Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Review: 2012 Ford Mustang GT Premium 5.0 V8

Photos by Ulysses Ang
It’s only November, and I already feel like a child anticipating Christmas morning, waiting with hope and trepidation to drive the Ford Mustang. Although I’ve already driven it a couple of times in the past, there’s really something about the Mustang that draws me to it. This is certainly one of those cars I wish I’d get my hands on sooner, but I’ve had the hotly-anticipated car pulled from under my nose more than once due to schedule changes. I made offerings to whatever gods I could find on the internet and waited for my day or should I say, week behind the wheel. Apparently, my karma was in good shape as a bright Race Red Ford Mustang GT finally greeted me on my driveway.

This is, by far, one of the most powerful cars I’ve ever come across with. The Ford Mustang is not only a frighteningly potent car (the mere mention of its 420 horsepower V8 was enough to whiten my knuckles), it’s a clear sign that the folks working at Ford Philippines are true car enthusiasts who wanted to bring the iconic muscle car back to the country.



Aside from sporting the grabbing red paint job, the Mustang arrived to much fanfare given its power domed hood (with functional heat extractors no less), 19-inch dark stainless-painted aluminum alloy wheels, the three-bar LED rear lamps, and ginormous ‘5.0’ badge on the fenders. With the exception of the small lettering adorning the galloping horse badge on the trunk, there’s no mention of ‘Ford’ anywhere on this car. And yet, it remains truly iconic, playing clear homage to the 1964 original while managing to look like a wild beast ready to eat roads for breakfast.

By simply unlocking the car, you’re greeted by the image of the Mustang logo projected as a puddle lamp. Neat. Next it was time to see what’s inside. The Mustang’s interior is an old-school Ford affair, and when I mean old-school, I mean Expedition or E-150 more than Fiesta or Focus. Although the interior’s already looking dated, ergonomics are actually quite solid with a nice comfortable driving position. The space is great up front, but tight at the back. The fit and finish are good, and the overall build quality is excellent.



Dead center on the Mustang’s dash is a touchscreen interface that integrates audio, Bluetooth hands-free, and climate control. It’s no MyFord Touch, but the configuration and layout are almost the same. For optimal control, the Mustang also has Ford’s SYNC voice-activated interface. This fancy system pumps out the tunes whether from a CD, auxiliary input, USB or Bluetooth streaming through the Shaker audio system. The eight-speaker system (including two subwoofers) makes any artist sound crisp and clear with some nice thumping base to match.

The most frivolous feature on the Mustang is found in the instrument cluster. Buried in the menu (accessible by a five-way steering wheel control), drivers can customize different colors for both the instrument cluster lighting as well as the ‘halo’ surrounding it. Drivers can select one of 7 preset colors and up to 125 different user-configured colors. But since this only changes the color of the instruments and not the rest of the cabin lighting, I simply reset everything to white lettering with an Ice Blue halo for an integrated look and left it there. Aside from configurable colors, the Mustang’s instrumentation also has Track Apps which measures things like g-forces, brake times, and acceleration times all outputted through a 4.2-inch colored LCD screen.



The changeable instrument colors, Track Apps, and the nice audio system simply pale in comparison though to the Mustang’s number one feature: the engine. Featuring twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT) and four-valves per cylinder, the 5.0-liter V8 engine boasts of 420 horsepower and 529 Nm of torque easily catapulting the Mustang to supercar territory.

Twisty the key of the Mustang and you’ll immediately start to feel its potential. The gusty V8 comes alive with the unequivocal message that the main entertainment to be had with this car will be via the gas pedal. The engine is mated solely to a 6-speed automatic, which may seem somewhat anticlimactic but you can’t deny these figures: 0-100 km/h in 4.6 seconds, 0-200 km/h in 17.3 seconds, and a quarter mile in 12.7 seconds. This makes the Mustang faster than an Aston Martin Vanquish to 100 km/h, a Lamborghini Countach to 200 km/h, and a Porsche 911 4S over a quarter mile.



With both hands on the three-spoke steering wheel, it was time to set out onto the streets of Manila like Steve McQueen in Bullitt. Unlike McQueen though, I had to abide by the road laws, meaning I spent a good amount of time and effort controlling the Mustang’s power. Like the wild beast it’s named after, the Mustang had the tendency to break traction whenever full throttle is applied. Despite the generous 245/45 R 19 tires, wheel spin will occur whenever you mash on the gas. It sure is fun, but thankfully the Mustang’s got traction control to keep you in a straight line. Plus, the programmable MyKey makes it possible for owners to restrict performance parameters such as shutting down traction control, mandatorily adding a speed limiter, or even tracking down the distance each time that specific key is used.

For a car having such blistering performance characteristics, the Mustang GT displayed excellent road manners around town. With MacPherson Struts upfront and a three-link live axle at the back, this car’s tuned for spirited everyday driving. It’s a long-distance grand tourer with good balance between ride and handling. Don’t expect it to carve corners as sharply as other sports cars out there, but at least it returns a comfortable ride. However, it must be said that the sight lines are challenging especially at the front, so darting in and out of traffic is a challenge.



By far, the most entertaining thing about the Ford Mustang GT is the universal admiration the car received from passersby. Men in particular would crane their necks just to watch it cruise past, and on the odd occasion, I caught someone’s eye and was met with a knowing smile that said, “you lucky bastard”.

As ego-massaging as all this city slicking was, there’s only one place the Mustang is happiest: on the open road. Gunning the throttle results in instant rocket-like acceleration and despite the car’s normally-aspirated configuration there’s a subtle whine from the cold air induction. Flooring the gas results in the front end rear up as the power surges to the rear. Since my test is restricted only to public roads, and in a car that can break 100 km/h in no time, I put my license on the line each time I squeezed the throttle. I could go on in great detail how it feels to drive this beast—the rush, the terror, but I still have to recover from wetting myself silly.



In my time behind the wheel of the Ford Mustang, the trip computer reported a mileage of 7.14 km/L with a healthy dose of both city and highway driving (11.63 km/L on the highway). With a diet that requires 95-octane, it seems that the only green concern the Mustang has is with the color of the traffic light. That said, the asking price of this over-the-top muscle car is P 2,899,000—a steal considering this car has the most horsepower per peso in any of Ford’s car catalog (perhaps even compared to any production car at the moment). Plus, I haven’t even mentioned the generous levels of equipment which includes a panoramic glass roof. The Ford Mustang GT is brash, brawny, and cool. It’s absolutely a beast to drive. Just be careful: each time you get behind the wheel, it feels like you’re always putting your license on the line. The “keep right foot away from evil” seems like a very appropriate bumper sticker on the Ford Mustang.


4 comments:

  1. Can you review mustang v6. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wish to review the V6...but AFAIK, Ford Philippines doesn't have a V6 test drive. Only the V8.

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  2. Is there a M/T of this model?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No. All Ford Mustangs available in the Philippines use automatic transmissions.

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