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Car group tests

Ford Mustang vs Jaguar F-Type R

Ford’s Mustang has finally hit the UK, but can it make an impact against a British favourite – the Jaguar F-Type?

After nearly 52 years, the Ford Mustang has finally arrived in the UK as the brand’s halo sports car. It’s an integral part of the One Ford strategy that sees the same models sold globally, and there’s probably no better way to fly the flag than with a vehicle that’s world famous.

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But there’s more to the latest Mustang than a historic back catalogue. This is the sixth-generation model, and it features plenty of modern running gear and electronics under the skin to make it competitive. For its first test, we’ve lined up a GT Fastback with a traditional 5.0-litre V8 under the bonnet. With a sub-£35k price tag, it’s the cheapest V8-powered car on sale in the UK. So, it got us thinking: does it deliver bargain performance that can give more expensive rivals a hard time?

To find out, we’ve pitched it against the Jaguar F-Type R, which is nearly twice as expensive as the Ford and has a similarly rich history. Which car will prevail?

Head-to-head

Driver aids

The Mustang features four-stage traction control, with Race mode designed to allow the car to slide before the electronics cut in. You can turn the system off completely, too, while launch control is also included.

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The only F-Type with launch control is the V6, but Dynamic traction control setting on the V8 model boosts its responses.

History

Ford’s Mustang has been in constant production for over 50 years, although the seventies and eighties versions weren’t the best sports cars. After years of rumours and speculation, the F-Type finally arrived in 2013 – some 52 years after its spiritual ancestor, the E-Type, appeared.

Smaller engines

There’s a 2.3-litre EcoBoost Mustang that has the same engine as the Focus RS. It costs £30,495, returns 35.3mpg and emits 179g/km of CO2. Go for the F-Type V6, and it costs £51,260, has a manual gearbox and emits 234g/km.

Verdict

First place: Ford Mustang

The new Mustang represents a return to form for Ford. It may feature some cheap interior parts and be expensive to run, but the newcomer’s price tag, looks and sheer charisma mean you quickly forget these issues. Add in a great chassis that meant it held its own against a far more expensive rival, and it’s a genuine performance car bargain.

Second place: Jaguar F-Type

It’s a bit harsh to place the F-Type second in this test, because these two cars are aiming at different markets. In terms of performance, they’re surprisingly close, yet the Jaguar’s supercharged V8 gives it a savage edge that the Mustang can’t quite match. First-class build quality and the F-Type’s catwalk looks mean it still holds plenty of appeal, too.

Other options in this category

BMW M235i Coupe

Price: £35,225Engine: 3.0-litre 6cyl, 326bhp

It’s smaller than the Mustang, but the BMW M235i still has a practical body, while the combination of an agile rear-drive chassis and straight-six turbo power means it delivers plenty of thrills. It has the edge on cabin quality as well.

Nissan 370Z Nismo 

Price: £37,745Engine: 3.0-litre V6, 339bhp

Flagship version of the Japanese muscle car combines classic Z-car design cues with Nissan’s motorsport heritage. The brand’s competition division has boosted the 370Z’s handling, but V6 engine is archaic and the whole car feels rather old.

Figures

 Ford Mustang GT FastbackJaguar F-Type R Coupe
On the road price/total as tested£34,495/£36,375£86,810/£93,335
Residual value (after 3yrs/36,000)£18,765/54.4%£37,328/43.0%
Depreciation£15,730£49,482
Annual tax liability std/higher rate£2,467/£4,934£6,355/£12,711
Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)£2,722/£4,537£2,346/£3,911
Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost43/TBC/M/£50550/£1,324/L/£490
Servicing costsTBC£995 (3yrs)
   
Length/wheelbase4,784/2,720mm4,470/2,622mm
Height/width1,381/1,916mm1,314/1,923mm
EngineV8/4,951ccV8 s’charged/5,000cc
Peak power/revs412/6,500 bhp/rpm542/6,500 bhp/rpm
Peak torque/revs530/4,250 Nm/rpm680/3,500 Nm/rpm
Transmission6-spd man/rwd8-spd auto/rwd
Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel61 litres/repair kit70 litres/£255
Boot capacity408 litres310 (load cover)/407 litres
Kerbweight/payload1,720kg/N/A1,650/400kg
Turning circle12.2 metres10.7 metres
Basic warranty (miles)/recovery3yrs (60,000)/1yr3yrs (unltd)/3yrs
Service intervals/UK dealers10,000 miles (1yr)/78116,000 miles (1yr)/97
Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.25th/26th2nd/3rd
   
0-60/30-70mph5.6/4.8 secs (in wet)3.9/3.0 secs
30-50mph in 3rd/4th2.6/3.6 secs2.3/3.0 secs
50-70mph in 5th/6th/7th4.9/9.9 secs/N/A3.2/5.4/6.9 secs
Top speed/rpm at 70mph155mph/1,800rpm186mph/1,500rpm
Noise outside/idle/30/70mph59/49/66/74dB66/51/65/71dB
Braking 70-0/60-0/30-0mph52.9/31.7/9.7m (in wet)49.1/35.3/9.3m
Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range20.6/4.5/276 miles23.9/5.3/368 miles
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined14.1/29.4/20.9mpg18.5/35.3/26.4mpg
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined3.1/6.5/4.6mpl4.1/7.8/5.8mpl
Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket317/299g/km/37%273/255g/km/37%
   
Airbags/Isofix/parking sensors/camSeven/yes/£295/yesFour/yes/yes/£255
Auto gearbox/stability/cruise control£1,500/yes/yesYes/yes/yes
Climate control/leather/climate seatsYes/yes/£495Yes/yes/£350 (heated)
Launch control/limited-slip differentialYes/yesNo/yes
Metallic paint/xenon lights/keyless go£595/yes/yes£700/yes/£450
Sat-nav/USB/DAB radio/Bluetooth£795/yes/yes/yesYes/yes/yes/yes
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