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Road tests

New Ford Mustang GT 2024 review: iconic muscle car roars into the digital age

The new Mustang GT introduces fresh looks and plenty of updated technology, all of which is accompanied by a traditional V8 soundtrack

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

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Verdict

The world’s most popular sports car has been thoroughly modernised both inside and out, but still retains its thunderous V8 character at heart. Given the amount of kit it now boasts inside, it’s good value at £55k. As enthusiasts, we can’t help but love it, even if the new digitised cabin divides opinion and its emissions are a rather unfunny joke. 

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The original Ford Mustang was first unleashed in the summer of 1964. In the six decades and more than 10 million sales that have followed, Ford has nurtured its iconic sports car to become a world best-seller. This seventh-generation version has been comprehensively redesigned to celebrate the success of its ancestors, and to hike the Mustang howling into the 21st century. 

So while it still adheres to the traditional front-engined, rear driven, V8-powered formula that we’ve come to know and love over the years (there is no four-cylinder version for Europe this time round), the latest Mustang is, claims Ford, a sharper sports car, for a new generation of customers.

Powered by a heavily revised 5.0-litre ‘Coyote’ V8 and featuring a raft of styling upgrades inside and out, the reborn Mustang is now a fully connected car, says its creator, with a new touch-and-swipe screen that’s powered by Unreal Engine software – the sort of graphics wizardry that features on many of the world’s top computer games, we’re told.

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In layman’s terms, it has a fully digitised new cabin that’s been designed loosely to replicate the feel of a fighter jet, featuring two big new touchscreens in place of the famous double-oval dials of old. The system is fully Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatible, so although the mechanicals might be familiar – big V8, uprated suspension, rear-drive, huge brakes, monster 19in Pirelli tyres – the Mustang has been well and truly modernised inside for its probable final outing. And as a result, it looks like an awful lot of car for the money at ‘just’ £55,725.

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For this you get 440bhp and 540Nm of torque from the 5.0-litre V8 engine. This reaches the road either via a six-speed manual or a 10-speed automatic gearbox with a mechanical limited-slip differential taking care of traction, regardless of which gearbox you choose. You can also specify Ford’s excellent (but optional) MagneRide dampers from the more potent Dark Horse for an extra £1,750, and there are no fewer than six drive modes to choose from, including Drag and Track.

Whichever options you specify, the new Mustang GT is a genuinely quick, entertaining car – although if you can afford the MagneRide dampers, go for them, because they’re great. With the manual transmission the car can get to 62mph in 5.3sec; with the closer-ratioed auto, this drops to just 4.9sec. In both cases the top speed is limited to 155mph.

It’s probably best not to ask about things such as fuel consumption (23.5mpg combined) or emissions (274g/km) because the numbers are pretty horrendous compared with most other new cars on sale. Instead, focus on the new 12.4in TFT instrument panel and the 13.2in central touchscreen if you want to show people how relevant your new Mustang actually is. 

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Better still, tell them about its revised suspension and uprated brakes and steering, and the fact that it can go round corners beautifully and provide more pure fun in the process than almost any car at this price level – while making a noise that’s naughtier to listen to than pretty much any vehicle, at any price.

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On the road, the Mustang has a cuddly familiarity to its personality that’s easy to get along with, once you get used to how big it feels physically from behind the wheel. But it also has a sharpness and a precision to its steering, brakes, ride and handling that hasn’t been evident before. It’s not a light car, at 1,808kg, nor does it feel like an especially agile one to begin with, but it is a deeply rewarding one to drive once you get used to its size and its meaty control weights.

We tried the auto and manual, in both GT Coupe and Convertible forms. The pick of the bunch (for keen drivers) is unquestionably the manual GT Coupe, mainly because its gearbox brings the best out of the chassis but also because the fixed-head bodyshell feels notably stiffer and sharper on the move – more Mustang, if you will. That said, the Convertible is nice enough thing to chip about in if the sun’s out, plus you can hear the machinations of the lovely V8 that much more clearly with the electric hood down. 

The new digitised instruments aren’t for everyone, but they provide a lot of information about what the car is doing in a clear and reasonably intuitive way. Inevitably, the more time you spend in it, the more natural – and useful – the new cabin feels. Not that the driving position has changed much; you still sit low, behind a thick, chunky wheel, and the bonnet still feels a long way from your backside. In this respect, little has changed.

Overall, the new seventh-generation Mustang is a welcome step forwards, and much improved over the car it replaces. The dynamics are sharp enough to compete without being good enough to rewrite the rules; a BMW M4 remains a considerably faster, sharper driving tool – but also a quantifiably more expensive one, too.

In reality the new Mustang has few, if any rivals out there in the real world. How many other 5.0-litre V8 sports cars can you name that cost less than 60 grand, are rear wheel drive and make noises – or turn heads – like this one does? There aren’t many, hence the reason Ford’s order books are already filling up fast. That’s not much of a surprise, on this evidence.

Model:Ford Mustang GT
Price:£55,725
Engine:5.0-litre V8 petrol
Power/torque:440bhp/540Nm
Transmission:6-speed manual or 10-speed auto
0-62mph:5.3 sec (manual), 4.9 sec (auto)
Top speed:155mph
Economy/CO2:23.5mpg/274g/km (manual), 23.1mpg/278g/km (auto)
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