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2019 Ford Mustang: The Sleek Muscle Car

By Lyndon Conrad Bell, October 20th, 2018

Looking every bit svelte, the Ford Mustang comes to market in 2019 with minor changes following its major refresh for the 2018 model year. That update brought new front and rear styling, revised suspension calibration and more power from both engine offerings.

Manufacturer photo: Performance is at the core of the Ford Mustang, which offers drivers a unique thrill of acceleration and cornering for the ultimate fun-to-drive experience
Manufacturer photo: Performance is at the core of the Ford Mustang, which offers drivers a unique thrill of acceleration and cornering for the ultimate fun-to-drive experience

For 2019, a 480-horsepower version of the venerable pony car's 5.0-liter V-8 powers the latest Bullitt edition of the coupe. A new iteration of the California Special debuts, rev matching is fitted to manual transmission variants and the turbocharged four-cylinder engine gets an optional quad tipped exhaust system.

On the electronics front, the new optional Bang & Olufsen audio system boasts 1,000 watts. Apple CarPlay compatibility for Ford+Alexa and Waze via SYNC 3 is being offered as well. Rounding out the tech updates, FordPass Connect WiFi replaces SYNC Connect.

Dwelling on those latter features for a moment points out how the sleek muscle car has matured over the years. When attributes like those are combined with upmarket versions of the Ford's leather upholstery and generous array of comfort and convenience features, the Mustang provides an aura of quality its chief competitors lack. Said succinctly, the Mustang feels better sorted than both the recently updated Camaro and Challenger. More comfortable, more luxurious, better handling and unquestionably more handsome, the choice between the three is obvious for me.

Power comes from a choice of two sources. The aforementioned 5.0-liter V-8 makes 460 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque. As impressive as those numbers are on the screen, you really have to sit behind this engine to fully appreciate what it's all about. With its stratospheric 7,400 rpm redline you can wind the 5.0-liter Mustang to your heart's content. Even better, the more tightly you do so, the more melodious its aural signature becomes. Few V-8 engines give you a rev range this broad and you won't find it anywhere else in the Mustang's price range.

Manufacturer photo: Performance is at the core of the Ford Mustang, which offers drivers a unique thrill of acceleration and cornering for the ultimate fun-to-drive experience

Meanwhile, the 2.3-liter turbocharged EcoBoost four-cylinder, which replaced the V-6 in the Mustang's engine bay, also delivers a wholly satisfying driving experience. While it lacks the thunderous resonance of the 5.0-liter V-8, it pulls strongly everywhere from anywhere on the tachometer, delivering a total of 310 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque.

When you consider this powerplant is tasked with motivating a mass of 3,556 pounds, it becomes obvious you can expect (and get) a fulfilling driving experience. In fact, the EcoBoost version of the Mustang also delivers quicker turn-in and a more agile feel overall because it has less weight in its nose. You can get a six-speed manual transmission with either engine, or a 10-speed automatic.

Of course, cars in this category must also excite visually and the Mustang's long, low and lean profile accomplishes this with room to spare. The way the styling team has captured the traditional Mustang cues in a gorgeous new form is more than commendable. This is a car you'll enjoy looking at just as much as you'll enjoy driving it.

What's more, overall comfort is outstanding for both the driver and the front passenger. As is typical of cars in this category, if you're 5 feet tall or more the rear seat is hardly the place you'll want to be. With that caveat, the rest of the car delivers outstanding comfort.

Visibility is relatively unrestricted all around-despite the low roofline and steeply slanted rear window. Ingress and egress for the front seats are welcoming as well. You'll enter and exit the Mustang with your dignity intact-regardless of your age (more or less).

Manufacturer photo: Performance is at the core of the Ford Mustang, which offers drivers a unique thrill of acceleration and cornering for the ultimate fun-to-drive experience

While the driving experience is markedly different depending upon your engine choice, satisfying performance is a consequence regardless of your powertrain decision. Grip and braking encourage canyon strafing activities, introducing yet another personality facet to this sterling example of the contemporary pony car. Long story short, you'll find something to love abut the Mustang, whatever your priorities or proclivities.

With that said, do know it's very possible to push the price of the sleek Ford well into the $50,000 range with the V-8 engine. While this is a reasonable sum for a GT car with this much panache, that number does give us pause when the window sticker also says "Mustang". Though, yes, you do get a whole lot of goodness at that price point.

Fortunately though, you'll still come away with a nicely equipped, highly attractive and very capable performance car even if you're conservative with the options list. Pricing for the 2019 Ford Mustang starts at $26,120.

Specifications

Base price $26,120 (as tested: $27,020)
Curb weight 3,556 lbs.
Displacement 2.3-liter
Engine type 16-valve DOHC EcoBoost 4-cylinder
Epa mileage rating 21 mpg city, 25 mpg highway
Fuel capacity 15.5 gal.
Horsepower (net) 310 at 5500 rpm
Overall length 188.5 in.
Torque (lb.-ft.) 350 at 3000 rpm
Transmission 6-speed manual
Vehicle type 2+2-passenger RWD coupe
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