LIFESTYLE

The 2019 Ford Mustang 2.3 Coupe Races Ahead

by Robert Stedman
11 Nov 2019

First introduced in early 1965, the Ford Mustang represents one of the most successful automobile launches for the carmaker since the Model A. Over the years, the Mustang has undergone several transformations to reach its current sixth-generation car.

The galloping success of the two-door sports car means that Ford has sold over 10 million of the ponies to date. The Ford Mustang is an iconic car in terms of design and performance.

It has even become part of modern culture. Sean Connery drove one as James Bond and Steve McQueen saddled up to one in the movie “Bullitt.”

And rest assured, no matter where this car turns up, whether at the beach or the country club, it is sure to turn heads. Whether you choose to drive this sports car on a long and winding road or burn rubber on the track, the Mustang has an expressive personality combined with exceptional performance and stunning good looks.

Understandably, today’s Mustang is different from the original, and it is more powerful and sophisticated than ever before. In addition to a well-built and sturdy mono chassis, this original American muscle car comes standard with a 310-hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which Ford calls “EcoBoost.”

Imagine, the 1930s Ford’s Model A only had a rudimentary 24-hp engine. How technology has advanced!

This new engine has more than ten times the power with better gas mileage. There are also high-performance add-ons for this new Mustang, including an active exhaust system, an adaptive suspension and Brembo brakes. 

This car looks fast even when it’s parked. The Mustang looks like a cross between a Porsche 911 and an Audi TT, with styling that can only be described as, well, sexy.

Over the years, Ford has tweaked and developed this car into the beauty that it is today. The Mustang has been running wild for more than six decades. How many other manufacturers could boast such a run of luck with just one model?

As for the engine, one shouldn’t be fooled by its four cylinders. The standard turbocharged inline four has enough punch to embarrass larger V-8 Mustangs from days gone by.

This stallion oozes power. Ford has paired the Mustang engine with a standard 10-speed automatic transmission with manual override that makes the Mustang quicker than ever.

Still, in Sports Mode the automatic transmission is overly aggressive and seems not to be able to rein in the horses. Paddle style shifters are also standard on the steering wheel, which make manual shifting a joy.

Thankfully, this newest Mustang generation has added a much-needed independent rear suspension, which replaced the old-fashioned solid rear axle. Even so, the Mustang’s ride is anything but soft and luxurious. It is stiff and the road roughness does not get ironed out.

However, the new suspension improves overall handling and is a vast improvement over earlier models. Even though the car comes with a four-cylinder engine, the Mustang's modernized chassis delivers a reasonably comfortable and controlled driving experience.

Ford has also modified the braking of the new Mustang with larger pistons and calipers. The brake pedal now has a solid feel.

In fact, it was a bit temperamental in city traffic and tended to overbrake; braking is much smoother at higher speeds. Directional control of the car is much improved with electronic assisted power steering. At low speeds you can still feel the road, while at high speeds the steering is tight and responsive.

Ford has not seen fit to incorporate any type of advance drive train for this car. You do have selection between the normal and sport modes.

While many cars today have advanced traction and road comfort controls, this horse doesn’t, which is a shame. Ford has chosen to only provide a traditional rear-wheel drive. Rear-wheel drive, however, will allow you to do burn outs and donuts should you have the desire. 

While the fit and finish of the car’s exterior is marvelous, the interior leaves a lot to be desired. Inside, you’re met with a mix of hard plastics that, at best, look and feel cheap. You would think that Ford would offer better materials in such an iconic car, but alas no.

As this car is imported into Singapore, it obviously has right-hand drive. In fact, the sixth generation is also the first Ford Mustang to be marketed and sold globally and the first Mustang to be offered with right-hand drive.

However, you can see the original left-hand configuration and the old-style parking brake is left in its U.S. position on the left. It’s uncomfortable to reach over the driving tunnel to pull up or release the brake.

Still, one thing that’s great about the interior is the amount of space. Designers have gone back to a more inspired layout that harks back to the car’s beginning, which allows for more space.

The back seats are a bit cramped and the roof height is a somewhat low, but it is comfortable for passengers in the rear seats. Rear seats fold down to give access to storage space in the trunk. There is lots of room in this Pony. Not many two-door sports cars could make that claim.

While Ford claims that the car’s beefy performance combined with impressive cargo space makes the Mustang a great daily driver, there is doubt. Between the touchy braking and the stiff ride, many motorists might feel fatigued driving this car in bumper-to-bumper traffic or on rough roads each day. And the hard plastic interior is uninspiring, although the front race-style seats are comfortable. 

In conclusion, this is a fantastic vehicle: It’s fast, fun to drive and turns heads. It has a modest amount of advanced technology to help gallop the Mustang into the 21st Century.

Sadly, it is not a luxury car by any measure, though it was never meant to be one. Still, with a price tag of around S$250,000 in Singapore, it’s a relatively expensive car, especially when you consider that the same model in the United States sells for around US$25,000. (In the U.S. there’s even a “Bullitt” version available.) In closing, maybe we should all take the advice that Steve McQueen’s character gives in the movie “Bullitt”a: You decide if it’s worth it.