Bullitt Mustang: Ford’s filthy hot rod

Ford Mustang

The Ford Mustang, America’s classic muscle car, is still bad to the bone. Sarah Moore reports

It is now 50 years since the Ford Mustang as good as stole the show in the Steve McQueen cult movie Bullitt, and America’s best-known muscle car is still just as synonymous with the movie as the god-like film star, says James Mills in The Sunday Times. The recipe for a Bullitt Mustang is “straightforward”: use the same dark highland green paint seen on the car that ripped around the hills of San Francisco in the movie; tune the V8 engine; fit some black-painted alloy wheels; beef up the suspension; create a bespoke interior; and apply a smattering of Bullitt logos about the place.

The Bullitt is a muscle car and proud, says Stephen Dobie on Top Gear. You need to enjoy it as such, settling into the hugging yet squishy Recaro seats and burbling around in just about any gear you like, such is the spread of torque on offer from its 5.0-litre engine. But “roll up your sleeves, get properly stuck in, and the Mustang does reveal some vigour”. Sure, it can behave and be docile, but that’s against the Mustang’s nature – this is a sports car that wants to play in a boisterous fashion, says Keith Jones in Car. “Not only are your ears treated to that warbling V8 rumble, the reverberations are experienced in every touchpoint your body has with the car – it’s deliciously immersive.”

Ford Mustang interiorYou’ll get through a lot of tyres if you buy this car, says Mills, because the latest Mustang has some “bad-to-the-bone features born out of America’s love affair with drag racing”. Added to the usual launch control is the latest-generation Mustang’s party trick: line lock. “Like a naughty switch installed by Top Gear’s The Stig, it applies only the front brakes and allows the back wheels to spin while the car is stationary for up to 15 seconds. This creates more smoke than dousing the car with fuel and setting light to it”.

This is a high-performance coupé for the masses, says Jones. It bristles with effervescent charm that sees you let out of side roads with an approving thumbs up, yet it packs a V8 that sounds filthier than the Strictly Come Dancing green room.

Engine: 5.0-litre V8 non-turbocharged petrol. Power: 453bhp. Torque: 390lb ft. Transmission: six-speed manual, rear-wheel drive. 0-62mph: 4.6 seconds. Top speed: 155mph. Price: £47,545.