2019 Ford Mustang

Performance


#2 out of 8 in Sports Cars

$26,395 MSRP
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2019 Ford Mustang Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 8.9

The 2019 Ford Mustang gets high praise because it's brawny, yet easy to drive; capable of being pushed to the limit on a track, yet comfortable on a trip to the grocery store. Engine options include the lively, efficient EcoBoost, and a selection of muscular V8s worth salivating over.

  • "The Mustang is one of the easiest sporty coupes to live with yet remains fun to drive. The transmission's gear changes are smooth and prompt in auto mode. There's a distinct delay between the command and the actual shift when using the manual paddle shifters." -- Edmunds
  • "As pleasant as the Ecoboost is around town, it just doesn't sound very exotic or special when the revs climb. Still, the roughly $40,000 Performance Pack and Magneride-equipped cars we sampled were balanced, fun and supple over rough roads. Ecoboost Mustangs are about 170 pounds lighter, and most of that weight comes right off the nose. So, these four-cylinder cars feel agile on a winding road. We drive this car as well as the Mustang GT we tested in sport mode most of the time, which never became too stiff or harsh. It's clear the folks retuning the Magneride suspension sweated the details." -- Autoweek (2018)
  • "The 2.3-liter car's handling limits are a bit less heroic and more approachable than the GT's—it rolls on less aggressive summer rubber—but it ate up the serpentine mountain roads like a polished pro nonetheless." -- Car and Driver (2018)

Acceleration and Power

Mustang EcoBoost models come with a 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine. With a practical compromise between performance and fuel efficiency, this 310-horsepower engine supplies respectable acceleration. Its fuel economy rating of 21 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway translates to an annual savings of around $550 compared to the fuel costs of the optional V8 engine.

It's with the V8 that the Mustang really shines, however. This 5.0-liter engine comes in Mustang GT models (rated at 460 horsepower) and Mustang Bullitt models (rated at 475 horsepower). The snarling exhaust note of the V8 matches its brawny acceleration; these V8 models are very satisfying to drive. They're quite a bit thirstier, however, earning 16 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway.

The six-speed manual transmission – standard with both engines – delivers smooth, quick shifts. Most (but not all) reviewers found the same level of refinement with the optional 10-speed automatic.

Ford also offers the Mustang as a set of track-oriented Shelby models. The 5.2-liter V8 powering the Shelby GT350 and GT350R is rated at 526 horsepower. These editions are offered exclusively with a six-speed manual transmission.

  • "The Mustang we tested did not have any performance options. But it was still impressively quick, engaging and, most importantly, fun. It's also a surprisingly easy car to drive. The new 10-speed automatic transmission complements the 460 horsepower but isn't as responsive as we'd like in manual mode." -- Edmunds
  • "The EcoBoost gets more torque … and while it feels healthy enough hauling the Mustang up the canyon in both directions, pushed hard and mercilessly, it's not necessarily a fun engine. And in my opinion, its whoosh-scoot character is more sport compact than American ponycar. I miss the V6, frankly, which fulfilled the same role but with more pizzazz, and a throatier sound – and more importantly, there wasn't a turbo in there to make the relationship between your right foot and the engine's output less linear. But I can't criticize the EcoBoost for being too weak – it's not. Or too laggy – it's there, but barely." -- Autoblog (2018)
  • "This is a gnarly sounding engine, even with the adjustable exhaust set in Normal mode. Its guttural growl is stirring just puttering around town, and it swings to intoxicating as you cane it to the lofty redline—where it sounds distinctly like a NASCAR V-8 in full Brad Keselowski mode. Clamp down on the throttle and the GT accelerates with a smile-inducing rush. It doesn't jam you into the seatback with the low-rpm gut punch of the Camaro SS and its substantially larger V-8; the Mustang's power comes on more like a Porsche's, building steadily and ever more ferociously." -- Car and Driver (2018)

Handling and Braking

The Mustang is a rear-wheel-drive sports car. Its handling is sharp and athletic but not overly harsh, so you can comfortably drive it every day. Uplevel models come with five drive modes: Normal, Sport+, Track, Drag Strip, and Snow/Wet. A limited-slip rear differential is standard, and performance upgrades include a higher ratio limited-slip rear differential, Brembo brakes, and the rapidly adjusting MagneRide suspension system.

  • "Even without any performance options added, this Mustang is incredibly capable and entertaining. Body roll is very well-managed, and the tires communicate clearly as you approach the grip limit. Goosing the gas results in a graceful progressive release from the rear tires." -- Edmunds
  • "The magnetic dampers give the Mustang a stable and compliant ride in almost every situation. On the overgrown autocross course that is Malibu's Latigo Canyon Road—with its technically challenging corners and multiple elevation changes—the Mustang GT never got unsettled, even if the camber was off while the radius was decreasing and the pavement was uneven." -- Automobile Magazine (2018)
  • "Steering feel is a bit distant, but it dives for the corners with razor-sharp precision and scythes through bends with zero drama. The car was pinned to the road as if pressed into it by the great engineer in the sky, seemingly tethered around the torturously tight turns-which allowed us to pin the throttle aggressively even across pavement heaves. Nor was the firm ride unduly harsh, likely a benefit of the MagneRide dampers—something we've long appreciated in Camaros." -- Car and Driver (2018)
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