The Mustang needs no introduction, and that’s all the introduction this story needs. You’d have to be living in a hole for the past fifty years to not have heard about the Mustang – it’s the most iconic sports car out of America and, for the first time in its 52 year history, it has the steering wheel where the Queen likes it. What’s it like then to drive at the BIC?
Line-lock was disabled
Boo-freaking-hoo! It, quite possibly, is the biggest trick in the Mustang’s repertoire; the most childish too but aren’t we all eight year olds at heart? What it does is lock the front wheels, release the rear brakes and, after you activate all the electronics properly in the Track Apps menu and step on the gas, set the rear tyres on fire in a big stationary burnout. Without question it will destroy rear tyres and that’s why all the cars on the launch drives had this feature disabled, but it will be standard on the India-spec Mustangs and is such a cool thing to fool around with. It is also a very American thing to have on a sports car – a country where the roads are straight, where drag racing down the quarter miles is a massive sport. Line-lock is derived straight from drag racing, competitors spinning up the rear tyres to get more heat in it and thus get more grip off the line when the lights go green. The obvious question then is how quick is the Mustang down the drag strip?
Even Americans have discovered turbo-charging and the champion of freedom-and-the-open-road, the Ford F150 pickup, now gets a downsized turbo-charged motor. In keeping with the times, the Mustang too gets a turbo-charged four-cylinder but not in India. Here we get all the bells and whistles – that means the big ol’ five-litre, naturally-aspirated V8 that makes lovely, grumbly, burbly sounds and is so fitting to the image of the American sports car. The turbo-four would be cheaper, nearly as quick and more efficient but really, who cares? You want your American car to have a V8! With an optional sports exhaust I would add.
Except don’t expect AMG-levels of performance. It makes 420 horsepower but for India it is detuned to make 396bhp and 515Nm of torque. Ford engineers claim it can even run on even 87 octane fuel that you get in Tier III Indian towns which will come as a relief to enthusiasts in those areas.
Does it slap you in the face with vicious acceleration? Not really. It is quick, of that there’s no question, but it doesn’t feel as quick as 396bhp or even the claimed ‘under 5 seconds’ 0-100kmph would suggest. And I think the biggest culprit is the 6-speed automatic gearbox, a regular torque converter at that and not a twin-clutch unit. It doesn’t have the urgency that you’ve come to expect of DSG’s, even the ubiquitous ZF 8-speeder, and it takes its time to downshift which can get very frustrating when you have fallen out of the sweet spot in the middle of a corner. Weirdly if you upshift just shy of the redline, there’s a great big lag as the next cog is engaged. Upshift at 6500rpm and it’s quick(ish) but I can only imagine how much better a manual gearbox would be.