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Ford’s 50th Anniversary Mustang Bullitt

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Ford’s Mustang is recognisable as one of the greats in American motoring history. First sold to the American buying public back in 1964, it quickly became an automotive icon. Easily recognisable, everyone from your gran to the Labradoodle in the street, knows a Mustang. Each evolution of the Mustang has (pretty much) brought increased power, and now with the anniversary of the Movie Bullitt, Ford have launched the ‘Bullitt’ 50th anniversary special edition.

Special mention : That V8 rumble, the exhaust note. A car with plenty of character and praised by every passer by. Fuel costs, not as bad as you think.

Needs work :  The interior is improved by the optional Recaro’s, in an otherwise bar lounge chic environment. As expected, tax band is high.

Specs: As tested

Max Power 460 BHPPetrol / Manual 6 Speed
0-100 km/h in 4.6 secondsRoad Tax €2,350
Starting price Bullitt €73,476
as specced €79,226
Boot litres 408

For a special edition such as the Bullitt, we decided to take the Mustang on an road trip, to car nirvana. A place where anyone and everyone is accepted but your knowledge will be tested.

Caffeine&Machine is one of the UK’s most recognisable car mecca’s out there. Based in an old farmhouse on the outskirts of the Cotswolds, Caffeine&Machine aims to provide a permanent space where you can get a coffee fix and on any given day, see some of the most special vehicles around from today or any decade leading up to today.

It’s not going to be easy to impress anyone here and that’s exactly the point. Just how special is the Bullitt?

The Mustang is an event in itself and something very different to what most in the UK and Ireland are used to seeing on the road. You usually hear it before you see it. This is thanks to the 5.0 V8 under the bonnet which has approx 460 BHP to play with. Carefully.

As it was raining heavily for the majority of the trip, we were very mindful of the fact that it’s a heavy car. When you’ve got 556Nm @  4600rpm running through rear wheels on a vehicle with a kerbweight of 1770kg, you pay attention. Especially when said car is a muscle car, not known for their ability to change direction deftly.

To combat suspension and dynamics issues known to muscle cars, Ford developed the MagneRide™ Damping System. The advanced suspension system was developed to provide extra control on a track and extra comfort on the road. MagneRide asks a €3,030 premium in Ireland, it provides multiple suspension settings, including Sport/Sport+/Track/Drag Strip/Wet & Snow.

One thing it doesn’t manage to combat is the tram lining that comes with some of the smaller, windier Welsh roads and the Bullitt’s wheels (19” X 9” (F) and 19” X 9.5” (R))255/40R19 (F) 275/40R19 (R)) which gave plenty of kickback from the ruts and dips on the more well worn trails throughout Snowdonia.

On the motorways, using Adaptive Cruise Control which is easily accessible from the large steering wheel, the system maintains a steady cruise and distance from the car in front, with 6th gear providing enough of a stretch to cruise comfortably at.

Driving modes can be enhanced using the Bullitt’s ‘MyMode’ where you set the drive mode with the optimal settings for whatever driving environment you find yourself in. Enhance/adapt the steering, acceleration, gearshift control (auto only), Electronic Stability Control settings, and the intensity of the Active Valve Exhaust.

Ford’s new digital instrument cluster gives information such as the drive mode selection, trip information, any issues such as tyre pressures and oil (both warnings showed up during our test), speed, average speed etc.

The infotainment system includes Ford’s SYNC 3 system with enhanced voice commands (call up your local 3 star Michelin guide restaurant anyone?) and increased functionality with an interactive 8” colour touchscreen (with pinch-and-swipe gestures). SYNC 3 uses Apple CarPlay and/or Android Auto to mirror your smartphone screen directly to the touchscreen. When in use, you can mirror Google Maps on your phone to the touchscreen, with the written directions on your phone if you so wish.

Using an iPhone we were able to connect (on second attempt) to the SYNC 3 system to get access too all the music, podcasts, maps, audio books etc from the mobile device. The phone can be connected via Bluetooth or USB and is then displayed on the 8” colour touchscreen. It’s also possible to use Siri to make hands-free calls and send text messages.

Spotify and messaging services worked without fault, with the B&O sound system especially welcome on the longer motorway cruises where there was little action or interaction with the gears and exhaust, which mostly provided the entertainment. The 10 speaker, 1000W system has been designed specifically for the Mustang cabin and is supported by a subwoofer in the boot, taking up little of the available 408 litres of space but providing wallops of noise.

The interior is enhanced by the optional Recaro’s (which don’t contain the standard seats heated/cooling functions and electronic adjustment control). Driving at night, the cabin is bathed in ambient lighting, with the main touchscreen and binnacles dimming to reduce glare and distraction. It’s also worth noting that the main beam lights also dim with the sensor picking up oncoming traffic on the darkest of dark roads in the depths of Wales with heavy rain to add to the mix, but never once slowing the systems reaction time.

A rear-view camera activates automatically when selecting reverse and displays directly onto the 8” touchscreen. The system also displays virtual lines to help squeeze into tight spaces. Visibility is restricted on the rear three quarters, especially with those high shoulders, so the rear view camera is a must, but tends to get mucky easily without any covering to shield it from the dirt and dust.

Nice touches include the puddle lights with the Mustang symbol, which isn’t re-created anywhere else on the Bullitt. All Ford and Mustang insignia are removed and only the Bullitt symbol remains on the steering wheel and the boot lid.

The Bullitt 5.0L V8 engine produces 460NHP at 7,250 RPM and 529 Nm of torque, it’s equipped with 6-piston Brembo™ front calipers on 15″ vented rotors which dull after long periods of extended use. Rev matching automatically blips the throttle on downshifts, which, for some drivers, is handy for keeping things nice and smooth, but provides endless hour of entertainment. You can’t turn it off, nor should you want to. This all adds to the drama and character of the Mustang.

Driving the Mustang is a workout in itself, but on the right road, it’s an incredibly rewarding car. The steering is heavy, even in its most relaxed setting. And hard graft is involved when working the pedals and gears. The gear shift is heavy duty but the exhaust rewards you at each up or down shift. As it’s heavily weighted, it nearly too much for any kind of long traffic jam crawls. But let’s face it, that’s not why you’re buying a Bullitt.

All in this is a package that starts at €73,476 and rises to €79,226 with the MagneRide and Recaro seat options. You can get into a Mustang for €51,518 (the 2.3 litre EcoBoost which provides all of the looks but none of the drama), probably the one to go for if you’re planning on using it to drive the commute to work (and even then, it really needs to be the auto version). Then you have the GT (available in Manual & Auto) which is the standard 5.0 V8 priced at €66,570. And finally, for nearly 7k more, the (manual only) Bullitt adds the Performance Package, Active Exhaust and Electronics Packages.

So how did it fare amongst the strange and beautiful selection that rolled in and out of Caffeine&Machine? As with every other destination on the trip, the Bullitt held everyone’s attention. Surprisingly, for an American muscle car in Europe, they’re still special and none more so than the Bullitt, noted by it’s lack of Ford or Mustang emblems. It encouraged questions, debate and intrigue from everyone who’s path it crossed. And they left wanting to know and hear more.