2018 Ford Mustang GT; 10 Speed Automatic Review and Test Drive By Rob Eckaus
SEE ALSO: 1999 Ford Mustang GT Review
By Rob Eckaus
San Jose Bureau
The Auto Channel
If you agree that profanity is sometimes acceptable among
the right company, then the 2018 Mustang GT is just the ticket. It has a loud
pedal enabled by a loud switch on the dashboard. This thing is rock-n- roll on
wheels. After a joyful week with the 460hp V8, there’s lots of praise for this
First and foremost, the sound. The most common demonstration
was the remote start and the explosion of rumbling, gurgling exhaust from the
glorious naturally aspirated engine. Heard inside buildings, across parking
lots, it was love at first sound pulse. Remote start just enhances the
experience. How is this thing legal? I don’t care. This fairly loaded model with quite a few features not always found on much more expensive vehicles has an MSRP of $46,970.
The selectable exhaust has a quiet mode, but that just
sounds stock. It can be programmed for certain hours because this will be heard
in the neighborhood. The track and drag modes (more on those later) have an
even deeper rumble. I questioned how much of it was piped into the cabin
artificially, but it did set off an alarm. And it did hurt my ear with the
window down during a wide open blast next to a solid object. Well ok it was an
SUV. Ford does state it’s for off road use only. Oops. Here’s the deal, EVs
will not have this, legal, barely legal or illegal.
Acceleration is strong, rushing past 80mph induces that
giddy feeling that it’s unrelenting. Independent tests show the car to be a low
12 second, high teen car with the 10 speed automatic. Zero to 60mph would be in
the high 3s at that point. It does have acceleration, braking and g-force
measurements integrated into the user interface. Power is a little soft in low
rpms but it comes on strong and progressively. Throttle response is very good.
The big question is how is the 10 speed automatic? It was
nearly fantastic. Shifts were seamless during normal driving and it never
hunted for the right gear. A steady cruising rpm, it held steady in the gear. In
the track modes shifts are very firm and I got rubber going into second gear.
With the shifter left in Sport and automatic modes, rapidly decelerating would
induce rapid fire downshifts which was so cool.
In the manual mode
double tapping the paddles due to so many ratios worked best. The only
objections were a slow reaction to selecting second if while sustaining first
at part throttle. Also when manually shifting near redline it was easy to hit
the limiter. Otherwise this transmission was a joy. Eight miles per hour is
about 2000rpm and eight-five mph is 2150rpm and about 25mpg with this 3:15 final
drive ratio model. The manual recommends shifting into 10th
for optimum fuel economy.
With all this powertrain fun, I missed two turns and nearly
a third driving back from the office while giggling the entire time having so
much fun with the response and feedback. The suspension is firm yet compliant,
and very comfortable. For street use, and spirted on-ramp duty, it was
excellent. Despite the old joke about spin-outs and danger to pedestrians, the
rear end grip accelerating out of turns with the 255 width rear tires was
If you don’t have a heavy foot, it’s an excellent commuter.
Despite the tall hood and the side mirrors being a little small, visibility is
excellent along with a good and functional interior layout unlike the Camaro.
The rear back-up camera view is so wide it borders on epic. While cruising, the
adaptive cruise control worked extremely well, less intrusive than others
recently sampled. The selectable gauge display can show air/fuel ratio, axle
oil temp, boost/vacuum, cylinder head temp, inlet air temp, oil pressure, oil
temp and transmission oil temp.
With the Premium package, leather seats that are both heated
and cooled are standard. They really form to the body mid-back but seem to be
lacking at shoulder blade and higher level. Although some higher speed turns
didn’t reveal any shortcomings in function. The headrest is tilt adjustable as
well. There are other clever touches like a dedicated rear seat access lever
behind each seat, and a magnetic button holds the seatbelt strap in place so
it’s easier to grab and better than a button.
The engine oi change interval is up to 10,000 miles, with
5w-20. However, 5w-30 is recommended for track duty, with instructions to
change back to 5w-20 after. Extreme duty can bring the oil change interval down
to 3,000 miles but the interval for track duty (with the viscosity switch)
seems to be 7,000 miles. Keep in mind, this is a large engine physically and it
takes 10 quarts of oil. You’ve got to pay to play.
The Ford Sync 3 infotainment system works well, the user
interface pretty easy to figure out, not even needing to check the manual on
how to operate it. Apple Car Play starts right up and supposedly Waze will be
included with it soon. Although the volume only went up to 30, the Shaker
subwoofer in the trunk would shake the rear window and the lower front speakers
blow the hairs on your lower legs, if you’re equipped like that.
It’s a dichotomy of refinements, features and unrefinements.
The side window up and down action shakes the long heavy doors, you can subtly feel
the vehicle shake as well. The pony image projected on the ground by the side
view mirrors is fun, but generated extreme reactions, for and against. There’s
a large console behind the rear mirror, only noticed from the outside. Maybe
oversized but if it included the auto dimming headlights function, it worked
great. The brake pedal feels a little wooden but modulates perfectly. The
steering column release is on the right side, shouldn’t they always be in
center under the column?
There’s something about domestic performance cars. Not sure
if it is the tall, flat hoods combined with heavy engines sitting over or near the front
wheels, but Ford did a great job with this one and the soundtrack speaks
volumes. The exterior styling, especially the rear, is simply brilliant and
it’s the best-selling sports coupe globally. I guess you could say, all things considered, it is world
Editors Note: Rob Eckaus is formerly the San Jose Cars Examiner. A lifetime enthusiast and member of WAJ and MPG automotive journalist organizations. He has attended AMG, Audi, Bondurant, Exotics Racing and SRT schools, hot lapped dozens of cars and drag raced at multiple tracks in 5 states. he says that he hates HOV lanes. Motto: Fast cars, slow bikes.
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