2018 Ford Mustang GT Premium new car reviews

The Mustang might still have a retro look to it, but Ford keeps updating things. New for 2018, in Ford’s words: “refreshed front and rear-end design that delivers a leaner, meaner look and improved aerodynamics…”

What else is new for this performance icon? Lots. How about 460 horsepower for the V8 and 310 for the EcoBoost four. Or an optional 10-speed automatic transmission plus a Drag Strip model. Or the available all-digital gauge cluster. Or the Active Valve Performance Exhaust system. Or richer interior appointments. Or refined suspension tuning.

More stuff we learned from the press kit:

A dozen different wheel styles are now available. (Remember when it was either mags or steelies?)

The manual transmissions for both engines have been upgraded to handle increased torque while providing smoother shifts.

Line lock is standard with both engines, too. (Only for closed courses, kids.)

Our test car was delivered pretty much the way we’d want one: a GT hardtop with the manual transmission and Track Pack. The color combo was black over black with black wheels.

We tested a Premium model, too, so it was a bit loaded. How loaded? Base sticker was $39,095. Options included the Premier trim with voice-activated navigation ($2200), Mage-Ride damping ($1695), GT Performance Package ($3995) and Recaro seats ($1595). Final price after delivery was $53,160.

Other staff views

David S. Wallens David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

A Mustang will always feel like a Mustang. It’s not an M3, a Miata or a Porsche. And the latest one perfectly continues the family tradition.

Giant doors? Yep.

A seating position that seems to put you on the Mustang and not quite in the Mustang? Continued.

A footprint that feels about 15 percent too big? Still there.

But guess what? The Mustang does exactly as it should. And let’s be realistic here: Most Mustangs will lead rather calm lives. Instead of lapping Sebring every weekend, they’re going to battle the 9-to-5. And instead of driver changes and pitstops, it’s drive-throughs and car pool lanes.

First, the new nose looks the businesses. Hopefully whoever designed the new look got to sneak in an extra three-day weekend. It looks mean. Yeah, I started with cosmetic stuff.

Does the Mustang need all of that technology, including the high-tech dash? You know, in today’s climate, probably. The new gauge display works, although the four-digit tach does seem a little funny. Am I turning 4150 rpm or just 4149?

The upgraded interior appointments don’t turn the Mustang into an M3, but they’re much appreciated. Factory Michelins? That’s another nice touch.

Performance stuff? It’s still brutally quick. The engine makes power everywhere. The transmission feel beefy but not truck-like. The ride is firm but not punishing. The rear end feels as if it’s attached to the car.

There are two kinds of people in this world: Those who love Mustangs, and those who are quick to pick out the car’s faults. If you’re a member of the first group, then you will adore everything about the latest one. And if you live in the second camp, well, maybe this is the one that will sway you over. Yeah, it’s that good.

A postscript that’s open for discussion. Our tester was fairly loaded and stickered at $53k. For another $4000, would you rather have a base Cayman?

Joe Gearin Joe Gearin
Associate Publisher

As pretty much everyone knows by now, the Mustang GT is a heck of a car. It’s fast, good looking, and more refined than any previous Mustang in history. No longer a crude pony car, this new Mustang also includes a full suite of electronic gadgetry. By scrolling through menus you can alter the sound of the exhaust, the feel of the steering, and even the configuration and color of the gauges. It also has mirrors that project a little horsey on the ground when you open the door. Cheesy yes... but kind of cool too.

Our test car was equipped with Brembo brakes, Recaro seats and all the go-fast goodies that enthusiasts would likely order. These options worked as they should—especially the brakes, which feel tremendously strong. The Recaros are also extremely supportive, as long as you aren’t a larger individual. Anyone larger than 170 lbs would be wise to test fit these seats before ordering, as they are narrow and confining.

I really wanted to love this Mustang, but I never could warm up to it. First off: it’s big, and feels it. The hood bulges out, making it hard to locate the corners of the car. The interior was also designed for someone larger than my 5-foot, 8-inch frame, which is strange seeing how confining the seats are. The armrests are far away, and the car never seems to shrink around you. It goes fast, handles well and sounds killer, but I never could get comfortable inside this Ford. Also I’ve heard folks say the new Mustang is “more BMW than pony car” which I find to be exaggerated. The Mustang is still a loud, brash American, for better and worse. The driveline still has clunks, the exhaust is loud (even in the “quiet” setting) and the car always wants to charge. A relaxed cruiser this car is not.

I certainly couldn’t blame anyone for buying a new Mustang GT, but it isn’t for me. If I want a sports car, I’d get something smaller and lighter. If I want a muscle car, I’d prefer a Challenger that has a real back seat and better visibility. The new Mustang GT is an admirable attempt to make one car that can do it all, but it doesn’t push my buttons. Mustangs have always delivered a lot of bang for the buck, but our car’s price tag was a walloping $53,000. That’s a ton of money for a car that will likely depreciate rapidly.

Ford did a good job with this car, but it’s not on my wish list.

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Comments
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nderwater
nderwater UltimaDork
6/4/18 4:19 p.m.

Our tester was fairly loaded and stickered at $53k. For another $4000, would you rather have a base Cayman?

As another counter-point, the M2 starts from $54,500. 

How did the car without the Magne-Ride compare to the car that had it?

Ranger50
Ranger50 UltimaDork
6/4/18 4:42 p.m.

Line lock closed course? Buhahahahaha!!!!!

Pete Gossett
Pete Gossett MegaDork
6/4/18 7:24 p.m.

In reply to David S. Wallens :

I’m glad to see a manufacture offer so many options/option combos!

markwemple
markwemple UberDork
6/4/18 7:28 p.m.

That price is 996 GT3 territory. Just sayin'

Tom_Spangler
Tom_Spangler UberDork
6/4/18 8:01 p.m.
markwemple said:

That price is 996 GT3 territory. Just sayin'

15-year old German car vs. a brand new car with a warranty. Apples and oranges.

MazdaFace
MazdaFace Dork
6/4/18 9:10 p.m.

I was impressed with them when I was at Ford. 

JimS
JimS Reader
6/5/18 8:08 a.m.

Can be had for less money. Try buying Cayman at it's base price. 

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
6/5/18 9:01 a.m.

I'm impressed with the power upgrades, but I might be in the minority when saying that the visual upgrades of the 2018 are not as appealing as the 2015-17 cars. While I like the vented hood, the front fascia seems to be elongated with a new "snout", and that spoiler looks like something off of a 1994 Grand Am. That said, I'm sure 5 minutes behind the wheel with 460hp under my right foot would make me look past this. 

collinskl1
collinskl1 Reader
6/5/18 9:13 a.m.

^^ Totally agree. But facelifts and new body styles come around for me after about a year.

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
6/5/18 9:19 a.m.

Add E85 and a tune and it's approaching stocky VooDoo wheel hp numbers as well.

wearymicrobe
wearymicrobe UberDork
6/5/18 9:21 a.m.
Tom_Spangler said:
markwemple said:

That price is 996 GT3 territory. Just sayin'

15-year old German car vs. a brand new car with a warranty. Apples and oranges.

Also I think the GT is faster around most road courses.

Adrian_Thompson
Adrian_Thompson MegaDork
6/7/18 8:26 a.m.
Tom_Spangler said:
markwemple said:

That price is 996 GT3 territory. Just sayin'

15-year old German car vs. a brand new car with a warranty. Apples and oranges.

85 944 - 14 SHO - 15 Expedition

Also a 996 GT3 for $50K is a beat to hell one.  Nice onces are still $65-75K

eastsideTim
eastsideTim UltraDork
6/7/18 9:22 a.m.
Tony Sestito said:

I'm impressed with the power upgrades, but I might be in the minority when saying that the visual upgrades of the 2018 are not as appealing as the 2015-17 cars. While I like the vented hood, the front fascia seems to be elongated with a new "snout", and that spoiler looks like something off of a 1994 Grand Am. That said, I'm sure 5 minutes behind the wheel with 460hp under my right foot would make me look past this. 

Agreed.  I thought I’d come around on the new nose eventually, but then I saw a 2017 and a 2018 parked right next to each other at the local dealership.  Holy crap it looks bad in a direct comparison.  I really hope there was a functional reason for this redesign, like when the Charger got a new nose for aerodynamics when the Hellcat came out.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
6/11/18 12:05 p.m.
Pete Gossett said:

In reply to David S. Wallens :

I’m glad to see a manufacture offer so many options/option combos!

I know. Still, though, I'd probably go for the Bullitt. :)

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
6/11/18 12:55 p.m.
wearymicrobe said:
Tom_Spangler said:
markwemple said:

That price is 996 GT3 territory. Just sayin'

15-year old German car vs. a brand new car with a warranty. Apples and oranges.

Also I think the GT is faster around most road courses.

And make it a Level 2 Performance Pack with an E85 tune and it will be a hammer around a track.

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