First Impressions: 2018 Ford Mustang GT

2018 Ford Mustang GT

This member of the stable brings distinctive personality.

By Cherise Threewitt, Contributor, Car-ED.com | October 2018

The Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) Fall Rally, which took place at Autobahn Country Club in Illinois in early October, featured some interesting and attention-getting vehicles from Ford. Among them were the Ford Mustang GT and Mustang Bullitt. Ford representatives on hand at the event assured us that the two cars feel very different, despite the fact that they share a powertrain. We thought we’d start with just one and see how the day progressed. Here are our first impressions of the 2018 Ford Mustang GT, based on a few lead-follow laps of the Autobahn Country Club track.

The Mustang GT ranks about mid-pack in the complicated Mustang hierarchy. It’s at the top of the “mainstream” Mustang trim levels and below the high-performance Shelby models. From there, you can further drill down to Fastback (the model provided at the MAMA event), Premium Fastback, and Premium Convertible models. In practical terms? That means the Mustang GT comes with a bunch of standard features, though we didn’t have much time to play around with them as we queued up for the track. The Recaro seats were very nice and supportive, for example, but the adjustments felt a little finicky. The cabin of the Mustang GT has a lot going on, it must be said, but it’s easy to focus on the important parts when it’s time to get down to business.

The Mustang GT comes standard with a 5.0-liter V8 engine rated for 460 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque. It’s quick, accelerates smoothly, and the six-speed manual transmission shifts easily. Furthermore, it sounds absolutely fantastic as it charges down the straightaways. Through the turns? Well, thanks to lead-follow format of this event, there were some limits, but it’s clear the Mustang GT has excellent handling, thanks to the optional Performance Package with the MagneRide dynamic damping system. It is composed and balanced, and slows down quite quickly when necessary. A minor quibble? This reviewer still has kind of a hard time with the idea of a stop-start button on a car with a manual transmission. More time with the Mustang GT would probably go a long way toward changing that personal preference.

The 2018 Ford Mustang GT Fastback starts at $35,095. The car tested at the MAMA Rally came out to $44,490, thanks to options such as the aforementioned Performance Package and a package of audio and infotainment upgrades. The 2018 Ford Mustang GT is available now.