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2013 Ford Mustang GT

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On: Fri, Sep 14, 2012 at 4:00PM | By: Jon Summers


2013 Ford Mustang GT

The 2013 Mustang GT is not so much a new car as it is the last iteration of a very well-loved old one. The 2014 Mustang will end the retro look Mustangs have worn since 2005; it will be something all new. Whisper this – it may even have independent rear suspension – thus changing a key, if gloriously Neanderthal, element of Mustang DNA. The last time Ford tried something so radical, by replacing the Fox Mustang with the front wheel drive Probe, customer reaction was so vociferous the board changed direction, and green-lighted development of a new generation of rear-drive Mustang.

Comparing the 2012 with the 2013 model, raw power is up to 420hp, thanks to the use of piston and ring coatings from the Boss 302. There is a new automatic transmission, a 6 speed, which features SelectShift, a tool allowing drivers better control over the ‘box, by allowing the car to be manually held in each gear. Visually the Mustang has had some nip-and-tuck work, with HID headlights alongside a new grille, set in a new front fascia. Tail lights too have been redesigned, with a blacked-out look, and new wheel designs are available.

Competition

In the showroom, Ford provides a touch screen comparison allowing easy comparison between Mustang and its perceived competition. Missing was the Dodge Challenger, perhaps because this car simply is not much of a challenger in terms of dynamics: it is altogether bigger, heavier car. Instead, Ford offered comparison with the Camaro, and the Nissan 370Z. The 370Z is an altogether different proposition from the Mustang – it is only a two seater, and only has six cylinders. The Camaro, by contrast, is the Mustang’s natural adversary. It features an independent rear suspension and styling which is at once modern and an homage to the much-loved ’69 Camaro. The character of each car is sufficiently distinctive that it seems likely many buyers will be able to make a choice based upon gut reaction.

Driving

Mustang GTs have always been the kind of cars which it was impossible not to drive like an adrenalized teenager, with the windows down and the hair metal loud, drowned out only by the V8 bellow. The 2013 continues this tradition, in that it is license-shredding fast, as indeed you would expect 420hp to be. Approaching within a few thousand rpm of the redline in any gear other than first or second has you moving a great deal faster than other freeway traffic. While it is no Lotus, the Mustang is composed on undulating freeway on and off ramps and surprisingly agile on twisty secondary roads, although a driver never forgets the car’s sheer weight; unlike the 370Z, this is no sports car. Like Mustangs of yore, the live axle may aid standing starts (great for drag racing) but on any rough or graveled road, or if there is just the slightest spit of rain on the ground the car is jittery, wheel-spinning and over-steering even at low speed. Dumb, but fun. Windows up, the exhaust note is significantly muted, it is almost too civilized for this bruiser of a machine.

At 50, most people have had the rough edges of youth knocked off. They are older, wiser, and, like the 2013 ‘Stang, probably heavier and more powerful than they were years ago. The passion of youth has gone, as has some of the viscerality of the Mustang GT driving experience. The 2013 is a great car – by any objective measure, probably the best Mustang ever – but driving a decade or two older, slower Mustang GT makes one wonder if a simple steak-and-eggs-for-breakfast of a car, like the Mustang, really needs the weight, complexity and creature comforts of 2013.


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