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European muscle car is a Must' have for Ford fans

CarsBy Robbie Farrell
The Ford Mustang convertible is amazing
The Ford Mustang convertible is amazing

Ford Mustang - 2.3-litre EcoBoost Convertible

I’m a full-fat man – both in body and in life. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I don’t do things by half measures. 

So if you gave me the choice between the full-fat 5.0-litre petrol Ford Mustang or the slim-fat European 2.3-litre EcoBoost version, you know what I am going to pick.

I drove the 5.0-litre beast a while back and, as a lifelong Mustang fan, I just loved it.

Yes, it has many flaws throughout the cabin, but underneath that long, sloping hood sits a pure, American-style muscle car.

However, with its powerful V8 engine only giving you a claimed 13.5l/100km (more like 20l/100km), and an annual road tax of €2,350, we are not likely to see many of them on our Irish roads.

It is such a shame, though, especially in convertible form, as nothing quite beats the sound of the muscular engine climbing through the revs with the roof down.

What you will see, though, is the toned-down version I had this week. It comes in the shape of the 2.3-litre EcoBoost engine, which has been designed especially for the European market.

So far, Ford Ireland has sold 50 Mustangs, which is half of its allocation of cars for the year.

Only about 10 per cent of those cars will be the 5.0-litre version, while the remaining 90 per cent will be the smaller, more economical engine.

However, this smaller block can still hold its own. It’s the same engine that is fitted to the new Focus RS and produces 317bhp.

It is a lot more economical than the 5.0-litre, with a ‘claimed’ fuel figure of 8.2l/100km, and an annual road tax of €750 a year.

Although the Mustang doesn’t lack power on the roads, at certain times it still feels stiff.

I know they say it’s the first version that can actually tackle a bend, but I’m still not convinced.

It is far more at home on the straight, open roads, where the horses carve up the ground.

Inside, the legroom is awful for rear-seat passengers if the driver is in the six-foot bracket, like myself, and it is strictly a four-seater car.

Elsewhere in the cabin, there’s a few cheap plastics and retro-looking toggle switches, and a touchscreen that the soccer moms get in the C-Max – but all is forgiven because it’s a Mustang.

My test car for the week was the convertible version, which really looks the part with the hood down. 

As usual, though, I always seem to pick the weeks – even in summer – when it never stops raining! 

With a quick turn of a handle and press of a button, the roof folds down neatly in a matter of seconds, and it doesn’t compromise the boot space too much.

Something inside me thinks the Fastback version still has the edge in the looks department, but that’s down to personal choice.

However, one thing that my colleague in the Irish Independent, Eddie Cunningham, has pointed out, is a massive price hike in the cost of a Mustang.

Last May, when Ford Ireland announced its early pricing for the new Mustang, the starting price for the 2.3 litre EcoBoost Fastback Manual was exactly €46,000.

Now, though, that very same car starts at €55,500. That’s a rather big jump (€9,500) for a car in less than a year.

We are not sure if the jump in numbers is down to the fact they were kick-off pricing figures or down to supply and demand across Europe, but anyone who bought one earlier this year is already quids in.

However, considering the new Honda Type R or MINI John Cooper Works will set you back close to €50k, €55,000 for a Ford Mustang still seems very reasonable in my eyes.

And I know if I had that kind of cash I would definitely buy the full-fat one. 

For the record, the prices (all up on January) now are: 2.3-litre EcoBoost Fastback manual €55,500 (auto €58,500); 5.0 V8 €71,500 (€74,500).

Convertible: 2.3-litre €61,500 (auto €64,500), 5.0 V8 €79,500 (€82,500).

Robbie Farrell