2013 Ford Mustang: First Drive Page 2

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Pushing ever faster on some curvy roads, as road surfaces started to dry out, we were again amazed with the tenacity, poise, and progressive, predictable feel of the Mustang—even on rougher surfaces where we expected this pony car’s live rear axle to bite back.

While you can drive the V-6 models hard once the roads are dry, V-8 models are different beasts altogether and call for more restraint; due to the V-8’s sharper throttle response and here-right-now torque, weight transfers tend to be a little less fluid, too, if you’re not careful with it. But with 0-60 times in the mid four-second range, who’s complaining? And actually, V-6 models are nearly as quick, in the low fives.

Easy to get comfortable, dynamically

How does the overall driving experience stack up against that in a Chevy Camaro? While you sit ‘on’ the Camaro—and cramped up against the headliner in a position that this editor can never get comfortable with—you sit ‘in’ the Mustang and that’s key for, in our opinion, feeling comfortable driving the Mustang fast.

From our experience over the past couple of years, in a range of conditions, and with Mustang Coupes and Convertibles, it’s also a very refined car, with remarkably little wind noise. V-6 models you hear most when revved, while the V-8 has an ever-present rumble that turns into a rip-roaring exotic in character as soon as you crack the throttle open. Manual transmission models tend to have a slight bit of added road noise and gear whine, but they’re worth it.

That’s a quick riff on how the Mustang drives; the changes for 2013 for the bulk of the Mustang lineup—represented by the V-6 and GT (V-8) models we drove this past week—amount to a small, but meaningful looks update, as well as a few cool new features.

Primarily an appearance update

First off, the front end is different, and better detailed. The grille has been given a new, more forward look, while the lower airdam is a bit thinner and not so gaping, and GT models get functional heat extractors on the hood. GT models are also distinguished by their big, round foglamps in the grille. Headlamps are a smaller, more closely detailed HID design (across the entire lineup), and two strips of LED lighting flank the headlights and are an especially distinctive note. Taillamps get a dark-tinted look, with LEDs surrounding the entire affair; there’s also a blacked-out (instead of body-color) panel between the taillamps. From the side, rocker panels now are body-color. And a clever new night-lighting option, called the pony projection light, beams a pony emblem on the ground next to the doors.

And as for color, there are a couple of new hues—Deep Impact Blue, and Gotta Have It Green—that really show off the facelift and draw a lot of attention in general. Our Mustang had the latter color, which seemed to get more of a fluorescent hue as the sun momentarily came out.

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