2018 Ford Mustang GT Review
Toby Hagon’s 2018 Ford Mustang GT Review With Price, Specs, Performance, Ride And Handling, Ownership, Safety, Verdict And Score.
In a nutshell: One of America’s most iconic muscle cars beefed up for 2018 to sound better and go faster, bringing with it a styling tweak that ups the aggression.
2018 Ford Mustang GT Specifications
Price $62,990 (manual), $65,990 (auto) Warranty 5 years, unlimited kilometre Service Intervals 1 year, 15,000km Safety 3 star ANCAP Engine 5.0-litre V8 Power 339kW at 7000rpm Torque 556Nm at 4600rpm Transmission 10-speed auto Drive Rear-wheel drive Dimensions 4789mm (L), 1916mm (W), 1381mm (H), 2720mm (WB) Kerb Weight 1785kg Towing NA Towball Download NA Boot Space 408L Spare Inflation kit Fuel Tank 61L Thirst 12.7L/100km
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Ford’s Mustang has been an unexpected hit in Australia courtesy of sharp pricing, muscular styling and its characterful V8 engine. For 2018 Ford’s added more safety gear and freshened the styling inside and out for a more upmarket and aggressive look. But it’s the extra performance that comes courtesy of more power and an optional 10-speed automatic that adds to the appeal. That and a new quad exhaust system that makes for one of the best sounding performance cars at any price.
What’s in the range and how much does it cost?
The Mustang lineup kicks off at $49,990, but that’s for the EcoBoost, which is powered by a 2.3-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Given the lineage of the classic American muscle car, it’s understandable most people head straight for the V8 variant, known as the GT.
It’s a decent jump to that GT, the V8-powered Mustang starting at $62,990 for the coupe, or Fastback, as Ford calls it. That V8 model has been creeping up in price since the Mustang first arrived Down Under late in 2015. Blame it on the Mustang’s popularity. It’s been a surprise success, outselling most mid-sized cars and second only in Ford popularity to the Ranger ute.
An auto transmission adds $3000. For those wanting some wind in their hair there’s a convertible that comes only with the auto transmission for $74,338.
The fact there hasn’t been much in the way of direct competition – the Chevrolet Camaro has only just gone on sale in Holden dealerships and it starts at $85,990 – also likely played in part in the move to eke more money from V8 lovers.
As well as the bigger engine, you also get 19-inch alloy wheels, smart key entry and start, heated steering wheel, reversing camera, rear parking sensors, tyre pressure monitors, rain-sensing wipers, satellite-navigation as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There’s auto high beam, dual-zone climate control and a 12-speaker Shaker sound system.
There are also some neat touches, such the LEDs hidden beneath the wing mirrors to project a white pony onto the ground at night. The customisable digital instrument cluster is also cool (more on that later).
If you want extras you can choose things such as racing stripes, MagneRide adjustable dampers, Recaro seats and forged alloy wheels, something that pushes the price well over $70K.
The big news for the 2018 Mustang is the addition of a forward-facing radar, something that enables ative cruise control, which locks on to the car in front to maintain a set distance.
The radar also teams with a forward-facing camera for autonomous emergency braking. It can detect other vehicles and pedestrians and automatically apply the brakes to avoid an impact or reduce its severity.
The 2018 Mustang also gets styling updates. If you can’t spot the slimmer, more aggressive headlights (they’re inspired by a shark) then the quad exhaust tips and vents on the bonnet are a giveaway.
What’s the interior and practicality like?
American cars don’t have a great reputation when it comes to interior presentation, and it has been no different with the Mustang – until now. There are still some hints of plastics built to a price, such as the glovebox and the forward part of the door trim.
But the ambience has lifted dramatically with this 2018 update courtesy of some tactile, nicely presented finishes. The brushed silver material across the dash is the perfect example, while the stitching on the dash adds some class. The Mustang badge on the passenger’s side is also a neat touch (you won’t spot a Ford badge inside, they’re all galloping horses).
The layout, too, matches pace with the exterior aesthetics: think bold and confident, such as the circular air vents.
Leather-trimmed front seats are plush, to the point where they could do with more side support. The optional Recaro seats largely solve that. There’s also ample space up front, albeit with a sports car-low seat base. At least it delivers on leg and head room.
Those up front also have a pair of cupholders and door pockets, as well as a modestly-sized glovebox and small centre binnacle, the latter home to a pair of USBs. But if you plan to use the back seats best to leave them to smaller, more agile folk. Large adults in the front will leave no legroom at all for those in the otherwise comfy bucket seats.
Even accessing the rear seats takes some patience. First you manually flip the backrest of the passenger seat forward then activate the electric controller for the seat base. A single motion would be a better solution.
The boot is relatively short and with a small opening but is deep enough to swallow a suitcase or two, or comfortably deal with weekend-away gear for a couple.
What are the controls and infotainment like?
One of the highlights with the Mustang is its digital instrument cluster. The 12.0-inch display even allows owners to tailor their own hue from a graded colour wheel. Then you can choose between three very different layouts, Normal, Sport and Race Track.
The Normal layout includes traditional circular speedo and tacho split by a trip computer display that can be rotated through various other functions. It’s as close as the Mustang’s dash comes to traditional gauges.
Sport keeps the circular speedo but extends the tacho across the top and around the side of the display, placing more emphasis on the rev counter.
Race Track is the most radical, ditching the circular theme altogether and instead making a broad, horizontal tacho the hero and relegating the speedo to a large digital readout. Plenty of choice, then. It’s fantastic to have that level of customisation, something not even top-end luxury cars allow.
Elsewhere the switchgear is more traditional, but in a thoroughly logical way. Large dials and knobs make for easy adjustment of the audio controls. Speaking of which, much of the selection is done through the 8.0-inch touchscreen for the infotainment. When running Apple CarPlay you have to choose the Ford Apps to find your way back to the audio and navigation menus.
Below that screen are the ventilation controls, which live up to the ease-of-use elsewhere. Another dial to adjust the speed of the ventilation fan would be nice, although it’s a climate control system that many will set and forget.
The toggle switches at the lower part of the centre console look after things such as the hazard lights and drive mode selector. They look good but only toggle one way, which is a pain if you want to adjust the drive mode; there are five modes – one of them a customisable MyMode – so if you miss your selection you have to scroll through the whole lot again.
It’s not all good news, though, with the handbrake way over on the passenger’s side of the car, a hangover from the car’s origin with the steering on the left; it seems the engineering required to shift things over was too much.
Those into their gadgets will appreciate the extras unlocked by the Mustang logo on the steering wheel. Press the button it and it unleashes a fresh menu focused on performance features. You can adjust the exhaust, for example, between four modes, including “Quiet Mode” that dulls the pronounced burble and thrum on start-up. It’s a handy feature if you’re an early riser or have sensitive neighbours. Even better is that you can program when it starts in Quiet Mode, forcing a quieter start during night hours, for example.
There are also a heap of track-focused features with various forms of data logging. You can record lap times, for example, allowing you to hone your skills. Or you can measure acceleration times. In short, there’s a wealth of functionality that is not all entirely useful (at least most of the time), but at least occasionally gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling – or just allows you to showcase the car to your mates.
What’s the performance like?
The Mustang GT is powered by a classic 5.0-litre V8. In case you forget there are sizeable “5.0” badge on each front guard. It’s the same basic engine that the Mustang has had for years, but it now comes with a more efficient direct injection system. That helps up power by about 10 percent for a total of 339kW.
That power pinnacle is produced way up at 7000rpm on the way to the (very) high 7500rpm rev limit, reinforcing that it’s quite a peaky engine. Ford has opted for extra revs to extract more power, rather than deviate from the 5.0-litre capacity that’s synonymous with Mustang.
Not that it’s undernourished in the mid-range. Five litres is still plenty to dish out respectable torque, and the Mustang delivers. There’s 556Nm to play with, making for luscious, lazy acceleration anywhere above 2000rpm. But, again, you’ll need some revs on board to make things really sing.
Fortunately, there’s a gearbox that helps out in the form of the optional 10-speed automatic. Ten is a heck of a lot of ratios and four more than the previous Mustang. The advantage is being able to crunch those ratios closer together, allowing the engine to sit in its sweet spot more often. The best results, then, are when you’re driving it hard and exploring that upper rev range, at which point the decisive shifts come into their own.
From a standstill, the Mustang launches hard if you call on it, hunkering down and building pace nicely. Those wanting to hit the claimed 4.3-second 0-100km/h times (Ford Australia steers away from such claims, but Ford Europe publishes times) will have to dial up the Drag Strip mode, which employs sharper upshifts, to the point where it’ll briefly wheelspin as it plucks second gear – and may even chirp the tyres into third.
But it’s not just the raw acceleration that makes the Mustang a Mustang. It’s also the sound and the latest quad exhaust system is a cracker. Ford’s dialled up the noise with an emphasis on deep, burbling bass.
Fire it up in the morning and there’s a brutal snarl as it warms up, the car rumbling purposefully.
That exhaust is so loud it prompted engineers to develop a Quiet Mode for the exhaust. It closes flaps in the exhaust for a more palatable early-morning tune. It’s far from Tesla quiet but at least tones things down to the point where the neighbours won’t want to have you evicted.
Of course, there is a penalty for all this fun and it comes in the form of fuel use. The Mustang’s claimed consumption is 12.7 litres per 100km as an auto (13.0L/100km as a manual) and you can easily surpass that. Around town expect to use something in the high-teens, on a freeway almost half that. While it’ll run on E10 and regular unleaded, it’s a cruel thing to do to a car with this sort of performance. So, get ready to spend plenty at the bowser.
What’s it like on the road?
The GT badge gives the game away somewhat for the Mustang. It’s certainly more grand tourer than hard-edged sports car.
You get that once you hit the road, its weighty (near 1.8-tonne) body a gentle but ever-present reminder that there’s plenty of metal beneath you. Quick direction changes, then, require some patience, the steering accurate and predictable but calibrated to ensure nothing happens too frenetically.
It’s in faster, flowing bends, then, that the Mustang hits its stride. This 2018 update brings with it new 19-inch Michelin tyres, which provide great cornering grip, so once it’s settled into a bend there’s a competency that lives up to its sporty looks. But, again, it’s relaxed and competent rather than exciting and edgy, kicking its heels up if you call on it. Six-piston Brembo front brakes do a decent job of hauling up a car that relishes a thrash.
While it tends towards taut, the suspension has a suppleness only upset by sharp-edged bumps. Otherwise it flows along nicely, shuddering over larger imperfections but recovering in good time for the next challenge.
We tried a car with optional MagneRide suspension, which firms the suspension when you want to attack some bends. In its stiffest track-focused mode there’s more bite to its reactions, but not to the point of being overly uncomfortable.
Does it have a spare?
There’s no spare tyre in the Mustang. Instead, tyre pressure monitors give an early warning if there is a leak and there’s an inflation kit to (hopefully) get you to a repair centre. However, for major tyre damage you’ll be calling a tow truck.
Can you tow with it?
No, the Mustang isn’t rated to tow.
What about ownership?
Ford recently upped its warranty to five years with no limit on the kilometres travelled. That provides plenty of peace of mind if something should go wrong.
Servicing is every year or 15,000km and Ford has a capped price service plan. Services average around $430 each using the capped price servicing of Ford dealers, totalling $2150 for the first five years or 75,000km. If you get the car serviced at a Ford dealer you’ll also get roadside assistance, providing access to a breakdown service.
What safety features does it have?
The big news for 2018 is the addition of autonomous emergency braking (AEB) for the Mustang. The radar- and camera-based system can spot hazards and automatically apply the brakes to help avoid a crash.
The addition of that system has helped the Mustang up its ANCAP independent crash rating from a dismal two stars to a still disappoint three stars. ANCAP has been critical of rear seat occupant protection for children – and nothing has changed with this latest update to the Mustang. Which is a shame, because front seat protection is good, in part thanks to the eight airbags that provide knee, front and side protection up front and curtains for side head protection in the front and rear.