Sleek, athletic, smart, and powerful—that describes the 2018 Ford Mustang GT, which hits the streets with aggressive front-end styling and the next-gen Coyote V8 delivering 460 horsepower, 420 lb-ft of torque and sub 4-second 0-60 mph times.
Ford is especially proud of the latest 5.0L, which produces 1.52 horsepower per cubic inch. Extracting 25 additional hp from the outgoing 435 hp 5.0L Coyote V8 was not easy, but Ford accomplished the feat turning old and new performance tricks. Engineers increased the bore from 92.2 mm to 93.0, they upped compression to 12.0:1, improved head and intake flow, and employed a new dual-fuel injection system that utilizes direct and port injection. The 5.0L also has two additional knock sensors, new crank and rod bearings, and a composite oil pan to reduce weight. Fun factor is increased with a 7,500-rpm redline, up 500 rpm from last year.
While the S550 chassis remains, the mid-phase Mustang refresh presents with a lowered snout that’s aggressive in appearance and more aerodynamic. The rear now features LED taillamps for a more technical look, smoothed styling, and a performance spoiler is optional. Most noticeable is the dual bright exhaust that’s standard on EcoBoost models and the quad-tips that are standard on the GT.
“Premium trim level features give the interior an enhanced look and feel, with a hand-stitched wrap for the center console armrest, a look that is mirrored across the instrument panel and down the sides of the center stack,” said Carl Widmann, Mustang chief engineer. “Restyled seating surfaces feature new patterns and color choices, including tan, Showstopper Red, Midnight Blue with Grabber Blue accents, and Ebony with Alcantara suede accents.”
Just $25,585 puts you behind the wheel of the EcoBoost Fastback. The 2.3L turbo-four boasts 310 horsepower, 350 lb-ft of torque and that’s enough output to run solid 13s at the strip. Better yet, the EcoBoost has about 150 lbs less on the nose and that makes it super nimble and a blast in the corners. The engine also delivers excellent economy, as much as 31-32 mpg highway. Stepping up to a V8 will run you $35,095 for the base GT—the reward is 460 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque. The GT comes standard with a manual six-speed, optional is the new 10-speed SelectShift automatic. We were anxious to compare the 10-speed compared to the outgoing 6-speed auto, so chose an auto-equipped Stang from the fleet of available testers.
Coming Soon! Performance Pack 2
If you think the GT is good, the Performance Pack options enhance Mustang’s capabilities both on and off track. Ford offers two levels, PP1 and PP2, the latter will be available in the coming months.
“Designed to out-corner the competition, PP2 is geared to enthusiasts who want to carve corners, be it on your favorite road or on track,” said Tom Barnes, Mustang vehicle engineering manager. “Team Mustang has honed the Performance Pack Level 2 for the new 2018 Ford Mustang GT. A passion to create something special is what really drove this project, and that really showed in the off-the-clock way we went about doing our work,” he added.
According to Widmann, the front splitter creates about 24 pounds of downforce at 80 mph, planting the tires and improving front grip. To balance the front downforce, Ford uses a new, subtle, rear spoiler. It’s worth noting, Ford used an innovative approach to creating the new Performance Pack, as parts such as the rear spoiler were rapid-prototyped using a 3D printer.
Barnes added, “The only visual cues on a car outfitted with the new Performance Pack Level 2 are black detailing on the splitter and spoiler, the tire spat on the back edge of the rear wheel wells and the 10-spoke Dark Tarnish wheels, which are exclusive. Customers who opt for Performance Pack Level 2 also have a unique opportunity to select Recaro seats in either leather or cloth to help stay firmly planted while cornering.”