Nearly 50 years: That’s how long the Ford Mustang has been king of the corral.
It’s had its ups and downs, some years better than others, but ask anyone to name a pony car, and nine times out of 10 the response will be “Mustang.”
It’s deeply ingrained in America’s automotive psyche. That’s why Ford keeps working so diligently to update and improve it. It’s a true icon.
Fortunately, the 2013 Mustang easily upholds this legacy, especially in the V-8-powered GT version.
The V-6 Coupe, which we reviewed a few weeks ago, impressed with its eager acceleration, taut handling, nicely furnished interior and overall tight assembly. But as nice — and fuel-efficient —as the V-6 is, performance fanatics who buy one will on occasion mumble to themselves, “I coulda had a V-8.”
Driving the GT, with its glorious V-8 rumble and prodigious power, is utterly addictive, and not just because of its awesome acceleration potential. Ford has done amazing things with the GT’s suspension to allow the coupe to tackle curves as well rip up the straightaways.
It copes with corners remarkable well, given that the Mustang has an antiquated, live rear axle setup. Only when the rear wheels encounter a sharp bump in the middle of a turn do they tend to do a little sidestep, and the big, sticky performance tires quickly restore grip.
Our tester featured a six-speed manual transmission with short throws and a solid, mechanical feel. While the clutch pedal requires a bit of an effort to press, it engages progressively, making smooth up- or downshifts a breeze.
The optional Brembo disc brakes (a $1,695 package including 19-inch summer performance tires and premium painted aluminum wheels) on our tester deliver superb stopping power, and much-appreciated confidence given the car’s velocity potential.
Another option on our tester was pair of leather-clad, high-back Recaro sport bucket seats. These racing-quality thrones hold driver and front passenger gently in place with generous, yet not overly confining, bolsters. And they’re darned comfortable to boot.
The dash reflects a retro vibe, dominated by a large tach and speedometer. A nifty color information screen sits between them, displaying performance and operational data via steering-wheel buttons.
On the outside, there are a number of styling updates that enhance the GT’s aggressive appearance.
The current Mustang has just about run its course, with an all-new generation expected in mid-2014 as a 2015 model. Still, kudos to Ford for continually striving to keep the current iteration so vital — and desirable.
2013 Ford Mustang GT Premium
VEHICLE TYPE: Two-door, four-passenger sports coupe
BASE PRICE/AS TESTED: $34,300/$40,770 (incl. delivery fees)
POWERTRAIN: 5.0-liter, DOHC V-8; 420 horsepower; 390 pound-feet torque; six-speed manual transmission; rear-wheel drive
CURB WEIGHT: 3,618 pounds
EPA FUEL RATING: 15 mpg city/26 highway (premium grade suggested)