Monday 16 September 2019

Mustang sallies forth and conquers the world

Modern take on US classic is a real winner, writes, Martin Brennan

Fast and not so furious: Mustang now a friendlier beast. Photo: Stuart G W Price
Fast and not so furious: Mustang now a friendlier beast. Photo: Stuart G W Price

Martin Brennan

Ford is reining in its iconic Pony sports car, the Mustang, to make it safer and more neighbour friendly. But whoa, before you kick off a shoe, the good news is that performance has been improved, not diminished

Mustang has been the best-selling sports car in America for 50 years and now after storming into Europe, it us the most popular sports car on the planet. Last year, 150,000 Mustangs were sold across the world, well ahead of Ferrari and Porsche. Now exporting to 146 countries, sales outside the USA have leapt by 100pc.

The 2018 version arrives here in March with a long list of safety and performance aids, including a "Good Neighbour Mode" that allows the high-flying executive heading off to an early morning flight to smother the 5-litre V8 engine roar until out of earshot of sleeping neighbours. On the open road you can reset for a full-blooded drive.

Almost 100 Mustangs have been sold here in two years and up to 25 new owners are expected to buy a new model brimming with technology.

The 5-litre 450bhp and 2.3 litre EcoBoost 290bhp engines get a new 10-speed transmission which enables the engine to deliver peak power and torque for faster acceleration.

The 5-litre will now accelerate to 100km/h in less than four seconds when a Drag Strip Mode is enabled. Typically, when a driver shifts gears, time is lost but this new box enables the engine to deliver peak power and torque when up-shifting. This gives a sprint once confined to supercars. For tax and environment reasons, the 2.3 litre version is more popular here. Prices across the range are from €55,000 to €72,000.

The Mustang has languished at a two-star Euro NCap safety rating but it could win higher marks with such high-end technology as Pre-Collision Assist, Pedestrian Detection, Distance Alert, Lane Departure warning and Lane Keeping Aid. There is also an optional MagneRide Damping System for instant response to changing road conditions: Normal, Sport track and Snow/Wet modes.

Thanks to rapid growth in international markets, the Ford Mustang is the most popular sports car in the world, according to Ford analysis of IHS Markit new vehicle registration data in the sports car segment. "The legacy of Mustang continues to grow, and in places it never reached before," said Mark Schaller, Ford Mustang marketing manager.

For 2018, a more athletic look is highlighted by new front and rear design and more advanced technologies such as an available 12-inch all-digital instrument panel.

Sunday Independent

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