Clas­sic blood­lines for new ‘Pony’

South Western Times - - Wheels - Derek Og­den

THE Ford Mus­tang is a con­trary car: beloved of Baby Boomers yearn­ing for a rerun of a mis­spent youth; or 14year-old school­boys fu­elled by rag­ing hor­mones wish­ing they could own one.

Wrong. Hav­ing spent time with a new “Pony 34”, (it's rego num­ber) most in­ter­est­ing was the ap­peal of the red GT Fast­back shown by young women, snap­ping self­ies and sit­ting be­hind the wheel, per­haps dream­ing of cruis­ing Rodeo Drive.

Maybe I did not get it, but Ford cer­tainly did. Here’s what one Blue Oval bloke thinks – “The vis­ceral look, sound and per­for­mance of Mus­tang res­onates with peo­ple, even if they’ve never driven one. It is more than just a car – it is the heart and soul of Ford.”

The lat­est it­er­a­tion comes in two ver­sions, Fast­back (coupe) and Con­vert­ible, pow­ered by ei­ther a 5.0-litre V8 or four-cylin­der 2.3litre EcoBoost turbo-petrol en­gine. The for­mer a nod to the 20th cen­tury gas guz­zling mus­cle ma­chines, the lat­ter Ford’s gift to en­vi­ron­men­tally con­scious mod­ern mo­tor­ing.

As the maker says, no Mus­tang en­gine line-up would be com­plete with­out a great V8 en­gine at its core. So our test ve­hi­cle was a 5.0litre V8 Fast­back with six-speed man­ual gear­box, no­tably with Race Red paint, the most pop­u­lar Mus­tang colour.

The new Mus­tang looks like a Mus­tang … if that doesn't make sense to you it's a sign you're not a car en­thu­si­ast. It has a mus­cu­lar, long bon­net, shark nose and sig­na­ture rear lights. A chromed ‘pony’ in full flight takes pride of place at the cen­tre of the ra­di­a­tor grille.

A swoopy pro­file is set off by 19x9.0-inch Ebony Black painted al­loy wheels shod with 255/40 R19 tyres (front) and 19x9.5-inch Ebony Black wheels with 275/40 R19 tyres (rear).

The cock­pit, says Ford, car­ries an air­craft theme with a plain de­sign for in­stru­ments and con­trols. A high-res­o­lu­tion 8.0-inch colour touch screen presents in­for­ma­tion in­clud­ing satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion.

Seats are lat­er­ally sup­port­ive but lack of rear legroom has the Mus­tang deep in 2+2 ter­ri­tory. How­ever, the added width and a new rear sus­pen­sion make for more shoul­der and hip room for rear-seat pas­sen­gers, and a more use­fully shaped boot that can ac­com­mo­date two golf bags.

Cargo space can be im­proved by fold­ing the rear seat backs, but the Mus­tang has not been able to throw off the titchy boot open­ing, which lim­its the abil­ity to trans­port even medium-size lug­gage.

The 2017 Mus­tang has Ford's SYNC 3 sys­tem that fea­tures Ap­ple Carplay, An­droid Auto and Ford Ap­plink 3.0. It of­fers in­creased func­tion­al­ity and im­proved re­spon­sive­ness, de­pend­ing on the user’s mo­bile con­nec­tion.

Mus­tang GT con­tin­ues with the lat­est edi­tion of the deep-throated 5.0-litre V8, fea­tur­ing an up­graded valve-train and cylin­der heads that help boost out­put to 306 kW of power and 530 Nm of torque.

Ac­tive safety in­cludes Ford-de­vel­oped sta­bil­ity con­trol sys­tem, which is tuned to make the best of Mus­tang’s dy­namic ca­pa­bil­i­ties. In case of the un­ex­pected, de­but­ing in the Mus­tang is an Emer­gency As­sis­tance as stan­dard.

A front pas­sen­ger knee airbag is part of a stan­dard com­pre­hen­sive safety sys­tem that in­cludes a more ro­bust pack­age of sen­sors and seat­belt an­chor pre­ten­sion­ers.

The last time Ford sold the Mus­tang in Aus­tralia in 2001 the car had a 4.6-litre twin-cam V8 that pro­duced 240 kW of power and 430 Nm of torque. Lessons learned in de­vel­op­ing the spe­cial-edi­tion 2012 Mus­tang Boss 302 have re­sulted in a boost in power to 306 kW and 530 Nm of torque.

Six-speed man­ual trans­mis­sion pro­vides smoother shift­ing than pre­vi­ous Mus­tangs. How­ever, the changes are pretty heavy and al­most cum­ber­some at times.

An op­tional a short-throw shiftkit for the six-speed man­ual Mus­tang is there for driv­ing en­thu­si­asts. With a Ford Per­for­mance gear knob, the kit re­duces throw dis­tance by 19 per cent for swifter gear changes.

The well-sorted Mus­tang GT sus­pen­sion ironed out some pretty ropey roads on a drive out of town, while the Brembo brakes were equal to the task of slow­ing the 1600kg-plus coupe when re­quired.

Fuel con­sump­tion here recorded 9.0 litres per 100 kilo­me­tres, while back in the sub­urbs it ‘tapped on the door’ of 18 litres per 100km.

Wheels is free in your South Western Times, Bus­sel­ton Duns­bor­ough Times, Au­gusta Mar­garet River Times, Man­jimup-Bridgetown Times, Har­vey-Wa­roona Reporter and Bun­bury Her­ald

The new Mus­tang looks like a Mus­tang … if that doesn't make sense to you it's a sign you're not a car en­thu­si­ast.

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