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Review: Ford's iconic V8 Mustang gets a facelift

It wasn't too long ago that the Ford Mustang was introduced to the UK, going on sale in 2016 for the first time in its 44-year history. But barely two years on, we have a facelifted car.

The iconic V8 muscle car has been quite a success since arriving in Europe, having sold more than 33,000 units since landing on this side of the pond, and the American firm is hoping more technology and a fresh face can continue its initial success.

What's new?

The big focus on the facelifted Mustang has been improving its previous Euro NCAP safety rating from two stars to three. It now features pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection technology and lane-keep assistance.

That's not the only new thing, though. Providing fresh vocal chords to the eight-cylinder brute is an active exhaust system that features a Good Neighbour Mode that can be set to reduce exhaust noise.

There's also the addition of optional MagneRide adjustable suspension, which adjusts depending on the driving mode.

What's under the bonnet?

There's no real change in the choice of engines on offer for the updated Ford Mustang, with a 2.3-litre turbocharged, four-cylinder unit starting the range, while the iconic 5.0-litre V8 remains too. We drove the V8, which has received some minor fettling. Power is up to 444bhp from 410 on the original car, although torque remains unchanged at 529Nm. Paired to a six-speed manual gearbox (a 10-speed auto is also available), the 0-60mph sprint is done in 4.6 seconds with a 155mph top speed possible.

It's not exactly the last word in efficiency, with a claimed 22mpg on the combined cycle and CO2 emissions of 277g/km.

It's an archaic-feeling thing, with torque lazily coming in at around 4,000rpm before power really begins to build. It would be a disappointment in any other car but, as it's a Mustang, it aids that old-school muscle feel.

What's it like to drive?

On paper, a Mustang might sound like an overdose of understeer with large dimensions (4.8m long, and 2.1m wide) and a 1,743kg weight, but that's not the case.

It's no hot hatch through the corners, but it feels pretty composed and manageable on the road, likely thanks to the MagneRide adaptive suspension. Steering also weighs up nicely in Sport+ mode, although more feel through the wheel wouldn't go amiss.

How does it look?

The Ford Mustang has never been a discreet-looking vehicle, but a few visual tweaks have certainly given it even more presence on the road.

New air vents have been added to the bonnet, while a revised lower grille creates an even more menacing look.

It's not all show, though. The new front splitter increases downforce, while the addition of rocker shields to the wheel arches aid air flow under the car to reduce drag.

It's not a classically beautiful design, but the aggressive, bold look continues to fit the mission statement of the Mustang perfectly.

What's it like inside?

To hit a £41,000 price point with the performance on offer, it's clear to see Ford has cut corners inside the car.

Controls and switches in the centre console look and feel a tad outdated, while the faux leather upholstery is a bit hard to the touch.

Our test car was also fitted with optional Recaro leather seats. They're fine to sit in, offering great support all round and plenty of comfort, but it does result in a cramped driving position that is a struggle to adapt to. Fitting these also removes the option of heated and ventilated seating - worth considering if you plan to use it as a long-distance cruiser.

What's the spec like?

The Mustang is pretty well equipped out of the box. For no extra cost, there's the new lane keep and pre-collision technology, while adaptive cruise control, a 12-inch LCD instrument cluster, Ford's Sync 3 infotainment system on an eight-inch screen, automatic LED headlights and a heated steering wheel are present. Mechanical features such as a limited-slip differential and the active exhaust system are also included.

It's a generous package, making this not just great for pound-per-performance, but also for tech too.

There's a healthy amount of options to pick. Recaro seats will set you back an extra £1,700 (although we'd stick with the standard units) and for the trick MagneRide suspension, you'll be paying £1,600.

Verdict

Fresh changes for the Ford Mustang haven't revolutionised the brute, which is exactly what it didn't need to do. It remains in its own league, offering an old-school, all-American muscle car experience here in the UK.

Sure, the interior may not be up to scratch with rivals at its price point, but they simply don't offer the theatre and raw fun the Mustang brings to the table.

In a world driven by electrification and autonomy, it's a relief that a naturally aspirated V8 monster with a manual gearbox still remains on sale. And a great one at that, too

Facts at a glance

Model as tested: Ford Mustang 5.0 V8 GT

Price: £41,095

Engine: 5.0-litre V8

Power (bhp): 444

Torque (Nm): 529

Max speed (mph): 155

0-60mph: 4.6 seconds

MPG (combined): 22

Emissions (g/km): 277

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