Cosmetic changes don’t improve the 2018 Ford Mustang,
but horsepower overrules in this case.
There was a time when car companies changed the styling of their vehicles each year. It was a simple marketing tool that stated to the public that the new year had arrived. New model releases were usually timed for early September for all car manufacturers making for a huge feeding frenzy on dealership row. Around 1975 that all changed as new vehicles started to be released at random times throughout the year to keep public interest in shopping for new vehicles high.
Today, new cars don’t look dramatically different year over year. Manufacturers generally try to offer consumers something new every three model years at the very least trying to grab those folks coming off a three-year lease. Such may be the case with the 2018 Mustang which is well timed, just three years after the launch of the groundbreaking body style in 2015. But the jury is out as to whether the latest design changes are for the good. Frankly, after taking a random sample of enthusiast consumers only a few felt the change in shape was a good thing.
While some potential consumers may not be pleased with the design upgrade, the good news is that the Mustang is still an amazing car with terrific performance, superb handling, and impressive comfort. Drivers who take the plunge and give the newest vehicle a chance will find a car that is faster than the 2017 model and loaded with technological improvements.
The 5.0-liter GT Premium version we drove was really fast – benefitting from direct and port injection that helps bottom end, power and fuel economy. With 460 Horsepower (25 HP more than last year) and 420 lb.-ft. of torque (20 more lb.-ft.) the car ticks off 0–60mph times of 4 seconds flat challenging the mph dash-mounted digital readout to keep up with its trajectory. For quarter mile enthusiasts, the new Mustang trips the lights in 11.95 seconds from standstill at over 118 mph.
Seating is spectacular with the newest Mustang providing good side support and full adjustability. The instrument panel and center controls are nicely positioned but the storage area within the center console is lacking in size as is the glove box. All of the mandatory connectivity demanded by today’s buyer is there including all music and Apple Car Play Apps. The Bluetooth phone connection was simple to install and call reception was excellent on both ends.
The Mustang has been tuned over the years through time, trials and competition both on the track and in the dealership wars both past and present. The newest Mustang, with its great power, allows for exciting tail out driving by turning off the traction control. The V8’s torque curve starts low and runs well past 4500rpm allowing for good power out of turns and down the straights. The Pirelli tires on our test vehicle were sticky in the dry – the only condition we could find during our weeklong test session. Measuring P255/40-19, the W-rated Pirelli’s stick the landing whenever called upon.
The ride with the Magnetorheological Shock system (part of the optional Performance Package) is pleasant but firm – something you would expect with a car of this type. If you are looking for a buttery smooth ride, you’ve got the wrong car. The sound from the quad-tip, Active Valve exhaust is awesome leaving little for aftermarket exhaust companies to improve upon – this said by a writer with huge performance exhaust tuning experience. If all cars sounded this great, the future of the aftermarket would be nil.
While we picked on the styling of the 2018 Mustang in our lead section, as is the case with all “eye of the beholder” situations, some will like it I’m sure. That’s because the changes are fairly subtle with the exception of the grille, which is taller and does not reach across the entire width of the car like last year. To achieve compatibility with the new narrower grille, the hood is flattened (lower) to improve overall aerodynamics. The lower hood begets smaller, narrower headlights – which probably was the reason for the full LED headlight change over.
To bring things current with Mustang, the new model sports such advanced technology at Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Warning, Pre-Collision Assist, and Distance Alert with Automatic Emergency Braking. The technology nets a slight increase in overall vehicle cost, the GT Premium package priced at $39,095. Equipped as shown here with the optional 10-speed automatic, Shaker Audio System, 19-inch polished aluminum wheels, Safe & Smart Package, and Enhanced Security Package totaled a hefty $48,960.