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Ford Mustang V8 GT 2015 Review


First drive of the new Ford Mustang V8 ahead of its arrival in Australian showrooms in 2015.

To paraphrase Crocodile Dundee, now that’s a Mustang. Having tested the four-cylinder version of the 2015 Ford Mustang earlier in the day, it was time to get behind the wheel of the ‘real’ one: the 5.0-litre V8.

I can’t repeat in front of a polite audience the exact words that came out of my mouth having floored the V8 Mustang for the first time, but suffice to stay I said it a lot.

It’s a good thing Ford put big brakes on the new Mustang because you use them quite a bit to slow down -- just so that you can floor it back up to the speed limit again.

I initially thought the output of the V8 was a bit ho-hum on paper. The power rating of 325kW (a bit over 400 horsepower in the old money) and the torque rating (the measure of an engine’s ability to overcome resistance, or pull a stump out of the ground) of 540Nm also didn’t look like much.

That’s because the V8s we have back home in Australia -- in the Ford and Holden camps -- have more than this, so I went in with low expectations.

But the Mustang is relatively light for a V8 muscle car (even if it is between 3kg and 40kg heavier than before) and boy does this thing haul.

Better still, once the revs rise to 4000rpm, with its lungs full of air, the engine absolutely belts. It gets better the more you keep your foot into it.

Follow me for a moment: it accelerates harder and more quickly the higher the revs go. Customarily, V8s have asthma attacks. Not this one. This all new 5.0-litre V8 is a bit special, regardless of its ho-hum numbers.

We don’t have the 0 to 100km/h times yet because Ford doesn’t publish them. (It rightly argues that results vary too much between driver techniques, and road conditions).

But it feels as quick as a Falcon GT. And that’s supercharged, the Mustang is not.

Admittedly, this is a seat-of-the-pants feeling only. We’ll put timing equipment on it when it goes on sale in Australia in the second half of 2015.

In the meantime, I’ve got some winding mountain roads behind the city of Los Angeles to enjoy.

That said, ‘enjoy’ is a relative term. After just five minutes of enthusiastic driving I’m getting a sweat up, as if I’d just run up a flight of stairs.

The Mustang V8 is a little heavier than the four-cylinder, especially over the nose, so you’ve got to work it harder to get around a bend.

Don’t get me wrong: the chassis is brilliant. The North American press have declared it a revelation since it finally has independent rear suspension. Previous Mustangs had a rear end that could without exaggeration be traced back to the horse and cart.

But it’s not as light and nimble on its feet as the four-cylinder Mustang. To be fair, we tested a four-cylinder with sport suspension, and a V8 with comfort suspension. Nevertheless, there was a stark contrast.

Which means choosing between the four-cylinder and the V8 Mustang is going to create a dilemma almost as difficult as choosing between an iPhone6 and an iPhone6 Plus.

It depends on whether you want to go quickly in a straight line, or have superior cornering ability.

The diehards will buy the V8 no matter what. They’re the people that probably will buy a really big phone, even if it bends, just because it is a really big phone.

But I can’t blame them. The sound of the V8 alone is glorious. If only Ford could make the four-cylinder to sound like that.

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