What’s the best movie car chase of all time? You’re likely to get a range of answers to the question but chances are the consensus will be Bullitt, the iconic 1968 thriller starring Steve McQueen in a dark green Ford Mustang chasing a Dodge Charger through the streets of San Francisco.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the movie Ford has released the 2018 Ford Mustang Bullitt at the North American International Auto Show, packed with retro touches and loaded with all the equipment introduced as part of the Mustang’s recent facelift.
The enhancements are mainly cosmetic, though Ford has extracted another 11kW from the uprated 5.0-litre V8 courtesy of a new intake system and Shelby GT350 intake manifold to lift outputs to 354kW/569Nm.
The Mustang Bullitt is available only as a six-speed manual, the gear lever topped by a white ball in deference to the original, while all Performance Package upgrades are present, including stiffer suspension, Brembo brakes, upgraded cooling, staggered wheels and tyres – 255/40 R19 front, 275/40 R19 rear – and a limited-slip diff.
Also standard is the active exhaust, optional on regular 2018 Mustangs, with black tips, which combined with the revised intake system should give the Bullitt a voice worthy of the iconic original. MagneRide adaptive dampers remain on the options list.
Externally, Ford has applied as many cues as possible from the original 1968 hero car, including the black-painted 19-inch wheels (dubbed ‘torque thrust’), chrome accents around the glass, red brake calipers and black front grille.
All external badging has been deleted bar the rear centre badge, which is a fake fuel cap in the shape of the Bullitt logo, while just two colours are available, Shadow Black and the iconic Dark Highland Green. Inside, the standard interior features green stitching on the dashboard, door panels, centre console and seats, which can be optionally upgraded to Recaros.
The Bullitt benefits from all the technology upgrades fitted to the 2018 Mustang, including active safety equipment and the customisable 12-inch digital LCD instrument screen, though this special edition displays a Bullitt welcome screen with an image of the car on start-up rather than the pony logo of the standard car.
According to Carl Widmann, Mustang chief engineer: “When making a Bullitt, there are certain things it absolutely must have. It has to have the right attitude, it has to be unique in some way from a Mustang GT, and more than anything, it has to be bad ass.”
Mustang chief designer, Darrell Behmer, adds: “This new Bullitt is, as Steve McQueen was, effortlessly cool. As a designer, it’s my favourite Mustang – devoid of stripes, spoilers and badges. It doesn’t need to scream about anything – it’s just cool.”
Ford Australia is remaining tight-lipped regarding any 2018 Mustang details at this stage, keeping its powder dry until closer to the car’s mid-year launch, however we wouldn’t be surprised if a limited number of Bullitt Mustangs make the trip Down Under.