Driven: Ford Mustang GT Convertible

Our “Driven” series highlights the several cars I was able to sample at IMPA’s Spring Brake 2009 event. These short takes are summaries of my driving impressions of the cars on the roads surrounding Bear Mountain State Park in Rockland County, New York.


“Just wanted to say I’m doing 50 mph in 5th gear, and this engine isn’t even turning 1,400 rpm.”

That’s a quote from me, as I grabbed my Olympus digital voice recorder as I was enjoying some top down motoring in a Grabber Blue Mustang GT Convertible. And I must say-this Mustang is an all-around great car, and I seriously enjoyed my time driving it.

There is one, small problem-it’s me-not the Mustang. You see, after taking a lunch break at the IMPA Spring Brake event I drove the following cars in this order: Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG, and Maserati Quattroporte S. Then I hopped in the Mustang. Now, of the three, the Maser was the cheapest (but $92,755USD more than the Mustang) and the least powerful (but with 110hp more from only 0.1L more displacement). So, when I stepped on the Mustang, I was not stunned with the power.

But all of that is pointless when it comes to seeing, hearing, and experiencing the Mustang firsthand. The ‘Stang’s 4.6L V-8, rated at 315hp sounds nice and rumbly, as it should. I was pleasantly surprised to find the five-speed manual a pleasure to shift, but with such a wide, fat torque band I didn’t have to reach for the shift knob too often, all the while the V-8 providing a lovely soundtrack throughout the rev range.

I found the Mustang very easy to drive, but the car did feel a little ‘big’ to me. I attribute this more to the Euro exotics ability to shrink themselves around the driver than any fault with the Mustang. I will say this-the GT Convertible is a delightful cruiser. To get enjoyment out the Mustang doesn’t require you to beat on it.

If the press has been rough on the Mustang in any one area, it has been the lack of a rear independent suspension. Yes-the thought of the Mustang going without one is archaic in the year 2010. But Ford wanted to keep the Mustang affordable, and did so by retaining the old solid axle. Hear me out-the roads I drove this car on were demanding, and at no time was the suspension not up to the job of putting the power down or staying composed.

The interior also deserves a mention here. The dash rekindled fond memories of my best friend’s dad driving me to preschool in his 1968 Mustang, familiar style and fonts but with all the modern amenities. The seats were comfortable, the materials seemed of good quality and the car felt well-built. Typically, the interior of modern Mustang’s have been a bit of a letdown, but here, Ford finally has something to be proud of.

When I re-entered the lot where all the press cars were parked, I reflected on the Mustang’s direct competition-the Chevy Camaro and Dodge Challenger-cars that were also present at the event, and were getting more attention than the Mustang. I put the car back in its spot, grabbed the cue ball sized shifter out of first. I listened to the car idle for a few moments….

Seeing the other press guys drool over the “new girls at the dance”, the Mustang seemed to say to me “Hey…you know, unlike them, I never abandoned you.”

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