I was more than a year removed from my last experience with the Mustang GT and its delicious 5.0 V8 when this new 2014 example rolled up to my driveway recently. Good weather and a planned road trip across the state meant that I would get plenty of seat time in this conservatively specified example, too. In total, I logged about 400 miles in a week of driving – not a lot for some of you super commuters out there, but quite a lot for this work-from-home journalist.

The basic formula of the 5.0 has stayed the same for 2014. The 2013 model year saw a number of updates to keep the Mustang fresh until it's replaced with an all-new generation for 2015. So, for its bon voyage tour, the fifth-generation Pony Car has seen only a few modifications: a couple of new paint colors (Oxford White and Ruby Red Metallic), trim and wheel revisions and, sadly, the deletion of the Boss 302 from the Ford lineup. However, while the limited-edition Boss is likely to reappear sometime after the gen-six Mustang makes its debut in 2015, the GT Track Package cars like the one I tested provide at least a partial solution for those looking for hot laps.

Driving Notes
  • The 5.0 V8 never gets old. 420 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque are delivered with satisfying linearity, as the Coyote motor spins up to redline far quicker than you'd expect for an engine of this displacement. Sonically rich, with just a hint of a hard edge to the exhaust over 5,000 rpm and a satisfyingly lazy rumble at idle, the soundtrack is pure enthusiast driving pleasure at most speeds. Oh yeah... on the first day I had the car I was reminded that the 5.0 Mustang is fast as all hell, too. Don't let its ubiquity fool you, this is a serious performance machine.
  • The six-speed manual trans is quite substantial, with a positive, metallic click heard when shifting through the range. The gates are nicely spaced and the throws short. I generally enjoy using this beefy gearbox, though when trying for really fast changes – especially downshifts – a lighter, more accurate action would be appreciated. Clutch action is pretty low effort and progressive, and with so much torque that it's simple to get the GT moving – gently or in a cloud of smoke as your taste and situation dictate.
  • As I mentioned, the Mustang I drove was equipped with Ford's excellent GT Track Package. For $2,450, the track pack feels like an excellent value for weekend racers or drivers that might want to upgrade their GT substantially down the road. The options group contains a little bit of what made the Boss 302 cool, in a Bossless model year. (Automobile web editor Evan McCausland quipped to me that the test car I had was, "more of an assistant manager" than a Boss, which is about right.) The most noticeable equipment you'll get if you spec your Stang this way are the larger Brembo brakes and the Torsen helical diff with its more aggressive 3.73:1 rear axle. In a week filled with random quick corners and side-trips to back roads, I can attest that all make the GT feel a lot more sports car-like than less-endowed base GTs. For actual track work, the package's upgraded radiator (from the Boss 302) and engine oil cooler should help keep internals cool, as well.
  • Not part of the track pack, my car also had optional ($1,595) Recaro cloth racing seats. A far cry from the fully stuffed leather chairs I'm used to seeing in media-fleet Mustangs, I ended up falling in love with these Recaros. The fabric they're trimmed with is simple without looking downmarket, and the bolsters help them grip the driver firmly without squeezing too hard at the hips. Even my XL frame was a good fit. I'll admit that after about 150 miles, I was feeling the frame dig into my thighs a little bit – these probably aren't the best road trip seats – but for everyday driving or canyon road bombing, they're superb.
  • On that same road trip, I should mention that I had no trouble hitting the EPA-estimated 26 miles per gallon on the highway... if I set the cruise right around 70 miles per hour. At a more normal (for me) 75 or 80 mph, the econ drops to about 21 on the interstate. In town I was seeing roughly 11 mpg, though admittedly I was keeping the revs high quite a lot to better hear the exhaust. I think the 17 mph city estimate is doable, if you're willing to blandly shift up into fourth a lot.
  • Outside of the great seats, this interior is starting to feel pretty dated. With no navigation screen especially, there's no end to the gray and black plastic you seen in front of you. Accessing SYNC via the standard radio's buttons and knobs is an atrocious way to navigate your digitally stored music, and the voice commands feel utterly unwieldy compared to newer systems like Cadillac CUE. (Dan Roth's, Chris Paukert's and Consumer Reports' protestations to the contrary, CUE feels positively visionary after a week with this low-end, touchscreen-less SYNC.) Both iPhones and iPods were randomly spurned as "not recognized" devices; even after working the time before. And even when I could get my music to play, the sound system managed to sound both underpowered and badly voiced. It's a good thing the V8 soundtrack doesn't get old.

Autoblog accepts vehicle loans from auto manufacturers with a tank of gas and sometimes insurance for the purpose of evaluation and editorial content. Like most of the auto news industry, we also sometimes accept travel, lodging and event access for vehicle drive and news coverage opportunities. Our opinions and criticism remain our own – we do not accept sponsored editorial.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 101 Comments
      phlipp21
      • 2 Years Ago
      gotta love that coyote!
        • 2 Years Ago
        @phlipp21
        [blocked]
          Dean Hammond
          • 2 Years Ago
          why?.........
          Chris
          • 2 Years Ago
          Dean, Rob says the same thing, verbatim, on every Mustang article. When the next Mustang comes out with IRS, he'll criticize it for not being offered with AWD and a dual clutch transmission.
          kingrat001
          • 2 Years Ago
          I can't say that what kind of rear axle a car has had any effect whatsoever on my choice to buy i or not. It's so far down the list that it's basically a shoulder shrug, "Whatever!" type thing.
      Mark M.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Wonder if Ford will make the "Assistant Manager Package" a reality. I mean, c'mon - not everybody can be the Boss...
        King of Eldorado
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Mark M.
        For people who hope to be the boss someday, they could call lesser versions the "Aspire." Hmm... that sounds vaguely familiar...
        joejoe509
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Mark M.
        Assistant to the (Regional) Boss Mustang Package. Haha I miss The Office already. *Sigh* Lol. Just call it the AMP option. No one will know that it stands for Assistant Manager Package.
        k_m94
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Mark M.
        If the Boss is pretty damn sporty and the Assistant Manager is a fine handler in of itself too, I can only imagine the Mustang CEO must be a code name for a Le Mans GT racer or something.
        Chris
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Mark M.
        Yeahhhh, I think they should just stick to calling it the GT. That has a nicer ring to it than "Assistant Manager Package", or "AMP". AMP sounds too much like a gas station, or a hardware store or something.
          Bernard
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Chris
          Or a piece of audio equipment...
      Avinash Machado
      • 2 Years Ago
      Love it.
      joejoe509
      • 2 Years Ago
      Badass car. At one time, I thought it almost necessary to put a supercharger on a Mustang. With the new 5.0, it's pretty sweet right out of the box. Here's hoping the 2015 model isn't a step down from this legendary platform.
        Unknown
        • 2 Years Ago
        @joejoe509
        Sorry for the double reply... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JuAPmuTyUNY
        Unknown
        • 2 Years Ago
        @joejoe509
        The 5.0 with a SC is a BEAST. The car in this video has an engine setup almost identical to mine. I have a smaller pulley, a 79mm pulley on my VMP tuned Roush blower. I spoke with the guy in this video quite a few times he just sold his 5.0 for something else not too long ago. He loved the car, but he never keeps his rides for very long. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGki5QFxAeU&list=PL6D7AD961A88D8978
      JayP
      • 2 Years Ago
      I hope Ford sells tens of thousands of these with the track pack rear ends, Brembos, Recaros and makes it's way to the CLs in a few years. All this stuff bolts right up to my "vintage" 2005 model.
        clquake
        • 2 Years Ago
        @JayP
        You do understand that all the bolt ons are available right now through aftermarket vendors right?
          clquake
          • 2 Years Ago
          @clquake
          I get that, having factory parts always seems better, however, 2nd hand sports/muscle car parts aren't always the wisest decision, e.g., I would never used someone's used diff or brakes in my Grand National, even if it originally came from Buick.
          JayP
          • 2 Years Ago
          @clquake
          I do but there is something about the satisfaction of having Ford parts. Because I bought Drake diff cover for $110 when 2 weeks later the Boss 302 cover was $90. So yea... My poor car is a mishmash of Shelby, Roush, Ford, and aftermarket. But I did it on the cheap and isn't an embarrassment on HPDE day.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      Teleny411
      • 2 Years Ago
      Muscle cars aren't really my cup of tee, but the Mustang, Challenger and Camaro are all great looking, fast and capable. Glad to see these models back, strong and selling well. I like the Mustangs in light blue; the Camaro in yellow and love the Challengers purple!
      Spikz
      • 2 Years Ago
      Has the manual transmission issue been resolved ? Seems like they(Ford) swept the whole thing under a rug.
      tool0117
      • 2 Years Ago
      "Ruby Read Metallic)" if it helps, read backwards once you finish writing something as a final proofread, it helps a lot
      Patrick
      • 2 Years Ago
      Antenna in the back? Yes!
      A P
      • 2 Years Ago
      " In total, I logged about 400 miles in a week of driving – not a lot for some of you super commuters out there, but quite a lot for this work-from-home journalist." No wonder most of your work is garbage........you barely drive cars and just sit on your ass and read other peoples opinions (or more like your bosses talking points) about cars AB wants to trash/promote depending on ad dollars spent. Also makes sense that a friend who is a REAL auto journalist rarely, if ever sees any AB writer at auto events.
        Joe
        • 2 Years Ago
        @A P
        400 miles is barely driving? That is more than enough time to form a reasonable opinion. Maybe you're just a little slow A P.
        Dean Hammond
        • 2 Years Ago
        @A P
        Angry Birds, let me introduce you to A P.........
        ZenDriver
        • 2 Years Ago
        @A P
        A P stands for Angry Prick. That tells you everything. He trash talks every article on AB because he can't get any. What else would you expect from him. Poor guy.
          Chris
          • 2 Years Ago
          @ZenDriver
          Well, judging by his picture, he appears to have a kid. Maybe he got REALLY lucky once. Overall, I can't help but feel a little sorry for him, even though he seems like kind of a prick. People like A P who try to puff themselves up tend to be very insecure individuals.
        Arturo Rios Jr.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @A P
        Compare to the 14 miles I drive a week, I say 400 miles is quite a lot.
      11fiveoh
      • 2 Years Ago
      The mustangs are junk. Issue after issue with my old car.
        XJ Yamaha
        • 2 Years Ago
        @11fiveoh
        And it's crazy how every Mustang sold had the exact same issue after issue as yours, so therefore your generalization is extremely relevant....
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