The venerable Ford Mustang pony car has been around since 1964 and1/2 and the offerings have changed dramatically over the years, with a multitude of model variations offered, featuring a variety of engines and transmissions, not to mention several body styles and special edition offerings. For the 2018 model year, the Ford Mustang GT 5.0 is one example that appears in both Convertible and Fastback Coupe form.
My tester happened to be the 2018 Ford Mustang GT 5.0 Fastback Coupe which bows with sleeker and more aerodynamic design form, a menu of more advanced technology as well as improved performance. The new Mustang sports a lower, restyled hood and grille, along with new hood vents that provide a more athletic persona.
For the first time, the entire lineup features all-LED front lights, and in addition, there are revised LED taillamps, a new bumper, fascia and an available performance spoiler. Dual-tip exhaust is standard issue for the Mustang EcoBoost?, while V8-powered Mustang GTs comes with a standard quad-tip exhaust. A heated steering wheel is optional, while the standard rearview camera is a carry over from the previous year. An available 12-inch, all-digital LCD instrument cluster exhibits unique displays for normal, sport and track modes, and an all-new MyMode feature allows consumers to save drive settings when ordered with the 12-inch cluster.
The engine note can now be personalized with an all-new active valve performance exhaust, available on Mustang GT models.
Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection, distance alert, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist and Driver Alert System are all part of the available driver-assist technologies. In terms of connectivity, SYNC? Connect with FordPass? is available for the first time.
An improved ride is delivered by new shock absorbers, a cross-axis joint on the rear suspension and innovative stabilizer bars on all Series. MagneRide dampers are a new option with the Mustang Performance Package.
A 2.3-liter EcoBoost 4-cylinder provides standard powerwith increased torque, while the thoroughly reworked 5.0-liter V8 delivers improved horsepower, torque and fuel efficiency. The 5.0-liter V8 comes with TI-VCT, Dual-Fuel, high-pressure direct injection and low-pressure port fuel injection. It generates 460 horsepower at 7,000 rpm while also developing 420 pound feet of torque at 4,600 rpm.
The motive force of the longitudinally mounted front engine reaches the rear wheels via a standard, redesigned Tremac six-speed manual gearbox that features a twin disc clutch and dual mass flywheel that results in increased torque capability and a more efficient clutch modulation. There?s a new 10-speed automatic transmission that?s available for both engines that delivers quicker shift times, a better low-speed tip-in response along with significantly reduced friction losses.
Standard features and equipment include: two 12-volt powerpoints, Air conditioning, an AM/FM stereo/single-CD player with a six-speaker audio system, Cruise control, the 2.3L EcoBoost I-4, front and rear stabilizer bars, Intelligent Access with push-button start, LED headlamps with LED signature lighting, a Limited-slip rear differential, Power sideview Mirrors ? with integrated blind spot mirrors, Power windows and door locks, Rear sequential light-emitting diode turn signal lamps, Rear-wheel drive, a remote keyless entry system, Selectable-effort electronic power-assisted steering, a center stack mounted SYNC? system with a 4.2-inch color LCD screen, SYNC 3 with 8-inch color LCD capacitive touch screen with AppLink,? 911 Assist? and two smart-charging USB ports (Premium), a Tilt/telescoping steering column, and a Six-speed manual transmission
Safety and Security features are not forgotten either with the following contenet as standard fare: AdvanceTrac? electronic stability control, Driver?s knee, front-seat side, glove-box-door-integrated and Side-curtain (fastback) Airbags, Power-assisted four-wheel disc brakes with four-wheel Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS),
Illuminated entry system, Individual tire pressure monitoring system
(excludes spare), LATCH ? Lower Anchors and Tether Anchors for Children, MyKey?, Perimeter alarm, Personal Safety System? for driver and front passenger with dual-stage front airbags, a Rearview camera, SecuriLock? Passive Anti-Theft System, and an SOS Post-Crash Alert System?.
Getting back to my test vehicle ?a 2018 Ford Mustang GT 5.0 Coupe came in Premium trim with the six-speed manual gearbox. The exterior finish was Orange Fury metallic Tricoat, while the interior was executed in Ebony leather trim with power seats. The base sticker read $39,095., while the options, which included: Equipment Group 401A, the Orange paint finish, Active ValvePerformance Exhaust, the HGT Performance Package, Magne-Ride Damping System and the Destination and Delivery charge, bumed the final count and amount to $49,275.
SUMMARY: My blazing Orange Fury Metallic Stang GT equipped with the 5.0 liter V8 and six-speed manual gearbox and optional Performance package, added a tighter suspension, Brembo six-piston front brake calipers, an enhanced engine cooling, a Torsen limited-slip differential, and Michelin Pilot Sport 4S performance tires?255/40R-19 front, 275/40R-19 rear?on 10-?V?-spoke Gloss black-painted ally wheels. It also came with the optional Active Valve Performance Exhaust and MagneRide adaptive magnetorheological shocks
The 5.0-liter Coyote V-8 barks impressively to life instantly when fired up , even when the Drive mode is set to Normal. The 460 horses vocally declare their high performance intent instantly and progreass as one cranks up the Drive mode settings, which in addition to Normal include MyMode (customizable), Sport +, Track, Drag Strip and Snow/Wet. Torque has increased by 20 lb-ft to 420 lb-ft at 4600 rpm, and the redline bumps up to a gnarly 7400 rpm.
This sweet sounding engine, approaching a NASCAR note with the pedal to the metal, with power coming on more like that of a foine German sports car. The reworked manual gearbox incorporates new gear ratios for quicker low end acceleration.
The steering feel is positive enough for government work, diving into corners with precision and smoking trough the twisties calm confidence. The car is extremely stable and stickes to the road surface with aplomb.
The firm ride quality was firm but lacking harshness thanks to the MagneRide damping system.
This year?s changes should be enough to raise its level of competiveness in the ever escalating pony car battle. The 5.0 GT is definitely better than before and is a worthy contender in its segment. It?s serious fun, but the rear seat might as well not even be there as it isn’t very accommodating for adult passengers of any size. Think of the GT fastback as a two-seat sports car.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2018 Ford Mustang GT Premium Coupe
Base Price: $39,095.
Price as Tested: $49,275.
Engine Type and Size: 5.0-liter TI-VCT V8 with Dual-Fuel, high-pressure direct injection and low-pressure port fuel injection.
Horsepower (bhp): 460 @ 7,000 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 420 @ 4,600 rpm
Transmission: Tremac six-speed manual.
Drive Train: Longitudinally mounted front engine / Rear-Wheel Drive.
Suspension: Front – Double-ball-joint MacPherson strut with stabilizer bar and aluminum front knuckles, Hydraulic Gas-Pressurized, Outboard-Mounted and MagneRide Damping system.
Rear ? Integral-link independent with coil springs and stabilizer bar and MagneRide Damping system.
Brakes: Power-assisted four-wheel discs with ABS and Traction Control.
Tires: Michelin Pilot Sport S ? 255/40 ZR19 front / 275/40 ZR19 rear, mounted on gloss black 10-?V?-spoke alloy wheels.
Wheelbase: 107.1 inches
Length Overall: 188.5 inches
Width: 81.9 inches ? with mirrors /
Height: 54.3 inches
Curb Weight: 3,705 lbs.
Turning Circle: Not listed
Fuel Capacity: 16.0 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: Not available
Drag Coefficient: Not listed
0 – 60 mph: Not tested
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles and unusual wheeled vehicles as well.