New Car/Review

1999 Ford Mustang V6 Coupe

By Matt/Bob Hagin

Ford Full Line factory footage (14:26) 28.8, 56k, or 200k

SPECIFICATIONS

     Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price              $ 16,470
     Price As Tested                                    $ 17,755
     Engine Type               OHV 12-valve 3.8 Liter V6 w/SMFI*
     Engine Size                                 232 cid/3802 cc
     Horsepower                                   190 @ 5250 RPM
     Torque (lb-ft)                               220 @ 2750 RPM
     Wheelbase/Width/Length                  101.3"/73.1"/183.2"
     Transmission                              Five-speed manual
     Curb Weight                                     3115 pounds
     Fuel Capacity                                  15.7 gallons
     Tires  (F/R)                                     P205/65R15
     Brakes (F/R)                                     Disc /disc
     Drive Train                   Front-engine/rear-wheel-drive
     Vehicle Type                        Four-passenger/two-door
     Domestic Content                                 85 percent
     Coefficient of Drag (Cd.)                               N/A

PERFORMANCE

     EPA Economy, miles per gallon
        city/highway/average                            20/29/25         
     0-60 MPH                                          7 seconds
     1/4 Mile (E.T.)                       15.5 seconds @ 84 mph
     Top speed                                           120 mph

     * Sequential multi-port fuel injection

(Bob Hagin says the Mustang has undergone lots of changes since it was introduced thirty-five years ago. Son Matt wasn't even born then, but his week behind the wheel of the '99 coupe brought back recollections of the '64 Mustang his brother Terry had many years ago.)

MATT - This new Mustang brings back memories, Dad. It's great fun to drive and cruising the boulevard takes me back 20 years. Rather than redesign the Mustang, the Ford guys just sharpened it up a bit and flared the rear fenders to accommodate a couple more inches of rear axle travel. This smooths out the ride, but to give it a balanced look, the front fenders were flared too. It also gives more room for a slightly wider rear axle and will avoiding having to do a sheet metal change when it comes time to finally add the Mustang Cobra with a long-awaited rear wheel independent suspension.

DAD - All Mustangs received more power under the hood this year and our test coupe was equipped with a 3.8 liter V6. It's a traditional overhead valve design with two valves per cylinder. Its been bumped up to 190 horses by virtue of having a redesigned intake system with tuned intake runners, cylinder head flow improvements, low tension piston rings and a couple of other tricks. It all adds up to an extra 40 horsepower. Ford has strengthened the engine block a bit and added a balance shaft to smoothen out the roughness that comes when extra power is squeezed out of an old design.

MATT - The running gear of the Mustang has been generally upgraded too. Four-wheel disc brakes are standard on all versions for '99, along with a Bosch throttle-and-brake style traction control with an on/off switch located in the dash. These are a lot of no-charge extras for a single-year change and it makes the Mustang an attractive package in the sporty-car niche. These types of changes are probably one of the reasons why the Mustang has been the leader in its field for the past 12 years. The basic Mustang chassis design has not changed much since it was introduced back in '78, yet Ford has managed to reduce its turning circle by three feet. There's not much of a change in the cabin area from last year except for things you can't see. There's an extra inch of travel on the driver's seat track to accommodate tall drivers and to make the front seats more driver-friendly, and the driver's seat is power adjustable six ways instead of the previous four-way design. There will be gripes from adults who have to sit in the back seat, but the Mustang has never professed to being a family sedan. The front seats have the traditional Mustang "pony" embossed on them to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the car.

DAD - Along with those interior embellishments, there are 35th anniversary commemorative emblems on all '99 Mustang front fender as well. Some other changes this year are things like skinnier headlights, traditional tri-bar tail lamps reminiscent of those on the original '64 Mustang and a plastic rear deck lid which lightens the load a bit and prevents rust-out. This is a bonus for the cars in The East or were salt is used to break up ice on winter roads. The Mustang still carries the long hood and short deck motif to keep the original pony car style alive. Our base model Mustang carried a keyless entry system and 15" aluminum rims with P205/65R15 tires.

MATT - Our test car also came with a standard five-speed manual transmission, but a four-speed automatic is offered as an option. Personally, I'd stick the standard manual at no extra price, but I'm sure that most base-line Mustangs will carry the automatic. It's been that way since the first six cylinder Mustang was introduced in the middle of 1964. But even then, the V8 version outsold the six-banger by almost three-to-one.

DAD - Your brother Terry had one of those first-year Mustang V8s and used to terrorize the neighborhood by turning our street into a drag strip.

MATT - Dad, that's the reason I have such fond memories of the Mustang. I was in the back seat during many of those midnight runs.

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