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Seventh-generation Ford Mustang lands in Europe – and we get behind the wheel

Words: Alex Goy | Photos: Ford Motor Company

Sixty years after it first appeared to the public, the seventh-generation Ford Mustang has landed in Europe. After six decades it’s still a looker, comes with plenty of power and remains true to its pony car roots, with the added allure of big muscle.

As you’d expect from a Mustang, there’s something for everyone. For now, you can have a coupé or convertible, a six-speed manual or a ten-speed auto, a daily-friendly GT spec or a track-rat special Dark Horse. More variants are coming, of course. If you simply want to burble around, roof down, looking like you’re living the American dream, you can. If you want to have a crack at embarrassing people in 911s around Brands Hatch… you can do that, too.

No matter which Mustang you go for, you’ll get a 5.0-litre V8 – not enough people went for the eco alternative in the UK last time round. GTs come with 446 horses, while the harder-core Dark Horse will throw 453 of them out of the rear wheels. With manual ’boxes fitted, the former will clip 0-62mph in 5.3 seconds and top 155mph. The latter, meanwhile, takes 5.2 seconds to hit 62mph and will see 163mph (autos are a touch quicker).

Thanks to various regulations, European Mustangs aren’t quite as punchy as their American siblings (US GTs come with 486bhp, Dark Horses get 500bhp), and while it feels a little off that the best is reserved for its home country, don’t be too disheartened – because there’s nothing quite like the new ‘Stang out there. There really isn’t: take a look at the market – where else can you get a manual, naturally aspirated V8 brand new off the line at the moment?

While the GT offers cruise-y fun, the Dark Horse promises durability, track-ready excitement and, thanks to its name, offers the vague suggestion of being the odd one out in a crowd. With retuned Magneride springs for better handling, more power, optional sports seats and myriad other track-focused options, the Dark Horse sounds pretty capable.

With a six-speed notchy Tremec manual on board offering flat upshifts and rev-matching downshifts, twinned with one of most deliciously sonorous V8s you can buy today, you’d be hard pressed not to have a good time. The motor likes to spin, despite sounding (and feeling) a touch lazy low down in its rev range. Get it above 4000rpm, though, and it comes alive, screaming all the way up to the red line. When corners appear, six-pot Brembos deftly knock a chunk of speed off in no time at all. 

It’s a big car, so threading it through the UK’s typically tiny roads may be accompanied by some unintentional glute exercises. The Dark Horse’s suspension is on the harder side no matter whether you’re using Normal, Sport or whatever other drive mode takes your fancy, and it corners flat enough, but you can feel the 1750kg of the thing in every input. Accelerating away, it leans on its rear, braking shoves the mass to the front. The steering itself is a touch on the light side, but it doesn’t hide what the front wheels are up to. 

The new Mustang remains just as adaptable as it’s always been. You can get yourself into an entry-level car and have a different sort of daily, use it as a base for a home-brew creation, or head straight for the hardcore end of the scale and lap happily until you run out of fuel.

While it’s not quite as plush as the sort of cars you’d expect to put it up against, its roots as the basis for fun shine through here. It’s highly likely the seventh-generation Mustang will be the last to come with a naturally aspirated V8 and the comparative simplicity that accompanies such a powerplant. For that alone, it should be celebrated, but the fact it’s ace to drive helps more than a bit.

Find out more here.

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