Ï Hear the name Ford Mustang and certain images crop up: car chases, squealing tyres, questionable cornering and a vehicle so American you’d expect it to come with free mirror shades and a pre-loaded playlist of Eighties power ballads.
Now, for the first time in its 50-year history, Ford is releasing Mustangs specifically designed for the British and European markets, meaning no costly dealings with importers. So how will Uncle Sam fare in the old country?
Driving it as we did in the land that gave us the understated engineering of Audi, BMW and Mercedes, this is not a car that seamlessly blends into its surroundings. As our “triple yellow” V8 powered and throbbed through rural Bavaria’s puny B-roads, its wide shoulders and all-round heft intimidated other cars into swinging out of the way, while its straight-line speed couldn’t help but provoke a slightly deranged grin as we drove.
But after a decent spell in its Recaro seats, you realise there’s more to this car than just swagger and attitude. It has trousers as well as mouth. At cruising speeds it feels contained, sturdy, even refined, controlled by a surprisingly slick six-speed manual gearbox. Cornering, too, has moved on since the days Steve McQueen lurched it around the hills of San Francisco in Bullitt (1968), thanks to a brand-new independent suspension, while Ford has softened the ride to allow for Europe’s more undulating and potholed roads.
And when you rank it alongside other cars on your want list, there’s one more stat that sings out — it’s half the price of all of them. This much fun for just over £30,000 can only be a good thing. Yes, it’s thirsty, heavy and loud, too, but fans of the Mustang wouldn’t have it any other way.
From £30,000, ford.co.uk