Test drove the 2018 Mustang GT with the 10 speed and I was super impressed! It was a bare bones base model and it didn’t matter, Ford really hit this one out of the park. Hands down my absolute favorite car I have driven in all these years.
I’ll address the elephant in the room right away. For me, 2018 Mustang GT is better than the 2018 Camaro SS. I reviewed the Camaro SS sometime back and it was still fresh in my mind. Great car in some areas but just not for me overall. The Mustang does way better in the areas I had a problem with in the Camaro.
Let me give some context by saying these 2 are the most powerful cars I have ever driven so far and I have not driven any Corvettes, Porsches or other High performance German or Italian cars so this is where I am coming from, and obviously my benchmarks will change as I get to experience different and better cars. Also the last Mustang I drove was a base V6 back in 2010 or something. If you have driven the current 2015-2017 this might be a slight improvement for you but to experience the 2018 not having driven the older ones, given the enhancements was very enjoyable.Yes there are far better cars out there but for the amount of performance for the $, these are hard to beat, especially if you can get a lightly used CPO.
So this was the lowest trim, standard suspension, 10 speed auto, basic infotainment not even heated seats, no multi mode exhaust, no performance pack nothing. MSRP $37K in Ruby Red like the one below
Exterior: I like the 2015-2017 better and I feel there are too many angles and cuts in the 2018 front fascia plus they changed the lights. But it is not a deal breaker however I still prefer the Camaro SS for exterior style
Interior: I Can actually see out of this damn thing. I did not feel claustrophobic like I did in the Camaro. No they are not the same. The windshield doesn’t end this low, the hood is lower, the rear quarter windows help and the B and C pillars are not thick AF. Rear visibility is more or less the same. I felt a lot more comfortable in the first 5 minutes itself and there was no Blind Spot Detection system too. Win for Mustang. Back seats are useless. Side sills are large and you need to get your legs over them but not too bad.
Cloth seats are very supporting, Steering wheel feels good but the interior plastic and trim still doesn’t beat the Camaro. Cheap plastic and vinyl everywhere and the climate control and infotainment buttons felt cheap and too plasticky. Steering wheels controls were good though and you could use them instead for most infotainment functions. But I was so engrossed in driving it I didn’t mind.
The Drive: This is the updated 5.0 Coyote with Gt350 bits and Holy Mother of God is this magnificent! Just pulling out of the parking lot and I was floored! Brutal torque, seemingly unlimited power and it sounds SO good! It rumbles, It growls and it roars, and this wasn’t even the multimode exhaust. The Camaro SS also sounds really good but this has that special something in the rumble. Also interesting that the Camaro has 455 Lb Ft but this one with the 420Lb ft feels like it has way more torque. I not 100% sure where in the rev range it makes it and it could also be the transmission gearing. I was completely smitten in the first 10 mins and then I calmed down and thought more rationally about the overall car. The feeling of having so much torque and power all the time anytime you ask for it is just intoxicating
There’s like a reserve of power like V-tec after 4500 RPM and it is a lot of fun on the freeway. Effortless performance. 0 to 60 in 3.9 seconds according to several publications with launch control.
Steering is electric and has 3 modes. I left it in normal mode as sport mode was too heavy artificially weighted outside of curvy back roads. Brakes are fantastic but it had the same light gas pedal like the Camaro.
Let me preface this by saying yes, the manual would be the perfect pairing with this V8, unquestionably but this transmission is excellent. D mode is smooth but fast and great for city and highway. S mode is brutal with hard shifts and it goes boom! Boom! Boom! Might be too hardcore for city driving. The only situation where there was some lag was this – It was a 45mph 4 lane road and I wanted to pass someone going below the limit. I gave it some gas and I think it went from 10 to 6th but then it took a second to realize “Oh you want 4?” and then downshifted again. This is a function of having 10 gears. I have not driven the 15-17 6 speed auto so maybe less gears are better. However I only drove it for 30 mins and I really liked the responsiveness in sport mode. A week long test drive or ownership would definitely show other quirks I guess but I liked it overall . You can’t go wrong with a manual obviously.
I will say though that the BMW ZF 8 speeds are easily the best Automatic transmissions I have experienced. It’s like they can read your mind.
Handling is excellent, grips like crazy and was super stable on off ramps taken at double the suggested limit easily. I floored it after coming to stop and turning into a main road and it did it without any drama or fuss. It did not feel overly wide or have that bit ponderous feel like the Camaro. Ride is very good but a little soft for my preference. I think the Mangetic Ride dampers would help it a lot. I wanted it to be a lot more firm. Handling capability wise this and the Camaro are pretty much the same in everyday driving but this had better feel IMO. And you can drive both quite sedately as a daily no problem if you set the right modes and all that.
I would option out this car in Lighting Blue like this just as it is and add just heated seats, Performance Pack 1 and the magnetic ride suspension and skip everything else. I am fine without the fancy infotainment, leather seats, full digital display etc. The Black accents package without the performance back is another build I like (Posted the pic at the top)
I don’t know if this is worth $52K but this is a giant-killer at less than $45K. What both the Camaro and Mustang lack in finesse and refinement they more than make up for it in world-class performance.
Maybe one day I will be in a financial position to get a Mustang GT or similar fast RWD coupe as my personal second fun car for around $15K but till then…I will wish and hope Lincoln or Ford would make a 2018 Mustang based Falcon sedan with this V8 or even the Ecoboost so that I can one do it all car.
Side note: The sales guy took me on a short drive to an offsite storage lot in a base F150 2.7 Ecoboost. This thing Hauls Ass! I was amazed at how fast a full size pickup pulled off the line. Every NA V6 and V8 pickup I have been in was sluggish until you really got on it. It was hilarious! I can’t imagine how much more crazy the 3.5 Ecoboost would be.
So I have been thinking, based on these last few reviews (Camaro SS, C400, G80 Sport, Chevy SS, Stinger GT and this) what I really want is this kind of performance but with the typical German firm but compliant ride quality, all the creature comforts, quality interiors and sophistication of luxury cars, plus actual usable back seats and trunk. So I imagine a RWD or RWD biased AWD V8 or twin turbo v6 premium/luxury sedan would make me very happy indeed.
This was basically me and my wife after she asked me “How did the test drive go?”