Every time I approach the ’Stang, I get a deep sense of disbelief. I mean, how can something that makes a BMW 3-series look like a Tuk Tuk actually work on UK streets? It’s a bit like the time I saw a picture of Shaquille O’Neal with his miniature girlfriend and thought ‘how does he….?’ You get the idea…
So yeah, the Mustang is massive, and for context, it’s almost 4.8 metres long and 1.92 metres wide (that makes it only 20cm shorter but a touch wider than a Jaguar XJ), and with that massive bonnet, you’ll believe me when I say that driving this thing in London is tricky at worst, but also gives you a sense of invincibility, much like having a massive red shield. Seriously, I feel like I’m driving a battering ram that has enough road presence to make an ambulance with a critical patient on board give me right of way.
The Mustang’s 5.0 V8 has swathes of torque that transport you from one end of a road to the other end in spectacular style. Choose any gear, and you know that in a couple of seconds you’ll be in license-losing territory. Not that you’ll care, because each gear tempts you in with the promise of more noise and silky acceleration that no man - not even a monk - could resist. Even at 30mph, the V8’s 391lb ft allows you to cruise in fifth gear with ease.
I’ve stopped and spoken to loads of people about the ‘Stang, and they always seem to think of me as a brave guy with very few commitments. And while the second part is true, living with a 5.0-litre slice of America isn’t as difficult or as crude as people may think. I have heated and cooled seats, I have cruise control and Bluetooth, and I have a big boot for potential activities. In that respect, the Mustang is quite normal, except for its looks which scream for attention and demand YouTube airtime (preferably not of the crowd-eating kind).
I asked my mum and my girlfriend’s best friend how much they thought the Mustang was worth. My mum came up with an absurd figure of “over £100k, ja?”, while the friend I mentioned estimated £75,000. In my eyes, that’s a win for Ford and a fail for basic car knowledge, but no matter - the Mustang does look very expensive, and anyone who didn’t know any better would think that you’ve done very well in life and might immediately jump into bed with you. And if a car can do that, then I’ll take five.
The price of the Mustang is actually around £35,000, and while it looks super expensive, you can tell that corners have been cut. Now before I continue, yes, I know that interior quality and soft-touch plastics mean nothing to Mustang fans, but hear me out…
The seats, for starters, are annoying because if you have a passenger in the back and if they should ever dare to want to get out, you have to pull a lever, force the seat back forward, and extract them with a spade. Then, when you want to put the seat back to its original position, you need to pull the same lever and manually put the seat back to a position that you think looks right. It has no memory of its original position.
Then, there are the seatbelts themselves that sit too high and that can’t be adjusted. This means that it’s always riding on your neck, so in the event of a crash you will be beheaded. You can thread them through a small strap on the seat, but if you do that, the passenger behind you has no escape path when it comes to getting him or her out with the same spade.
The infotainment system is also quite bad. I still don’t know how to input a postcode, and there are so many buttons to press that it’s easier to get Google maps up on your phone to avoid wasting several hours of faffing. Speaking of buttons, there are hundreds of them on the dashboard and steering wheel. I don’t know what half of them do, so I’d prefer it if they weren’t there. But that’s just me.
The things I do really like about the Mustang include Line Lock (despite the fact that to engage it you have to change the driving mode, go into the settings and find ‘Line Lock’, press and hold ‘OK’ for a few seconds, press and hold the brake for a few more seconds, then press OK before you can actually melt the earth), the fact that the speedo says ‘Ground Speed’ which makes me feel special, and the little Mustang icon that lights up from the wing mirrors onto the ground at night (I know, I’m a ricer at heart, but I love it).
There’s little to say about this, except for the fact that it is 100 per cent true. Girls (and guys, of course) love the Mustang’s mad thrust, the look of the thing and the big dimensions. I guess that’s why girls also like tall, buff guys over a short bloke with a complex. I digress…
It’s clear, then, that living with a V8 Mustang in the UK has its ups and downs. Next to the 20mpg I get that means the petrol station clerks know me by name, and the fact that the seatbelts want to chop off my head, the sheer size of the car makes it a struggle to drive sometimes, especially in London. But, these are all first-world problems that are quickly forgotten when you start up the V8 and watch people’s mouths drop to their knees as you roll by.
For around £35,000, there’s nothing else out there that has quite the same heart, soul and no damns given attitude in life, and for those reasons, I think more people should dare to take the plunge into Mustang ownership.
And if you’re still not convinced, then don’t forget that it loves to burn tyres…