The allure of cars like the Mustang, Challenger and Camaro is a strong one. I’m the first to admit: I’m not a huge fan of American muscle cars. For those who haven’t already clicked off this review, here’s why: They’re too unrefined for my taste. Now, of course, that doesn’t dissuade me from enjoying my time behind the wheel (the GT500 completely took my heart a few years ago), but I’d never put down my own hard-earned dollars to own one. Not even a Hellcat.
American muscle is great. I love the appeal. I love the brash, in-your-face-ness of it all -- but not on an everyday basis.
So, when I was handed the keys to the brand new 2015 Mustang GT Convertible, I was mostly excited about the fact that it was set to be a gorgeously sunny week and I had a drop-top more than the fact that I had a 5.0L under the newly sculpted hood.
Heritage in its belly
I’ve driven a few Mustangs over the years, and each time I get behind the wheel I’m intrigued by the history I feel. Sure, the car’s come a great distance since it was first introduced 50 years ago in terms of technology, drivability (and even size), but it’s still the Pony Car, and I love that.
Sitting behind the wheel of my 5.0L GT convertible, dropping the top immediately was key. The top comes down in a matter of seconds and stores nicely in the rear just behind the back seats, which means you still get a rather sizable and functional trunk out of the deal -- along with equally functional, adult-size back seats.
My son had a blast in the back of the ‘Stang and absolutely loved the open-air, top-down drive -- even on the highway. It can, however, get a bit windy in the back even with the windows up, so speeds had to be kept around the 100km/h or less mark on the highway when he was back there. However, we still enjoyed every ounce of sunshine the week had to offer us.
Forgot I had the fiver
In all honesty, I almost forgot I had the 5.0L V8 halfway through the week. Now, don’t get my wrong; 435 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque are plenty, especially in the RWD ‘Stang, but it just seemed like something was missing.
Perhaps it was the autotragic -- er, automatic transmission that threw me off or maybe it was the general lack of an aural reminder that I was actually driving a 5.0L. I know I would have felt almost ashamed and downright shy had I pulled up to any classic 5.0L that would surely be rumbling and grumbling beautifully beside me at idle while my ‘Stang gently puffed out a kind of louder-than-normal exhaust note. Not intimidating at all. Even on start-up, I feel like there should have been more of a “show.” There just wasn’t.
Even with the top dropped the engine is audible when pushed, sure, but it’s just not … enough. Maybe I’m just too demanding. But that’s a topic for another piece…
Lack of noisy presence aside, the 5.0L V8 does get the job done, and it does it quickly. Mashing the throttle will result in a tail wag (if so desired) and fun can be had by all on board. The lack of a roof plays with the vehicle’s stability in corners, but otherwise handling is actually quite good. I still feel like the Mustang GT is a bit “soft” for what it is.
I said it when I first drove it in California last year, and I’ll say it again: They’ve made it accessible to the general public (as most manufacturers are doing with their vehicles) and simultaneously alienating the enthusiasts who are looking for that edge that it’s now kind of lost.
The allure of the Mustang
Despite my feeling the ‘Stang has lost a bit of its run-wild-and-free ways, it’s still a highly appealing vehicle for those in the market for a sporty, fun-to-drive everyday ride. Add the ability to drop its top in the sun and you’ve got a complete package.
If nothing else, the 2015 Ford Mustang GT looks great. The new exterior design is leaps and bounds ahead of the previous generation and it’s a real show-stopper. And me thinks had I experienced the GT with a stick I would have had a bit more fun and perhaps been able to coax a bit more from the engine than I did with the autotragic tranny.
However, with a starting price over the $40k mark, the competition begs considering. Unless you’ve always wanted a ‘Stang in your stable, then nothing will ever compare.