Despite what some hippie in an over-engineered German sports car may think, there is something to be said about American Muscle and a good ole V-8 under the hood. While it may attract all the wrong attention, that being from tatted up muscle bikers demanding a drag race that we’ll know we’ll lose, the new iteration of the Ford Mustang is one badass muscle sports that’s ready to kick some ass.
However, there is a problem from the get-go. If we were ordering our test subject, the six-speed manual is the box we’d check off – but since we’re here to test everything new, our Mustang arrived fitted with the all-new 10-speed Automatic. The idea of putting an automatic in a performance sports car, let alone a muscle car is about as wrong as mixing beer and whiskey. It’s a receipt for those that don’t know what they’re doing. But if you don’t know your alcohol you go to a bartender, just as, if one can’t drive a stick, guaranteed most of the time an automatic will be available. So when Ford decided to put a multi-geared transmission in their revamped 2018 Mustang, I would have sent a rolling eye emoji in response.
Ford did quite a bit of re-tuning to this latest Mustang, both inside and outside the hood. While using the same 5.0-liter V-8, the Mustang now churns 460 horsepower with 420lb-ft of torque. With that, Ford took it even further. By developing a bunch of cool, nifty “Track Apps,” the Mustang GT comes with an extra Drag Strip Mode – that pushes the acceleration of 0-60 mph in less than 4 seconds.
With the new “Track App” module, we’re able to not only make our Mustang drive more aggressively, but sound like it. Under “Normal” mode, the Mustang GT sounds like the monster under our bed when we were kids. Put it in “Track” and that monster is breathing down our neck, we could hear the belly of the beast is hungry and there is no out running its hangry appetite.
When it comes down to distributing its power, the new 10-speed is surprisingly pretty good. It’s able to sustain its torque through each gear and provide a linear delivery of power. Left to its own devices, the automatic works very well at managing its own gearing as it shuffles through all 10. Its capable of finding the right gear with a relatively decent response time in delivering the proper gear for the job. Feeling a little over ambitious, using the steering wheel paddle shifters started to affect our experience in other ways. Downshifting through so many gears became a menial task and the response time between entry and it processing through the computer lagged so much that we found the car bouncing off the rev limiter before it would change gear causing us to lose power and torque when we really needed it. Even at low range speeds, we found this bunny rabbit, hopping effect – something that simulates a manual transmission, almost like the torque vectoring was out of calibration. Either way, the transmission exhibited more than we wore in store for with an aggressive and hostile response in track mode that left our quad-tipped
Going faster wasn’t the only thing Ford worked on. With its new Magne-Ride dampering system, the Mustang starts to encompass a multi-personality. Shuffling through the different drive modes – Normal, Sport, Sport Plus, Track, and Drag Strip, the suspension and steering adjusts its level of aggressiveness based on how advance you’re willing to drive. With Normal mode being the most commonly used mode, it’s the most comfortable supporting proper road etiquette when it comes to long term driving or the around town hustle – it never provides a fatigue state or left us feeling like we needed to get out and stretch. Under the more aggressive driving modes, the Mustang starts to adapt to its road conditions a little more destructively – the ride becomes stiffer as the more advance the Drive Mode becomes. The chassis starts to maintain a more well-controlled demeanor – there’s less body roll through the corners and with the electrically boosted steering, there’s a controllable connection between the driver and the car.
Ford saved most of it changes to advancing the driving technique of the Mustang GT, while leaving most of the interior alone, it continues to offer a premium touch of upgraded materials and features like heated and cooled seats, SYNC 3 touch screen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto Connectivity. As part of the Mustang GT Premium, our Mustang featured a fully customizable 12-inch LCD display cluster that we could even change the colors on – which is pretty nifty – and based on each drive mode, it adjusts to what is most important to see. Ford did upgrade the exterior fascia to match more of its anger management behavior with more aggressive lines and nostril’s through the hood. Our GT Performance Package upgraded our style with black 19-inch wheels, performance rear wing, and a TORSEN limited slip differential.
There’s no hiding from the fact that the Mustang has built a reputation of crowd surfing. Ford as implement all they can do to help avoid any uncertain situations by offering a Safe and Smart Package. This allows the Mustang to have all the latest in safety features from blind spot monitoring, rear-cross traffic detection, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, high-beam assist to forward collision alert with autonomous braking and pedestrian detection with crash avoidance.
Having not received official pricing on our test subject, the Mustang GT Premium starts at $39,190. Adding on the 10-speed Select-Shift Automatic costs $1595 more. Then we have the $3995 GT Performance Package, $1495 Safe and Smart Package, $395 Enhanced Security Package, $895 Active Value Performance Exhaust, $895 Sharker Pro Audio System, $1695 Magna-Ride Dameper System. This pushes our Mustang GT close to almost 52-grand, based off Ford’s Build Your Own Website. That’s a whole lot of green for something that barely breaks 15 miles to the gallon and only goes 200 miles before needing a dose of premium octane fuel.
Nearly a decade ago, a $50,000 price tag would have been a joke. But as we sit here now, overlooking our test results and analyzing our photos, it’s a price today we wouldn’t mind spending for the amount of options the Mustang GT provides. And despite there being a Quiet Mode on the exhaust, we can attest none of our neighbors got to experience what that mode was like.
|2018 Ford Mustang GT Automatic:||$39,190|
|As Tested (including Options & Destination):||$51,660|
|5.0-liter V-8 – 460-Horsepower, 10-Speed Automatic Transmission – 0-60MPH: ±4.0 seconds|
|EPA MPG: Not Listed – SSB Average: 14.5 MPG’s – Fuel Range: ±250 Miles|