Words: Don Cheng
Photography: Don Cheng
Published: August 23, 2016
When I say the word America, what are the first things that pop into your mind? With the on-going presidential race, it’s probably The Donald’s embarrassing run for the top job. If not, perhaps a porky gentleman biting into a thick greasy burger, melted cheeses dribbling down his chin. How about Wall Street, Michael Bay, or blockbuster movies? Notice the common theme here? It’s that when Americans do things, it’s almost always loud and proud – preferably with an eagle on it somewhere. However, few things in life scream ‘murica more than a pony car, at a McDonald’s drive-thru.
And that is where I found myself late Tuesday evening; parked behind a beige Toyota Sienna up in the suburbs of the GTA. But this isn’t any old rental spec Mustang. This is the quintessential muscle car formula – bright red paint (Ford calls it Race Red), a 5.0L V8 under the hood, and six gears for you to manually choose from, of which the first two will roast the rear tires should you choose to, and when that urge finally becomes irresistible, you can enjoy the fruits of your labor with the top down too.
But that’s not all the ‘stang can do - although the long-standing joke seems to indicate just that. Truth be told, the engineers at Ford have been on a roll recently with knock out superstars in every performance segment, and the Mustang GT is certainly no exception.
Let’s begin with the motor: featuring 435 American stallions and dishing out 400 lb-ft of twist, the car is no slouch. Peak torque comes as early as 4,250 RPM, and don’t for a second think that chopping the top would weigh the car down. In fact, unlike other convertibles the soft top only adds 71 kg to the total weight of the car, or roughly the weight of one extra adult passenger.
Like all V8s, the accompanying soundtrack is addicting. The volume of the crescendos are more conservative than I would have liked, even more so after hearing what the new Camaro SS and Challenger SRT 392 have in store. Nevertheless, the unmistakable growl of a V8 persists, although in this case it’s more of a gentle purr.
Mash the pedal and power delivery comes smoothly all the way up to its 7,000 RPM redline, hurtling the 2000+ kg car up to break neck speeds at an incredible pace. Combined with a standard Getrag 6-speed manual (a 6-speed auto is available) and the Mustang is happy to horse around with you all day.
To make sure this pony stays relevant, Ford has added a GT Performance Package option for 2016 convertibles. Previously limited to Fastbacks only, this $3,700 option adds a set of stylish 19-inch wheels wrapped in sticky summer only rubber, but that’s not all.
To start, Brembo’s stepped in for an upgraded set of six-piston front rotors and calipers. Moreover, the front springs, radiator, strut-tower brace, and rear-sway bar have all been beefed up and upgraded. But the pièce de résistance is a TORSEN limited-slip diff with a 3.73 ratio final-drive.
Now in a Fastback that could potentially see track time, it makes a lot of sense. But for a convertible that’s more suited for touring? Well, that actually it makes a damn whole lot of sense too. Picture this: you’re at a local McDonald’s with your muscle car friends (of whom, two drive a lifted pick-up) when some young punk shows up with a boosted BMW claiming he can lay more rubber than you. “Murica!” you shout as you hop in your Mustang and proceed to lay the longest set of 11’s the world has ever seen thanks to your new limited slip diff. The scenario isn’t likely of course, but the assurance of knowing it’s there is nice. That, and it really helps put down all that torque the V8 generates, especially when during hard cornering.
There’s a lot of body roll however, and though it doesn’t weigh much more than the coupe, the mass of the vehicle quickly becomes evident despite the stiffer front springs. The long hood also makes seeing over it difficult, adding to the illusion that you’re in a big unwieldy vehicle – especially in tight urban environments. It’s an improvement over the experience of yesteryear’s muscle cars, or even muscle cars of the last decade, but it’s clear that the track isn’t where this particular Mustang feels at home.
Instead, it’s best suited doing what its GT name implies – Grand Touring out by the countryside and enjoying the twisties at a relaxed pace. Steering is communicative, albeit a bit light and numb. There are selectable modes to change the feel too but none of it adds enough heft to make a difference.
With the roof down, wind buffeting is at an absolute minimal. Which means when you finally decide to arrive, you won’t look like a young couple with raging hormones and parents that aren’t home. The 12-speaker Shaker pro audio system sounds fantastic too, regardless of the retractable roof’s position. Speaking of which, it takes about 8 seconds to raise or drop.
At an as-tested price of $58,648, the Mustang GT isn’t the car for everyone. Those looking for a holistic open-top motoring experience will need to look elsewhere (may we suggest, a Miata?). But what the GT Convertible does do is cater towards a very specific subset of individuals – these are the folks who get their wives in the car on Sunday morning and take it for a long cruise through the backroads that lead to their favourite brunch spot, or to those who yearn to amble along wine country taking in the views and smells of nature. What Ford has done with the sixth-generation Mustang is craft a comprehensive line-up of vehicles that caters towards every single buyer’s needs.
There’s a V6 for you at the nearest Hertz (let’s be real here, nobody buys the V6), an EcoBoost four-pot with some pretty potent tuning capabilities for the young millennials, and a Fastback GT for those who are into good ol’ American muscle. Track rats get to whet their appetite with a pair of special Shelby GT350s. Buyers who appreciate a Mustang as something more than just a muscle car, a lifestyle, or even style icon have the convertible to choose from with all three engines available, and besides, what’s more American than the freedom of choice?
型号 Model: 2016 Ford Mustang GT Convertible Premium (with GT Performance Pkg)
顏色 Paint Type: Red Hot
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $49,448
試車售價 Price as Tested: $58,648
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 2,720
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 4,783 / 1,394 / 2,080
車重 Curb weight (kg): 2,066
引擎 Engine: 5.0L Ti-VCT V8
最大馬力 Horsepower: 435 hp @ 6,500 rpm
最高扭力 Torque: 400 lb-ft. @ 4,250 rpm
波箱 Transmission: 6-speed automatic
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, RWD
油耗 Fuel Consumption ( City / Highway / Combined ) L/100km: 16.7 / 10.2 / 13.8
油耗 Observed Fuel Consumption (L/100km): 16.2
輪胎尺碼 Tires: Front 255/40R19; Rear 275/40R19