14 Nov 2019 | 12.48 pm
Roadtest: Ford Mustang Bullitt
Buy it before it’s banned
14 Nov 2019 | 12.48 pm
Ford’s Mustang Bullitt is burly American motoring at its best. Buy it now before it’s outlawed, advises Mark Gallivan
The 1968 Peter Yates film Bullitt gave us the iconic shot of Steve McQueen sliding into his Ford Mustang 390GT before delivering what at the time was the most visceral car chase ever filmed. Ford is keen to extract as much as it can from the lineage of the Mustang, now that it’s available for sale in Ireland in right-hand-drive. For €73,467, Ford will sell you a Mustang Bullitt edition in black, or the highland green as used in the movie.
The Mustang was updated in 2018 with engine fettling across the board, but it’s the Bullitt version that receives a dual-fuel induction system used in the Ford Mustang Shelby 350, with an active exhaust that equates to just 9hp more than the standard Mustang GT. Fitted to the car I tested were MagneRide adaptive dampers and six-piston Brembo calipers that haul the car to a standstill like a giant hand pulling your collar backwards. The Bullitt also has Ford’s GT Performance Package with slightly lowered suspension and a limited-slip differential.
The Bullitt is like a last-gasp rerun of a 1960s American television cop show. Everything you ever thought a muscle car should feel and drive like is here: the looks, the noise and the vibrations transmitted through the cabin. There’s a heavy manual clutch and a six-speed gearbox that demands a degree of patience when changing gears. However, it’s the bellowing bark and roar from the mighty 5.0-litre V8 petrol with 529Nm pulling power that shocks you.
Ford has added a new airbox that enables the Mustang Bullitt to breathe better than the GT, and once into the higher revs range the Bullitt’s performance borders on mayhem. The engine sound is so raw that an Aston Martin appears cultured and demure by comparison. This is an honest, blue-collar performance car brimming with a big personality, incorporating rev-matching blips with each downshift, translating into staccato exhaust barks.
Being a two-door coupé, the car’s cabin was dominated by large Recaro leather front seats at an additional €2,720. This left precious little rear legroom but it’s unlikely to be a sticking point for the committed Mustang Bullitt buyer. The Sync 3 central touchscreen is workmanlike and slow, and is complemented by digital driver displays. The rest of the cabin is filled with a mixture of hard plastics, though it is comfortable, with electric seating adjustment that allow taller drivers sit lower in the cabin.
The Mustang demands strength to drive in traffic, and the effort required to manually work the gearbox and gear lever is at a level only found in an old Land Rover Defender.
Fuel economy is dismal (22 mpg) and the CO2 figure of 277g/km won’t impress Greta. Seventy-three grand is also a big price for a fast Ford, but I think it is worth the price. Cars like the Mustang will shortly be outlawed, so be glad you can still walk into a Ford dealer to collar this upstart.
Model: 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt
Price: €79,226 (as tested). Range starts at €73,467
CO2: 277g/km (Band G) 6-speed manual gearbox
Engine: 8-cylinder, 5.0-litre V8, 460PS, 529Nm
Fuel Economy: 12.4L/100 km combined
Performance: 0-100 km/h 4.6 seconds, top speed 249km/h
Verdict: Optimum but pricey Mustang driving experience