a two hour drive ahead of me, so I dropped the top, and cruised on the highway, and had a wonderful time. So, if you’re looking for a laidback drop-top to get the most out of our summers, than the Mustang EcoBoost Convertible would be ideal for you! Prices start from $38,102.
Mustang Bullitt: If you’re looking for a real thrill machine, than you’d be much more interested in the Mustang Bullitt. This 2019 model takes direct inspiration from the 1969 Mustang Fastback driven by Steve McQueen in the movie ‘Bullitt’ – hence it has the same highland green paint job (black is also available, but let’s be honest, if you want a Bullitt, it should be green).
Just like the original movie car, the modern day Bullitt only comes as a coupe, and only with a (six-speed) manual gearbox. It is also perhaps the most understated Mustang currently on sale; there are no stripes or big spoilers, and even the badges on the vehicle are very minimal – so if you know your cars, you’ll be able to spot the Bullitt.
If you have keen ears, you may also be able to spot a Bullitt from the noise alone! While under the hood is a familiar 5.0L V8 engine –found in the Mustang GT since 2011- but it is now tuned to produce 480 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque (on 93 octane fuel) – making it the most potent factory spec for the Coyote motor. The engine tune, along with its unique exhaust, makes this Bullitt sound even better than the already tuneful Mustang GT. The Bullitt very nearly is the best sounding V8 machine ever made; in fact, the only car that sounds better is the Mustang Shelby GT350, thanks to its flat-plane crank motor.
Going through the gears will plant a smile on your face! Not only is the gearbox a delight to use, but the noise the car makes just adds to the thrills.
The numbers can back up the thrills, too. The run from 0 to 100 km/h is over in 4.0 seconds flat, and if you find the space to wind it all the way up, it’ll top out at just over 260 km/h – so yeah, it’s fast!
However, while it is fast in a straight line, it isn’t the fastest thing on the planet through the corners. Even with the (optional) MagneRide suspension, set in the sportiest setting, there is too much body roll. The culprit is the weight, and at 1995 kg, the Bullitt is no light weight machine.
The weight also affects braking, so while the brake discs and calipers are very good, they would perform far better in a car that weighs at least 300 kg less.
However, unlike the EcoBoost, you can’t just call the Bullitt a cruiser, because it manages to be better than that. That said, it does cover distances very well, and is quite comfortable. My favorite bit about the Mustang’s interior is its new digital dashboard (which was also on my EcoBoost test car) – it is very configurable, and shows a different screen with most driving modes. I can’t think of a better instrument cluster currently in any production car, and is good enough to warrant buying this vehicle for this feature alone!
Which brings us to the price – the 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt is yours from $57,025. That is a lot of money, but then it is the best Bullitt model ever offered – there have been two before.
So, while we have winter weather coming up next, perhaps start saving for a new Mustang, just in time for next spring!