Goodwood 2015: Ford Mustang Convertible driven on the hill
We drive the new Mustang Convertible up the 1.16-mile Goodwood hill climb, our first taste of the Mustang on UK soil
As test drives go, a 1.16-mile sprint up a driveway lasting barely a minute isn’t ideal. For our first drive of the Ford Mustang Convertible in the UK (we haven’t driven the coupe here, either, yet) I was picturing more of a US style road trip – fast wide roads, wind in the hair, you’ve seen the movies. Unfortunately this bite-sized test route was all that was on offer. We’ll have to wait until October until right-hand drive Mustangs arrive in the UK, so our test car was a left-hooker, but fitted with the 312bhp 2.3-litre turbocharged EcoBoost engine and a six-speed manual gearbox it was in the perfect spec for UK punters. Painted in navy blue it’s also about as subtle as a Mustang gets, but the recognition it got from the public around the Goodwood paddock was surprising. This is a car that everyone knows about, whether they’ll actually buy one or not remains to be seen.
The course consists of a compulsory flamboyant getaway from the line – we managed a mere squeal from the rear tyres – followed by a fast right-hander. By this point two things were already clear - it’s no lithe sports car, but cornering stability is impressive, and the EcoBoost engine has a bigger set of lungs than you’d think. Acceleration is smooth and strong, rather than rapid, but Ford has managed to engineer in an exhaust note that does a passable impression of a V8, so on full throttle you don’t feel short-changed.
A slow chicane, fast sweeping left hander at Molecomb, and a pootle back to the pits confirmed that the Mustang has all the ingredients to hold its own against more polished European competition. It’s something altogether different to, say, an A5 Cabriolet – bigger, softer, not as well made – but has charm to spare. It’s at this point I’d normally steer you towards buying the coupe, with its superior structural rigidity and marginally sharper handling, but with the weather playing ball, shades on and the roof down, its this Cabriolet that I’d choose for a road trip. Let’s hope the sun sticks around until October.
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