Ford GT and Ford Mustang GT: A celebration of performance Page 2

2018 Ford Mustang GT

2018 Ford Mustang GT

So what about the Mustang GT?

No shock here: It’s the everyday driver the GT could never be. It makes the powertrain noises we wish the GT supercar had, and a sticker that’s one-tenth of the cost of its supercar brother.

The Mustang’s GT package was new in 1965. It cost $165 and added disc brakes, driving lights, gauges, and GT40-inspired racing stripes. Since then, it’s morphed into a muscular grand tourer with big horsepower—if not as big as you get in the Shelby GT350 and GT500.

History hasn’t left the Mustang GT behind. If anything, the Mustang’s left history behind. The live axle? Gone. Single-digit fuel economy? That’s in the past, too.

2018 Ford Mustang GT

2018 Ford Mustang GT

These days, the Mustang GT sports Ford’s fantastic 5.0-liter V-8. It boasts 460 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque and comes with either a 6-speed manual or a new 10-speed automatic. We’d stick with the stick: the 10-speed isn’t tuned as well as we’d hoped, while the manual slots into gears with satisfying metallic action. In peak performance mode, Ford says it’s good for a 0-60 mph time of less than four seconds.

If you haven’t driven a Mustang GT lately, be prepared for fantastic handling, at least as long as the last car you drove wasn’t the Ford GT. The Mustang GT now offers adaptive shocks that let it cushion the worst roads, or dial in firm, direct handling on back roads as great as we found in Southern California. It’s agile, capable, and composed, and with Performance Pack 1 or 2, the handling has taken a quantum leap compared to the old live-axle Mustangs.

Compared to the Ford GT, however, it’s not a fair fight. Move from the GT to the Mustang and you feel like you’re sitting three feet higher, driving a car a thousand pounds heavier, and leaning far more into corners. It’s a matter of perspective. The Mustang GT can’t compete with a street-ready Le Mans race car for handling prowess, but it’s a joy to drive and with Performance Pack 2, it plants itself well into sports-car territory.

The Mustang has some distinct advantages over the GT, too. It offers automatic smokey-burnout control. The Mustang GT’s electronic line lock lets any driver lay down a perfect pair of black rubber comet trails. It’s a car with hilarious levels of performance for the price.

2018 Ford Mustang GT

2018 Ford Mustang GT

The other advantages are in comfort and livability. The ride is far more supple, and that makes it a viable choice as a daily driver.

The interior has room for four, though the backseat passenger won’t be happy unless they’re kids. The seats are all-day comfortable, interior storage is plentiful, and it has modern connectivity.

The Mustang GT may not be a supercar but for something near $40,000, it can deliver astronomical thrills. And of course, there’s always a Shelby GT350 or Bullitt to step up into.

2018 Ford Mustang GT and 2018 Ford GT

2018 Ford Mustang GT and 2018 Ford GT

A GT celebration

Both the Ford GT and the Ford Mustang GT trace their roots back more than 50 years. Each represents the best Ford’s ever delivered to enthusiasts, whether they’re ready to spend tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars for unbridled American-badged performance.

The Ford GT delivers slashing acceleration and hyperspace top speeds. It’s a custom-built Le Mans-ready race car with a twin-turbo V-6 that just needs a better soundtrack.

The Mustang GT? It’s a rolling piece of Ford and American history. And thankfully, it no longer drives like a piece of history. This latest Mustang GT has BMW in its sights, and it pulls up impressively close.

This isn’t a compare, it’s a celebration. The future of performance cars looks very different today than it did a decade ago. With high-performance battery-powered supercars and even Mustang hybrids on the way, gas-powered muscle cars and supercars like these are bound to become more rare, and more special.

We hope there’s a place for both in the electrified future we envision where the rush of V-8 power and the thrill of a low-slung, Le Mans-style supercar never go out of style.

For two months, Motor Authority crisscrossed the U.S. in an automotive icon seeking stories about the Ford Mustang's place in American history. These are our stories from the road about its owners, its history, and its status as an evolving symbol of our relationship with cars in America.

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