New European Ford Mustang is a real r-ace horse

New European Ford Mustang is a real r-ace horse

Not even Michael O’Leary’s winner in the Aintree Grand National, Rule the World, could have attracted as much attention as the famous pony sitting outside my own front door recently.

Every hour, on the hour, another neighbour rang the doorbell to take a look at the ultimate ‘race horse’ in my driveway.

To put it into perspective, since Christmas, I’ve had an Audi R8, a Honda Civic Type R, a 7-Series BMW and an Audi A7, to name but a few, yet none of these have caused so much of a stir as the new European Ford Mustang. 

Since its launch back in 1964, the Ford Mustang has become one of the most iconic cars ever to grace American roads and the silver screen.

However, apart from a few left-hand drive imports from die-hard Mustang fans who could afford one, there has never before been a Mustang built for the European, or Irish market – until now, that is.

Available for the first time ever in Ireland, the new right-hand drive Mustang has been adjusted and tweaked by Ford engineers so that it is more suited to the Irish and European roads.

The core sales in Ireland will no doubt come in the shape of the new 2.3-litre Ecoboost petrol engine, but it was a dream come true for me to get behind the wheel of the full-fat 5.0-litre petrol beast.

On the outside, my triple-yellow ‘flying banana’, as my colleagues named it, has a modern, muscular stance, yet retains the key design elements of the classic Mustang – it’s certainly a mixture of old and new.

On the inside, it is fair to say the Mustang has many flaws. Firstly, it is a strictly four-seater car, and legroom is very tight in the rear for back-seat occupants.

Up front, the touch-screen is the very same as the one you will find in any of the other Ford models, like the C-Max, S-Max or even the Focus for that matter, and I think the designers could have made it slightly different in the Mustang.

Some of the switch-gear too, has the appearance of cheap materials, and the buttons/instruments in the centre console resemble something from a 1980s arcade game.

However, I have overlooked a lot of the flaws because, at the end of the day, it’s a Mustang, and still one of my favourite cars of all time.

On the road and in a straight line, the big V8 is terrific. The power from the big 5.0-litre petrol engine to the rear wheels is just phenomenal. 

If you are a fan of drifting or even burning some rubber, then there is very few that come close to the muscular Mustang.

Thankfully, Ford has added a snow/ice mode in the new Mustang, as I could feel the backside of the powerful pony sliding like Bambi on ice – even in third gear – on the greasy surfaces and the big block is not for the faint-hearted.

My test car for the week did come with a lot of features as standard, including 19-inch alloys (black multi-spoke), Xenon high-intensity discharge headlamps, power-fold mirrors with Mustang logo projection lamps, Ford SYNC 2 with eight-inch touchscreen, full-leather interior, auto lights and wipers, keyless entry/start, rear-view camera, dual-zone climate control, ambient lighting, limited-slip differential, performance brake package, four driving modes – snow/wet, normal, sport and track and track apps with accelerometer technology.

It also included an optional custom pack (€2,800) that features, climate front seats, rear-parking sensors and a sat-nav system. 

Ford claim that the big 5.0-litre V8, which will cost you €2,350 to tax per year, will return a fuel figure of 13.5l/100km, but realistically, you won’t get anywhere near that.

Although, I can’t see many of the thirsty 5.0-litre models appearing on Irish roads, Ford Ireland claim that of the 100 Mustangs they have been allocated, 10-15 per cent of them will be this big block bad boy.

Since the beginning of the year, Ford has already sold 22 Mustangs, and has high hopes of selling its entire allocation by the end of the year.

If you are in the market for one, then you would be better off investing in the much more economical 2.3-litre Ecoboost model, which we will be testing later this summer.

Prices for the new Mustang start at €49,000 for the 2.3-litre Fastback and top out at €76,000 for the 5.0-litre V8 automatic convertible.

It is true that there are better cars out there for that sort of money yet, despite its flaws, there is only one pony for me. 

Robbie Farrell and Paul Keown

Model: Ford Mustang 5.0 V8 Fastback
Price: From €49,000 (test car €67,800)
Road tax: Band G €2,350
0-100kph: 4.8s
Max speed: 250kph
Fuel economy: 13.5l/100km
Luggage space: 332 litres