With all the doom and gloom in the car industry these days, somebody really should step up and force manufacturers to make all cars sound as good as the 2010 Mustang GT! Not only is that sound good for the driver’s soul, the volume causes necks to snap all over town which must be good for the chiropractic trade.
I have to admit that I didn’t keep too close an eye on the 2010 Mustang redesign. I absolutely fell in love with the previous generation Bullitt and couldn’t see how they could possibly improve on it. Even worse, what if they inadvertently created another Mustang II? When I finally saw the car in the flesh, I was pleased to see that the overhaul was fairly subtle and retained the overall feel of the previous car, complete with the nostalgic profile. The big, bulging hood looks like an adaptation of the previous GT500 hood although a tad softer in execution. The only detail that doesn’t do it for me is the tail lights and rear panel. One friend said it looked like something from Japan in the early 80’s. I’m not sure what exactly he was comparing it to, but I think I get the idea. Overall, the car is undeniably a Ford Mustang and that brand identity is oh so important these days.
Open the door and the interior looks familiar until you realize that the cabin feels very bright and airy. Looking up, you notice the grand expanse of glass overhead. Nope, not your traditional sunroof rather a completely glass roof. More on the roof later. The interior surfaces are strongly reminiscent of the previous generation. Nicely textured plastics, brushed aluminum trim and soft leather come together to create a space that is comfortable in a manly leather armchair sort of way. This is not to say it feels soft, just very inviting like a leather club chair in front of the fireplace. Tough but civilized. With the old car, a few passengers said the interior looked old while everyone that sat in our tester loved the look of the new interior.
Turn the key and the 315 horsepower, 4.6 litre V8 barks to life through cold pipes that are surprisingly loud. The neighbors won’t be needing their alarm clock any more when you leave for the office when they are still snug in their beds. Depress the clutch and select the first of 5 gears, release clutch and slowly trundle down the street. At the end of the street, where that mean old man live, crack the throttle hard and the Mustang’s roar will rattle his windows. The well insulated cabin feels tight and quiet except for the wonderful sound of the exhaust which quite literally surrounds occupants with the sounds of battle. Engineers have created a sound tube which draws the exhaust noise inside just to make sure the driver gets a full hit of V8 music. This tube has removable baffles for those who want it even louder. Really though, the stock level is just about right as the engine is actually quite subdued when cruising yet one feels like Parnelli Jones when the hammer drops.
There has been some criticism by the automotive media that 315 horsepower just isn’t enough when the Camaro & Challenger are in the 400 something arena. Well folks, all I can say to that is Ford is well on their way while the other two. Well, not so much. All those ponies are just about right for this car on the street. There is enough power that I had a big grin on my face absolutely every time I drove the car. Each solid upshift made me giggle. With the techno nannies turned on, wheelspin is kept to a minimum and the car felt composed almost all the time. Pundits often whine that Ford should ditch the solid axle in favour of a more modern setup yet in spirited daily driving, the rear end never loses it’s composure. Turn the traction control off and there is more than enough power to draw the attention of the local constabulary, which here in Ontario will have your ride impounded and you receiving a criminal charge. What a shame, cause lighting this thing up is just too much fun!
While shooting our photos for this review, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the engine actually looks like an engine. It may seem like a small thing, but it is always somewhat disappointing to open a hood and find a sea of plastic covering up all the dirty bits. The Mustang sounds like the real deal, goes like stink and even looks the part with the hood up.
Now back to the roof. I have to say that this is perhaps an option that I’ve enjoyed more than any other, in any other car and yet I wouldn’t buy it. Heading down the road, one feels like one is driving a bubble car. Surrounded by the outside environment yet untouched by it. Watching a rainstorm from within the capsule is inspiring yet it just wouldn’t work for my needs. You see, if we were to bring a Mustang home for good here in The Garage, that car would see track duty. That would be a big part of why we would buy the car. A glass roof isn’t something that works in a track environment. For the owner who would use the car as a daily driver or even just a weekend cruiser, the glass roof is absolutely worth every single penny of the rather steep $2,200 it costs.
Ford has to be pleased with the 2010 Mustang. They’ve managed to keep all of the retro cool that made the previous model so popular, while morphing it into a more modern feeling car. It makes all the right noises and more importantly goes like a scalded cat. The is no mistaking the interior for anything but a Mustang yet has a feel of quality like never before in Ford’s pony car. I think this new car will appeal to the traditional Mustang enthusiast. For those who feel the need for those 400 something ponies, wait till Ford releases their new engine next year when the power wars will really heat up.