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V8 for Victory: Driving the 2024 Ford Mustang GT – Kelley Blue Book

Normal isn’t normal. When the Mustang GT’s exhaust system is in Normal mode, it sounds both glorious and slightly worrying. Making an early-morning getaway isn’t done quietly. Who doesn’t love the roar of a naturally aspirated V8? But an hour before sunrise?

Gentle on the throttle, waiting for the right time and place, the Mustang GT is civilized but always feels ready to burst into action. A turbocharged V6 is often the modern replacement for a V8, but I’m thankful that Ford has retained it for this newest generation of Mustang. One icon deserves another, right? It develops 480 horsepower and 415 lb-ft of torque from a 5.0-liter displacement. At a drag strip, the Mustang GT could run from standstill to 60 mph in a fleeting 4.5 seconds. In real-life driving, there’s plenty of extra thrust to tap into just by flexing the right foot.

Real-Life Driving

Actually, this particular Mustang GT Fastback has the GT Performance package, which includes an Active Valve Dual Exhaust system, raising horsepower to 486 and torque to 418 — when using 93 octane gasoline. I filled the tank with 91 octane because that was the highest available and the car still feels fast. I reach a section of freeway with a steep incline, the kind where 18-wheelers stick to the inside lane and keep their hazard lights flashing. The Mustang GT works a little harder than usual, but it’s like when you or I exert a bit more force to open a recalcitrant jar. Once it kicks down a gear or two (a 6-speed manual transmission is standard, another nod to old-school fun; this car has the 10-speed automatic with paddle shifters), the slope seems immaterial and every other vehicle recedes into the distance. All the while, there’s that beautiful bark of the V8 shaking the air.

There’s quite a bit of road noise created by the wide Pirelli P Zero tires, but I’ll take it if it means this much precision, this much grip, this much fun.

An upgraded suspension is also part of the GT Performance package. This includes heavier-duty front springs and a stouter rear anti-roll bar. Yet the ride quality isn’t too firm. Controlled yes; uncomfortable no. Factor in the Torsen limited-slip differential as well, and I can honestly say that this is the best-handling Mustang I’ve ever driven. There’s quite a bit of road noise created by the wide Pirelli P Zero tires, but I’ll take it if it means this much precision, this much grip, this much fun.

Rear view of the 2024 Ford Mustang GT in yellow

In the past, I’ve liked the turbocharged 4-cylinder Mustang with the High Performance package, because there’s less weight in the nose than a V8. But like I said, I’m impressed by the GT. I also like the steering feel and how responsive it is, the front wheels flow into corners easily, so that extra weight is a non-issue. And the Brembo brakes (also part of the GT Performance package) are supremely confident.

Internal affairs

Keeping their occupants in place while the car blasts through turns are (optional) sport front seats made by Recaro. These are well-shaped and supportive. I could easily imagine still being comfortable and not especially tired after many hours of driving. I would also recommend sitting in the driver’s seat for a good 10 minutes before heading off, because it’s going to take at least that long to become acquainted with the less-than-user-friendly infotainment system and digital controls for the heating/air conditioning.

Like most modern cars, the Mustang GT has a single unit housing a digital instrument cluster and an infotainment touchscreen. Apparently, the system also responds to voice commands, but I never had much luck with that during my time with it. Nor was my search for a cabin air recycle function successful, and I had to spend several minutes coughing while stuck behind a truck that was burning oil. While delving through the menus, though, I did manage to come across a Quiet mode for the exhaust system. Small mercies.

The screens look dramatic at night. I would have preferred an illuminated PRND section by the shift lever, though. I know there’s a display in the instrument cluster, but if Toyota can do it for its humblest cars, then surely Ford can for one of its halo models. And for my next gripe, I’m going back to the driving experience. Scrolling through the drive modes is done with a button on the steering wheel. That’s fine.

What isn’t fine is the order of those modes. In most conditions, drivers will be clicking between Normal and Sport modes, yes? But the Mustang GT makes you click through several others before reaching Sport — like Drag, Slippery and Track. Sorry, but that’s ridiculous. The Mustang GT also has a handbrake-like Line Lock that holds the front wheels while the driver revs the engine to spin the rears. I never used it once. I really liked those Pirelli tires and I wasn’t going to mess them up. With the exhaust system finally in Quiet mode, I did appreciate the excellent 12-speaker B&O audio system even more.

As tested, this 2024 Mustang GT Fastback Premium costs $55,505. For a muscle car with a great chassis and plenty of equipment, I don’t think that’s unreasonable.

Check this week’s Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price or see Mustang models for sale near you.

This article was originally published by a www.kbb.com . Read the Original article here. .

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