“BLACK BEAUTY” – We test drive the 6th generation Mustang

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It’s no secret that I’m a fan of the Ford Mustang. Many readers know that my 2007 convertible was a familiar sight around town in the three and a half years I owned it. Well, as a Mustang enthusiast I’ve waited a long time to get behind the wheel of the all-new sixth generation Stang, and with the arrival of a beautiful black GT at Merit Ford last week, the opportunity finally presented itself. Come with me on a test drive of a legend re-born.

Ford engineers had a real challenge on their hands when they started to envision the 6th generation. The outgoing model presented an incredible blend of retro-styling with modern technology, and to many Mustang enthusiasts it was seen as the best version ever produced.

How do you tinker with such perfection? Do you stay retro or go all-out modern? And what about the engines? Do you stay with massive V8’s, or begin to think about the needs of more frugal drivers? Yes, quite a challenge, and any mistake would be a costly one. So did they get it right?

First impressions count, and the black beauty that I got to drive today made a good impression, although not one without reservations. Overall look of the car is brilliant, it’s a Stang no doubt, and it does have the presence and panache of the breed, with plenty of core DNA evident in the revised lines. However, I do think the rear end might take me a while to get used to. That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with it, it’s just a matter of personal taste. Would that stop me buying one however? Heck no!

So, overall impression of the exterior. With the lower roof line, sleek fastback profile, long nose, and chiseled front end, she’s a looker for sure. In fact this is one of the most photogenic cars I’ve looked at through the viewfinder of my camera. And in that glossy black, o boy, it’s a Mustang alright, truly a black beauty.

Inside then… The test car was fully loaded, not only gorgeous black on the outside, but black leather interior too. The comfort level of those front seats is high, they support you, no they hug you! Rear seat is typical Mustang, just because I can ride to Regina in the back (at 5ft 7inches tall) does not mean a burly football player will be comfy. But hey, who wants a four door Mustang anyway?

The new interior is well-equipped, and of course our tester had it all. SYNC voice recognition system, navigation, big screen, rear camera, SIRIUS radio, and a whole lot more. I liked the cockpit feel of the interior, only disappointed by a series of four toggle switches beside the starter button. These are plastic and painted silver, they would have been far better if they were genuine metal, it would have completed the upscale feel of the rest of the cabin.

Depressing the clutch, I pressed the start button and the 5.0L roared into life, and yes it did roar, bringing a Cheshire cat smile to my face in the process. I revved it a few times, luxuriating in the passionate growl and aching to find a drag strip somewhere!

But drag strips were not to be on this drive, and I respect the cars I test drive, so I never did get to try all-out acceleration, and even though the red line on the rev counter was over 7000, I kept it to 5000 when manually changing through the gears. Yet, even so, each change through the gears, complete with a new push on the accelerator, resulted in the nose lifting up enthusiastically. I can only imagine what full power would have brought from this 435hp five-litre.

On the road, comfort levels are high. Road noise was pretty subdued really, and the suspension was much more forgiving than my old 2007 example. This is due to Ford finally giving the Stang an all-new fully-independent, integral-link rear suspension. It adds considerable refinement to the breed, and makes it a pleasure to navigate through town at low speeds, or to motor on down the highway at higher numbers.

According to the computer today, the 5.0L Stang GT was returning an overall average of 12.7L per 100km, but it must be said that this car had a little over 200km on the clock so far. The official figures suggest 15.2 L/100 km in the city and 9.3 L/100 km on the highway.

For those more economically-minded drivers, there is a six-cylinder 3.7L engine, and the big news that soon the 2.3L four-cylinder will joint the range. The four-banger will be a twin-turbo Ecoboost unit, capable of 310hp, with expected economy of 11L/100 km in the city, and 7.4L/100 km on the highway.

Final thoughts… I could have happily driven the GT all day today, and there is so much more I could write about. To my eyes, the new Stang is a more than worthy successor to the outgoing model. It looks good, drives good, and makes you feel good!

Sticker price on this one today was $47,549. If you like the idea of driving the first new Stang in the area, pop into Merit Ford and check it out. Now, enjoy the pictures below. Click any image to open the viewer.

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