2021 Ford Mustang GT review (video)

Yes, back by popular demand. It’s the mighty Ford Mustang GT. Here we’re checking out the 2021 model for you. Admittedly, it is pretty much the same as the 2020 version that we tested not long ago. But we figured any excuse is good enough to test one again.

The Mustang is still the most popular sports car on the new car market in Australia. So far this year (through August), Ford Australia has sold 1979 examples, according to VFACTS figures. Sales have started dropping off a bit since its original boom on the scene. For instance, that current figure is down 2.5 per cent compared with the 2029 units it sold in the same eight-month period last year. Even so, no other sports car gets close – the Mercedes C-Class two-door is the nearest, reporting 827 sales.

Prices are slowly creeping up for the Mustang, and we guess that’s expected given Ford has been making incremental tweaks and adding more gear. This 2021 GT coupe with the 10-speed auto starts from $67,390, up $700 on the equivalent MY2020 (excluding on-road costs).

2021 Ford Mustang GT – THE SPECS

Engine: 5.0-litre V8
Output: 339kW@7000rpm / 556Nm@4600rpm
Transmission: 10-speed auto
Drive type: Rear-wheel drive, limited-slip diff
Wheels: F: 19×9.0, 255/40  R: 19×9.5, 275/40
ANCAP: Three stars
Kerb weight: 1784kg
Power-to-weight: 5.26:1 (kg:kW)
Official fuel economy: 12.7L/100km
Economy during test: 13.4L/100km
Fuel capacity/Type: 61L/98 RON

Power efficiency: 26.70kW:L/100km
0-60km/h: 2.74 seconds*
0-100km/h: 4.94 seconds*
0-200km/h: 15.85 seconds*
60-110km/h:
2.89 seconds*
1/4 mile: 12.94 seconds at 183.3km/h*
Max acceleration: 0.909g
100-0km/h braking: 3.04 seconds at 37.45 metres*
Max deceleration: -1.203g
Decibel at idle (/Race mode): 49/55*
Peak decibel at 60-100km/h: 90/93*
Priced from: $67,390

* Figures as tested by PerformanceDrive on the day. Factory claims may be different

2021 Ford Mustang GT – THE PACKAGE

It’s not completely identical to the 2020 version, there are a few updates. Firstly, this bright yellow colour option, called Yellow Peel. It’s part of the prestige paint range, costing 650 bucks. After looking at the specs it seems this replaces Grabber Lime green to become the new hero colour.

This example shows off the black racing stripe option as well, also 650 dollars, and the bigger rear spoiler, for 750 dollars. It’s an eye-catching package overall, especially with the contrasting black details.

There’s also some new technology on-board in the form of FordPass Connect with an embedded modem. This allows you to connect with your ‘Stang in ways not previously possible. Using a smartphone app, you can communicate with your car when you’re away from it. And no, not just when you miss it. The app can provide real-time info including its location, and you can lock/unlock it remotely, and even start it up. Imagine the possible party tricks.

On the dash is the same 8.0-inch touch-screen multimedia system as before, running SYNC 3, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, digital radio, and sat-nav. There’s a very impressive 1000W B&O 12-speaker sound system as standard, too. A sub-woofer is mounted in the boot, but it doesn’t really intrude on usable space.

We love the optional Recaro sports seats in the front, but they do set you back an extra three grand. They also mean you loose the heating and cooling functions featured on the standard items.

The interior design in general could probably do with a major update soon as it is getting on a bit now. In saying that, it’s all very familiar and user-friendly. Aside from the rear seats, which are clearly only suitable for minions, practicality is decent for a sports car.

With a 408 litre boot on offer, the Mustang is ideal for everyday use. To give you an idea of its usefulness, this is a similar capacity to what you get in a decent-size hatchback or small-to-medium SUV.

2021 Ford Mustang GT – THE DRIVE

As before, the handling of the latest Mustang isn’t as pure or as precise as other sports cars in this market segment. The steering feels quite wooden and sterile, and the car doesn’t really encourage you to switch swiftly between tighter turns. Big sweeping bends are handled with a bit more grace, and the grip levels are very high, partly thanks to the standard Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S tyres. They measure 255/40 on the front and a fat 275/40 on the back.

You tend not to care so much about the handling when driving, though. Because the rumble of the V8 and the straight-line grunt is downright addictive. It produces a glorious V8 bellow. And we really like the 10-speed auto, as it tends to keep the engine revs high, almost like it has the high stall converter from a street machine. It’s cool.

In saying that, the transmission does have its flaws. It takes a decent chunk of time to go from drive to reverse, and you’ll probably notice clunking and shunting at lower speeds. With so many ratios, it’s almost inevitable this is going to hunt around a lot. And it does. We like to think of it as a bit of a pig, but one that you still admire. Like an old-school muscle car.

This time around we managed to find fractionally quicker acceleration figures with the Vbox, on the usual private road. Cooler conditions probably helped a bit as well. We clocked 0-100km/h in 4.94 seconds (down from 4.98 in the 2020 model), with the quarter mile crossed in 12.94 seconds at 183.3km/h (down from 13.05 at 184.8). It’s basically the same. Interestingly, the trap speed is a bit lower this time. The 0-200km/h run came up in 15.85 seconds, from 15.74 seconds before. This could be due to the optional rear wing, which wasn’t fitted on the previous model we tested.

Now, usually, muscle cars from America don’t rev very high. But this does. Peak power is reached at an ear-massaging 7000rpm, and it will keep revving further past that with no hesitation. However, what this means is you need to rev it to feel its mighty force. Maximum torque, all 556Nm of it, is developed at 4600rpm, precisely. So this might take a little getting used to if you’ve just stepped out of a modern turbocharged vehicle. Even one with less power.

Ford makes a point about using 98 RON fuel to achieve the power and torque outputs. But it is interesting to see this engine can use 91 RON as well, despite running a high compression ratio of 12:1 and featuring some high-tech stuff like port and direct injection.

Obviously fuel economy isn’t going to be a top priority if you’re in this space, but we managed to get quite close to the official average rating of 12.7L/100km. We noted a real-world rate of 13.4L/100km. That’s not too shabby at all in our opinion, especially for such a large capacity engine and one that isn’t assisted by forced induction.

2021 Ford Mustang GT – THE VIDEO

2021 Ford Mustang GT – THE VERDICT

The Mustang is undoubtedly one of the most iconic cars ever made. It has millions of fans the world over, and it continues to be a hot-seller on the new-car market; it’s the best-selling sports car in the world at the moment, including in Australia. We love that it encourages you to get out there and go for a drive just for the enjoyment of it. And it’s fairly practical too, so long as nobody is planning to sit in the back.

Although the three-star ANCAP safety rating is dismal by today’s standards, we think it deserves a pardon purely because it is a muscle car. Rudimentary and a bit crude, yes, but boy does it make you smile and feel good and gooey inside. We can think of about 1000 cars on the market right now that are not capable of giving you an emotional lift. It’s a far-fetched claim but that alone surely accounts for some form of health and well being.

As we’ve said before, buy one and simply enjoy it for what it is. These are not going to be around for much longer. Not with a bellowing V8, anyway.

PROS:
– Rapidfire V8 sound and 10-speed auto
– Instantly recognisable muscle car presence
– 1000W B&O sound system as standard
– User-friendly in-car switchgear
– Cool in-car apps; drag timer, real-time temp gauges etc.

CONS:
– 3-star ANCAP safety rating
– Small rear seat
– Rigid and formal steering feel

As always, if you’re thinking about buying a new car don’t forget to click here to speak with our car buying specialists.