What hasn’t changed is the original model’s mantra of plenty of power at an affordable price. That’s served up both in Fastback coupe guise and in this Convertible form. In either case, you get a car that’ll make you feel alive. There’s nothing quite like it.
The Mustang may be offered with two very different engines, but they both deliver strong performance. Choose the turbocharged 2. 3-litre ‘EcoBoost’ four cylinder unit and you get a free-revving 317bhp motor that blends 0-62mph in 5. 8 seconds with up to 35. 3mpg combined fuel consumption. That’s pretty much the best of both worlds, but we wouldn’t blame anyone for picking the more charismatic 416bhp 5. 0-litre V8 with its subtle burble and 0-62mph in just 4. 8 seconds. However, the 23. 5mpg returns on offer here won’t appeal to everyone. Still, whichever variant you prefer, you get a performance car that goes, stops and even handles in a manner sure to surprise drivers used to European alternatives.
Ah yes, the handling: we should talk about that. The sixth generation Mustang isn’t just blisteringly fast in a straight line: it also feels surprisingly good through the corners, exhibiting precision and balance thanks to a sophisticated multi-link rear suspension design, lightweight aluminium parts, and a much more rigid body. The steering doesn’t have quite as much feel as we’d like when the car’s being driven hard, but it’s light around town and for parking. The optional six-speed automatic gearbox is also ideal for city driving, while a slick-shifting six-ratio manual transmission option emphasises this Ford’s sporting side. However you drive, it, the Mustang makes light work of lumpy roads and keeps noise at bay at higher speeds, whether you’re in the Fastback coupe or a Convertible variant with the roof up.
You don’t have to be a committed car fan to know what this car is. In fact, Ford is so confident in the global recognition this model enjoys that the word ‘Mustang’ doesn’t appear anywhere on the bodywork. It helps of course that this iconic shape has been seen in so many films and TV shows, most memorably of course the ‘Bullitt’ movie and that car chase with Steve McQueen. This kind of instant recognition is priceless, explaining why Ford has been so careful to keep the shape and style of the original 1960s model, while bringing it right up to date in the sixth generation guise.
We should talk about the roof. It’s fabric-topped and electrically-operated of course, but not quite as sophisticated as the hoods you’ll find on European rivals. For one thing, you have to be going at an arthritically-slow pace to operate it on the move (it won’t work over 3mph). And for another, you have to start or finish the activation process manually.
So once you’ve pressed the button on the roof rail and waited 12 seconds for the roof to rise, it’s necessary to twist the rather awkward latch to finally lock the thing into position. It’s the same process to retract the roof again, which takes 10 seconds, though for the finishing touch, you have to get out and attach two side trim panels, which is a bit of a faff.
As you get comfortable inside, it’s noticeable just how much space there is to move around. This is a bigger car than its rivals and you certainly feel that, helped by the way that the deeply cushioned six-way electrically adjustable leather seats are supportive but also luxurious and are easy to position for a commanding view ahead, though it’s rather hard to see over the end of the long bonnet.
In the back, thanks to the long doors, access to the rear cabin is pretty good by class standards. You don’t have to go through terrible contortions to get in and there’s just about enough space for a couple of adults to sit in reasonable comfort over short journeys – at least in the Fastback coupe model anyway.
Finally, let’s deal with boot space. You might expect to have to compromise in this regard with such an out-and-out sportscar. Think again. True, there’s quite a high loading lip and the opening is fairly narrow, but you can’t argue with the amount of space on offer, given the inevitable limitations of a car of this kind. Even the Convertible model can swallow 332-litres of cargo, roof up or down.
The idea that a car built in America isn’t suited to anywhere outside of the USA is blown away by this sixth generation Mustang. Where once, we would have seen this Ford as a car only for hard core enthusiasts and Mustang devotees, it’s now a serious contender for any coupe or convertible buyer’s attention.
There’s a lot to like then – as you’d expect there might be. This is, after all, more than just a sportscar. It’s the heart and soul of Ford.