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  • 2018 Ford Mustang GT Premium

    Posted on April 30th, 2018 ninarussin

    Ford ups the ante on its legendary pony car

    By Nina Russin

    2018 Ford Mustang GT

    2018 Ford Mustang GT

    One of the reasons Ford has consistently enjoyed success with the Mustang is that the automaker has never rested on its laurels. There were plenty of opportunities when it could have in the car’s 54-year history: the original fastback, the Boss, Shelby GT, the ’68 GT and the first generation of five-liter cars. Through all of that, Ford moved forward, combining heritage with new technology to create new pony cars every bit as exciting as their predecessors.

    The 2018 Ford Mustang GT coupe follows in that tradition, with a potent five-liter engine, meticulously engineered 10-speed automatic transmission or six-speed manual gearbox that sets this car ahead of the 2016 model in some very important ways.

    The new engine revs higher than the 350, has higher compression, more horsepower and more torque. When equipped with the ten-speed automatic transmission and optional performance package, zero-to-sixty acceleration is under four seconds.

    2018 Ford Mustang GT

    2018 Ford Mustang GT

    Pricing begins at $35,095, $39,095 for the Premium model tested. Standard convenience features include LED headlamps and fog lamps, keyless entry and start, quad tip dual exhaust, leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, smart charging USB ports, split folding rear seats, rearview camera with rear sensing, MyKey, track apps and tilt-and telescoping steering wheel.

    Options on the test car include the automatic transmission, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring with cross traffic alert, GT performance package, 19-inch rims with performance summer tires, Shaker audio system, active valve performance exhaust and the Magne-Ride damping system that makes real-time suspension adjustments according-to the road surface and driving style. Final MSRP including the $900 destination charge is $53,160.

    Test drive in Southern Arizona

    2018 Ford Mustang GT )

    2018 Ford Mustang GT )

    Over the past week I drove the Mustang GT coupe around the Phoenix, Arizona metropolitan area as well as some rural roads through the Gila River Indian Community to the south. Although I didn’t have the opportunity to drive the GT on a track, I came to appreciate its engineering, not only as a very fast car but also a very livable one.

    Granted, 21 mile-per-gallon average fuel economy isn’t the greatest, but it’s a small sacrifice for everything else this car has-to offer. There are very few cars that function well on the daily commute and at the track. The Ford Mustang GT is one of them.

    The new five-liter engine has two injectors per cylinder- one port and one-direct- for more precise fuel delivery. Engineers added two knock sensors for more precise spark control, enabling them to safely raise the block’s compression ratio. Bore size is larger, contributing to the horsepower increase. A composite oil pan reduces overall weight while maintaining a rigid structure.

    Engineers optimized the transmission to move quickly out of the lower gears when they’re not needed for the best possible fuel economy. The transition is seamless: no drop-off when switching from first gear to fifth. At the track, a dragstrip mode that comes as part of the performance package keeps engine torque consistent during shifts for stronger, linear acceleration. When the driver opens-up the throttle the exhaust responds with a thunderous roar that makes the optional Shaker sound system seem unnecessary.

    2018 Ford Mustang GT

    2018 Ford Mustang GT

    Big rims and low-profile tires can make for a rough ride, but the 19-inch rims and Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S tires on the test car are a surprising civilized combination on the daily commute. Granted, streets in the desert southwest are quite smooth compared to the Midwest where winter brings a bumper crop of potholes, but in average driving situations, the wheel and tire combination works quite well.

    The Magne-Ride suspension delivers the best of both possible worlds- comfort and stability. In the corners the chassis stays flat as a pancake. On some of the rougher road surfaces on the reservation, the ride was surprisingly smooth. Four-wheel disc brakes stop the coupe in firm, linear fashion.

    At night, LED headlamps deliver beams of light close to daylight in color and intensity for a clear forward view. LED fog lamps make the coupe more visible to other drivers on winding canyon roads.

    Visibility around the perimeter is quite good. Since there is no B-pillar, over-the-shoulder visibility is excellent. Even without optional blind spot monitoring, drivers should have an easy time monitoring traffic when merging onto the highway and in adjacent lanes once there. The rearview camera projects a wide-angle view to the back on the center stack screen when the driver shifts into reverse, making it much easier to back out of parking spots, especially in the company of high profile vehicles.

    Sporty interior

    2018 Ford Mustang 12-inch LCD digital instrument cluster in Track View

    2018 Ford Mustang 12-inch LCD digital instrument cluster in Track View

    The premium interior combines driver focus with a touch of luxury in the form of Alcantara sude upholstery accents and-stitched center console armrest. The engine start button glows red at night, adding visual excitement.

    Keyless entry and start saves the driver from fumbling for the key fob after dark for a quicker get-away. I found the power driver’s seat easy to adjust with ample lower lumbar support for longer drives.

    Both the center stack screen and gauge cluster are easy to read in bright sunlight and after dark.

    The optional 12-speaker Shaker sound system is an audiophile’s dream, with a rumbling bass and plenty of range for all types of music.

    While the Mustang doesn’t have an overabundance of trunk space, there’s plenty for the weekly groceries and luggage for weekend road trips. The fold flat rear seats add some space for larger items, giving the coupe more versatility.

    Standard safety

    The Ford Mustang GT comes with eight airbags, antilock brakes, traction control, stability control, LED fog lamps, capless fuel filler system, tire pressure monitoring, rearview camera, MyKey and a SOS post-crash alert system.

    Ford builds the Mustang GT at its Flat Rock, Michigan assembly plant.

    Like: A modern pony car that is equally adept on road and track, with cutting-edge engineering.

    Dislike: $50,000-plus MSRP takes the Mustang out of range for some potential buyers.

    Quick facts:

    Make: Ford
    Model: Mustang GT Premium
    Base price: $39,095
    As tested: $53,160
    Horsepower: 460 HP @ 7000 rpm
    Torque: 420 lbs.-ft. @ 4600 rpm
    Zero-to-sixty: Sub four seconds
    Antilock brakes: Standard
    Side curtain airbags: Standard
    First aid kit: N/A
    Bicycle friendly: No
    Off-road: No
    Towing: No
    Fuel economy: N/A

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