2010 Ford Mustang GT Convertible: First Drive
By Alex Kalogiannis
Did a car ever make you nervous? Perhaps it intimidated you in some way, like a beast you were unsure you could tame. Maybe, less dramatically, a car unnerved you on a consumer level with a bit of buyer’s remorse. Meet the 2010 Mustang GT, a car that’s bound to cause you both.
The current generation Mustang put pony cars back on the map in 2005. With its sharp new aggressive lines and ferocity, it was ushered in with a media storm that gobsmacked enthusiasts across the world and featured, among other things, commercials of a phantom Steve McQueen giving it his approval. The Mustang was so striking, it brought the Challenger and Camaro back from the dead as well. Fast forward about 5 years and the 5th generation Mustang still holds its initial appeal, with a slew of variants having kept things fresh, but only just so. After all, 5 years, in car years, is a substantial amount of its lifespan, so it was time for the ‘Stang to get back into shape before it started to look long in the tooth.
The 2010 Mustang was revealed to the world last November at the Los Angeles International Auto Show where we all gaped at the sight of this ultra-modern refresh of the GT. Exterior lines were streamlined, the engine gained a pinch more juice and the suspension was given some attention as well. We have been only too eager to get our hands on one since, and finally we had. I spent four hours driving to where I was to meet the 2010 Mustang in its not-too-distant sibling, my own ’08 GT/CS, so you can imagine then, that my senses were well calibrated to make pertinent observations on the new one.
What one does immediately when introduced to the 2010 Mustang is to go to the front of it and look it straight in the eye. Like a wild horse, appropriately, you respect it out of admiration and fear. It’s beautifully powerful, and you want to be on it’s good side. The hood looks beefier in the middle, and the front grill, with newly designed pony logo, is has been slimmed down while also housing the headlights and slightly smaller fog lamps. The indicator lights have been moved there as well, and sit on the inside of each headlight. Mercifully gone is the radio antenna, having been moved to the rear and replaced with a smaller, more modern device. Speaking of the rear, the Mustang’s flank has been toned up, looking perkier and flashier with LED brake lamps, which flash sequentially when indicating a turn. A massive GT logo can still be found in the center of the trunk, which has had its entry methods swapped around. The current Mustangs’ only trunk lid release is located on the key fob but one can still access it through the good ol’ key slot embedded in the logo. The 2010 Mustang now does away with the slot and puts a trunk release button in the cabin. Would it be asking too much for all three?
My hands and eyes were immediately drawn to the steering wheel, which now had buttons for convenient access to different systems, such as radio volume and tuner control, phone and voice commands connect with the optional SYNC system, that this particular model didn’t have equipped. The center console looked larger, and it housed reorganized air condition controls. The stereo controls have moved to the top of the console and the LCD screen is now closer to the driver’s eye level. Dashboard panels, still abundant with chrome, have streamlined air vents integrated within, which no longer protrude outward as they had before. Further down, the shifter knob is a classic chrome “cue ball”, with the aforementioned trunk release button beside it, as well as hazards and traction control, and yes, I can also foresee a situation when an eager driver, possibly staged at a red light, attempts to turn off traction control but instead pops the trunk. Another fun detail was that the A/C outlet had been inched closer to the dash, making plugging peripherals like GPS easy to mount without the hassle of snaking cables all about the cabin. I have to say that as a person who spends a good deal of my waking hours in a Mustang’s interior, this was an excellent step up.
The symphonic exhaust note of the Mustang’s 4.6L V8 is dangerously addictive. The first time you hear it will move you to smile, and after that, you will take every opportunity to hear it again. Every heel-toe downshift will be rewarded with a sonorous bark and every flat-out screamer will feel like a “cry of the Valkyries” style charge into battle, particularly in this convertible model. The V8 is the same found in current S-197 Mustangs, more specifically the Bullitt variant that takes the 4.6 L SOHC V8 and enhances various aspects that brings the output from 300 horsepower to 315 horsepower @ 6000 rpm. Gunning down windy mountain roads in a convertible Mustang is an experience to be had, as blasting towards a bend and rounding it at speed is thrilling, if not completely harrowing. The live rear axle has been hissed at for years, but the truth of the matter is the car’s overall handling is still superb, and this updated incarnation brings with it stiffer springs and all-round tuning, giving it a degree of improved agility.
First impressions of the 2010 Mustang GT were pleasing, as my brief time behind the wheel didn’t placate my curiosity, it fueled it further, which is a good thing. When I climbed back into my own trusty Mustang, did I feel any of that buyer’s remorse I mentioned before? Did I leave feeling like, maybe, I got the wrong GT? The short answer is “no”, but I did drive home wondering if there’s room in my garage, and my heart, for two.
Keep an eye out here for a full review once it is available.
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