2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt Fifty Years Later - Review By Larry Nutson - It's E15 Approved!
2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt
Fifty years later
By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
The Auto Channel
I was in the audience on that day back in January when the original 1968 Mustang GT fastback that starred alongside Steve McQueen in the award-winning movie “Bullitt” drove onto Ford stage at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
Molly McQueen, a third-generation member of the McQueen family, was on stage to preview a special movie of her own introducing the new third-generation Bullitt. In the film, Molly raced a new Mustang Bullitt through a parking structure battling a Dodge Charger for the final free space.
I didn’t expect that I would be racing after bad guys or even racing for a parking space during my time behind the wheel of the Mustang Bullitt. Although, admittedly, I did give some thought to stalking a Dodge Charger.
What I did experience is some track-time in the new Bullitt around the north circuit at Autobahn Country Club. This before I even had any street time. The Midwest Automotive Media Association Fall Rally brings together auto makers and automotive journalists and provides the opportunity to do some out-of-the-ordinary track driving.
The Bullitt features an upgraded 5.0-liter V8 engine that delivers 480 horsepower and 420 lb.-ft. of torque, pushing the new Bullitt to a top speed of 163 mph. Zero to sixty is in 4.1 seconds. Transmission gear shifting is left up to you with a 6-speed manual the only Bullitt choice.
The V8 has an open air induction system and Shelby GT350 intake manifold with 87mm throttle bodies and powertrain control module calibrated for optimal performance. An active valve performance exhaust system helps the engine to breath freely, and makes your presence known around town.
On Autobahn's 1.5-mile 9-turn north circuit the Mustang Bullitt exhibits its nimbleness. With gobs of torque all you need is 3rd and 4th gear to loop the circuit.
The 6-speed is easy to shift, with short throws and a white cue ball shifter for good grip. Downshifts are made smoother with engine rev-matching.
Selectable Sport or Track modes adjust steering effort, shock rates, and the exhaust sound. With a 3,850 lb. curb weight the Mustang is easy to toss around, truly fun and a bit less work than some of the heavier sporty car entries on the market. One of three Bullitt options was equipped on my test-car, the MagneRide semi-active suspension system that optimizes driving performance.
Around town the Bullitt is quite docile and very streetable. The ride is not at all harsh even with 19-inch 255/40 Michelin Pilot Sport performance tires. The short throws on the transmission shifter and easy clutch take-up make for smooth gear changes.
Overall the Bullitt was given the minimalistic touch by Ford designers. Color wise there are two choices…the classic movie-color Dark Highland Green is the logical choice but there’s also a Shadow Black to be had. Subtle chrome accents around the grille and front windows, the absence of a rear spoiler, black painted wheels and red painted Brembo brakes, a badge-less black front grille and circular faux gas cap Bullitt logo on the rear make up the exterior.
The four-seat interior features black leather-trimmed sport seats with unique green accent stitching. Recaro seats are one of the options. Standard are a heated leather steering wheel and a 12-inch all-digital LCD instrument cluster, identical in function to the cluster introduced on 2018 Mustang, but with a unique Bullitt welcome screen that starts in green with an image of the car rather than the pony.
The third Bullitt option is a unique Electronics Package that includes navigation, driver memory seats and mirrors, upgraded sound system and Blind Spot Information System with Cross-Traffic Alert.
Base price is $46,595. More information and specifications can be found at www.ford.com
Two identical 1968 Mustang GT fastbacks were used in the filming of the classic Warner Bros. movie “Bullitt” that debuted in theaters on Oct. 17, 1968. After filming, the hero car and the “jumper” car went their separate ways. Sean Kiernan is now the owner of the hero ’68 Mustang GT which he inherited in 2014 from his late father, Robert, who had purchased the vehicle in 1974. Sean contacted Ford and the two parties worked together to reveal his movie star car alongside the all-new 2019 Mustang Bullitt at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
I wonder if there will ever be a “Bullitt” remake? If there is, the chase scene will be awesome considering the capabilities of the new Mustang Bullitt.
© 2018 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy.
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