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Old 18th August 2016, 08:25   #1
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Default Ford Mustang 5.0 V8 GT : Official Review

The Ford Mustang has been launched in India at a price of Rs. 65 lakhs (ex-Delhi).

What you'll like:

• Stunning design & presence. An icon, a legend...the definitive muscle car
• Free-revving 5.0L V8 motor with nearly 400 horses on tap
• Compliant ride quality (unlike many coupes which have a bone-jarring suspension)
• Features such as track apps, line lock and selectable driving + steering modes
• 8 airbags (including 2 knee units), ESP, TC & strong brakes
• Warranty extendable to 4 years / unlimited km

What you won't:

• Exorbitant CBU pricing. 80 lakhs OTR is too much money for a Mustang
• Ordinary quality & build are incomparable to similarly priced German cars
• V8 is too silent at low revs. After-market exhaust is mandatory
• No manual gearbox for India. 6-speed AT can get slow & confused
• Backseat only for kids & boot useless with spare tyre (no separate wheel well)
• Missing navigation, sunroof, full electric seats & steering adjustment, front parking sensors


Last edited by GTO : 26th January 2017 at 15:57.
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Old 18th August 2016, 08:25   #2
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Default re: Ford Mustang 5.0 V8 GT : Official Review

Review Index:
Classic Mustangs in India

Exterior

Interior - Front

Interior - Rear

Driving the Mustang

Other Points

Smaller & Significant

Last edited by GTO : 18th August 2016 at 15:59.
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Old 18th August 2016, 08:25   #3
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Default re: Ford Mustang 5.0 V8 GT : Official Review

So far, Ford has only had Indian media drive the Mustang on the track. While the Buddh is the best place to test the car's high speed behaviour, you won't have a clue of what she's like to live with, on regular city roads. Unfortunately, Ford didn't have a media car yet available.

Big thanks to BHPian Gemballa for helping out. Gemballa bought his red Ford Mustang last month and has graciously offered his inputs so that you get the complete picture. He has extensive experience with sports cars & imports, thus he's in the best position to give real-world ownership feedback. Gemballa's points have been incorporated below to tell you what the Mustang is like on Indian roads.


Classic Mustangs in India

Before we start our review, let's revisit India's love affair with the pony car. Of course, listed below are only a handful of examples. You'll see a lot more in our Classic Car Forum.

Running a 302 V8 motor (link to post):


From Chennai (link to post):


Used to be owned by a Mumbai BHPian (link to post):


V8 owned by a Bhopal BHPian (link to post):




Another 'Stang from Mumbai (link to post):


Restored by a BHPian (link to post):




BHPian Kasli shared pics of this beast here:






A V8 fastback from Bangalore (link to post):


A convertible from Rajasthan (link to post):


Beautiful '71 Mustang convertible (link to post):


Stunning Kerala-registered example that is now in Bangalore (link to post):


Well kept ride from Chennai (link to post):




Car used by Abhishek in the movie Bluffmaster (link to post):


We have some from the 80s & 90s too. Most famous is perhaps this Mustang owned by Neville Poonawalla - a frequent visitor to the drag races (link to post):


A green 'Stang originally owned by a lady from Mumbai (link to post):


Saif Ali Khan's GT500 (link to post):


If you are a fan, you MUST read this brilliant book by the father of the Mustang. Even if you aren't a Mustang fan, I'd still recommend this 5-star book (Amazon Link):

Last edited by GTO : 19th August 2016 at 13:56. Reason: Adding Saif's car
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Old 18th August 2016, 08:25   #4
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Default re: Ford Mustang 5.0 V8 GT : Official Review

Exterior



This 6th-generation Mustang has had quite a debut! It is reported to have become the best-selling coupe globally in 2015, with more than 110,000 coupes & 30,000 convertibles sold. It is the only sports coupe to cross the 100,000 sales mark in the year. Earlier in 2016, the Mustang emerged as the best selling sports car in Germany - (related thread). That's no small feat.

We'd like to start off by giving Ford India a huge pat on the back for launching the Mustang here. It lets a lucky few experience this iconic car in India. A launch here only became a possibility as the Mustang is now available in right-hand-drive (all earlier gens were LHD only). The Mustang has a lot of fans in RHD markets such as the UK, Australia and Japan.

Kudos to Ford India also for picking the right engine - the full blown V8. To purists like us, a Mustang has to have a V8 under the hood. In other markets, a turbo-4 and V6 are options, but again, Mustang = 8 cylinders. Enough said. The Indian Mustang did have to lose about 10% of its international horses, but with 396 BHP & 515 Nm on tap, no one's going to be complaining. Ford says that the Mustang can run on regular octane petrol - a big boon for owners (although its performance will be better on 97 octane).

Sadly, the price tag is exorbitant and this is against the 'Mustang' ethos. One of the reasons behind the Mustang's popularity and success has been its affordable nature. In the USA, the pricing of base Mustangs overlaps with Honda Accords & Toyota Camrys! The bigger V8 Mustangs are priced just under the C-Class. In India however, thanks to Ford importing it as a CBU, the Mustang is priced at a whopping 65 lakhs ex-showroom, which is higher than luxury sedans like the Mercedes-Benz E350 and BMW 530d. On the road, you're looking at a price tag of ~80 lakhs. Whatever way you look at it, that is too much money for a Mustang. We reiterate, the Mustang's USP has always been 'bang for the buck' with a VFM price tag. That's entirely lost with its positioning in India.

The coupe market is tiny in our country, hence it's easy to understand why Ford has brought the car in as a CBU. This is the only 'Made in USA' car on sale today. It's currently available in Mumbai, Delhi and their neighbouring cities. Others will follow later.

Built on the S550 platform, the sixth-generation Mustang measures 4,784 mm in length, 1,916 mm in width and 1,391 mm in height, with a wheelbase of 2,720 mm and ground clearance of 137 mm. This makes it longer and wider than the outgoing car, although the wheelbase is the same. It is also lower than the fifth-generation model. While European cars have started losing weight with every new generation, the Mustang only gets fatter. Ford's pony car now weighs a hefty 1,770 kilos.

The new Mustang has traded some of the retro styling of its predecessor for a more sleek & modern look. Of course, it has retained some styling cues from the Mustangs of the past and looks every bit a muscle car! While the headlights have been elongated and look more contemporary, the large & wide grille with the galloping pony logo looks menacing. At the rear, the tri-bar tail lamps are also a design characteristic that has become synonymous with the Mustang. The long bonnet & fastback-styled rear are pure muscle car.

Fit and finish are good at most places and so is the paint job and build quality. However, they aren't anywhere close to same-price cars from Audi / BMW / Mercedes. No contest at all. Remember, the Mustang is priced on par with Accords & Camrys in the USA. Its quality is comparable to these cars rather than the uber-luxury Germans.

Beast of a face - it's pure Mustang, you won't mistake the car for anything else. The Mustang has loads of road presence. Its snout is aggressive and the air dam is deep. Don't miss the subtle black skirt extension below the silver bumper:


Retro-style tail lights are simply wow! Rear styling reminds us of yesteryear Mustangs. That's a shiny black panel between the lights. Dual exhausts, with one tail-pipe on each side (just the way we love it):


Long hood and fastback rear - the Mustang has pure muscle car styling. Unlike muscle cars of the past, the use of chrome is kept to a bare minimum:


Timeless styling greatly appeals to our tastes. The best looking Mustang generation till date. This image shows the subtle creases all over the car:


The rear slopes smoothly all the way from the roof, giving the Mustang a fastback body style. Boot lid features a prominent lip on the top:


Headlamp cluster houses DRLs & HIDs. Those 3 sloping gills are the DRLs - check them in action here. Headlamps have auto on & off functionality:


Round foglamps with a black housing:


Looks menacing! Trapezoidal radiator grille has a honeycomb mesh pattern with the familiar horse in the center:


Bonnet scoop will be missed! Still, prominent creases give it an aggressive look. Wipers are well concealed. Rain-sensing function is standard:


19-inch black alloy wheels wrapped in 255/40 ZR19 Pirelli P Zero tyres at the front:


Staggered setup means the rear tyre is wider at 275/40 ZR19 (to put all that power down). As is to be expected, the Mustang gets disc brakes at the rear as well:


5.0 badges on both fenders tell everyone there's a beast under the hood:


ORVMs get integrated blinkers. They are also heated:


The Mustang comes with keyless entry & go. Request sensor is located on top of the door handle. We much prefer this to the black button usually seen on cars equipped with passive keyless entry:


Keyhole is located on the lower side of the RHS door handle:


Frameless windows look s-i-c-k!


Crease lines from the bonnet continue onto the roof:


Rear quarter glasses are fixed; they allow a fair deal of light inside the cabin:


Wide rear arch is prominent:


Stop lamp is mounted on the rear windshield, outside the cabin:


Evil LED tail-lamps with a tri-bar design:


Silver diffuser with the rear foglamp in the middle. 4 parking sensors sit low:


Zooming in on the GT badge. There is no 'Ford' or 'Mustang' badge anywhere on the body of the car:


Reversing camera is located above the GT badge and is sweetly integrated:


Chrome tipped exhausts on both sides could have been better integrated. Too big a hole:


Amber reflector on the side of the rear bumper:

Last edited by GTO : 19th August 2016 at 14:43.
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Old 18th August 2016, 08:25   #5
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Default re: Ford Mustang 5.0 V8 GT : Official Review

Interior - Front

Retro-modern design theme looks nice. All controls are neatly laid out and the ergonomics are spot on. While there aren't rough edges anywhere, the quality (especially that of the plastics) is disappointing at this price point. To put things in perspective, even the 20 lakh rupee VW Jetta has better cabin quality. You simply can't compare this interior grade to that of Rs. 80 lakh luxury cars:


Lateral shot of the fascia. The top is draped in leather. Unlike the exteriors, there's a lot of chrome inside:


Chunky steering clad in leather. Looks good too with the silver and chrome inserts, as well as the galloping pony logo on the horn boss. Steering has paddle shifters behind:


Too many buttons IMHO. Looks cluttered. Buttons for the MID and cruise control are on the left, while those for the audio system and telephony are on the right. Left paddle to downshift & vice versa:


Yikes! Manual height and reach adjustment for the steering in such an expensive car! While the lever feels sturdy, we would have liked an electric adjuster. Knee airbag is located behind that black panel:


Double-barrel instrument cluster. Speedometer reads 'ground speed' . A 4.2" colour MID is nestled in between:


MID has 'track apps' which display your acceleration times (including quarter mile runs), lap times, braking performance and lateral G's . Acceleration runs start with a Christmas-tree style timer!


Control stalks in a proper RHD orientation! Ford started this trend with the Figo Aspire. The stalks are similar to the ones of the Endeavour:


Rotary dial for the headlamps with buttons for the foglamps and dashboard illumination on either side - a mix of those found in the Endeavour and Figo Aspire:


Compartment with a push-to-open action is useful to store money for toll and parking:


Next to it is the electric boot release button:


Doorpad has a mix of leather & chrome. Houses two speakers:


Switches for the ORVMs & power windows. Both windows feature the one-touch up/down function:


Chrome door handles are robust and get cool blue ambient lighting:


Chunky grab handle gets brushed aluminium finish:


Leather seats are well sculpted and offer good support. They feature 6-way adjustment and finding a comfortable driving position is easy. Heating and cooling functionality too (latter is especially useful in our kind of weather). 4-way adjustable headrests. Strap on top corner to be used when flipping it forward (for rear ingress / egress). Gemballa is happy with the legroom, headroom & width:


While fore & aft and height adjustments are electric, the recline adjustment is manual via that chunky lever. At this price point, full electric adjustment is mandatory:


A close look at the leather upholstery with a perforated area in the center:


Side airbag. In all, the Mustang has 8 airbags:


Two differently-sized cupholders in the center console get a chrome bezel and blue ambient lighting. A removable ashtray has been provided:


Storage bin under the driver's armrest is illuminated. Coin holders, SD / USB slot and a 12V power outlet in here:


Not to forget, a pen holder on the underside of the lid:


Handbrake is leather-wrapped and located on the left side of the center console (LHD orientation). You don't need a handbrake to make the Mustang's rear slide out!


Sporty aluminium pedals. Dead pedal, with lots of space for your feet. Footwells get blue ambient lighting. OBD port on the top right:


Sensor for the auto-dimming feature is located behind the IRVM. Feature is on by default:


A look at the center fascia. Round air vents feel budget grade. Lots of silver and chrome here:


8" touchscreen ICE with an amplifier and SYNC 2 sits at the top of the center fascia. Gemballa says that sound quality is 'rubbish' at this price. No navigation either! Buttons for the dual-zone climate control and heating / cooling seats are located below. All controls are sufficiently big:


Music is played through 9 speakers. We can bet you that you'll switch off the ICE at high revvs - the V8 symphony is irresistible:


Retro toggle switches are so cool! Use them to engage the different driving modes (Normal, Sport+, Track, Snow/Wet), steering feel (Normal, Comfort, Sport), TCS off and hazard lights. Engine Start button could have been better styled:


Engaged modes are displayed on the MID:


USB port & cigarette lighter sit at the lowest spot of the centre fascia. Shaker denotes the 9-speaker premium audio system (it's a level between the base 6-speaker system and 12-speaker Shaker Pro):


Classy Mustang badge (on the left side of the dash) reminds you of just how many years the legend has been around:


Press this black button to open the glovebox:


Glovebox is deep and divided into two sections. Park the owner's manual in the spot above; yellow clip comes down when you want to access it:


Passenger gets a knee airbag too ('Active Glovebox' as Ford calls it):


The simple cabin light console:


Both sunvisors get vanity mirrors with lids & lights:


Sunvisors are bent at the ends (in the shape of the roof section):

Last edited by GTO : 18th August 2016 at 16:04.
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Old 18th August 2016, 08:26   #6
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Interior - Rear

For getting into the back, the front seat has to be tilted forward and the seat has to be moved ahead. The space is limited and the roof line is low, which means that the passenger has to put his foot in first, bend down and sit, then pull in his other leg. It is a difficult process. Getting out is even more complicated as you have to haul yourself out:


The bench has two bucket seats with 3-point seatbelts (no neck restraints). Occupants sit low with their knees pointing upwards. The legroom is poor as well. What’s worse, the occupants’ heads touch the sloping rear windshield!! Even for short distances, adults will be unwilling to sit here. This car is best for husband, wife & two kids onboard:


Seatback pockets for storage. Latch on top can be used to tilt the front seat forward:


Headrest has bag hooks behind:


Hook on the B-pillar too! Curtain airbags are located in the B-pillars. In this pic, also notice that the seatbelts aren't height adjustable. Shocking! Gemballa isn't able to set the seatbelt right for his driving position:


Quarter glasses let some light in. Still, rear passengers will feel claustrophobic:


Child seat mount for the little ones:


Pull this strap to fold the rear seat down:


It's split in a 50:50 ratio. You can easily access the boot from here:


No wheel well means the spare takes up a significant part of the boot! Boot is shallow with a narrow mouth. Boot space = 383 liters (without the spare wheel inside). If you intend to drive out for holidays with the Mustang, you will probably place your luggage on the rear seat:


Nice cladding on the underside:


Boot lid is held up by two pneumatic struts & multi-link hinges (more information about them):

Last edited by GTO : 18th August 2016 at 16:05.
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Old 18th August 2016, 08:26   #7
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Driving the 5.0L V8

The legend is available in its GT 2-door coupe avatar in India. Just as well, because convertibles aren't suited to our weather. This is a RWD with a limited slip differential:


5 litre V8 beast has an aluminium block and heads with 4 valves / cylinder. Nearly 400 horses on tap!


The 5.0L, Ti-VCT V8 has 396 BHP (@ 6,500 rpm) & 515 Nm torque (@ 4,250 rpm) on tap. While it loses ~10% BHP on the international variant, the good news is that the Mustang can run on regular Indian petrol. Gemballa adds that the car is still very powerful and you won't notice the detuning. India gets the 6-speed AT with paddle shifters, but the MT isn't available even as an option. Understandable from a marketing POV as Indians love ATs in their premium cars. Still, we wish that the 6-speed manual was offered to purists like us. The car is a CBU anyway, so there's no additional effort required from the company. We hope that Ford sells the MT in the future. If international reviews are anything to go by, it's the transmission of choice for enthusiasts.

Press the engine start button and the massive V8 comes to life with a nicely muted burble. Anyone who has been in a classic Mustang will know how loud those cars were. Well, this one is a lot different. The V8 is audible & has a sweet tone, but it's still too quiet for a Mustang. Gemballa intends to get a custom exhaust and we're sure many other owners will choose to as well. Here's what a Flowmaster can make her sound like:


Gemballa says that the Mustang is "as good as they come in the city". The car is torquey, moves effortlessly and the gearbox shifts smoothly (not jerky). He especially praises the ride quality and calls it "very good". That's an important advantage as sports cars with a bone-jarring suspension are horrible to live with. Gemballa says that the Mustang just eats up the road from Mumbai to Pune ("best GT"). While us enthusiasts would like a louder exhaust, there's no denying that the stock unit keeps things calm & comfortable at low city speeds. In fact, Gemballa stated that the Mustang is "too refined for a muscle car". Whether that's a good or bad thing depends on your preferences. The Mustang has merely 137 mm of ground clearance. That means tall speed breakers will pose a problem and we recommend taking them diagonally (related post). Still, Gemballa says that the Mustang is 'better than an Audi A6' in tackling speed bumps. What will get your goat is the turning circle which is in the whereabouts of 6 meters - expect a whole lot of 3-point turns.

Wherever the Mustang goes in the city, people go crazy. Gemballa says that the Mustang draws more attention than a Ferrari in Mumbai. Everyone's taking selfies & so on. The car has flaws, but it does what a muscle car is meant to do - put a smile on your face.

How was the Mustang on the race track? After a quick briefing by rally guru Hari Singh, I got into the driver’s seat. Driving such an iconic car is such a special feeling that it's hard to express in words!! I had five laps behind the wheel, so I decided to use the first one to understand the car, before gunning it.

The V8 revvs happily to ~6,900 rpm and sounds mind-blowing at high revvs. Flooring the throttle brings an instant surge of power and the Mustang is quick - the international car hits 100 km/h in 4.8 seconds (add a tenth or two for our detuned version). 200 km/h came and went easily; post 220, I stopped looking at the speedometer. The V8 is guaranteed to plaster a wide grin on your face. What's more, straight line stability at such speeds is solid and the Mustang doesn’t feel jittery at all. The gearbox is a mixed bag though. While it does its job in a casual or moderately enthusiastic style of driving, the AT doesn't respond well when the driver is himself in 'race' mode. I was expecting Ford's tranny to be quick, but it is disappointing. To start with, the gearbox is slow and does get confused at times. In some situations, there's a noticeable lag between your commanding a downshift (via the paddle shifter) and the gearbox responding. There's no comparison to the benchmark set by the ZF 8-speed. Still, even though it might take a moment, once the gearbox drops a gear, you'll enjoy the rush. The V8 is incredible! What you'll also love is how the Mustang delivers revv-matched downshifts.

No one watches the fuel economy on such cars. Expectedly, the V8 is a guzzler. Gemballa adds that the Mustang drinks up "more than most V8s" that he's driven. Keeping that in mind, Ford should have given the Mustang a bigger fuel tank. Its 60.9L capacity means that you'll be filling up in the whereabouts of 220 km (give or take 25%, depending on your driving style).

As Gemballa mentioned earlier, the Mustang's ride quality is compliant. It's clear that the suspension has a "GT" (Grand Touring) state of tune. We actually prefer that as Indian roads are unforgiving and the Mustang is anyway not a race-track machine. This is the first Mustang generation to have an independent rear suspension across the board (bye bye, solid live axle). That definitely helps its onroad behaviour. The Pirelli P-Zeros are grippy. Approaching a corner at high speed in an American muscle car would normally unnerve you - this isn't the case with the Mustang. The beast is far more adept at handling curves and corners than its predecessors. But make no mistake - while the Mustang changes direction quite well, it's no track animal like a Porsche Cayman. The Mustang simply isn't as sharp. The Ford doesn't corner as flat and suffers from rather noticeable body roll. The fat kerb weight of 1,770 kilos is a disadvantage too. You feel the sheer weight around fast corners. The Mustang also feels nose heavy. Overall, think of its road manners as a good 'muscle car' (not sports car).

As is the case with most muscle cars, the Mustang is very tail-happy . Power out of corners and you'll see the rear end sweetly slide out.

For an EPS, the Mustang's steering feels good. Gemballa says that it has decent sensitivity. No complaints on regular roads or driving conditions. On the track, the steering offered sufficient weight, although it wasn't as quick as you'd expect in a fast car.

The brakes are solid! Considering the power on tap, these strong brakes are welcome & much needed. Stopping power is satisfactory and so is the pedal feel. After repeated abuse on the track, the Mustang's brakes did experience fade though.

Party trick - the 'Electronic Line Lock' feature for burnouts! Locks the front brakes and lets you 'warm up' the rear tyres by lighting them up. Just one of the many reasons why the Mustang is so c-o-o-l:


4 driving modes for you to choose from - Normal, Sport+, Track and Snow/Wet. These modes tweak the steering, gearbox, throttle response, ESP & TC (not the suspension). Steering has 3 levels of assistance - Normal (medium), Comfort (light) and Sport (firm):


No struts to lift the bonnet up! Remember, this isn't an expensive car in the USA:


6-speed AT doesn't match the engine that well. An aggressive driver will find it slow & confused. Nice detail = gear positions are engraved on the knob:


400 horses & the Buddh...a day doesn't get much better than this:


Electronic Stability Control can help tame the horses if they get too wild for you. The Mustang in an eye-catching shade of yellow:


And a deadly stealth grey:


Good grip...


...but more roll than you'd expect. This is a 'sporty car', not a sports car:


Nose-heaviness can bring understeer, as the yellow car suffered in this pic:


I stopped looking at the speedo after crossing 220 km/h on the straights (electronically limited to 250 km/h). High speed stability is solid:

Last edited by GTO : 18th August 2016 at 16:07.
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Old 18th August 2016, 08:26   #8
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Other Points

• Team-BHP scooped the first batch of Mustangs to be imported into India - related news article.

• Awarded a 5-star safety rating by the NHTSA for front, side & rollover crash protection (related link).

• For Ford India, there's no better halo car than the Mustang. Having such an iconic model in its showrooms will definitely bring some sheen to the brand.

• 35 Mustangs reached showrooms in July! Lucky owners, we say.

• Built at the Flat Rock Plant in Michigan. This is the only 'Made in USA' car on sale in India today.

• Incredible after-market support from American websites. The internet & a credit card are your best friends if you own a Mustang. Whatever kind of mod you desire, it's available online. Best part is, most of them are bolt-on! The reason is its popularity & affordability in the USA - there, the Mustang sells as many copies as the Grand i10 does in India!!

• Comes with a 2 year / 100,000 km factory warranty. Extended warranty for 3rd year / unlimited km costs Rs. 72,899, while the same for the 4th year / unlimited km is Rs. 130,999. With such expensive cars, take the maximum coverage possible!

• Service interval is 12 months / 15,000 km.

• The MT variant gets launch control (check it out), but not the AT. The system isn't as sophisticated as the kind we've seen in European cars. Look up USA forums and you'll see mixed opinions of the same.

• Be sure to account for the cost of those fat rear tyres, if you intend on using 'Line Lock' frequently .

• 6 colour options - White, Silver, Yellow, Dark Grey, Red & Black. Last three are our favourites.

• 3 years from now, a lot of 2016 Mustangs are going to hit the used market at half the price. Pre-worshipped fans, rejoice!

• Front parking sensors are a big miss. In a car with a bonnet as long, they'd be incredibly useful. Nearly all other cars in the same price range are equipped with front sensors.

Disclaimer: Ford invited Team-BHP for the Mustang track day. They covered all the travel expenses for this driving event.

Last edited by GTO : 18th August 2016 at 16:08.
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Old 18th August 2016, 08:26   #9
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The Smaller yet Significant Things

Master rallyist - Hari Singh - was in charge of the orientation:


While fit & finish are good for the most part, there are some inconsistencies. Like this misaligned door handle, for instance:


Satisfactory underbody protection at the front:


Capless fuel filler is so chic (see it in action). Ford says that the Mustang will run just fine on regular Indian petrol. You'll be opening this lid very often though .


Illuminated scuff plates:


Yep, both front seats get straps to grab & tilt the seatback forward:


Ugly bits are clearly visible with the seat moved back - another area that could have been better concealed, considering the car's price. Notice the plastic button to hold the floor mat in place:


Seatbelt buckle gets a thick lining to prevent it from rubbing against & damaging the leather seat:


Like many other Fords, the bonnet release is located on the wrong side:


The Mustang looks smashing in this Magnetic Grey colour:


A look at the various 'Stangs over the years:









Last edited by GTO : 18th August 2016 at 16:12.
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Old 18th August 2016, 16:26   #10
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Default Re: Ford Mustang 5.0 V8 GT : Official Review

So, what’s the Mustang like to live with in India?

Ford Mustang 5.0 V8 GT : Official Review-1.jpg

I had the Mustang for 3 days in Bombay. Versus the earlier track report, this post will focus on real-world conditions. Equally, I might add that Aditya & Gemballa’s review is spot on.

This is one of the rare times that I’ve called for an expensive car in Bombay as they’re largely irrelevant; usually, you’ll only see mass market test-drive cars parked down at my house. But the Mustang is special….a legend…so I made an exception.

Listing my observations under select categories from the Team-BHP Review Guidelines.

Summary of Likes:

Engine, Looks, Character, Compliant ride quality, Reliability

Summary of Dislikes:

Terribly overpriced, dim-witted 6-speed AT, no manual gearbox, mundane interior quality

Price:

The main reason behind the Mustang’s success in the USA has been its affordable nature. Sadly, this isn’t the case in India. In the USA, the V8 GT is priced about on par with the Mercedes C-Class. In India, it goes much above the E-Class!!! Grossly overpriced; I’d say the right price would be Rs. 50 lakh on the road. Ford has the spare factory capacity & infrastructure to at least assemble the Mustang out of knocked down kits – why go the CBU route? Just the fact that they moved 59 units in November shows the love for this car in India. It could easily be double of that at 50 lakhs, while still creating a nice profit margin for Ford.

Extended warranties & reliability:

You can get extended warranty coverage for up to 4 years. Also, let’s not forget that the Mustang is an everyday car in the USA. Translated, it has solid mechanicals & good reliability. That’s a big plus in my opinion, especially when you consider the poor reliability of competing German cars & their tear-inducing repair costs.

This particular red Mustang is currently doing an all-India tour. Was driven down to Bombay from Delhi, and is now going on to Pune – Goa – Bangalore - Chennai. Says a lot about its reliability as well as ability to handle Indian roads. Already has close to 7,000 km on the odometer.

While she would run best on high octane petrol, I filled regular grade fuel on the highway and she ran just fine. No hiccups.

Design & Styling:

Man, what a looker! Mean, muscular & proportionate are some of the ways I’d describe the Mustang. Ford knows that styling is key to the Mustang’s success and has really hit the bull’s eye. I could just sit and stare at her all day long. This & the 5th generation ‘Stangs are my favourites.

She looks incredibly imposing in person & is an absolute head-turner. Gemballa was right when he said that she attracts as much attention as a Ferrari. It’s also a universally appealing car that made everyone – from children to middle-aged men and cyclewallahs to grandmothers - smile. People sure were confused though – one person called it a ‘Jaguar’, another guy a ‘Ferrari’, yet another a ‘Corvette’. I might add that ~40% of people correctly identified it as a Mustang.

Interiors:

Quality is very ordinary – forget 1/2 price cars, I’d say part quality is comparable to a Corolla Altis which costs 1/4th that of the Mustang. Everything is screwed in properly, but there is no ‘soft touch’ love in here. The interiors aren’t premium at all. First thing you’ll say after sitting inside is, “I wish the steering was meatier”. Next, if you’ve been in a high-end German car, you’ll find the seats to be mediocre. The support is simply incomparable to the kind of seats that BMW gives you (Bimmer seats are the best in the business).

The cabin is very user-friendly (again, it’s an everyday car in the USA). The ergonomics are perfect and all controls are logically placed (although some buttons like that of the air-con are too small). It took me no more than a handful of minutes to mentally make a note of what’s where. Nothing complex, nothing that needs a learning curve. Even the MID & ICE have friendly interfaces – I got them right at the first attempt.

The driving position is perfect. Sit here and you know you are in something special. Look straight and you’ll be staring at the l-o-n-g bonnet in front of you. Yes, you can see the bonnet & its contours while driving.

When I picked up the car from the Ford dealership, it was parked in an incredibly tricky spot that required manoeuvring back & forth about 5 – 6 times. Still, I pulled her out easily, thanks to the controls, visibility & accurate reversing camera. A major complaint here though is the lack of front parking sensors. In a ride with such a humongously long bonnet, owners will sorely miss the feature. It is a shocking omission by Ford. Another complaint are the ORVMs – they are too small for the size of the car. I’d have liked them to be 2 sizes up.

Space at the front is excellent. That at the back is poor (we started calling it ‘baby seat’). Still, even in such a sporty car, I’d rather have a small seat at the back than none at all. I managed to get a tall lady seated behind. Of course, the front passenger had to greatly move his seat ahead for that. In my driving position, no one can sit behind – not even a kid. There is only an inch of legroom available behind me!

ICE & Air-conditioning:

The ICE sounds alright at first. After listening to different tracks over an hour, my opinion changed. I mean, it has very good bass and all that, but the sound lacks depth. The audio output has no richness to it – just makes a lot of noise. Sound quality doesn’t match the Indian price at all. While the touchscreen has a user-friendly interface, it can get very laggy at times. By the way, in line with the character of this car, I only played classic rock when she was with me (Guns ‘N Roses, Metallica, Def Leppard etc. ).

The dual-zone climate control is very powerful.

Interior storage, practicality & boot space:

Enough storage spots around to park your belongings & coffee cups. Boot can accommodate weekend luggage for two (with spare wheel). If you have more luggage, use the back seat.

Driving the Mustang:

I’ve always said that the engine makes the car and it is absolutely the case with the Mustang. Good of Ford to bring the V8 here, and not the smaller motors sold in the USA. This is a beautiful, powerful & revv-happy 8-cylinder. Press the engine start button and you’ll hear a fast-whirring starter bring the V8 to life. The engine settles into a nice, bassy idle. Even before you press the accelerator, you know you are in a special car.

The V8 is creamy & revvs surprisingly fast for an American motor. Low-end torque is sufficient, making the Mustang very practical for driving frequently. Within the city, she handles traffic perfectly well. Power delivery is smooth and so is the gearbox. What will get to you around town is the massive turning radius & sheer size of the car. Be wary of its length & width. The magic lies on the open road – to put it simply, she f-l-i-e-s on the expressway in Sport+ mode. Floor the accelerator and you’ll see that massive bonnet rise up in the horizon, hear the rear tyres chirp (as they transfer 400 horses to the ground) and the car gains speed like a maniac. You’ll hit silly speeds without so much as realising it. Best part is, you’ll have ample aural pleasure at high rpm. Any speed, any driving condition…she just flies. Aditya commented that, on the Buddh track, the Mustang was strongly accelerating even at 200 km/h! This beautiful 8-cylinder will make you smile every time you drive the car.

Three important rules about the Mustang to keep in mind - The rear will slide. The rear will slide. The rear will slide . Whether you like it or not depends on your individual perspective. I thoroughly enjoyed it, although things can get scary in the hands of an inexperienced driver. Bury the magic pedal from a standstill or at low speeds and you’ll experience the rear end wiggling from side to side! Once, she slid from left to right, and then left to right again.

What’s most disappointing about the car (other than the price) is the 6-speed AT. I H-A-T-E-D the manual mode of the gearbox. The paddle-shifters are not dependable at all. Sometimes, they’ll respond to your downshift command soon enough (but never lightning fast), but at most times, really late. And inevitably, they are the slowest when you need them the most (e.g. sudden burst of speed required). The gearbox sure has a mind of its own. What makes things worse is that downshifts are also painfully slow at times (in kickdown & manual mode, both); here, you have no option but to wait it out. Can get frustrating. There is simply no comparison to the 8-speed ZF that I use. Not to forget, the plastic paddle shifters feel c-h-e-a-p. Even the new Fortuner has nicer feeling shifter units. Only two positive things about the gearbox = one is how the electronics revv-match under downshifts & the second is that you can hold each gear (even at the redline). @ Ford: Please offer the MT in India. Because the car is a CBU, it’s literally a zero-effort exercise. This AT doesn’t compliment the V8 at all.

The exhaust has been much talked about, so allow me to elaborate. At idle, there’s a burble – noticeable, but not prominent. At low revs, the exhaust is rather refined – in fact, a little too much for a muscle car (exhaust is bassy though). Take the revs high and she sounds absolutely intoxicating. Those who want more decibels at lower rpms can get one of the several bolt-on exhausts from the USA. If I’m ever lucky enough to own this car, I’ll definitely get a Flowmaster. That said, the stock exhaust is the perfect balance between ‘refined’ and ‘crazy’ if you are going to use the Mustang frequently. As an example, on a long road-trip, the stock tune would be much preferred. It’s muted at low revs, yet pleasurable over a redline climb.

Ride quality is impressive for a sporty car. Neither is it bone-jarring (like a track-focussed sports car), nor is it soft & cushy (like a luxury sedan). The ride is compliant enough for day-to-day usage. It’s firm, yes, and you will always know the kind of road you are driving on, but importantly, it’s never uncomfortable. I reiterate, the Mustang is a value-for-money everyday car in the USA and thus, its suspension needs to be liveable.

Gone are the days when American muscle cars were only about straight-line speed. The Mustang is dynamically competent. Its behaviour is a big, big step ahead of the 2001-2003 solid axle Mustangs that I drove in my Boston days. Benefits of the independent rear (first time on a regular Mustang) are very obvious & the grip levels are superb. It’s got more talent than you’ll ever need on the best of Indian roads. Straight-line stability? It is rock solid & there is absolutely no nervousness. Recovery from the expressway dips (which I took at speed) was excellent – no unnecessary bouncing around. On the downside, there is body roll – it’s not excessive, yet definitely noticeable (by fast car standards). Also, there’s no comparison to a Porsche Cayman when it comes to precise corner carving. Where the Cayman is sharp & agile, you do have to hustle the heavy-feeling Mustang. If the Cayman is Usain Bolt, the Mustang is more like Dwayne Johnson. Lastly, keep an eye on that rear – power out of a corner and it will slide. To summarise, as Aditya said, think of the Mustang as a 'good muscle car' (but not a sports car).

The electric steering is surprisingly nice to use, and it offers adequate weight too. The EPS has selectable modes (normal, sport, comfort), although I found ‘normal’ to be the best for most conditions. Purists however won’t appreciate the artificial feedback & feel it tries to offer from time to time. Incomparable to a pure hydraulic, yet sweet for an EPS.

Braking ability is strong & the discs can shed some serious speed, but I was disappointed with the pedal feel. I didn’t find the brake pedal to be communicative.

Fuel Economy:

Boy, does she guzzle! I saw numbers as low as 3 kmpl. Don’t expect anything over 4 kmpl from this V8 beast. Truth is, the 60.9L fuel tank is too small for its drinking habits. Even though the car was delivered with a full tank, I had to fill up again in 36 hours. The tank range is merely 180 – 240 km (comparable to the Tata Nano!!).

Ground Clearance:

In India, GC always needs a dedicated point! Pleased to update that the Mustang’s ground clearance is adequate. On the run to Lonavla & back – which includes toll naka bumps – she didn’t scrape even once. Out of the 50 or so speedbreakers we encountered in Bombay & around, the Mustang cleared all but one. That is a huge advantage. For instance, I know a dude who owns a Jaguar XJ and never takes her out of the city because she gets badly stuck on speedbreakers. With the right precautions, you can pretty much take the Mustang anywhere.

Modifications:

The Mustang has INCREDIBLE after-market support. Aesthetics, engine mods, braking, suspension, interior – you name it & you’ll get it. What’s more, the many Mustang forums have reviews & recommendations of every good mod. All you need is an internet connection & a heavy credit card! If you’re lucky enough to own a Mustang, please be sure to soup it up tastefully. This is a car built for customisation. Start with racing stripes like Gemballa's ride. Here is another modified Mustang in Bombay (avoid the scamster Hennessey though).

A ferocious beast on the open road:
Ford Mustang 5.0 V8 GT : Official Review-2.jpg

A trick I learnt with the 530d. Some toll lanes are way too narrow for such cars, so you simply follow trucks & busses in. If they pass through the gap, your w-i-d-e car will too:
Ford Mustang 5.0 V8 GT : Official Review-2b.jpg

Even though the car came with its own cover, I fitted this loose tadpatri over it, so that passers-by don't know what's lying underneath. Don't miss the protective coconut net above. Watchman was instructed to sit by its side at all times:
Ford Mustang 5.0 V8 GT : Official Review-3.jpg

Such a head-turner that you can't park too far away from your table. Always need to keep an eye on it (rather, the people around it):
Ford Mustang 5.0 V8 GT : Official Review-4.jpg

Guzzle, guzzle, guzzle. Car came with a full tank. Needed a refill in <36 hours. I saw numbers as low as 3 kmpl. You’ll be visiting the pump very frequently, thanks to the small 60.9L tank:
Ford Mustang 5.0 V8 GT : Official Review-5.jpg

Cleared 49 out of the 50 speedbreakers it encountered, except for this bad boy. Even all the way to Lonavla & back, there was no scraping (of course, I was very cautious on the bumps too):
Ford Mustang 5.0 V8 GT : Official Review-5b.jpg

How often do you see two American icons side-by-side on Indian roads?
Ford Mustang 5.0 V8 GT : Official Review-6.jpg

Was damn, damn tough to return it & say goodbye:
Ford Mustang 5.0 V8 GT : Official Review-20161217-16.05.jpg

Two crazy Mustang videos to celebrate:


Last edited by GTO : 23rd December 2016 at 16:03. Reason: Adding real-world review from December 2016
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Old 18th August 2016, 16:40   #11
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Default Re: Ford Mustang 5.0 V8 GT : Official Review

Wow... I am simply speechless. I didn't expect a full blown Mustang review so early on TBHP. You guys generally take time to put down a quality review. This one is simply up there with the best in terms of quality and much quicker than expected!

Coming to the car, I think Ford overcooked the pricing just a slight bit for India. This would have been a killer car to buy at price point of 50-55L. But never the less, I know enthusiasts will make a bee-line for it even at this pricing. I, however, would wait for 3-4 years to make a killing in pre-owned market once the initial craze wears out! Really hopeful to lay my hands on a good piece then.

Thanks a ton Aditya for sharing this review. It is simply amazing and an emotional moment for us.

EDIT: Have to add a comment for Gemballa's Mustang! looks absolutely swell! Wow!!!

Last edited by Ace F355 : 18th August 2016 at 16:42.
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Old 18th August 2016, 16:53   #12
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Default Re: Ford Mustang 5.0 V8 GT : Official Review

Aditya & Team,

Super review of the Mustang specially refreshing the details of the existing Mustangs in India.

I believe that Ford has got the pricing right, as if they would have launched it under 50L then it would have gotten too affordable and become common. Even with this 65L pricing it will be sold out im sure.

Ground Clearance @ 137mm is decent to be honest, considering my BMW's GC is only 140 mm and i manage to sail through the speed breakers easily, even with 4-5 people on board if i am careful never does the under belly scrape. So 137 mm for the Stang should be sufficient too

MANUAL TRANSMISSION IS MISSED considering its a CBU !

Last edited by karan561 : 18th August 2016 at 17:05.
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Old 18th August 2016, 16:59   #13
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Default Re: Ford Mustang 5.0 V8 GT : Official Review

Fantastic Review Aditya

Could literally feel your enthusiasm.

The Mustang is priced higher than some german luxury cars, yes, but I would love to be seen driving this rather than the germans. Mercedes, Audi and BMW have become too common.

The Mustang exudes character and gives attitude. It'll definitely grab eyeballs and the casual glance will become a stare.
Kudos to Ford India for launching the iconic car

How I wish I could get one probably 6-7 years from now, if at all an owner decides to let go of one.
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Old 18th August 2016, 17:08   #14
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Default Re: Ford Mustang 5.0 V8 GT : Official Review

Thanks Aditya, Gemballa & GTO - this is a nice surprise.

As few others have said, Team-BHP reviews are incredibly detailed, painstakingly compiled and aren't out for weeks and, at times, months after launch. But this one was quick and has lost none of the aforementioned attributes.

Kudos to Ford for launching the Mustang here and thumbs up for the mind-boggling 5.0-liter V8 under the hood. These guys deserve success in our market for all the right things they've been doing in India and I'm sure the Mustang is a step in the right direction.

If the market's response to the first lot of Mustangs is any indication, the American legend is likely to become a smash hit in India! Sigh, if only my pockets were deep enough...
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Old 18th August 2016, 17:08   #15
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Default Re: Ford Mustang 5.0 V8 GT : Official Review

Fantastic review of a fantastic car. Mustang is a legend in itself. Had a chance to drive it some time back and I was simply blown away.

"In the USA, the pricing of base Mustangs overlaps with Honda Accords & Toyota Camrys! "
-- Very true. 80L is just too expensive in India :(

Slightly OT: I always wonder what is the difference between "official review" vs "driven" title in hot threads section on home page?
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