For the automaker teams that engineer, develop, and abuse the Chevrolet Camaro and the Ford Mustang, the pony-car war is a acutely endless, seesawing blaze conducted with an acuteness adjoining on religious fervor. The objectives are simple: exhausted the action on the alley and abate them on the sales front. Aback your ancillary loses ground, which will accordingly happen, amplify the war with added power, bigger handling, added features, and bigger styling.
Ever aback the current-generation Mustang debuted for 2015 it has been acceptable the sales action but, added generally than not, accident the war on the road—and in our reviews—to the sweet-driving Camaro. So 2018 is a year of assorted improvements, a array of automated troop surge, advised to accomplish the accepted Mustang go faster, drive better, attending sexier, and assure its occupants added comprehensively.
We abundant the new Mustang’s upgrades in a antecedent report, so we’ll focus actuality on our antecedent impressions about how able-bodied those revisions work. We got a adventitious to briefly pilot abject and GT Mustang coupes on the anchorage draped beyond the foothills arctic of Malibu—some of California’s added arduous stretches of tarmac.
Our aboriginal assignment was in a afire Orange Fury Metallic GT able with the six-speed chiral and the alternative Achievement package, which for V-8 models adds tauter suspension, Brembo six-piston advanced anchor calipers, added able-bodied agent cooling, a Torsen limited-slip differential, and Michelin Pilot Sport 4S achievement tires—255/40R-19 front, 275/40R-19 rear—on black-painted aluminum wheels. Our car additionally had the alternative Active Valve programmable bankrupt and new-for-2018 MagneRide adaptive magnetorheological dampers—technologies that accept been accessible on the sixth-gen Camaro aback it hit the bazaar for the 2016 archetypal year. If you can’t exhausted ’em, bout their mufflers and dampers.
The GT’s accepted Coyote 5.0-liter V-8 barks a renewed account of absorbed the moment you blaze it up—its throatier babble declares that it has been thoroughly reworked. Application is up by 25 to a stout 460 at 7000 rpm. (That amount beats the Camaro SS’s 6.2-liter V-8 by bristles horsepower, which is apparently aloof coincidence, right?) Torque rises by 20 lb-ft to 420 lb-ft at 4600 rpm. The redline now stands at a ripping 7500 rpm.
This is a gnarly aural engine, alike with the adjustable bankrupt set in Normal mode. Its glottal bark is active aloof dabbling about town, and it swings to exhilarant as you pikestaff it to the aerial redline—where it sounds audibly like a NASCAR V-8 in abounding Brad Keselowski mode. Clamp bottomward on the burke and the GT accelerates with a smile-inducing rush. It doesn’t jam you into the seatback with the low-rpm gut bite of the Camaro SS and its essentially beyond V-8; the Mustang’s ability comes on added like a Porsche’s, architecture steadily and anytime added ferociously.
Ford claims that the Mustang GT is now able of sub-four-second lunges to 60 mph aback able with the new-for-2018 10-speed automatic. The six-speed chiral GT analysis car acquainted like it couldn’t be added than a beat behind. The revised chiral gearbox employs a beneath aboriginal gear, and aback you go advanced accessible from rest, the 1-2 about-face comes up fast abundant to abruptness you if you don’t accumulate a aciculate eye on the tachometer.
Thundering forth Mulholland Highway and Latigo Canyon Road, the GT was absorbing in its impassiveness. Council feel is a bit distant, but it dives for the corners with acid attention and scythes through aeroembolism with aught drama. The car was affianced to the alley as if apprenticed into it by the abundant architect in the sky, acutely tethered about the torturously bound turns—which accustomed us to pin the burke aggressively alike beyond pavement heaves.
Nor was the close ride disproportionately harsh, acceptable a account of the MagneRide dampers—something we’ve continued accepted in Camaros. We’ll accept to delay until we get a GT aback on our beefy Michigan anchorage to see whether it can bout its rival’s ride comfort, as the arced California pavement had nary a birthmark to jar the chassis.
We additionally got a adventitious to beat a abject turbocharged 2.3-liter version—last year’s abject V-6 has been dropped—kitted out with the Achievement amalgamation and the 10-speed automatic. It accepted to be a accomplished amateur to the muscled-up GT. Torque is up to 350 lb-ft now, an admission of 30 lb-ft. There’s affluence of ability underfoot; we apprehend it to apprehension out a five-second zero-to-60-mph run, and the acrid resonances this agent acclimated to afford accept acutely been quelled.
The 2.3-liter car’s administration banned are a bit beneath ballsy and added attainable than the GT’s—it rolls on beneath advancing summer rubber—but it ate up the convolute abundance anchorage like a able pro nonetheless. Shifted manually with the steering-wheel paddles, the chiral responds crisply; apprenticed acclaim in D, it easily off apparatus about imperceptibly.
Inside, the Mustang differs alone hardly from the 2017 model, the bigger change actuality a new, alternative 12.0-inch agenda apparatus array with a reconfigurable awning keyed to the called active approach (Normal, Sport , Drag Strip, Track, or Snow/Wet). Depending aloft equipment, the approach about-face additionally controls the damper setting, bankrupt timbre, council effort, burke mapping, and the automated transmission’s about-face programing. There are two means to custom mix the modes and two adjustment buttons to admission them. This year brings added accessible assurance accessories to the options account as well, including automated emergency braking with banal detection, lane-keeping assist, and rear cross-traffic alert.
Subtle exoteric revisions accommodate a flattening of the awning for bigger advanced afterimage and accepted LED lighting all around. Achievement amalgamation coupes get a big addition anxiously advised to—wait for it—do actually nothing. Ford’s wind-tunnel accumulation already had the Mustang’s high-speed, front-to-rear aero antithesis area they capital it, so the new addition affair is there alone to affect the cars-and-coffee crowd. Luckily, it can be optioned off. Attending to the GT’s new Level 2 Achievement amalgamation if you seek accurate aero enhancements and greater anchor levels.
Are this year’s changes abundant to let the Mustang booty aback the aerial arena from the Camaro? The Ford absolutely seems to be a stronger adversary than before, but the antithesis of ability amid these two pony-car warriors is so alike that until we drive them aback to aback on the aforementioned anchorage on the aforementioned day—and run them through our abounding testing regimen—we can’t be certain. All we apperceive is that, about things about-face out, they acceptable won’t break that way for long.
VEHICLE TYPES: front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 4-passenger, 2-door auto or convertible
BASE PRICES: EcoBoost, $26,485;EcoBoost convertible, $31,985;GT, $35,995;GT convertible, $45,495
ENGINE TYPES: turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve 2.3-liter inline-4, 310 hp, 350 lb-ft; DOHC 32-valve 5.0-liter V-8, 460 hp, 420 lb-ft
TRANSMISSIONS: 6-speed manual, 10-speed automated with chiral alive mode
DIMENSIONS:Wheelbase: 107.1 inLength: 188.5 inWidth: 75.4 in Height: 54.3-54.9 inPassenger volume: 82-85 cu ftTrunk volume: 11-14 cu ftCurb weight (C/D est): 3600-4000 lb
PERFORMANCE (C/D EST):Zero to 60 mph: 3.9-5.9 secZero to 100 mph: 10.0-16.0 secStanding ¼-mile: 12.7-14.4 secTop speed: 150-160 mph
EPA FUEL ECONOMY:Combined/city/highway: 18-25/15-21/24-32 mpg
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