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First Drive: Ford Mustang GT (Manual)


We all have those kinds of friends that are obsessed with their cars – you know the types – they detail them every weekend and park out in the boonies to avoid any kind of door dings. Perhaps I’ve never owned or driven the right car to say I’ve had the same feeling. However, after spending seven days with a Mustang GT – I can somewhat sense a bromance relationship starting to develop.

With the Mustang being on sale for nearly over a year now, what more can we tell you that you don’t already know? Straight line performance will put a kink in your neck as the 5.0-liter naturally aspirated V-8 puts out a galloping unadulterated ear-gasim noise. In attempt of using Launch Control, we set 4.5 seconds on the stop watch… which is also all it takes to frighten your passenger. But really, if you truthfully want to excite your friends with a picture-perfect burnout each time – Line Lock – it locks the front tires for a 15-second burnout. Technically it’s designed for drag racing to provide better traction off the line… but lez-be-honest.

Arriving in a shift for ourselves alternative, can be a little intimidating at first – but don’t let that grumpy snout fool you. Clutch engagement is firm as expected, yet the connection it has with gearing is spot on. Changing gear is solid yet gracious – gearing is close together but not too close for mistaking 1st for 3rd and the pedals are nicely spaced for some good heal-to-toe maneuvering. The transmission manages all 435-horsepower confidently – as a driver you always feel in control and always eager to mash the go pedal.

As we experienced in the 2.3-liter EcoBoost Mustang, the removal of the live axle for a more modern independent rear suspension allows the Mustang to be more aggressive in the corners so you don’t look like a complete idiot when leaving Cars and Coffee. Front and rear stabilizer bars keep the Mustang balanced with minimum body roll, adjusting the steering wheel between Sport, Comfort, and Normal can tighten for more precision and lively feel – Sport is not recommended for parking however.

There are four different driving modes – Normal, Snow, Sport, and Track – even has a helmet icon (scary). Each one is designed for a slightly better driving experience, but since we didn’t have access to a track, we weren’t about to switch that mode on… let’s keep the professional driving… well… to the professionals. We don’t need another crowd hopping incident. At least the brakes are firm and alert for a quick stopping time in case that happens. Ironically, we’d prefer the Normal option during our everyday run – the chassis was receptive enough to our driving style and the suspension was forgiving – Sport mode just tightens everything up a little more if you desire a little more stimulus driving style on some back twisty roads.

Now that the Mustang has reached its one year mark, let the special edition packages start coming. Like this California Special – it’s a $2000 package. It all started in 1968 and was only available in the state of California – but as time moved on and profit margins were foreseen, Ford opened the GT/CS to everyone across the country. This package enhances the Mustangs overall impressions by adding in these stunning black 19-inch wheels, a black front spoiler, a black rear deck spoiler, and some interesting LED indicators in the hood vents. Frankly, this all looked rather badass against our Competition Orange paint.

Unless you like your Mustang uncomfortable, we were happy our tester didn’t come with the Recaro racing seats. We care more about our comfort then being restrained. Hours of entertainment can be enjoyed in the GT/CS’s very comfortable body contouring embossed leather and suede seats that were semi-power adjustable and heated/cooled as part as our Premium Trim level. Upgraded with SYNC3 is a massive improvement over the previous generation. Functionality is much more user friendly through the 8-inch touch screen display. And safety didn’t go unnoticed as this Premium Mustang had blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert.

Through the course of seven days, a muscle car can appear to be unlivable. But really it depends on what you’re willing to compromise. Sure we only averaged 14 mpg for the week that left fueling with premium fuel more times than the average car. Naturally, nobody can sit in the back and after a rainstorm came through town we found ourselves parked in the driveway with a bucket of soapy water and rags. But that’s the life of a muscle car owner – it’s a useless unnecessary toy that puts a smile on your face every time that red starter button is pushed. And we think that’s a compromise we’re willing to make.

Price (As Tested):
2016 Ford Mustang GT Premium: $36,395
Destination: $900
Performance Specs:
5.0-liter V-8 – 435-horsepower/400lb-ft of torque – 0-60MPH: ±4.5 seconds
EPA MPG: 15/25/19 (city/highway/combined) – SSB Average: 14 MPG’s – Fuel Range: 240 Miles
Featured Options:
Enhanced Security Package: $395
Voice Activated Navigation System: $795
Shaker Audio System with 12-Speaker (Equipment Group 401A): $1,795
California Special Package: $1,995
Grand Total: $42,275


  1. It’s too bad I didn’t get to drive this one but I experienced it vicariously thought some pretty awesome photos and videos this past week. That latest series of photos turned out amazingly! Your test car had 7,100 (very hard) miles on it. And still seemed pretty well put together!

    • It would have been worthwhile to check out. But at least you get your thrills through your NSX (which someday I must feature.) I’d hate to be the person that ends up buying this car in the end… its been through a lot. HA

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