2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt performance review

Ford’s homage to a movie icon is as cool as McQueen

2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt performance review
Gallery11

The first thing that strikes you about this 2019 Bullitt is that it looks completely different from every other new Mustang.

The subtle chrome trim around the grill and the side windows catch your eye, and the lack of badging lends understatement to what is an otherwise bold, muscular car.

This is precisely the look Steve McQueen was aiming for when he decided upon the hero car for his legendary film, Bullitt. Like the original, this car had to suit the personality of the hero, Frank Bullitt, a seasoned, no nonsense, San Francisco detective.

The 1968 Mustang GT 390 Fastback used in the film rolled on aftermarket Torq Thrust wheels for their period correct fashion and had an assortment of mechanical modifications. These changes were not just for better performance and a dash of style, but rather developed so that the Mustang could withstand the exhaustive demands of that unforgettable ten minute long chase scene.

For this special edition, the Bullitt uses the Mustang GT as a starting point and the end result is a rather uncommon pony car. This modern homage is fitted with Torq Thrust-style wheels in the GT’s standard 19-inch sizes, wrapped in the same Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres. The GT’s capable suspension with MagneRide adaptive dampers is carried over.

Changes underneath the skin make this Bullitt mechanically distinct from the GT. Ford’s added the intake manifold from the Shelby GT350, topped it off with a cold air intake, included the GT’s active exhaust (although finished in black), and recalibrated the engine control unit for this mechanical specification.

2018 Ford Mustang Bullitt Top View Jpg
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Specifically for Bullitt, they’ve also spiced up the exhaust note, particularly on overrun so that it now cracks and rumbles every time you close the throttle.

These are net improvements over the GT, not in terms of just sound, but also power and performance. The Bullitt’s output is rated at 345kW and 556Nm, a net increase of about 6kW while torque stays the same. This gives the Bullitt a top speed of 262km/h, and it’s 13km/h faster than GT at the top end. With this, 0-100km/h and its quarter-mile run should be quicker than GT by about a tenth.

2018 Ford Mustang Bullitt Rear Handling Jpg
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While its performance gives the Bullitt a slight edge over the GT, it’s the attitude that makes all the difference. This is the third Mustang homage to the film in fifty years, but we’d argue it most closely honours the original. It’s an authentic special edition, with an inimitable, from-the-factory, mechanical specification that’s fused to a full serving of McQueen’s understated cool attitude.

Like the film’s hero car, the 2019 special edition is available exclusively with a black interior, but with subtle green stitching on the black leather and a cue ball shift knob for its exclusive six-speed manual transmission.

2018 Ford Mustang Bullitt Interior Jpg
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This 2019 Mustang Bullitt is a fantastic way for Ford to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the film and its timing couldn’t be more fortuitous. Ford designers and engineers accessed the best of everything Mustang, developing a modern Bullitt that honours the aesthetics and improved performance of Frank Bullitt’s 1968 Fastback.

In contrast to previous Bullitt specials, this is the first one that Ford’s done in right hand drive. If you’re fortunate enough to have one on order, the first cars have already been produced and are in transit now.

2019 FORD MUSTANG BULLITT SPECS:
Engine:
 5038cc V8, DOHC, 32v
Power: 345kW
Torque: 556Nm
Price: $73,688 

 

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Brian Makse
Journalist

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