By then Ford Mustang 2016 will have released an MY17 upgrade, fitted with a more advanced SYNC 3 infotainment system bringing Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring, plus fresh paint colours. Overwhelming demand also led to price increases of up to $2500 before first deliveries even took place in December 2015, with the most popular variant â€“ the Fastback GT manual tested here â€“ now priced at $57,490 (plus on-road costs).
Ford Mustang 2016 Review
Fordâ€™s final fast Falcons â€“ the XR Sprints â€“ are now in production before the company ceases Australian manufacturing in October, but itâ€™s not all gloom and doom for Blue Oval performance fans.
In fact, thereâ€™s plenty to look forward to if the first global Mustang is any indication.
Powered by a glorious, grunty 5.0-litre V8 â€“ and priced $1500 lower than the XR8 Sprint â€“ the Fastback GT manual coupe is the pick of the 2016 Mustang bunch, and was our choice for ABDC 2016.
One of only two naturally-aspirated V8s on test, the DOHC V8 is 1211cc smaller than the 6.2-litre pushrod V8 in the $3000-cheaper Holden Commodore SS V-Series Redline, but produces 2kW more and just 40Nm less at 306kW/530Nm.
The supercharged V8 in the HSV ClubSport R8 LSA, on the other hand, is in another league with 400kW and 671Nm, but it costs $23,500 more at over $80,000.
Despite weighing 65kg less than the SS V-Series Redline and almost 200kg less than the HSV, at a still-porky 1700kg, the six-speed manual Mustang was slower off the line, its 275/40-series Pirelli P Zero rubber struggling to maintain purchase on Victoriaâ€™s less-than-grippy Heathcote drag strip.
The result was a disappointing 5.62-second 0-100km/h time â€“ placing it ninth behind all the other rear-drive and all-wheel drive cars on test here except the MX-5, with the 400m (quarter-mile) mark coming up in a more respectable 13.73 sec at 174km/h.
Just like at Tasmaniaâ€™s tight, demanding Baskerville Raceway, we encountered stability control-disabling issues, even after pressing the traction control button for 11 seconds in Racetrack mode â€“ one of five traction modes including Normal, Sport+, Snow/Wet and Off â€“ as per the manual.
Nevertheless, the Ford MustangÂ redeemed itself at Baskerville, where it surprised all by posting the fifth-fastest lap time of 1:01.68, slower only than the Porsche 911, Mercedes-AMG C 63 S, BMW M2 and, by just 0.27sec, the HSV ClubSport R8 LSA.
In fact, in the hands of V8 Supercar driver Luke Youlden, it was on track where the Mustang shone brightest, its neutral chassis and progressive handling at the limit allowing it to be driven on the throttle with confidence.
It lacked the ultimate steering feel of the faster 911, M2, AMG and SS V Redline, said Youlden, but turned in and brakes better than the heavier HSV, cancelling out the big Aussie sedanâ€™s power advantage.
The Ford Mustang 2016Â well balanced engine and chassis combination was also lauded away from the track, where all testers described its dynamics as better than expected after a week on Tasmaniaâ€™s most challenging roads.
Most agreed the three-mode electric steering was best left in the Normal setting, but some said its tendency to buck and wallow over harsh mid-corner bumps at high speed made it less than confidence-inspiring at the limit than, say, the smaller and lighter M2.
That said, firmer springs like the ones hotter versions of the new Mustang will bring would likely detract from the coupeâ€™s widely praised ride quality.
Indeed, the supple ride, relatively quiet low-profile 19-inch tyres and well insulated cabin makes the Mustang interior a pleasant place to rack up miles, although some testers pointed out a degree of driveline vibration and persistent diff thud during gearshifts.
All judges loved the Mustangâ€™s aggressive exterior design and although I reckon the interior also hits the spot with just the right mix of modern technology and retro-classic styling, some testers described the dashboard as dated and littered with hard plastics, and the seating position too deep in the wide, low-slung coupe.
But there was unanimous acclaim for the well bolstered front leather sports seats, the close-ratio short-throw six-speed manual gearbox and the responsive, free-spinning atmo V8, which is as happy to deliver usable torque from just 2500rpm as it is lighting up the instruments at 6500rpm on its way to the 7000rpm cut-out.
However, some said the Ford MustangÂ chassis could use more top-end power and all agreed the twin rear bucket seats, which offer decent leg room but zero head room for adults, are some of the most claustrophobic theyâ€™ve sat in.
That said, although itâ€™s shallow and limited by a tiny opening aperture, the Fastbackâ€™s boot is long, wide and augmented by a 50:50-split folding rear seat.
But the Ford MustangÂ isnâ€™t about cargo capacity. Like generations of American pony cars before it, itâ€™s a proper muscle car with a brawny V8 driving the rear wheels at an affordable price â€“ this time backed by a sophisticated chassis and Fordâ€™s latest technologies.
2016 Ford Mustang GT Fastback pricing and specifications:
Price: $57,490 (plus ORCs)
Engine: 5.0-litre eight-cylinder petrol
Transmission: Six-speed manual
Fuel: 13.1L/100km (ADR Combined)
CO2: 305g/km (ADR Combined)
Safety rating: N/A