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Ford Mustang Bullitt review: Wheels spin

By Trent Giunco | Photos: Ellen Dewar, 24 Jul 2019 Reviews

ford mustang bullitt

An evergreen carpark of rides at Wheels HQ gives us the perfect opportunity to take our readers for a quick spin. Short, sharp and to the point, Wheels spin is the quick read you need to get to know a car.

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.

Read: Wheels spin: Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 2019 review

ford mustang bullitt

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.

ford mustang bullitt


What we reckon


Trent Giunco
Staff Journalist

It’s hard not to feel good when cruising in a V8 Mustang. There’s something right about the experience. It’s all about that sound and that classic two-door silhouette. The Bullitt treatment improves on an already satisfying formula with the Torq-Thrust wheels and special green hue. Gripes centre around the numb steering and overtly tall gearing, while the six-speed manual is also the better choice over the hyped 10-speed auto. However, the gearing isn’t as much of an issue when you’re relaxing into the 556Nm of torque and cruising down a coastal road. The Bullitt is American muscle at its best.


Cameron Kirby
Staff Journalist

This is the Mustang for the discerning/fanatical Ford fan. The price premium over a regular manual GT fastback might not make complete sense to most consumers, but for the blue-blooded, this is the best ‘Stang you can buy in Australia. The cue-ball shifter is a delight to handle for every gear change – which arrive at serious speed even in lower ratios when taking the needle to redline – and the exterior styling has lovely retro styling touches. One of the best perks over a regular ‘Stang is the new exhaust modifications, which has one of the best V8 notes around.


Alex Inwood
Editor

Funny how your environment and frame of reference can influence your thinking about a car. I first drove the Bullitt Mustang at Haunted Hills, which is tight, twisty and technical, and I jumped into it having spent the morning in significantly sharper (and exxier) machinery. Needless to say the Mustang felt … soft. ‘Boaty’ is too unfair a descriptor, though it was obvious the Bullitt is more of a cruiser than apex hunter. It fared better on the public road, where its comfy ride and charismatic engine clawed back some points, and that green hue and the cue-ball gear shifter add a welcome dose of retro cool.


Review

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.

ford mustang bullitt

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.

ford mustang bullitt

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.

ford mustang bullitt

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.

ford mustang bullitt

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.


Verdict

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
Weight: 1732kg
0-100km/h: 4.6sec (claimed)
Economy: 13.0L/100km
Price: $73,688
On sale: Now