I’m the furthest thing from a morning person. While for some, a 6 am wake-up time is completely normal – and even considered a great idea – for me, that’s still the middle of the night. Add the joys of ice-cold winter weather to a 6 am wake-up and you can be guaranteed I will not be showing up. So, it goes without saying that there are very few things in this world that will have me getting up early on a cold winter morning. Right now, that list is short — my dog barking at me to be let out when nature calls, an early morning game-drive through the bush, and the promise of driving the new Ford Mustang.
This icy cold morning, my dog is 200km away, most likely booping my long-suffering boyfriend in the face, and the closest thing to the big 5 in the small Western Cape town of Montagu is the domesticated cats lurking around our hotel gardens. Usually, I’d be burrowing my head further under the blankets at this ungodly hour but the smell of fresh petrol and the roar of a 5.0-litre V8 engine has me jumping out of bed, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. I spent the previous day driving this beast of a car from Cape Town International Airport to the small farm town of Montagu and today it was time to cruise her back down the pass towards Franschhoek for a morning exploring the winelands… and meeting up with the Cape Leopard Trust to hear all about the Cape’s very own big cat. It’s days like these that remind me why being a journalist is so much damn fun.
Not just another car
If you’ve never driven a Ford Mustang, the first thing you need to know is that this isn’t just another car. Sure, there are loads of performance cars out there, but Ford’s pony car is something truly special. It might not be sophisticated, but it is enormously good fun to drive and that’s the magic of the Mustang brand. Whether you’re cruising country roads with the top down in the fuel-efficient 2.3-litre EcoBoost, turning heads with the ultra-powerful 5.0-litre V8, or living out your teenage fantasies in the limited-edition Mustang Bullitt, this car always leaves you wanting more. It’s a car that begs to be driven — after 2 hours behind the wheel, I was bummed that we had reached our hotel in Montagu and were done driving for the day. Which is why I was so damn excited to be up early the next morning to drive it again.
While the previous day I’d spent my journey to Montagu enjoying the sheer power of the 5.0-litre V8 Mustang GT, today was all about taking it easy on the drive home with the equally impressive 2.3-litre EcoBoost. While the 2.3-litre, 4-cylinder turbocharged version doesn’t offer that same engine roar of its bigger sister, it’s still packed with charm and is the type of car I could easily see myself driving on my daily commute in Cape Town as well as having fun with on weekends. It’s a lifestyle car through and through and if you’ve got the cash to own one of these babies, you might as well make daily life a little more exciting with a more fuel-efficient, city-friendly Mustang.
New year, new Mustang
Both models are available in Fastback and Convertible body styles, in a choice of nine bold exterior colours, and come complete with some pretty impressive upgrades in 2019. These newer iterations of the Mustang offer Ford’s advanced 10-speed automatic transmission, sleeker styling, as well as sophisticated engine and suspension enhancements.
Ford’s 5.0-litre V8 engine has been further developed to deliver more power and a higher rev-limit than ever before, with peak power climbing to 309kW on the previous model to 331kW, with an accompanying torque peak of 529Nm, in the 2019 version. The more fuel-efficient 2.3-litre EcoBoost petrol engine delivers 213kW and 441Nm of torque – an increase of 11Nm. These revised engine features aim to deliver a more responsive and engaging driving experience – and boy does it deliver! This car reminds you why petrol engine sports cars are so much fun to drive, even if you’re enjoying the easy driving experience of an automatic gearbox.
Other cool additions on the performance front include New Active Valve Performance Exhaust technology, giving drivers the ability to adjust the intensity of the Mustang’s exhaust note to suit their mood and the driving scenario. Start on Quiet mode to keep your neighbours happy in the morning, or up the mode to Track setting to let everyone know you’ve arrived. Recalibrated shock absorbers improve stability through corners, while thicker anti-roll bars help to better control body-shifting for sharper handling. You’ll also get some cool tech inside the car. From a safety point of view, driver assistance technologies like Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection, Adaptive Cruise Control, Distance Alert technologies, and Lane Departure Warning with Lane Keeping Aid, all help drivers to enjoy a safer driving experience and avoid collisions.
Beautiful, inside and out
When it comes to the interior of the car, this Pony gets personal. The interior is all about customising your drive to your needs and the Mustang is packed with creature comforts like dual-zone AC control, as well as leather-trimmed, heated and cooled seats, complete with six-way electric adjustment for maximum comfort. A Bang & Olufsen audio system also comes standard across the models and is paired to Ford’s fully integrated voice activation system, Sync3. Linked to a customisable 8-inch LCD colour touch screen, Sync3 allows you to connect your smart device to the car and use everything from Navigation and Whatsapp to Google and Apple Music, all without taking your eyes and focus off the road.
As far as the exterior goes, this car is definitely a looker. The exterior of the new Ford Mustang delivers a sleeker, more athletic appearance. Boasting a lower bonnet profile with integrated air vents, revised lower grille design, re-modelled back bumper, and restyled front headlight bezels, the new Mustang has a sharper, more aggressive look to it, helping you turn heads wherever you go.
The Legend Returns
For something truly exceptional, you can also spring a few extra bucks for the limited-edition Mustang Bullitt. Built to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the iconic Warner Brothers film, Bullitt, this exciting collector’s item revisits the hero car from the silver-screen. With only 50 units available for South Africa, the Bullitt Mustang features a tuned version of the new 5.0 Coyote V8 that produces 338 kW and 529 Nm. Featuring a 6-speed manual gearbox, topped with a cue ball-style shift knob, bucket seats, green interior stitching, a Bullitt emblem on the steering wheel, and commemorative serial number plaque, the Mustang Bullitt is a petrol-head’s dream. Driving this thing is a real thrill and if you’re lucky enough to own one of these I can guarantee you’ll never get bored with it.
As far as performance cars go, the Mustang puts up a real fight on the pricing front. Coming in at just over R750,000 for the ‘entry-level’ Mustang 2.3 Fastback and topping out at under a million Rand for the 5.0 GT Convertible and Mustang Bullitt, Ford’s new Mustang offers plenty of bang for your buck. Check out the full price list below:
Mustang 2.3 Fastback 10AT: R768,000
Mustang 2.3 Convertible 10AT: R831,000
Mustang 5.0 GT Fastback 10AT: R915,800
Mustang 5.0 GT Convertible 10AT: R978,400
Mustang Bullitt 5.0 V8 GT Fastback 6MT: R995,400
All models come standard with Ford Protect, comprising a four-year/120,000km comprehensive warranty, three-year/unlimited distance roadside assistance and five-year/unlimited km corrosion warranty. A six-year/90,000km service plan is included, with 15,000km service intervals.
For more information on the new Ford Mustang visit the Ford South Africa website.