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June 19, 2018

Review: 2018 Ford Mustang 5.0 V8 GT Convertible

It’s the middle of June and the rain just won’t let up. It’s wet, gloomy, and dreary—conditions that don’t suit the 2018 Ford Mustang. With four hundred sixty horsepower driving the rear wheels and a canvas soft top, this thing doesn’t make any practical sense for half the year. But once you press the starter button, you’ll crack a smile and say: f*ck it. I’m gonna drive this thing. Once you do, you’re reminded at how good life could be.

In a mind versus heart battle, the mind will always remind you that the Mustang just won’t cut it for Manila’s roads. There’s too much traffic, potholes are everywhere, gas is too expensive, streets are flood-prone; but every time you get inside, close the door, and fire up that V8 engine, all those notions disappear. Practicality be damned; this car is your best childhood memories put into physical form. It’s four wheels and an engine of immature, childlike fun.

The secret sauce here is and remains the Mustang’s jumbo-sized engine. With enough displacement to snort a typical Japanese compact twice over, the V8 now has a throatier cackle declaring that it’s been thoroughly reworked for 2018. Push down on the gas and it accelerates with a smile (and adrenaline) inducing rush. Yet, it’s not uncontrollable. Instead of being punched in the gut each time the throttle’s pressed, the power comes in gradually. It builds up steadily and even more ferociously as the engine spins to 7,400 rpm. This smoothness actually makes this V8-powered muscle car surprisingly civil at low speeds yet intoxicating as it’s caned on the highway.

Adding to its civility (or craziness) is its adjustable exhaust. When set at Normal or any other more aggressive modes, it produces an unmatched guttural growl from its quad-tip tailpipes. It sounds like playing tug with a huge dog—it’s downright menacing, addicting, and scary to little children. It can even part Ricer traffic to let you through like Moses in the Red Sea. Plus, if you want to act responsible and don’t want to wake the neighbors, there’s a Quiet mode that muffles that otherwise gnarly engine note manually or at pre-determined times.

The interesting thing is, the 10-speed automatic this magnificent engine it’s hooked to sours the driving experience. With so many closely-spaced gears, it’s pretty smooth and slick when accelerating gently or when cruising on the highway. It keeps the engine relaxed, sometimes skipping a gear or two without missing a beat. Amazingly, 100 km/h arrives close to idle at top gear and the resulting fuel economy is impressive: 6.09 km/L at 18 km/h—a 30 percent improvement over the previous gearbox. However, hit the throttle hard, and the experience becomes hit or miss. Sometimes, it’ll figure out the right gear and downshift quickly, but other times, it has to sit and think for a second, or worse, it’ll pick a gear and then realize it needs to go down yet again because you haven’t lifted off. No doubt about it, it’s a great gearbox, but not suited to the Mustang’s stout power band.

Thundering around EDSA is a surefire way to get attention. Even in this rather subtle shade of Kona Blue, any would-be Mustang owner will need to adjust to a more extroverted lifestyle. Yet, it’s even more rewarding from behind the wheel. It’s amusingly pliant over uneven pavement despite running on 40-series 19-inch rubber. The new trick MagneRide dampers are responsible, varying the suspension’s stiffness as rapidly as 1,000 times per second. The steering always feels distant, but there’s a level of precision built in. Yet, it’s not all show and no go. It delays any previous assertion that a Mustang is only good for the straight line. Dive through twisty roads and it feels like it’s pinned to the road, pressed onto the asphalt by some unseen hand. The entire experience would have been perfect if not for the convertible’s lack of rigidity as no amount of fancy suspension can dispel the tremendous cowl shake.

Despite the constant rattles emanating from the Mustang’s nether regions, it must be said that the 2018 model remains a solid place to be in. Although it’s largely unchanged from before, the new 12-inch TFT gauge cluster is pure eye candy. Not only is it easy to read, but it also offers changeable looks including one that mimics the wrap-over strip-style rev counter seen in the original 1964 car. Together with the gauges, there are numerous ways to mix the modes: steering effort, damper stiffness, exhaust loudness, among many others. It takes some time to get used to all the various buttons and controls, but at least there’s a Pony button which saves certain driving-related preferences. Also welcome in this update is SYNC 3 with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

While the interior’s generally innocuous, the exterior is still up for debate. Like any other convertible, the roofline doesn’t look as slick as the Fastback’s and operating it actually requires two steps: unlocking the roof manually with a lever and pressing down on a button near the map lights. Plus, the new front-end with its numerous angles do add some menace, but it also looks grafted on compared to the rest of the retro-inspired body lines. Ford says that the inspiration behind it is Darth Vader’s mask and while that may be true, it probably will work more on something more sci-fi than a venerated pony car.

Love it or hate it, practical or not, there’s little doubt that the Ford Mustang GT never fails to disappoint. This is one of those cars that doesn’t make much sense but get behind the wheel and it always transports you to a magical land of enchantment for the senses. The 2018 Mustang really stands out not just for its heightened level of performance, but for the good it can do for the human soul.

2018 Ford Mustang 5.0 V8 GT Convertible AT
Ownership 2018 Ford Mustang 5.0 V8 GT Convertible 10AT
Year Introduced 2015 (Refresh: 2018)
Vehicle Classification Sportscar
The Basics
Body Type 2-door Convertible
Seating 2+2
Engine / Drive F/R
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 5.0
Aspiration Normally Aspirated
Fuel Delivery EFI + Direct Injection
Layout / # of Cylinders V8
BHP @ rpm 460 @ 7,000
Nm @ rpm 570 @ 4,600
Fuel / Min. Octane Gasoline / 95~
Transmission 10 AT
Cruise Control Yes, Adaptive
Fuel Economy @ Ave. Speed 6.09 km/L @ 18 km/h
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 4,788
Width (mm) 1,915
Height (mm) 1,395
Wheelbase (mm) 2,721
Curb Weight (kg) 1,747
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, MacPherson Strut, Magneride Dampers
Rear Suspension Independent, Multi-link, Magneride Dampers
Front Brakes Vented Disc, Brembo
Rear Brakes Vented Disc
Tires Michelin Pilot Sport 4S, 255/40 R 19 Y (f),
Michelin Pilot Sport 4S 275/40 R 19 Y (r)
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 5
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes, with EBD
Traction / Stability Control Yes
Parking Sensors Yes, Rear with Camera
Other Safety Features Pre-collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection
Blind Spot Information with Cross-Traffic Alert
Lane Keeping Assist
Active Braking
Tire Pressure Monitoring
Exterior Features
Headlights LED
Fog Lamps Yes, Front & Rear
Auto Lights Yes
Rain-sensing Wipers Yes
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjust Tilt/Telescopic
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment Electric
Seating Surface Leather
Folding Rear Seat No
On-Board Computer Yes
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes, with Fold
Climate Control Yes, Dual
Audio System Stereo
Apple CarPlay
Android Auto
# of Speakers 12
Steering Controls Yes


  1. Guys check out the new jimny, ganda.

  2. what does ricer traffic mean?

  3. Probably the worst car to own and drive around here. Top down on a 5 liter V8. Just a dumb suicide.

    1. Agreed that it doesn't make practical sense. But it's fun.

    2. Dumb suicide?

      This isn't going to be your Daily. LOL. That's dumb if you put it that way.



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