Living with a Ford Mustang 5.0 GT Fastback: Part 1

Published May 2, 2024


“Hey, would you like to test a Mustang for three months?” the Ford public relations officer casually enquired during a phone conversation. Did they really need to ask?

A few weeks later we took delivery of a Lucid Red 5.0 GT Coupe, which forms the staple of the 'Stang range since the four-cylinder models were discontinued three years back.

Despite being launched way back in 2015, the current generation Mustang has aged remarkably well, I thought to myself while admiring the gleaming red sports car in our driveway.

Its designers set out to create a modern version of the original fastback of the 1960s and avoided adding too many frivolous details that would make it look out of date a few years down the line.

Of course, there is a new-generation Ford Mustang on the way, and it has been delayed until later this year, so part of our mission here is to find out if the current one is still a competitive force in the sports car world.

Sinking into the cockpit, the Mustang’s age does become quite apparent though. There is a lovely digital instrument cluster built into a cowl in front of the driver, where it should be, but the central fascia looks a little dated by modern standards, as does the recessed 8.0-inch (20.3cm) touchscreen infotainment system with Ford’s Sync 3 system.

The cabin is showing its age, but that’s not a bad thing on all fronts. Picture: Ford SA.

But is that really such a bad thing? It still has analogue controls and traditional buttons for most of the important functions and those metal flick switches at the bottom of the dashboard add a retro touch and they’re a delight to use.

Granted the Mustang still has most of the modern conveniences, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as built-in navigation. But if you’re a modern tech fundi who likes huge screens sweeping across the dashboard, best you wait for the new-generation Mustang.

The real magic, of course, happens when you fire up that 5.0-litre normally aspirated V8.

I did so with the door open the first few times, just to experience it in all its glory. The world might be going moggy for electric cars, but there is no way they’ll ever pipe in fake engine sounds to match the monstrous rumble that’s on offer here.

The exhaust has adjustable flaps so you can set the intensity of its roar and there’s even a “Good Neighbour Mode” that allows you to pre-programme quiet starts. Vehicle dynamics can be further adjusted through five drive modes: Normal, Sport, Sport+, Track and Drag Strip.

The Mustang has been in our garage for about a month now and in that time we’ve taken it for a few Sunday drives, out to Magaliesburg area, including the Krugersdorp hill, and another trip to Hartbeespoort Dam, where a stop at the V8 Roadhouse seemed like the right thing to do, if a little cliched.

It’s great to be the only V8 at the V8 Roadhouse. Picture: Jason Woosey.

For the record, the Mustang’s V8 produces 331kW and 529Nm, and being normally aspirated it does lose some of its sparkle at Gauteng altitudes. It’s more comfortably fast than insanely quick, and if you’re one of those who likes to live life by the quarter mile you might say it makes more noise than speed.

That’s just fine by me, however, because the way it feels on the road, and the way it sounds, is what makes this car truly exciting.

Granted, the Mustang doesn’t feel quite as sharp as, say, a BMW 4 Series when the roads get really twisty. But the steering still feels meaty and communicative enough for my liking and I have come to appreciate the overall balance its chassis offers on a variety of surfaces.

The ride is actually quite comfortable and this is the kind of car that can really gobble up the miles without making its occupants feel too fatigued.

The 10-speed automatic gearbox, which comes as standard, feels a little jerky at times but for the most part delivers a quick and seamless shifting experience.

The Mustang is a surprisingly comfortable road trip weapon. Picture: Jason Woosey.

I told myself I’d only use the Mustang as a Sunday car but inevitably I have ended up using it for the odd errand here and there. As a town car the Mustang works just fine, the only slight inconvenience being the long doors that require careful entry and exit in parking lots.

Oh, and did you have to ask about the fuel economy?

So far our GT has averaged 14.8 litres per 100km in a mixture of conditions, which is not too bad all-considered. But using Trip B to gauge different scenarios, I found it can drink 18 l/100km or more in the urban jungle, but as little as 9.0 l/100km on the freeway.

Next month I will drive it as efficiently as possible to show you how economical it can really be when driven carefully. And if you believe that…

QUICK FACTS: Ford Mustang GT

  • Price: R1,142,900 (May 2024)
  • Engine: 5.0 normally aspirated V8
  • Gearbox: 10-speed automatic
  • Power/Torque: 330kW/529Nm
  • 0-100km/h: 4.8 seconds (claimed, coastal)
  • Fuel Use Mixed: 14.8 litres per 100km
  • Service Plan: Optional

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