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2010 Ford Mustang GT Convertible Review & Test Drive

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Muscle goes modern for 2010 as the Ford Mustang -America’s favorite muscle car for 45 years straight-hits the streets with an all new exterior design, new world-class interior featuring well-crafted materials and update technology, and a V8 engine with even more power and an even throatier signature Mustang exhaust sound.

Combine these elements with the new Mustang’s improved handling characteristics, more standard safety and technology features, it’s already-strong safety and quality performance and reputation, and it’s easy to see how the muscle car known around the world delivers on the promise of fast, fun and affordable performance for a whole new era.

In true Mustang tradition, there is a steed for every need.  At launch, customers can choose from a V6 or V8 with their choice of coupe, convertible or innovative glass roof, plus several options and features delivering the opportunity for customers to personalize their cleaner, meaner-looking Mustangs, the most customized car on the planet. I was fortunate to be testing the new convertible version of the GT.

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“The best Mustangs have always been the ones that connect young America with the spirit of the times-and the 2010 does exactly that,” said J. Mays, Ford VP of Design.  The new Mustang is close to the magnetic center of the original, fully loaded with swagger you’d expect, but with modern refinement and attention to detail like you’ve never seen in a muscle car.”

The new, bolder looks start with the more aggressive grille, punctuated with the first new Mustang emblem since the car’s introduction in 1964.  Both the V6 and V8 GT have brand new sculpted front-end designs unique to each model.  The headlamps, turn indicators, now integrated into one unit, are modern interpretations inspired by the 1970 Mustang.  On the V6, the fog lamps are located on the lower fascia, while on the GT, the fog lamps are again located in the upper grille-but are smaller than the outgoing model, similar to the original lamps of the 1967-68 models that inspired them.

The exterior sheet metal is all-new for 2010.  At the front, the new headlamps, lower fascias, fenders and grille are capped by a powerdome hood that adds to the muscular appearance while functionality allowing for enhanced air cooling of the engine.  A full perimeter chrome strip is fitted to the bottom of the lower air intake.  Mustang’s washer-fluid nozzles are tucked into the cowl, while the antenna has been moved to the rear, both of which create a cleaner appearance while also reducing wind noise at speed.

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Front and rear fenders feature taut, sculpted wheel flares, like a tight skin stretched over the wheels.  A classic spear character line on the doors leads to a modern indication of ‘hip’ rear fenders.  “It helps give the car an aggressive, forward direction, like it’s ready to jump,” said Doug Gaffka, Mustang chief designer.  The lower side extensions are also redesigned to give the Mustang GT a more aggressive, lower stance.

The new rear end design features aggressively angled rear corners, a sculpted decklid and prominent rear badge.  A notable new tail lamp design features three LED bulbs firing sequentially from the inside for turn indication.  The sequential bulbs were a distinct Mustang feature in the 1960’s and comeback to the 2010 model for the first time since then.  Locating the reverse lamps vertically creates a modern version of the Ford classic three-lens taillamp.  A full-perimeter rear spoiler mounted on the rear of the decklid keeps the rear pinned to the pavement at high speeds.  Down below are wider dual exhaust tips finished in polished stainless steel.

The new looks are a definite progression from all previous models that helps keep the Mustang GT relevant in today’s sporty coupe market segment.

Cleverly combining modern technology with Mustang heritage is a signature of the 2010 model, in terms of both design and engineering.  The new GT combines elements of last year’s Bullitt model noting engine and chassis improvements.  Ford engineers also applied some improvements gained from Mustang professional racing.  The wheel and tire combinations are 1in. bigger with standard 18in. wheels/tires, up to 19in. as an option.  Engineers also adjusted the springs, stabilizer bars and shocks to better balance the ride, steering and handling for all models.  This new GT feels more controlled for steering and handling, quickly reacting to your inputs, yet it retains a good ride balance.

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A Ford Racing cold air intake adds 15 more horsepower to the 4.6 liter, 3-valve, all-aluminum engine first introduced in the Bullitt.  A very rigid strut tower brace is also fitted making front end handling even more precise.  It also helps reduce ‘cowl shake’ when driving the convertible GT over poorly paved roads.  The engine runs on regular gas but if you put in premium it has adaptive calibration that gives even better mid-range torque.  The new ‘Easy Fuel’ innovative capless fuel system makes it quicker and easier to refill the tank.  It’s an upgrade to the most-robust, most-accessorized engine in the marketplace today, no one has the reliability, no one has the upgraded options.  The 4.6 liter V8 is a fantastic engine, proven on the race track, the drag strip and on the highway.

This potent V8 is mated to a proven, close-ratio, Tremec 3650 5-speed manual or an optional Tremec T-5 automatic transmission turning the rear wheels.

Power-assisted rack & pinion steering helps you cut through slow city traffic and when slicing through steep curves on the back roads.  It is nicely weighed, and gives very quick feedback to you inputs.

Slowing the Mustang GT convertible down from speed are 4-wheel disc brakes, 12.4in. vented discs up front clamped with dual-piston aluminum calipers, and 11.8in. vented discs in the rear clamped with single-piston floating iron calipers.

Keeping you on your chosen path is Ford’s AdvanceTrac Electronic Stability Control, now standard, and compliments Mustang’s all-speed traction control and ABS brakes, all working together to keep you on track.  It gives you more confidence in any driving condition while improving ride quality and maintaining its world-class steering and handling capability.  You can shut the stability control system and AdvanceTrac system off to let the rear slide out when dicing through mountain canyon roads.

The all-new 2010 GT convertible is the best Mustang model that I have ever tested on the road.  I felt more attached to the car by its ability to fulfill all of my inputs whether in acceleration, handling or braking.

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Like the exterior, the interior design is all new with world-class materials and workmanship.  The powerful new one-piece instrument panel design is crafted in seamless soft-touch TPO (thermoplastic Olefin) skin fully encompassing the genuine aluminum-finish dashboard panels.  The chrome-ringed, white-faced instrument cluster is easier to see than before and with the dual-vane air register vents which are precisely crafted and positioned, gives the interior a more up-scale look and feel.  I really liked the new, sporty, aluminum/matching leather wrapped steering wheel.  It feels perfect in your hands and contains buttons for the cruise control and audio functions.  Aluminum-faced foot pedals only add to the sporty interior look.

The instrument panel and console flow as one shape, another strong connection to Mustang heritage.  The sport bucket seats and arm rests have softer materials with high-quality stitching.  My test model came with optional heated/brick red natural grain leather trimmed seats and door trim, further giving the new Mustang GT an upscale look.  The stick shifter is perfectly placed for easy use and now features a billet aluminum ball on top of the leather boot which now sits in a chrome ringed rectangular shape.

The new center stack design adds the latest version of Ford SYNC, with new features like 911 Assist, and vehicle health report.  The electronic finish panel contains the easy-to-use audio and climate control buttons and knobs, and are fully integrated into the finish panel.

Owners can also customize their ambient and instrument lighting through the My Color system, which features 125 color options.

In addition to the improvements in technology and comfort, drivers will notice a quieter ride but the signature Mustang sound remains audible.  The upgraded instrument panel along with new sound deadeners added to select areas help improve interior quietness, even in the convertible GT model, especially at high speeds or on rough roads.  All the better to hear that famous Mustang roar.

The soft-top convertible opens and closes quickly with a push of a button mounted between the dual map lamps.  You have just two latches to detach or attach and it takes only 25sec.  The top comes with 3-layers of fabric to help keep out the rain and cold temperatures.  The rear glass comes with a defogger for better rearview visibility.

Standard equipment not mentioned above includes auto headlamps, variable, intermittent wipers, power windows/door locks with express up/down, A/C, 4-way power driver’s seat, Shaker 500 audio system with in-dash 6-CD player/AM-FM-Sirius Satellite Radio, cruise control, power remote side mirrors, self-dimming rearview mirror, and floor mats.

Standard safety features include front and side airbags, 3-point safety belts with front load limiters/pretensioners, LATCH child seat fasteners, tire pressure monitoring system, SOS post crash alert system, steel beams in each door and front/rear crush zones.

Options not mentioned above include Ford’s navigation system, rearview camera system, a Shaker 1000 audio system and a rear boot to cover the top when down.

The Mustang convertible top actually has some aftermarket upgrades available such as a 3D Carbon one piece cover.

With a completely redone ‘drop-dead gorgeous exterior that echoes the classic Mustang designs of the past, an interior featuring world-class materials, numerous technology upgrades, more power and an improved driving experience, the 2010 Mustang GT convertible is the perfect tanning machine and is poised to become the latest classic in the proud line of Ford’s iconic American muscle car.

COPYRIGHT:2009:HARVEY SCHWARTZ

SPECIFICATIONS

Price: MSRP $35,995 As-Tested $38,075

Type: Midsize Convertible
Where Built: United States
EPA Class: Subcompact Cars

Dimensions

Exterior
Length: 188.1 in.
Width: 73.9 in.
Height: 56.1 in.
Wheel Base: 107.1 in.
Curb Weight: 3533 lbs.
Interior
Front Head Room: 38.8 in.
Front Hip Room: 53.4 in.
Front Shoulder Room: 55.3 in.
Rear Head Room: 36.5 in.
Rear Shoulder Room: 45 in.
Rear Hip Room: 45.2 in.
Front Leg Room: 42.4 in.
Rear Leg Room: 29.8 in.
Luggage Capacity: 9.6 cu. ft.
Maximum Cargo Capacity: 10 cu. ft.
Maximum Seating: 4

Performance Data

Base Number of Cylinders: 8
Base Engine Size: 4.6 liters
Base Engine Type: V8
Horsepower: 315 hp
Max Horsepower: 6000 rpm
Torque: 325 ft-lbs.
Max Torque: 4250 rpm
Maximum Towing Capacity: 1000 lbs.
Drive Type: RWD
Turning Circle: 37.7 ft.

Fuel Data

Fuel Tank Capacity: 16 gal.
EPA Mileage Estimates: (City/Highway/Combined)
Manual: 16 mpg / 24 mpg / 19 mpg
Range in Miles:
Manual: 256 mi. / 384 mi. / 304 mi.

1969 Mustang

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