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2018 Ford Mustang - The acceleration test

By Scott Newman | Photos: Alastair Brook, 07 Jun 2018 News

Just how fast is the new Mustang?

2018 Ford Mustang acceleration testing feature

It’s what everybody wants to know – just how quick is the new 2018 Ford Mustang?

We’ve already established on the Herrod Performance dyno that the new Mustang makes plenty more power than the car it replaces and Ford makes some pretty bold acceleration claims for its new beast.

According to European figures, the 5.0-litre V8 GT should do 0-100km/h in just 4.3sec when fitted with the 10-speed auto and 4.6sec with the six-speed manual, though the latter is an “anticipated figure”.

In tests like this it’s important to set the ground rules and we wanted to find out how quick the 2018 Mustang is in standard showroom trim. Tyre pressures were as per placard front and rear, the fuel tank was around two-thirds fuel, we didn’t use rollout and the Heathcote strip was unprepped.

The early results weren’t promising, the automatic struggling to dip under 5sec to 100km/h and 13.0sec over the quarter mile. While the times were little better than the previous model, the 188km/h trap speed was a different matter, suggesting there was plenty more to come if we could get the car to hook up.

As we experimented with launch rpm, technique and different modes, the rubber build up improved traction and the times began to fall. Finally, the Mustang would accept full throttle in first gear from a stall speed of 2100rpm – any more and the brakes weren’t sufficient to stop the rear wheels spinning.

Drag mode was used, but its violent shifts required ESP to be deactivated completely, as the electronics were cutting power on the 5-6 change and costing precious km/h. The end result was 0-100km/h in 4.53sec and 12.49sec 0-400m at 188.16km/h, roughly seven-tenths quicker than the best we achieved in the previous Mustang.

The new 10-speed auto ensures you’re always in the meat of the power band and the finish line is crossed at the top of sixth gear.

Unfortunately, we weren’t so successful in the manual, with best figures of 0-100km/h in 5.21sec and 13.2sec 0-400m at 183.14km/h, the reason being the 2018 Mustang manual is one of the most difficult cars to performance test we’ve ever experienced.

Unlike the auto, the new six-speed manual gearbox has massively tall gearing, to the point that you’re still in third at 185km/h as you cross the quarter mile mark.

First runs to 81km/h, which resulted in three things occurring: 1. Too few revs and the engine bogging 2. Too many revs and the rear tyres spinning into oblivion 3. Just enough revs to have the rear wheels slipping but enough axle tramp to rattle your fillings out.

To be clear, there will be a sweet spot at which the manual Mustang will fire off relatively cleanly, but it required more time and more clutches than we had access to on the day. We’ll revisit the manual on another day, but it’s clear that if you want easy, repeatable acceleration, the extra $3000 or so for the new 10-speed automatic is money well spent.

More on the 2018 Ford Mustang GT:
Up-close gallery
The Dyno Test
The Road Test