2008 Shelby GT500 New Car Test Drive
The Mustang remains one of the most widely recognized, respected, and desired nameplates in the automobile business. The Ford Mustang defined the pony-car segment in 1964; Plymouth's Barracuda may have beaten Ford to the showroom by 16 days, but it was the Mustang that set the sales records. The 'Cuda is gone now, and so are the Camaro, Firebird, Cougar, Javelin, Challenger, and every other would-be rival, leaving Ford's pony to prance alone. At least for now.
For 2007, the 210-hp Mustang V6 and 300-hp Mustang GT are joined by the new 500-hp supercharged Shelby GT500, offering its own look, tuning, and equipment.
Available in fastback coupe or convertible body styles, the Mustang V6 models make nice, stylish cruisers. The GT is an absolute hoot to drive, making all the right sounds, hanging onto corners tenaciously, and delivering thrilling acceleration performance. The Shelby GT500 adds to the fun with its near-Corvette performance. It's quite tossable, making for good sport on gymkhanas, race tracks or back roads. Its solid rear axle can get bouncy on bad pavement, and you'll want snow tires (four of them) for Northeastern or Midwestern winters.
It may be retro inspired, but the Mustang is a thoroughly modern car. Redesigned from a clean sheet of paper for 2005, today's Mustang is faster and more agile than ever. It delivers the bold styling, rear-drive performance and affordability that have been Mustang hallmarks for decades, but it's smoother and quieter and better built than older models.
Its interior looks like a throwback from the '60s, but it's functional and well finished. Granted, interior space is limited, especially given its exterior dimensions; and the back seat might better be described as a package shelf.
The Ford Mustang is an American success story. It holds true to an idea that still appeals to people of all ages, decades after the original was launched. Forty-three years after it created an automotive niche all its own, Mustang is both true to its roots and better than ever.
The Mustang comes in two body styles: coupe and convertible. Each is available with a V6 or a V8. A five-speed manual transmission is standard; a five-speed automatic optional ($995). The 2007 Mustangs come in just two trim levels each for the V6 and for the V8-powered GT.
The V6 Deluxe Coupe ($19,250) comes with one-touch power windows, power mirrors and door locks, keyless entry, air conditioning, AM/FM/CD with auxiliary input jack, tilt steering, speed control, rear window defroster, 16-inch wheels, and a split-folding rear seat. Its 4.0-liter overhead-cam V6 generates 210 horsepower.
The V6 Premium Coupe ($20,175) upgrades to 16-inch bright-machined wheels with chrome spinners, plus a six-way power driver's seat, and 500-watt audio system with six-disc CD changer and MP3 capability.
The V6 Deluxe Convertible ($24,075) and V6 Premium Convertible ($25,000) are equipped the same as the coupes, except they delete the split-folding rear seat and add a powered folding top.
The GT Coupe ($25,275) comes with all the same equipment as the V6 Deluxe, plus sport seats, in-grille fog lamps, complex reflector halogen headlamps with integral turn signals, a rear spoiler, performance suspension, and performance tires on 17-inch painted aluminum wheels. Its 4.6-liter overhead-cam V8 produces 300 horsepower.
The GT Premium Coupe ($26,455) adds a 500-watt CD changer and Aberdeen leather-trimmed sport seats.
The GT Convertible ($30,100) and GT Premium Convertible ($31,280), are equipped similarly to the coupe versions.
The Shelby GT500 comes as a coupe ($40,930) or convertible ($45,755). The GT500 is powered by a 5.4-liter supercharged V8 developing 500 horsepower. It incurs a gas-guzzler tax ($1300).
The Pony Package ($750) for V6 models adds a firmer suspension, 17-inch painted aluminum wheels, a custom grille with fog lamps, and other visual upgrades, giving these more economical Mustangs something closer to the look and handling of a GT.
A new California Special package ($1895) spiffs up a Premium GT with 18-inch wheels, side scoops, unique tape stripes, rolled bright exhaust tips, black leather trimmed seats with unique 'Cal Special' contrasting Dove or Parchment inserts, a larger air intake, a deeper chin spoiler, and unique front and rear fascias. The name refers to a special limited edition offered to California Ford dealers in 1968, but this Cal Special will be available nationwide. The GT Appearance Package ($245) features rolled exhaust tips, an engine cover with a Pony emblem, and a hood scoop.
Options include a new comfort group ($575) that includes an electrochromic mirror with compass, heated front seats, and six-way power for the front passenger seat. Stand-alone options include an active anti-theft system ($328); 1000-watt audio ($1,295); an interior upgrade package with leather-wrapped steering wheel, satin aluminum trim, and other cool-looking goodies ($460); power-adjustable driver's seat for the Deluxe Coupe ($365); heated front seats ($250); and 18-inch wheels ($825). Sirius Satellite Radio ($195) joins the option list for '07, and DVD-based navigation will be available on later 2007 models.
Safety features on all Mustangs include dual-stage front-impact airbags and three-point belts for all seats. Antilock brakes and traction control are standard on GTs and optional on V6 models. Front passenger side-impact airbags ($380) are optional on all models, so be sure to order them as they are designed to offer torso protection in a side impact.