Ford’s Mustang, though currently not on sale in India, is expected to make a return to the market by end-2020 or early-2021. One of the most successful sports or GT cars to have gone on sale in India, the Mustang appeals to so many because it blends attractive looks, strong performance, good driving manners and a comfortable cabin; all in an attractive price.
Since its introduction here in mid-2016, Ford has a sold an impressive 450 Mustangs in India. Its introduction in international markets has been so successful for Ford, in fact, that it’s managed to sell more sportscars than Porsche in Europe; and that’s huge.
But which of the many Mustangs should Ford return to the Indian market with? The candidates, after all, are many. It must have been tempting to draft in the services of the more affordable 310hp, 2.3-litre EcoBoost four-cylinder turbo-petrol (at around Rs 55 lakh), or move up to the flat-plane-crankequipped 526hp Shelby GT350 V8 that’s at around a crore. Ford, however, chose the middle path, and correctly so. As a result, the Mustang we will get will be the 450hp GT with the delicious 5.0-litre V8.
Getting a car of the same specification (when you have a wider choice) must have been difficult, but then why change a formula you know works?
So what’s different over the earlier Mustang GT introduced in 2016? Known as the 2020 Mustang in the US, the car features a new chin with airflow-shaping vanes, the more sculpted bonnet gets a couple of rearfacing vents, there are new LED lights both at the front and the rear, and the boot has a more prominent kick-up for the spoiler.
On the inside, changes include an all-new digital instrument cluster. You get the traditional dials, of course, but there’s also a Track mode with a race carlike horizontal tachometer taking center stage. Here, shift lights prompt you to go up a gear if you are in manual mode. On the main touchscreen, you get Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and the quality of the screen has been improved as well. While there’s no big improvement in the quality of the basic plastic bits, there are some improvements in areas like the trim on the doorpads and quality of the seats.
Under the hood comes the best bit – that fantastic 5.0- litre V8 engine. It now puts out a nicely rounded 450hp, as against the 401hp of the previous India car. The best bit is that this jewel of a V8 engine loves to rev. More track car than street rod, it makes its maximum power at a lofty 7,000 rpm, with its redline at 7,500rpm. Other highlights include cast-aluminium pistons, forged connecting rods, coilover plug ignition, and dual injectors: two per cylinder (one direct, the other indirect).
The Mustang now also comes with a 10-speed automatic gearbox and a limited slip differential at the rear. The new automatic gearbox is the one Ford has on many of their cars, but it is tuned to deliver a sporty response on the Mustang.
Also on offer are drive modes, paddleshifters on the wheel and large 352mm front discs that use four-piston calipers.
Expected to hit showrooms at the end of 2020 or early 2021, the new Mustang 5.0 V8 is expected to come at a price of Rs 75 lakh.
Flying the Ford flag - The Mach 1
With its platform sharing JV with Mahindra soon to come on stream and Ford’s identity in India now ever more important, the Blue Oval is keen to keep the flag flying. And that is why it is actively looking at importing some iconic Ford cars to India under the 2,500 (quota) import scheme. The choice before Ford is vast and varied, but special-edition Mustangs are the ones likely to be the ones first in. There’s already talk of the iconic Mach 1 recreation being imported. Built originally to celebrate the breaking of the sound barrier by the Bell X1 in 1969, the new Mach 1 has a uprated 480hp V8 under the hood, with engine mods coming from the Shelby GT 350. It borrows the Shelby’s intake manifold and a larger capacity engine oil cooler, and to help transmit power better, the rear axle is taken from the even more powerful GT500. Also part of the handling package are a stiffer steering I-shaft for better road feel, an underbody ‘wing’ for improved airflow under the belly of the car, stiffer anti-roll bars, stiffer front springs, a rear sub-frame with stiffer bushings and a rear toe link also from the GT500. The Mach 1 will be in US showrooms by spring 2021, and Ford says this special edition is also for Mustang enthusiasts around the world. So like the ‘Bullitt’ edition, expect a right-hand-drive version to follow soon.