2018 Ford Mustang GT Manual Review

The Mustang remains a flawed gem & Shahzad wouldn’t have it any other way

By Shahzad Sheikh

Click below now to watch my 2018 Ford Mustang Manual Review

Full disclosure – this was my drive of the year so far, and I’d have one. A 2018 Ford Mustang 5.0 V8 GT with the manual transmission. I’d have one today. Maybe even in this colour. Maybe in Kona Blue with a white strip. Or maybe the Bullitt-spec car in Highland Green – yeah, damn, that would be cool!

2018 Ford Mustang GT Manual Review

I could just rave about it for the remaining paragraphs, but first let’s give you some pertinent information.

2018 Ford Mustang GT Manual Review

The V6 is dead. You only get the 2.3-litre Ecoboost four-cylinder with 310bhp or the 5.0-litre with awesomely-named Coyote V8 in GT guise putting out 460bhp and 350lb ft. And if you want to buy a Mustang, you’ll buy the V8, or you’ll remove yourself from this webpage immediately!

2018 Ford Mustang GT Manual Review

There’s a new 10-speed automatic available which – believe it or not – Ford and GM have developed together and can also be found in the Camaro ZL1.

2018 Ford Mustang GT Manual Review

And there’s been a facelift for this year, and the easiest way to tell is the ends of the headlights that wrap around into the side fenders, now slope downwards on the latest version, but flow up along the contour of the wheelarch for pre-facelift versions. I actually prefer the new look as it seems more in synch with the look of the 2005 Mustang.

2018 Ford Mustang GT Manual Review

Changes inside include even better fit, finish and quality of trims, really making this an appealing and inviting cabin, more than ever before. Now there’s a full digital and configurable instrument panel available, although the car in this review had the regular analogue style dials – which I really don’t mind actually, as they remain pretty evocative.

2018 Ford Mustang GT Manual Review

The infotainment and navigation is much better, with the two now finally and properly integrated and as an interesting aside, not only does the nav tell you the speed limit of whichever road you’re on, but also depicts your speed with greater accuracy than the speedometer.

2018 Ford Mustang GT Manual Review

Crucially the Mustang offers Active Valve Performance Adjustable exhaust – and here’s all you need to know about that – it’s loud. Very loud! I’m pretty sure they’ve turned the standard exhaust note back up and more now, after seemingly turning it down for the 2015 incarnation. It sounds absolutely sensational quite frankly.

2018 Ford Mustang GT Manual Review

Let’s jump straight in and talk about the elephant in the room, except that this elephant is very lean and mean, sports a six-pack and nimble hooves, yes we’re talking current Chevrolet Camaro SS – the Mustang’s ultimate nemesis.

2018 Ford Mustang GT Manual Review

In terms of handling the Mustang is not as sharp-witted, its performance is not as shockingly pulverising, and the seats take adjusting your too – although the Recaros in the Shelby are much better. So to some extent the head says take the Camaro, and it does have my initials on it.

2018 Ford Mustang GT Manual Review

But the Mustang counters hard – and how – with dollops of charisma oozing from the wheel arches, star quality glinting brightly enough for all bystanders to don compulsory dark Raybans, and engine noise that shatters windows three blocks away.

2018 Ford Mustang GT Manual Review

And let’s tackle those supposed flaws – well yes you have to coax the nose into a bend at speed, but the grip is tight at the back and turn-in improves both from selecting sports mode (which also quashes the subtle bobbing of the nose) and from adjusting your driving to either time precisely when and how to feed the torque back in, or by switching off traction nannies and going full movie-style sideways hero – that is if your Levis had to have extra pockets sewn in just to accommodate your sizeable balls.

2018 Ford Mustang GT Manual Review

Talking of torque, it’s really not a bad idea, as it is in the Mustang, to feed it in along a linear curve rather than dump the whole lot if you so much as twitch your right foot. And talking of right foot, yes, for me personally the go pedal could be a little higher and closer to the no pedal for better heal-and-toeing, or I could just practice twisting my clumsy stiff ankle some more, or just get some double hinge metal implants put into my right foot.

2018 Ford Mustang GT Manual Review

A bit extreme? I think not. And that’s the thing about the Mustang. I’ll make excuses for everyone of its flaws. Because when it comes to heart-over-head this legendary Pony car pumps pure octane directly into your ventricular chambers and gets it racing like it took a hit of NOx on pressing Go-Baby-Go.

2018 Ford Mustang GT Manual Review

You’re on a real motoring high when peddling the Stang, not just on a high speed highway, or a tight chassis twister, or a tyre-melting car park, but even during a traffic-laden commute. It just makes you feel special. I maintain, as I’ve said before, that this is a car that makes you feel a million dollars but doesn’t cost it.

2018 Ford Mustang GT Manual Review

This is after all the world’s (yes, the WORLD’S) best-selling sports car. And if you’re wondering why it is. Spend 10 minutes driving a GT. And you’ll get it. Just like I do.

I want one!

2018 Ford Mustang GT Manual Review

See my review 2016 Mustang Convertible

See my review 2015 Mustang GT

 

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