Imagine sitting in your car, at a park and ride (for those of you who aren’t familiar with those, just imagine a parking garage) when all of a sudden you hear a low, but assertive rumble. Soon after, you hear car alarms set off by the aggressive growl of the beast. Then she pulls up, a beautiful, white stallion-with bold lines all over her body that triggers the most animalistic instincts from deep within you. All you want to do is strap yourself down and put your foot down… She is a Five-O after-all…
This is the car that every gearhead has desired at some point in their lives. You might be asking at this point in the article– ‘Wait, didn’t you just review a Mustang? Why are you reviewing the same car twice’? Well, it isn’t the same car; in fact, it’s different in all the ways that matter. Namely, as I briefly mentioned earlier, this has the big, bad, 5.0L V8 that puts down a whopping 435 horsepower and 400 lb/ft of torque to the rear wheels. The power paired with the sound of the exhaust through a quasi-straight-piped exhausts is more glorious than a church choir lined up on stage singing ‘Hallelujah’ in the Boardwalk Hall Auditorium with the biggest pipe organ in the world. Any and all tunnels and underpasses become your performing hall, and each tap of the gas pedal orchestrates the monstrous symphony the way Mozart would. The aftermarket intake, like a soft soprano juxtaposing the low bass; even a deaf man could feel the earth tremble under his feet.
This particular Mustang has quite a few performance bits and pieces throughout its shell to improve the experience behind the steering wheel, and every modification is undoubtedly worth every penny. Along with lowering springs to improve the center of gravity, anti-roll bars help keep the car nice and planted on the ground. She not only meets all the expectations of how I thought the Mustang GT would drive but also exceeds some.
The transmission, first of all, feels smoother than butter. It honestly threw me off a bit when I first put the car into gear as I had imagined that the shifter would be a lot more cumbersome to operate. Each gear change is about as satisfying as popping a dislocated shoulder back into place (though I’m only speculating on how good it feels to pop it back into place–minus the pain, obviously), and the ultra-linear clutch makes it that much more gratifying to nail a gear shift. The pedal positions are quite immaculate as well, heel-toe-ing is about as effortless as counting from One to Three. To be completely honest, I feel a bit ripped off with my ST as the two cars are both from Ford; how could they get one so right and the other one so wrong? Secondly, the aforementioned lowering springs and the anti-roll bars keep the car on the ground-as opposed to being in a crowd-and I could throw this car into corners harder and have a lot more fun with it than I could have ever imagined. And the tires–Oh, what a world of a difference better tires can make. Michelin SuperSports on this bad boy is astonishingly fantastic at keeping the rear wheels sticking to the ground until you want to break it loose, it is so very confidence-inspiring and I would honestly recommend these tires to anyone who is trying to get more performance out of their cars without spending an arm and a leg.
The Mustang though, isn’t without its faults. The SYNC 2 infotainment system which Ford had in all of their outgoing models from 2012 which was eventually overshadowed by SYNC 3 which was released in late 2014 already feels a bit outdated with its delayed touch-response. I must admit that I do really like the home screen layout, mainly because of the fact that you can customize the background photo with virtually any photo you’d like. However, as with all tech features nowadays, it does get old pretty fast. Also, I’m quite surprised that I’m saying this, but reliability does seem to be a bit of an issue with the 5.0. Though this car has been heavily driven, there is an engine oil leak which results in the car smoking once warm; along with a few other minor issues with the mechanics of the vehicle it did raise a few concerns as I was driving for about a half an hour. The car is only three years old, even with 50k on the motor, it shouldn’t be having such issues. The steering weight felt about as light as the one in the outgoing Honda Accord, and for a car that is significantly heavier and significantly more lethal, I would have liked it to be a bit more substantial. Oh and the ride quality was pretty harsh but I won’t complain too much about that as it results in a sublime cornering experience.
All in all, most Mustangs may be fun, but all others can’t even compare with the real deal. The Coyote V8 is what started the legacy of the Mustang, and the Mustang feels the best with a V8, naturally. There is no doubt in my mind that, if I were to buy a Mustang I would choose the 5.0 any day of the week. Minus the premium that I would have to pay over the 4-banger, the overall experience of the car is so worth the efficiency of the engine, or the lack thereof. The efficacy of the 5.0 to run shivers down your spine as you fly by with a certain bravado that comes with the name Mustang is breathtaking. If you are considering a Mustang but fear that the V8 might be too much for you…. I strongly urge you to reconsider ’cause I guarantee you it will be worth it.
Photo credits to my good buddy Tom, you can follow him on his IG @tom_leers and at tomleers.com for more of his photos!