FORD’S facelifted Mustang will be in Australia in the middle of this year, boasting a bevy of cosmetic, mechanical and spec upgrades to keep the popular pony car at the pointy end of the sports car segment.
These improvements come at a cost, however. All models across the range will see price hikes, with the entry-level four cylinder Mustang Ecoboost Fastback manual rising $5000 to $49,990 while the enthusiast’s choice, the V8-powered Mustang Fastback manual breaches the $60K mark to sit at $62,990 before on-roads – a jump of $5500, or nearly 10 percent.
At the top will sit the Mustang GT Convertible automatic, which rises by $8793 to cap off the range at $74,709.
Onlookers shouldn’t have any trouble telling the 2018 model apart from the pre-update Mustang. Every panel forward of the windscreen, including the bonnet and front quarter panels, have been re-sculpted to dial up the car’s visual aggression. A lower leading edge brings the grille closer to the deck, the headlamps shrink slightly and the bonnet contouring gives the Mustang a broader-chested look.
The rear-end makeover is more subtle, with the ‘diffuser’ panel that sits below the bumper now finished in black rather than body colour, and the LED tail lamps gaining new internal lensing for a more ‘technical’ look. Quad tailpipes and an optional spoiler finish it off.
Inside, the most noticeable change is found in the instrument binnacle, with conventional analogue instruments being turfed in favour of a 12-inch all-electronic display. Customisable for both layout and colour scheme, it also unlocks the ability for drivers to bind their preferred steering, suspension and drivetrain settings to their key – there’ll be no more mad button-stabbing on startup to get the Mustang feeling ‘right’.
All models get new shock absorber settings that, Ford promises, enhance body control, while the rear suspension now sports a new cross-axis joint to boost lateral stiffness. Ford’s MagneRide electronically-adjustable dampers will be available as a $2750 option, for those that want both comfort and handling in equal measure.
But the most attention-grabbing improvements occur under the bonnet. The 5.0-litre V8 of the Mustang GT gets a sizable 33kW bump in power to 339kW with torque swelling by 26Nm to 556Nm, thanks to an upgrade to both port- and direct-injection.
The four-cylinder Ecoboost gets a milder makeover, however. Torque rises to 441Nm, an increase of 9Nm compared to the current car, while power output falls 233kW to 224kW.
Both engines are hooked up to a six-speed manual as standard – which now receives a twin-plate clutch in V8 cars – while the current Mustang’s six-speed automatic option has been excised in favour of a more sophisticated 10-speed unit.
Equipped with paddle shifters in all models, the 10-speeder promises faster shift times, improved low-speed response and less mechanical friction than the outgoing six-speed auto. Surprisingly, fuel efficiency isn’t a beneficiary, with auto-equipped Mustang fastbacks consuming 0.1L/100km more in V8 form, and 0.2L/100km more in four-cylinder trim.
Billed as the fastest Mustang ever, Ford Australia won’t talk numbers, but US-market ‘Stangs are claimed to hit 60mph (96km/h) from standstill in under 4.0 seconds. That’s swift for a big coupe, but it comes with a caveat – that time was achieved with the help of the Mustang’s ‘Drag Mode’ function, something that won’t be available on Australian-delivered cars.
We’ll have to find out for ourselves just how fast the new Mustang is in local trim when it arrives in Australian showrooms in the middle of this year.
- Ford Mustang Fastback Ecoboost manual - $49,990
- Ford Mustang Fastback Ecoboost automatic – $52,990
- Ford Mustang Convertible Ecoboost automatic - $59,490
- Ford Mustang Fastback GT manual – $62,990
- Ford Mustang Fastback GT automatic – $66,259
- Ford Mustang Convertible GT automatic - $74,709