A Mustang in the UK?

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Having just finished watching the MotorTrend video on the new Mustang, it became real to me quite suddenly that this car is making its way over here as a fully fledged EU/UK car. Its an intriguing proposition and one that prompted me to do a little word-poo on it.

It has been well documented over the past couple of months that Ford for the first time in its history is bringing the legendary Mustang name over to Europe- the land of the prancing horse, and more critically, to the UK, the land of the prancing…Fiesta ST. This certainly isn’t our first fast Ford.

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In the ten years since the introduction of the ‘revitalised’ ‘retro’ Mustang, it has had the ever keen journalists of the UK scrabbling to get behind the wheel of each new iteration. If not to secretly revel in how cool they feel driving it, then to tear its dynamic skill set apart.

The Mustang has never been famed for being the most technically impressive device. Instead it was celebrated as the greatest and arguably most excusable and loveable novelty on four wheels, pre-historic car-to-ground interface aside.

But the harsh reality was always upsettingly apparent. The Mustang simply would not work on british roads. Its excessive girth, gargantuan snout and truck like turning circle, though tailored to consume the simple swooping roadways of the land of the free, at least at a somewhat satisfactory level, fit about as well on our pokey little green island as an American plug into a UK socket.

Like those you hear about who bring back XL king sized grilles and adaptors to boot, you had to be pretty committed to the idea of your Mustang swooping the rather leaner than mean streets of Cambridge, never mind committed to the idea of fuelling the thing. Thats after you paid the abhorrent though not applicable in this case import duty.

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So, I ponder rather perplexed, what place Ford can possibly think that the now 50 year old American born and bred mule can seriously have in a European, let alone UK market?

Novelty alone doesn’t sell cars.

Okay, at most in very limited numbers. TVR learnt that the hard way and Aston Martin is now discovering that to its detriment.

A proper, UK dealer bound Mustang complete with the requisite right hand drive has to have been substantially overhauled, no less completely remastered and re imagined to be viable.

So the 2015 Mustang. What does it bring to our shores?

The initial news is good: sophisticated independent rear suspension that with luck might be able to deal with the ruts and ruckus of UK B Road motoring.

The Mustang is after all, a coupe. Maybe even a sports car. A car of this shape and motivation in the UK should be able to be driven in a sporting manner, correct?

Good news/bad news- the GT is also available here. Five Litres of snarling fuel guzzling V8 that we will all walk into the Ford dealer wanting. It is the one we will book a test drive for. It is the one we will hanker for. It is the one we will want to plonk a not inconsiderable but not extortionate £36,000 on.

It is however, the one we will for the most part conclude is simply not viable. It’ll likely steal some Z car sales and dare I say it M car sales. But the projections for the 5.0’s sales over here are slight.

That is, in comparison to Fords masterstroke. A Mustang now properly bound for our shores equipped with a UK befitting 310 horsepower 2.3 litre four cylinder turbo sitting at the entry point in the range.

Thats a far more wallet friendly sounding lump isn’t it. Maybe nugget is a more accurate descriptor given the size of the engine bay it’ll be rattling around in. Its a nugget to buy too at £29,000 starting.

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Is the identity of the Mustang not warping here somewhat?

Granted, the American icon has run under four banger steam in the past- albeit 30 years ago, but this is certifiably a giant leap for the name to take as a whole.

The styling too, takes Ford into a blur of line language. Though suitably snouty and aggressive it’s aesthetics share far more with the Mondeo, beside which it will be sold, than ever before. The two are unmistakably related even without a glance at the badges.

Back to the old game of top trumps for a moment. It does not come to our streets a slighter proposition than any of its forbears. The footprint still suggests ungainly American car, as does the fair old heft of 1600 kilos that constitutes it. For reference a 4 Series Coupe weighs in at around 1500 kilos, but the Mustang certainly has that beaten on price.

Is the Mustang, in the flavour which it has been prepared this time round for shipping to the EU, still a Mustang?

In spite of a noticeable identity shift i’d say yes. This revolution in evolution is probably for the better too. Ford has needed a sporting coupe in the UK for some time now and this new post modern pony fits the bill perfectly.

The novelty will sell it while the impressive efficiency of that Ecoboost engine will keep it out of the approved used lot. Being a four cylinder turbo Ford, the Mustang Ecoboost will enter a whole new dimension of tunability when it makes its way over here, too.

Anyone fancy a Mustang Mountune?

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In the past, has this car worked over here?

Categorically no.

Has Ford adequately prepared this new model for its maiden voyage onto our roads?

My answer for now is a tentative yes.

Initial reports tell of a car sporting the kind of sophistication in terms of the way it conducts itself on the move that a 2010 couldn’t comprehend on its sharpest day, and yet the magic of the Mustang shape can comfortably and viably turn a head 3000 miles away from home in this new iteration.

Who are the customers that will be buying the Mustang over here?

It’s hard to say at this point, but while most of us like to count the pennies, when it gets down to our day to day commutes we aren’t so inclined to do so with the kilos.

So as the Mustang is an interesting value proposition over some of its more boring contemporaries both in terms of efficiency, performance and list price, that residual quintessentially American heft shouldn’t dampen too many appetites for the ever visually compelling icon either.

Being more competently sprung it should deal with the chub rather more effectively anyway. Initial reports are encouraging but not dazzling.

As for its size?

I think its part of the package to be honest and a sacrifice that people will likely make. Lord knows more have been made to run a pony here in the past.  I don’t think the safe money is on this going wrong for Ford.

Hopefully we get some seat time in one soon.

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