Great Britain

CAR REVIEW: Ford Mustang Bullitt is charismatic and cool

This edition of the Mustang may be limited – but the intrigue and enjoyment that accompany it are unlimited.

In 1968, a now-legendary Ford blazed its way onto the silver screen – the Mustang GT Fastback.

The movie was the American action thriller ‘Bullitt’ and the Mustang featured in iconic scenes, including an extended chase through the streets of San Francisco.

A star of the motoring world was born and, to mark the 50th anniversary of the film, Ford introduced the Mustang Bullitt to revive that legend.

With an upgraded 5.0-litre V8 engine, the charismatic dark green paintwork and an ultra-modern, performance inspired interior, Ford was looking to create a car destined to become an icon of its own time.

While some of the themes in the film may have dated, the appeal of the Mustang has prevailed, as evidenced by the envious sideways glances the vehicle attracted during my week in its company.

Whether you judge a car on its looks, the way it sounds or the driving experience, the Mustang Bullitt has the wow factor on all fronts.

The Bullitt isn’t too different from a standard Ford Mustang GT - either visually or mechanically - but the tweaks are sufficient to get heads turning.

With its rumbling V8 and six-speed manual transmission, it’s the engine that evokes the most emotion - especially in the higher rev range.

The requirement to comply with WLTP emissions regulations prevents the Bullitt from developing quite as much power and torque in European trim as it does in North America, but customers still get 453bhp, sent to the rear wheels, and 390lb ft.

Happily, the engine has been allowed to breathe more freely thanks to a large new air filter, bigger throttle bodies and new exhaust.

With Mustangs, their straight-line ability has never been in doubt, but the cornering capabilities of this version were also much improved.

The difference is down to several tweaks, including retuned springs and anti-roll bars, a stiffened rear subframe, retuned stability control and reworked power steering.

Adaptive dampers, along with Ford’s GT Performance Package, further enhance the car's handling.

With the steering weighted up in Sport mode, it gives you a level of confidence to use the huge available torque.

The Bullitt is manual only - with a six-speed box that's slick enough to support some spirited driving and features a new auto blip on downshifts. The experience of changing gear is made all the more enjoyable by the white cue ball shifter, which feels good and looks fantastic.

The interior is also a pleasant place to be - perhaps not quite a match for the top German rivals - but plenty good enough.

The Recaro sports seats are comfortable and supportive, as well as looking the part.

Along with various nice flourishes in the cabin, there are some harder moulded plastics dotted around.

In terms of its exterior looks, the Bullitt has been debadged for an even more intriguing appearance. Its muscular and angular bonnet allude to the huge engine that lurks beneath, while its distinctive profile is instantly recognisable - even without the badging.

A nice finishing touch is the red six-piston Brembo brakes that peep out beneath the 19-inch, five-spoke wheel rims.

Touching briefly on practicality - although that's clearly not the car's USP - there’s a decent-sized boot and some reasonable rear seats that neatly accommodated my children, who became even more enthusiastic about the Mustang than the driver!

In conclusion, there's no doubt that the Bullitt takes Ford's standard V8 muscle car package to another level, but it's down to personal choice as to whether it justifies a mark up of around £5,000 on the standard model.

Ford Mustang Bullitt ENGINE: 5.0-litre V8petrol TOP SPEED: 155mph ACCELERATION: 0-62mph in 4.6 seconds EMISSIONS: 277g ECONOMY:22.80mpg TRANSMISSION: Six-speed manual, rear wheel drive KERB WEIGHT: 1743kg PRICE: £48, 210 on the road

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