Pony badge still quenches over five decades
“The updated Mustang is more of a facelift with most of its updates under the skin.”
“The Mustang still offers the best value-for-money based on the power output and street presence.”
“The new Mustang feels more planted and composed during quick lane changes,” said Ershad.
“Muscle cars don’t boast the best interiors.”
Yellow muscle car: The magic words that can steer a rush of flashing chrome, smoking tires, long-haired teens, punk rock and Route 66! Even though these don’t fit with the current times, a muscle car finished in a yellow shade manages to draw a lot of attention at any time of the day. In my pocket are the keys to unlock this center of attention; the Ford Mustang in Triple Yellow adorning that lovely 5.0 badge near the front wheel arch.
Ford Mustang completed 54 years of legendary performance last year and the ‘Stang had managed to create a niche for itself in the muscle car segment. Now adding a lot more sport car tech and safety features, the Mustang continues to excite auto maniacs around the globe. I was all out strolling along like a kid. Even though there are M, AMG and RS badges, the 5.0 pony-badge certainly has a different whiff of gasoline to it. So there it was, my very own Mustang for the next two days.
At first glance, the front end felt a bit too sleek for my muscle car dreams—especially from the front three-quarter’s view. Viewed straight up front, the angry looks still prevailed. Menacing looks guaranteed on any rearview mirror…but not for long. The new Mustang features a re-styled hood with twin air vents and droops more towards the tarmac. Front bumpers have minor cosmetic changes as well, with vents to channel air towards the wheels. A front splitter in black helps to square up the looks a bit. Nothing drastic, but these are the only cosmetic updates, really. And yes, the bulbs and lights have been upgraded to LED tech all around. From the A-pillar, the iconic fastback silhouette takes shape. The car follows an all-black theme with the wheels, grille, side rearviews and badges finished in a glossy finish. The profile and rear looks remain more or less the same as previous models and the top marks go to the quad exhaust pipes on the V8 tester. Yellow and black is a smashing combo for all kinds of performance cars and the Mustang looks damn good with it too. My only upgrade on the exterior would be smoked lights (which I guess would take away a bit of that sleek feel on the front). Mustangs are known for looking bad and butch-like…and I want it that way. (No, no…No Backstreet Boys now!)
Stressed out from work, I was not in a mood to fiddle much with the car. I crackled up the V8, slotted the selector into D and had a brisk drive home. Needed to catch up on some rest and sleep, which was lost over Netflix the previous night. I had a good sleep hoping for a bright, sunny and yellow morning!
The Friday morning mist gave way to the wake-up yawn of a 5.0-liter V8 and wow it was loud! I could imagine all the other cars sleeping soundly and suddenly startled by this monster of an engine. I decided to pull out of the parking and feed some fresh air into the naturally aspirated Coyote motor in service since 2011. New to this Mustang is a 10-speed transmission from Ford, which claims to improve fuel efficiency but to me, it has helped make acceleration smoother and easier. Muscle cars are known for their outright straight-line capabilities and this 460 horsepower gas-guzzler is no exception. Zero-to-100 km/h comes up in under five seconds and feels fun as well. The Mustang can wake up the crazy teen-new-driver in you. ‘Drag Start’ function is the Ford launch control system and helps minimize wheel spin, otherwise so closely associated with classic ‘Stangs. A new ‘My Mode’ feature helps us to save all favorite personalized vehicle settings in a single button. Definitely helpful if the car has multiple drivers or if someone just decides to play with car settings for a bit.
After some quick acceleration runs in the neighborhood and filling up the fuel tank, I got back home to pick up my wife and kid for a quick run to Abu Dhabi. And yes, the new adaptive exhaust on the Mustang features a ‘Quiet Mode’ that can help you with a silent start. You won’t wake up any sleeping neighbors or your sleeping baby!
Muscle cars don’t boast the best interiors. They are made to be basic and rustic. The new Mustang interior is not a boring place to be, but you can hit your hands on some cheap feeling plastic all around. Switches feel chunky and purpose made. Leather wrapping and contrast stitches help spice things up a bit. But overall, the feel still remains old school. A new 12-inch digital LCD screen replaces the conventional speed and rpm gauges and offers three different views for normal, sport and track mode. Seats all around are huge and accommodating, but rear seats would only fit kids or baby seats.
Getting out from the community streets and on to the motorway, the Mustang finally gets to stretch its legs. Featuring new shock absorbers all around and improved lateral stiffness with innovative stabilizer bars, the new Mustang feels more planted and composed during quick lane changes. But do not expect sports car league response here, it is a muscle car. Muscle cars have an in-born trait to be quirky and a bit wallowy in handling and turns. The upgraded suspension improves the overall ride but it is still not too comfy over rough patches. Part of it is due to the 19-inch wheels with low-profile rubber on it. The ‘Stang kept us entertained throughout the 150 kilometer drive with its touchscreen infotainment system. The Mustang is a true mile muncher. Neither the car nor its passengers felt any stress all through the trip and the new safety features ensured that extra peace of mind. Lane keep assist, lane departure warning, pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection and driver alert system find their way into the new Ford. While you may never really use these features knowingly, it eases the driving experience especially in a car like this with limited visibility all around.
Entering into Abu Dhabi, the yellow Mustang ensures that you get all the stares and glances at traffic lights. And not surprisingly, maybe a Camaro or Challenger by your side calling for a quick sprint!
The updated Mustang is more of a facelift with most of its updates under the skin. It loves to be driven the distance with occasional spurts of true-blue horsepower. In times of downsized engines and electric motors, the 5.0-liter V8 still maintains its muscle car roots. The Mustang still offers the best value-for-money based on the power output and street presence. Named after a legendary World War II fighter plane, the pony badge has quenched the thirst of automotive enthusiasts for over five decades and we hope it runs forever.
Let’s wait for the Shelby editions now!
Pros: V8 performance, head-turning looks, exhaust note, good value for money
Cons: Some cheap trim inside, too firm at times
Rivals: Dodge Challenger, Chevrolet Camaro
one word: toned taunt
4 / 5 stars
5.0L V8, 460 hp @ 7,000 rpm, 569 Nm @ 4,600 rpm
10-speed automatic, RWD
0-100 km/h: 5 sec, top speed: 240 km/h, fuel consumption: 11 L/100 km
Weight: 1,690 kg