'This is a GT that can do daily commuting as well as weekend play, although it is more grand touring than some other muscle cars, blogs Dan Scanlan.'
With memories of the past and the exotically modified Mustang in my brain, how does the current 50th anniversary model fit in the annals of ponycars? Like the good old days, Mustangs can be corralled with multiple powerplants, although they are a bit more high-tech these days.
Up front, double-ball-joint independent MacPherson strut suspension with tubular stabilizer bar. In back, the beam axle is banished for independent suspension with new aluminum rear knuckles for less unsprung mass, and coil springs. The result is a supple yet firm suspension that doesn’t get upset in a bumpy turn. The suspension quickly handled road imperfections, loping along with a bit of quickly-damped rebound. And the rear end talked better with the front end.
Steering feel was direct, with good feedback. The standard disc brakes had a firm and responsive pedal, offering solid stops and no fade after some repeated hard use. The accelerometer said we pulled 1.03 Gs in braking. Along with the backup camera, there’s blind spot detection, cross-traffic alert and adaptive cruise control that maintains distance and speed with the guy in front down to about 20-mph.
The rest of the cabin is stylish, well thought out and retro while not being cartoonish. The steering wheel gets a thick leather rim with stereo, cellphone and voice command buttons on the right, and trip computer and cruise control on the left. Dash center, that tubular aluminum trim hosts vents over a large navigation touchscreen with a solid 12-speaker AM-FM-SiriusXM-CD stereo, climate control, phone, Sirius Travel Link and SYNC AppLink to control smartphone apps. There are two USB ports and a pair of 12-volt outlets, plus an MP3 input and SD card slot. The driver’s seat gets three memory presets, while both get heat and cooling. The back seats are kid-sized, with almost no legroom. They split and fold to expand a decent trunk that hosts the stereo’s sub-woofer. Overall, it’s a very comfortable, quiet and user-friendly cockpit with decent visibility and fit and finish.
Mustangs start with the $23,098 V-6 fastback and $24,275 EcoBoost four-cylinder Fastback on up to the $61,295 Shelby GT350R. Our GT Premium started at $36,100 with lots of standards, then added: $1,795 12-speaker Shaker Pro-Audio; $1,595 50th Anniversary package with 19-inch Pirelli rubber and alloy wheels, 50th Anniversary floor mats and double white leather seat/dash stitching; $1,195 adaptive cruise control; $795 voice activation navigation; $495 Triple Yellow Tricoat paint; $395 security system; and $295 reverse park assist cameras and sonar sensors. Add destination and the final price is $43,490.