2021 Ford Mustang GT500 vs Mustang Bullitt

When the present Ford Mustang turned up within the UK in 2015, it arrived with a little bit of a fanfare. For this was the primary time the horse automotive had been formally supplied on the market over right here and the primary time it had been accessible in right-hand drive. However – for the keenest driving lovers at the very least – extra importantly than any of that, it was fitted with absolutely impartial rear suspension, somewhat than a terrific large girder operating between the 2 rear wheels.

It meant, we have been advised, that the Mustang would lastly journey and deal with with the sophistication of a European sports activities coupe. However once I drove a V8-powered GT mannequin for the primary time on scrappy Northamptonshire again roads, even this extra subtle Mustang appeared to drive extra like a ship than something BMW M or Mercedes-AMG may produce. It was woolly, heavy, monumental and sloppy, and it steered with the response and precision of a canal barge.

Nonetheless, you could not fault its character or the sheer pleasure of that pounding naturally aspirated V8. The automotive had appeal. It might be one other 4 years earlier than I truly had a correctly good time driving a Mustang. My expectations on the ground, I fired up the Mustang Bullitt’s 460hp eight-pot lump, chosen first with the pleasingly mechanical guide gearlever, pulled away and instantly knew it was totally different.

Sure, I would learn concerning the GT Efficiency Package deal and its utterly retuned springs, dampers and anti-roll bars. I knew concerning the revised steering and the Brembo brakes, however I used to be nonetheless anticipating an unmistakable muscle automotive driving expertise – energy, noise, physique roll, imprecise steering and all.

However as an alternative, the Bullitt steered with precision. It scarcely rolled in corners. Regardless of its 1,800kg mass it felt keenly managed when the highway started to kick up and down, and it even handled bumpy surfaces with actual composure. Most of all, I might really feel what was occurring beneath me. Slightly than being solely disconnected from the 4 corners of the automotive, I might intuit how a lot grip there was to lean on and sense how the automotive’s steadiness was shifting.

Very quickly in any respect, I used to be driving that Mustang the best way I might a sports activities automotive two-thirds its measurement and weight, threading it alongside a highway with confidence, feeling absolutely wrapped up within the means of driving. After all, the thumping V8 that I would so loved in that earlier Mustang was nonetheless doing its irresistible Detroit factor, hammering away beneath the bonnet like two iron mongers working at a glowing shard of metal on an anvil. Besides right here it was extra highly effective nonetheless: the character and the sense of enjoyable you solely get with a muscle automotive, however some actual poise to go along with it.

The Mustang Bullitt was one of the crucial shocking vehicles I drove that 12 months. Maybe ever, the truth is. As I say within the video, I do not assume it ever obtained the credit score it deserved. I believe it obtained missed as a pure advertising ploy, all these Bullitt badges and the retro wheels and the darkish inexperienced paint and the white cue ball gearknob identical to Frank Bullitt’s making it look like little greater than a gaudy cashing-in train.

I used to be relieved to drive one other earlier this month and discover that I hadn’t been far too beneficiant three years in the past. If the standard German and British coupes simply do not do it for you any longer, attempt a Bullitt. It is obtained a guide ‘field, a whacking nice unassisted V8 and it handles and steers brilliantly.

So there’s a correctly good driver’s automotive lurking throughout the Mustang. However what occurs once you take that precept and switch it proper the best way up? After which supercharge it? I suppose you’ll find yourself with one thing just like the Mustang Shelby GT500, the quickest and strongest road-going Mustang the Blue Oval has ever produced. With a 2.65-litre Roots-type supercharger sitting atop the 5.2-litre V8, it has 760hp with which to assault its rear tyres. There is a seven-speed, dual-clutch gearbox, too. You may’t have a guide.

Curiously the GT500 has the pre-facelift Mustang headlights, although you are not more likely to spot that straight away given how far out the entrance splitter juts, how hungrily that grille spreads throughout the automotive’s face and the way distinguished the rear spoiler is. After which there’s the paint job with these stripes… Fireplace the factor up and even for those who select the exhaust’s quiet mode, you may trigger home windows to rattle for miles round. This is not the form of automotive you slip unseen by way of city in.

I’ve pushed loads of US and Aussie big-power muscle vehicles through the years, questioning the place all of the claimed energy had gone. Issues like VXR8s by no means fairly felt as pressing in a straight line I would anticipated, maybe as a result of they have been geared so lengthy. This GT500 is the primary to actually ship on the promise of its eye-widening horsepower determine. The throttle pedal has a really lengthy journey, which is simply as nicely. Dig into its arc just a bit and the automotive launches forwards, the prow rising because it reels within the horizon.

And it simply retains on pulling, nicely past 7,000rpm and nicely past the purpose at which all good sense and any self preservation intuition you may need let you know to raise off. Maybe it is the noise that makes backing out such an onerous factor to do. You simply wish to preserve your foot in in order that the cacophonous roar from these huge exhaust pipes, that percussive increase that causes the earth round you to shudder, does not ever cease.

Goodness me, it is addictive. The gearbox works fairly faultlessly too, whereas by way of the steering and in any respect 4 corners you detect the identical deft response and pin-sharp management that made the Bullitt so unexpectedly rewarding to drive. Amazingly sufficient, this 760hp muscle automotive is a lot greater than a one-dimensional level and squirt gadget. It truly is partaking to drive alongside a flowing highway, too.

However you possibly can’t have one within the UK. No less than, not formally. There are a number of within the PH classifieds, all with six-figure worth tags. However I would not recommend you sink you hard-earned right into a GT500. You would be higher off with a Bullitt at half the value, as a result of it is a lot subtler, its efficiency is extra usable on the highway, you may be sitting on the proper facet of the automotive and, maybe better of all, you may get to alter gear your self.

Picture credit score | Harry Rudd

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