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Experience the 2010 Ford Mustang GT Convertible

(Jun 11, 2009) - It isn't easy to update tradition, to build something better for the evolving expectations of an increasingly demanding audience while staying within the parameters of nostalgia, all the time watched by wary and critical fans clinging to past glories and models gone by. But here's a good example of how to do it. How to renew both the body and soul of an icon, updating the engineering and technologies while reinvigorating the same spirit, feel, and passion for the pony car classic that is known as the Ford Mustang.

  • Car queue in the bad traffic road. Selective focus.

(Jun 11, 2009)

It isn't easy to update tradition, to build something better for the evolving expectations of an increasingly demanding audience while staying within the parameters of nostalgia, all the time watched by wary and critical fans clinging to past glories and models gone by. But here's a good example of how to do it. How to renew both the body and soul of an icon, updating the engineering and technologies while reinvigorating the same spirit, feel, and passion for the pony car classic that is known as the Ford Mustang.


Ford's tag line was "muscle goes modern" with the debut of the 2010 Ford Mustang, boasting a new exterior, a new interior, improved handling, more power and more standard safety and available technology features.


"More than 9 million customers have made Mustang one of the world's most beloved automotive and cultural icons," said Mark Fields, Ford's president of The Americas. "Making sure this modern legend lives up to their expectations has been a driving force for the team, which went to great lengths – gathering customer input everywhere from race tracks to Main Streets – working to create the best Mustang ever."


The 2010 Mustang comes in two powertrain choices, starting with a 4.0-litre SOHC V6 version making 210 hp @ 5300 rpm and 240 lb ft of torque @ 3500 rpm. The GT version, as tested here, harnesses a 4.6-litre SOHC V8 making 315 hp @ 6000 rpm and 325 lb ft of torque @ 4250 rpm. Both engines are available in either coupe or convertible choices. And, new for 2010, the Mustang coupe also offers a new glass roof option.


Technically, we might have to include this car in the same fifth generation series as its predecessor since it maintains roughly the same D2C platform and powertrain technologies. But the exterior sheet metal, except for the fast-back roofline, is all new for 2010, aerodynamically streamlined with better downforce and drag co-efficient numbers. Although, walk around all that new metal and you can find links and cues from the past evident from almost any angle.


The new look starts up front, with a more aggressive grille and unique front ends for each model. On the V-6, the fog lamps are down on the lower fascia, while on the V8-powered GT, the fog lamps are again located in the upper grille, styling inspired by 1967-68 models. The headlamps and turn indicators, now one-piece units, are modern interpretations a la 1970 Mustang. A new powerdome hood adds to the muscle car mystique of the model, emphasized by the hooded headlamps which, dare I create a furor here, seem almost a Camaro-like cue. The grille tops this all off with the first new Mustang emblem since the car's introduction 45 years ago in 1964.


In profile, the new Mustang looks almost snub-nosed to me, with strong fender flares and with character lines flowing to muscular rear haunches. The aggressively angled rear corners take a little getting used to but, taking a cue again from the '60s, the new tail lamp design maintains Mustang spirit in classic three-lens style, featuring three LED bulbs that fire sequentially in the direction of the turn. Under the skin, the 2010 Mustang pays tribute to a more recent predecessor, taking engine, chassis and suspension upgrades from the Bullitt special edition model, especially when it comes to the GT.


"All of the Bullitt elements are the base foundation of the GT," according to Paul Randle, Mustang chief engineer, noting engine and chassis improvements.


As mentioned earlier, those Bullitt engine innovations have bumped the 2010 Mustang 4.6-liter V-8 power numbers up to 315 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque. And although the V8 makes that power honestly on regular octane gas, add premium instead and the engine management system will adapt its calibration for more mid-range torque.


Surprisingly, although you would save substantially on the initial purchase price, there's not a lot of fuel economy difference between the V6 and V8 choices – about 1L/100km or so, depending on choices of a five-speed manual or automatic transmission. As tested the GT convertible with five-speed manual is officially rated at 12.7/8.2L/100km (city/hwy) and my combined average hovered around the 12L/100km mark. Not bad for a muscle car. The big, torque-happy V8 allows early shift points. You can easily lug around town in fourth or fifth. Even at highway speeds, the engine barely breaks a sweat, loping at an easy 1800 rpm at 100 kmh.


The 2010 Mustang now makes AdvanceTrac Electronic Stability Control (ESC) standard, complementing the all-speed traction control and anti-lock braking system (ABS). But let's peek inside and check out the all-new interior that starts with a seamless soft-touch TPO (Thermoplastic Olefin) skin, contrasted by chrome-ringed gauges and air vents, along with available aluminum-finish panels. The dash and instrument panel are nicely laid out, all the controls are in the right spots and the Mustang is loaded with available audio and amenity choices including the latest version of Ford's SYNC audio and communication linking system. And you can pick from a palette of colours for gauge illumination and the ambient lighting of footwells, door pockets, cupholders and the MUSTANG logo on the door sills. Sure, the rear seats remain an afterthought, as in any 2+2 coupe or convertible but there's plenty of room and comfort available up front. Tell your friends to buy their own car.


The Ford literature mentions "vault-like" improvements to sound-deadening but, really, in a convertible, that point is moot. Lean into the head rest, close your eyes, key the ignition and you hear what could only be a Mustang V8 roar, a signature sound exhaust-tuned and tailored to this still-faithful evolution of the original pony car.


"This car marks the best efforts of 45 years of passion and enthusiasm among the best designers, engineers and manufacturing experts in the business," according to Randle. "And we can't wait for everyone to see it and start driving it."


AT A GLANCE


2010 FORD MUSTANG GT


CONVERTIBLE


BODY STYLE: Sports Car.


DRIVE METHOD: front-engine,


rear-wheel drive.


ENGINE: 4.6-litre SOHC inline


V8 (315 hp, 325 lb/ft).


FUEL ECONOMY:


12.7/8.2L/100km (city/hwy)


PRICE: $41,119


www.ford.ca


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