By Steve Berry
THE Ford Mustang is, without doubt, a motoring icon. It’s the first car that springs to mind when someone uses the phrase “American muscle-car”.
The first right-hand drive Mustangs arrived here in 2015 and have been selling steadily ever since – last year Ford sold around 15,000 Mustangs in Europe alone and the UK accounted for around 4,000 of them.
The Mustang really looks the part with powerful haunches, a bonnet so long it almost has its own postcode and an overall presence that means you’ll be turning heads wherever you go.
First off, let’s talk about the two main options you will have to consider: Fastback or Convertible? 2.3-litre 4-cyclinder or 5.0-litre V8 (GT)?
I think the Fastback just about shades it. It’s only with the roof down and the sun shining that the convertible comes into its own but for the vast majority of the time (in the UK, anyway) the Fastback is king.
The second choice is easier – you buy the 5.0-litre V8 GT model. It shouldn’t really be a choice at all as anything below eight cylinders will feel phoney the moment you drive it off the forecourt.
I’ve been lucky enough to be driving a V8-powered convertible Mustang GT and I was even luckier to have some decent, roof-down weather during that time – and I loved every minute.
Powered by a 410 bhp, 5.0-litre V8, quad-cam, 32-valve engine, the 6-speed manual is capable of 0-62mph in under 5 seconds and has a top speed limited to 155mph.
You can get the 5.0-litre Convertible Mustang GT for £41,665 OTR if you choose the 6-speed manual, but my car was an Auto, which starts at £43,165.
Adding in a premium colour (Magnetic) adds £595 and my car also had the Custom Pack (£1,795) which adds Shaker Pro premium audio with Sat Nav, heated/cooled front seats, reverse parking sensors and 19in Lustre Nickel alloy wheels.
Standard spec is pretty good and includes 4-piston Brembo brake callipers up-front, fully independent suspension front and rear, Limited Slip Differential, selectable driving modes: Snow/Wet, Normal, Sport and Track, SYNC 2 8in colour touchscreen with 9-speaker DAB radio, USB and Bluetooth connectivity, voice-control and Ford Emergency Assistance.
There are also automatic headlamps and wipers, 6-way powered front seats, key-free entry system with push-button starter button, rear view camera and dual-zone auto climate.
The Mustang GT Convertible is strictly a 4-seater with restricted leg and headroom in the rear for adult passengers but up front you’ll find plenty of space.
In fact, the Mustang’s interior is quite airy – even with the canvas roof up – and visibility all round with the roof in place was better than expected.
The driving position is spot-on, with a huge amount of adjustment in both the seat and steering wheel. A word of warning though: the doors are quite heavy and very long so extra care is needed when you come to park.
Materials inside are good but not up to the standard of the three big German manufacturers, BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz, and overall the feeling is quality rather than premium.
Traditional main dials are a welcome sight, being clear and easy to read with a configurable digi screen between. The main, 8in touchscreen lacks some of the resolution of rival systems but I found it easy enough to use and entering sat nav data was a doddle.
But, of course, the first thing you want to do is start the engine and listen to the initial bark. The Mustang GT doesn’t disappoint, with a V8 roar that settles down to a soft burble soon after pushing the glowing red starter button.
I didn’t find the wind noise intrusive and even at 70mph on the motorway conversation was held at normal volumes.
The automatic gearbox is fine but I did find myself craving a manual after a while as I think it would suit the car’s driving characteristics more.
What can be said about the Ford Mustang – whether Fastback or Convertible – is it’s a huge amount of fun to drive. Rear wheel drive and 410bhp are tamed by the electronics to just about the correct level of craziness so that average drivers, like myself, can throw this hefty car around without creating mayhem.
The steering is not quite as quick as I would have liked and body-lean around the fastest corners is more than in some rivals but the Mustang never feels unwieldly for such a large car and the grip levels were very good indeed.
Over seven days of mixed-road driving I managed to average 23mpg which was slightly better than I was anticipating.
It really is an icon-of-the-road and if you’re in the market for a thoroughbred American muscle-car with the steering wheel on the correct side then you really don’t have a choice, do you?
AT A GLANCE: Ford Mustang GT Convertible
OTR Price: £41,665
Engine: 5.0-litre V8
Power: 410 bhp
Transmission: 6-speed Auto
0-62mph: 4.9 secs
Top Speed: 155 mph
Combined Economy: 22.1 mpg