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I got this user title because I'm old and special
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Where to start?

The Story
It was a blistering hot day in Inglewood California. The gauge stated 100 degrees, but with all the black grounds of the Inglewood Speedway, it felt like 120. The event was the Ford Racing Experience. And what an experience it was. Upon entry, you got to look over the new 500, Mustang, and even the GT. The GT is a incredible car, but what can I add that hasn't been said by all the mags. It is one mean mam-a-jama.

Obviously, they were tailoring the event towards the NASCAR crowd since almost everything dealt with it. Ricky Kraven was there signing hats. You can get your picture with a NASCAR truck. But, I was truly excited and full of anticipation to drive the beautiful 2005 Mustang GT.

Up to the track, I go. It is a small oval sliced in half. One side for the 500 and Freestyle test-drive, one side for the Stangs. Irwindale is banked all the way around. So, the beginning of the course is a quick getaway on the outer banked portion which becomes a downward turn into the infield. More on that later. I wait in the manual transmission line for 30 minutes, childlike with happiness. I love driving cars.

The Review
Now, it is my turn. The outside of my black GT is incredible. I love the retro styling since I have always been a fan of muscle cars and 60's Stangs. They did a nice job on capturing the nostalgia of the original car. The wheels seemed a little unsporty for a beast of 300 HP. And I expected it to be lower, but what do I know. I am not a Ford Engineer.

In the car, I check out the interior. The Stang makes Pontiac's old interior look like BMW. It was a disgrace to an automobile. They have like mock bucket seats to pay homage to the original pony interior. It looks very similar except the backrest goes up to the shoulders and has a headrest. It looked like it, and it felt like the old seats. The Leather felt like Vinyl. The seats were unsupportive, and I can't remember seeing a seat with less bolstering. For the legs, there is zero. Is this a sports car?

The gauge cluster once again tries to transport you back to the age of muscle car Mustangs. It is almost a direct replica. Very bland and boring. I guess old Mustang owners will feel right at home. Since my brother had a 65, I felt like I was sitting in his car. Did I forget to tell you the steering wheel was a mock replica of a 65? I didn't. But, I guess you already surmised that. The center console was at the middle of my rib cage. To shift, I had to put my arm at a 90 degree to my shoulder. The radio and console was all black. Didn't even go with the rest of the theme of old and fake chrome and brushed aluminum. And don't' be fooled by, this car is a 2 seater because not even leprechaun can fit in the back with the leg room it attempts to add. Why even have back seats? I know Mustangs have no back seating, but this is way less than any Mustang I have been in.

Now, I decide to take her for a spin. The engine revs freely. 300 HP with 340 lbft of torque. Can't wait to get this thing out. The clutch engages really high and is quite light. Too light if you ask me. I like a little bite with my clutch. I enjoy a good workout. The 5 speed (yes 5 speed :roll: ) is very long going into 1st,3rd , and 5th. If this is a short shifter, my Passat is shorter. I rev the engine and drop it about 3000. I was surprised to get minimal burnout. Just a chirp. I take the banked turn and can only describe it in "NASCAR language". It was loose. I felt my backend was going to slide out on me. It was horrible. I set up for the quick left into the infield. I lock the brakes up. They don't really grab. I was expecting something more. As I take the turn, I try to get the end out with a little snap and throttle. But what I get is serious under steer. I mean I was plowing hard. Wheel is locked to the left.

The second I feel the wheels grip, I drop the clutch and get sideways to finish the turn. This is what I expected from a RWD. I go through the next section and make a quick right. Attempt to drift, but it begins to under steer again. Once the grip comes in, I get a little sideways. Through the slalom (I missed the entry since I swung wide), and up to the exit. All of 30 seconds. What a craptacular drive!

The car is fast, but not extremely quick. I don't know how heavy it is, but this may play a part. The car rolls like a bowling ball on a hill. The suspension was lofty and floated. I have driven dozens of cars with better handling. And I was so very disappointed as I parted with her.

Conclusion
It is a beautiful car on the outside. Don't let her looks fool you. She isn't a sports car to me. She can go fast in a straight line, and that is about it. You won't do it in comfort either. Yeah you might be cool having such a cool looking car, but I can think of a dozen cars I would rather have for $30k. And $30k is what they are selling this thing at. As I walked away, I tried to explain why it felt so bad. Heat, course, tires, driver. I think it might be some factors. But in the end, it is a over hyped car. There is so many better cars out there.

The Pontiac GTO is a way better choice. Faster, better handling, and far superior interior. With the 2005's getting the LS2 (400 HP) for a little over $30K, this is a no brainier. Sure it doesn't have the ultra cool retro look, but the looks is all the Mustang has going for it. In reality, it will get spanked on the straight away and especially the twisties by the EVO and STI. As I got into my Tornado Red R32 for the drive home, I couldn't help but smile knowing VW bested Ford this round.

By the way, the 500 is a total flop by my standard. The Freestyle wasn't that bad. Same chassis as the 500, but better.
 

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A Mustang with a light clutch! :eek: That's a dramatic departure from Mustangs of yore.
I actually like the super-light and creamy clutch action in my Passat... :D
Thanks for the review, I'll keep it mind when I attend this event at Kentucky Speedway next month.
 

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wow sounds like it must suck

even the previous body style mustang, the Mach1 could spank the new GTO. the mustang has always been a seat of the pants car and not a fluffy luxury car (as it sound slike from all the trim you are describing) an this sounds like an extreme departure
 

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I got this user title because I'm old and special
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8,552 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
raneek said:
A Mustang with a light clutch! :eek: That's a dramatic departure from Mustangs of yore.
I actually like the super-light and creamy clutch action in my Passat... :D
Thanks for the review, I'll keep it mind when I attend this event at Kentucky Speedway next month.
I might be biased comparing it to the R32. Don't get me wrong. It is heavier than the Passat, but not what I expected. The good thing is the how high it engages. Not as high as the R32, but close. The shifting wasn't notchy at all. I can see you missing a gear if this is what it feels like normally. Maybe the clutch was beat up, and this accounted for it. Regarding the handling, I hope it was just the heat and tire wear that was causing the poor handling. But still no excuse for the rolling and dive the car had. And it had plenty. I just expected more with the success of the Ford GT.

The as tested $30K Mustang GT I drove was not worth it. I would rather have a SRT-4. Than this car. I am curious to hear other feedback of members who attend this event. I don't think with the new LS2 in the GTO that the GT can come close. With 5.3 second 0-60, the current GTO is fast with the LS1. The Mustang GT felt more like 5.7 0-60 speed.

Below are pictures of interior for those who haven't seen it.

Steering wheel and shift knob were different in my test car.


I believe the 500 had more bolstering than the Mustang. This picture has far more bulstering than the test car.

I will try to post actual pictures after I develop film.
 
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