Owners Review: Ford Mustang 5.0
Meet Jezebel, a Yellow Blaze Mustang 5.0, in this thoroughly comprehensive review
Owner/Reviewer: Rabih Habayeb
Model: 2012 Ford Mustang 5.0
I remember as a kid, my dad used to tell me about his 1970 Mustang. He drove it in Texas when he was at flight school. It was a convertible, and only had a three-gear manual. He loved that car, not because it was fast or had the looks, but – and I’m guessing here – because it had a certain demeanor about it.
That was the thought I had in the back of my mind when I decided my next car would be a ‘Stang. I didn’t give two thoughts about it to be honest; I walked in and made a down payment at Al Tayer Motors.
A week later, I was driving out of the showroom in a brand new 2012 Yellow Blaze Mustang 5.0. It was the Premium Package, which comes with plenty of toys, and ran me a grand total of AED 154,000. That was pretty much right around my budget, even less than what I was expecting to pay, so I really can’t complain about the price.
To put things into perspective, when I bought my 350Z in 2008, I paid AED 153,500 (down from 161,000 after pulling some strings).
I’ll jump straight to the point: you want guts, this car has it. The 5-liter V8 sounds like Thor himself threw down his mighty hammer, Mjolnir, and ruptured the heavens. Nothing sounds better in the morning when I get up to go to work.
But I digress. Let’s go through the specs, and I’ll break it down –
Six speed automatic. Yes, I know what you’re thinking. “Automatic? Really?” Yes, really. The simple fact is this – not a single car dealership in the UAE will readily provide you with a manual transmission car, with the exception of Chevy. But let’s be frank here, who wants to drive a Chevy? I mean really, would you rather a bow-tie or a galloping wild horse? Thought so…
Five-O. Not the cops or that TV show remake. Proper American muscle. 412 horses that will rip your eyes out when you command them to go.
Acceleration is brutal in a straight line, thanks to 390lb ft of torque, and this car will bite you whenever it gets the chance. Turn off traction control, and you could be in a world of hurt… but it’s oh so much fun to drift your way into a corner, even if you’re not trying! (Not that I’ve tried that, of course).
Red line is a mere 7,000rpm, which doesn’t sound like much until you realize that the torque curve is pretty much flat throughout. I’d say it kicks in at around 2,000rpm, and you’re having fun by the time you reach 4,250rpm, and flying at 6,500prm. This engine is a beast.
Besides, with the right type of modifications – and I’m not even talking about turbochargers or superchargers here – you’re looking at close to 500bhp. The Coyote V8 is easily capable of that, and more.
Better than I would have expected from a V8. Costs me about AED 100 to fill, and will drive me around anywhere between 400-450kms. Not too shabby. Premium fuel is a must to get the most out of it, so keep that in mind.
Leather and plastic. It’s a pretty basic interior in terms of looks, but then again you’re not paying premium price for the luxuries of a leather-clad dash, you’re paying to get brute force.
The seats are comfortable and supportive, and are heated. Unfortunately, air cooled seats aren’t an option, so that was a big downer given we live in the middle of the desert.
The dashboard is cleanly laid out, with two large odometer and RPM gauges, which can be lit up using a variety of different colors using Ford’s MyColor feature for ambient lighting and gauges.
There’s no telescoping steering, though, so you may need to fiddle around with the seat to get the perfect seating position. Steering wheels controls for audio, Bluetooth and cruise control are nice and firm, and easily accessible.
Speaking of fiddling around with the seat, you get electric seats, but the back still needs to be manually adjusted.
Fully automatic side mirrors (they aren’t foldable, though), and automatic windows are standard.
The Premium Package also comes with a Shaker 500 sound system, with support for USB, Bluetooth Audio and Auxiliary. No satellite radio in these parts, but the option is there.
The Sync system is powered by Microsoft, and works well with a variety of mobile phones. Voice recognition is usually spot on, but it does face difficulties with Arabic names – no surprise there.
Navigation/GPS is lacking, which is a shame given how intricate the MyFord Sync system is. It definitely would have been a nice addition, but given that Dubai roads change almost daily, I’m not going to hold it against Ford.
Safety is also taken care of nicely. Standard safety features include antilock brakes, front-seat side airbags, traction control and stability control. Also standard is Ford’s MyKey system, which allows owners to limit speed and audio volume levels for young drivers. The latter is useless, frankly, unless you intend to constantly valet your car or lend it to your kids daily.
It’s a Mustang… and it has 19” wheels.
Big downer was that neither headlights nor fog lights are HIDs. Buying HID headlights from Al Tayer will cost you a princely sum of AED 10,400 after discount, and not including installation. Having said that, most people agree that the standard headlights look better, but you can judge for yourself.
Lack of body kit addition while purchasing the car was also a minus, but this is all about Al Tayer. A hood scoop, side scoops, side and rear window louvers and a new front fascia which moves the fog lights down below the grill will run you what I estimate will be around AED 40,000 above sticker price.
That’s a steep price to pay for cosmetic surgery, and I’d rather drop that kind of cash on a Boss 302 intake manifold, a springs and shocks kit, control arms and Brembo brakes. A high flow filter, cold air intake with re-chip and axle-back exhaust would also mean an extra bump in horsepower and torque, and you’d still have a few thousand Dirhams to spare!
Honestly, I didn’t expect it to handle itself as well as it does.
Having driven the Chevrolet Camaro SS at the Autodrome, I was expecting the Mustang to handle more like a boat, but it holds its own pretty well. The chassis isn’t too stiff, so it’s comfortable over bumps, but it’s stiff enough to be able to make high speed maneuvering comfortable and poised.
Lock-to-lock is horrible though, as with any American car, so expect to do a 3-point turn in most places. The addition of a reverse camera – which comes with a very strong taillight to guide you in the dark, and a linear guide to know how much distance you have left – is quite nice, and very useful. This car is huge, so you’ll need the help when it comes to parking.
It’s definitely more comfortable than a Camaro SS, in the fact that you don’t feel like you’re driving a coffin. It’s spacious and cabin noise at high speeds is acceptable, so you should be able to hold a conversation easily. The addition of rear seats for two is a nice touch, though you’re more likely to use them to put your shopping/work stuff/clothes on it than moving people around.
Braking is strong and composed, but there’s no option for Brembo brakes right off the showroom floor. I think that should have been standard given its price point, and the fact that it’s a heavy American muscle car, it could use all the stopping power help it can get.
As I write this, I haven’t even hit 5,000kms on it, but I’ve noticed a couple of things about build quality. Generally, it’s a solid car, and I can’t really complain about anything. Something that’s been annoying me, though, is a creek that comes from right around the driver’s seat. I can’t figure out what that is, but I’m sure it’s easily fixed.
Another thing is the passenger side door. When loud music is playing (read: extremely loud), there’s a small rattle that comes out of the door. I’m guessing it’s something that’s loose, so again easily repairable. Both of these issues will have to wait until my 10,000kms service, though.
Al Tayer Motors. I purchased the car from the Garhood showroom, and the salesman was awesome throughout. Hit a bit of a snag when they were able to convince me to go with Emirates NBD for my car loan, then failed to provide the required service. I think that was more of ENBD failing to do their job, so I ended up with my own bank loan. They did provide me an insanely good insurance rate though.
Salesman and aftersales both called to see if I was happy with the car, so it’s nice to see a little bit of extra effort. Fantastic staff all around.
I think a combination of that, and me just being happy with the car, would likely push me to recommend people buy a Ford. A friend ended up buying the Ford Edge, and he’s very pleased with it too. Ford and Al Tayer are clearly doing something right.
Overall, I couldn’t be happier with the car. It’s gutsy, it’s comfortable, and it’s iconic.
That galloping horse on the front makes getting up in the morning for my work drive worth it, and it’s never a dull moment. Feel bored while on the road or stuck in traffic? Just rev the engine, you’ll remember why you bought it.