What’s in the garage?
The Ford Mustang is already an icon. Matching it with a movie-star past is a recipe for even more success. As a throwback to a famous film with a more than 10-minute long car chase, the $73,688 Bullitt is a worthy end product. That figure is almost an $11K price premium over the Mustang GT, but for the outlay you receive Dark Highland Green paint, 19-inch Torq-Thrust wheels, a deletion of the pony badge within the grille and a bullseye Bullitt motif on its rump.
Inside the blacked-out cabin you’ll find green detailing, including stitching and lighting, as well as a Bullitt plaque, cue-ball shifter and body-hugging Recaro bucket seats. Under the bonnet six extra ponies have been liberated from the atmo 5.0-litre V8 and the exhaust has been amped-up to match the overall menace.
What we reckon
Power and performance:
Slapping a Bullitt badge on the Mustang equates to an extra 6kW, while torque remains the same at 556Nm. The power gains are thanks to an intake manifold from the GT350 with an 87mm throttle body, cold-air intake with a better air filter and a recalibrated ECU.
Anyone would be hard-pressed to feel the extra oomph, but there’s now a distinct induction noise and an angrier soundtrack thanks to the revised exhaust system. Aural nirvana is but a thumb press away, with the steering wheel-mounted pony button allowing you to change between numerous exhaust modes – including quiet so you don’t annoy your neighbours.
The tall gearing (you can reach 134km/h in second gear!) fools you into thinking the Bullitt is slower than it is, but search for the 7500rpm crescendo and the 345kW ’Stang has more than enough urge to shift the 1732kg along nicely. It’s properly quick when you find a road long enough to exploit its wares. Conversely, when you want to turn down the wick, the Bullitt fulfils a GT-cruiser vibe with the 5.0-litre burbling around, hardly raising a sweat.
Ride and handling:
For what it is, a relatively heavy American muscle coupe, the Mustang can hold its head high in terms of driving dynamics and enjoyment. Just don’t plan on going to a race track. A winding coastal road where the tempo lurks below seven tenths is where the pony finds its ideal stride. There’s a natural rear-drive sensation that’s pleasing.
Frustratingly, the light, vague steering continues – the long bonnet seemingly exacerbates the feeling of disconnect from the front axle. And it’s a shame because the Bullitt turns in nicely and grips faithfully on corner entry if you trust it. The other bugbear is the ultra-sensitive brake pedal. You don’t doubt the firepower of the Brembo package, but some extra modulation from the pedal would be nice. As it is, it’s like a light switch – on or off.
MagneRide adaptive dampers are standard on the Bullitt, resulting in a duality of compliance and composure. The Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres also generate ample traction and roadholding; however, there can be some unsettling pitch from the rear depending on the road and how hard you’re pushing. Still, keep the pony within defined guidelines and it shines.
Interior and Comfort:
The retro vibe continues inside – although Ford has upped the ante. Interior quality increased with the updated Mustang and the Bullitt benefits from that, too. The centre console can no longer be moved side-to-side with your hands, while the level of fit and finish has noticeably improved. The Bullitt gains a commemorative plaque, green stitching and lighting as well as the cue-ball gear shifter – which, pleasingly, ticks both form and function.
While there’s little in the way of rear-seat leg and headroom, the boot is useful at 408 litres. The floor is also flat and the opening is generous enough for large items. Road noise is okay, but not brilliant, while the Recaros are both supportive and comfortable.
There’s so much to love about the Bullitt. For the price, you’d be hard-pressed to find anything that generates as many smiles per mile as the sonorous ’Stang – even when factoring in the more expensive Chevrolet Camaro 2SS. Flaws are contained within the package, but there’s more than enough charm, performance and competency to silence them. It’s an endearing proposition. We doubt you’ll be disappointed.
FORD MUSTANG BULLITT SPECS
Model: Ford Mustang Bullitt
Engine: 5038cc V8, dohc, 32v
Max power: 345kW @ 6000rpm
Max torque: 556Nm @ 4800rpm
Transmission: 6-speed manual
0-100km/h: 4.6sec (claimed)
On sale: Now