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Ford Mustang GT Fastback Manual Review

The new global Ford Mustang already has a few legs up on its US-centric predecessors. It’s much stiffer in the body, and finally moves into the 21st century with independent rear suspension — an integral link setup that ensures better contact with the road. It’s supposed to actually handle.

As you doubtlessly know, this modern Mustang is also available with a 233kW/432Nm 2.3-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine option to appeal to broader circles of buyers in downsized markets such as mainland Europe.

But this is not what Australians are buying in great numbers, and to many a Mustang just has to be V8. Especially a place with a car culture like Australia, where for a certain subset of locally made car fans there’s really no replacement for displacement.

Under the bonnet of this beast, then, is an aluminium 5.0-litre V8 engine, upgraded over the old car with a range of updates to make it breathe better. These include larger intake and exhaust valves and camshafts. There are also stiffer valve springs, a new cylinder head casting and a rebalanced crankshaft.

The result is 306kW of power at 6500rpm and 530Nm of torque at 4250rpm, which is good for a naturally aspirated V8 with a 4951cc displacement. That graph tells you that this a free-revving and easy-breathing V8 engine.

Torque is sent to the rear wheels via a heavy, pleasantly notched six-speed manual gearbox sourced from Getrag, with a weighty clutch. All Mustangs come with a limited-slip differential.

It’s a strong engine indeed, with plenty of mid-range muscle that you’ll enjoy exploring via that heavy shifter. The rolling response is just fantastic. You’ll also nail a 0-100km/h sprint in around 4.8 seconds.

The issue is noise. Where is it? The exhaust note offers few theatrics from outside, though some welcome induction and overrun acoustics are piped into the cabin via a small tunnel. Rev-matching on your downshifts is a particular joy. But in the age of GM’s BiModal exhaust, and in an epoch where the anachronistic V8 engine is bought almost purely for the drama, the Mustang GT is begging for a bit more.

Published: Tuesday, March 29, 2016

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