Currently the best selling high-performance two-door coupe in the Philippines, the Ford Mustang offers an iconic heritage along with gobs of power, character, and noise, assuming you are choosing the 5.0 V8 GT variant. Now though, we’re testing the convertible version. This is the first time that Ford Philippines has brought in a convertible version of the iconic Mustang. The coupe version, with its iconic fastback shape, has given it an identity that’s as easily recognizable as Audrey Hepburn strolling through Manhattan. The convertible, meanwhile, is just like the same woman, but in a more provocative and daring outfit while hopping along Las Vegas. You know it’s the same person, but it gives her a completely different, albeit a controversial one. So when Ford handed me the keys to the Mustang 5.0 V8 GT Convertible, I know I had to revise my expectations.
And it’s not necessarily in a good way, because all large convertibles suffer from the same problem: loss of rigidity. Just imagine a simple plank of wood with two bricks at each end. It would simply wobble all over the place, so to compensate for the lost rigidity, the floor has to be strengthened, which consequently adds weight. Not only is the Mustang convertible less rigid, but it’s also heavier. Added weight and lost rigidity are the enemies of a race car driver. Does it matter though? Absolutely not, because a convertible Mustang was not meant for the track anyway.
But first, let’s scrutinize how this horse has been dressed up. With its Kona Blue paint, black 19-inch alloy wheels, and black fabric roof, I personally think it looks better than the fastback when in this configuration. The black elements give it a nice contrast and an aggressive profile, whilst still possessing a lot of character from the subtle dark blue hue of this pony car. There are cars that become head turning due to the bright color it wears, but this car turns heads because it really does turn heads, even when the overall look of the car doesn’t cast a bright hue in the corporate parking lot. This is not a car for introverts.
Finished in an equally dark shade is its interior, which is predominantly black. Unlike before, the Mustang has gone through hospitality school and now offers a more sophisticated character. The amount of scratchy hard plastics have been reduced, in its place are plush soft-touch surfaces in more areas than before. It’s easy to find the right switches and buttons for the operations of the Mustang’s features, too.
Equally user-friendly is Ford’s SYNC3 infotainment system, which remains to be one of my favorite infotainment systems in the business. It’s snappy, responsive, and intuitive, thanks to lag-free responses and large buttons. As expected, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come as standard. This is all mated to a highly configurable 12.3-inch TFT LCD fully digital gauge cluster, which is very impressive to look at. Information is legible, regardless of what mode it is in.
And of course, it wouldn’t be a convertible review without talking about the roof, which goes from top-up to topless in about 20 seconds at speeds of up to 5 kph, something you’d rather do when stopped instead. Whereas a Rolls-Royce is proud of its starlight headliner that simulates a starry night, in the Mustang convertible, you get to marvel the real deal, granted when the skies are clear. Thankfully, Ford lent me the Mustang to me during such a perfect season where cloudy skies and torrential rains are a rarity.
With a 5.0-liter naturally-aspirated V8 under the hood, producing 460 hp @ 7,000 rpm and 570 Nm @ 4,000 rpm, you know you’re in for a treat. Big ‘Ol naturally aspirated engines have become a dying breed these days, no thanks to emission laws forcing companies to go towards turbocharging and electrification to spoil how our car’s engines are able to voice out their performance capabilities. This is all mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission co-developed with General Motors and is also used in the Ford Ranger Wildtrak, Ford Ranger Raptor, Ford Expedition, Chevrolet Corvette, Chevrolet Silverado, just to name a few.
And boy does that engine sing and pull. With multiple exhaust modes, namely, Quiet, Normal, Sport, and Track, I personally left it in its loudest setting most of the time. I say most because this thing will wake your neighbors up and literally shatter all village noise regulations to pieces, but you don’t buy a Mustang because you want a ride that’s as quiet as a Tesla. No, you buy a Mustang because you want an affordable muscle car with all the brashness and the attitude of a teenage boy who thinks he has the guitar skills of Slash.
Equally brash is its handling. Sure, this thing corners much less capable than a Honda Civic Type R, let alone a Mazda MX-5 or a BMW M4 coupe, but you’d be sliding around with a big smile on your face while your hair gets stylized by the wind rushing over your head. Once you step out of the Mustang convertible though, you’d end up looking worse than Audrey Hepburn’s bed head, but you wouldn’t even care, because the Ford Mustang convertible makes even the ugliest of people look good the moment they step out of the vehicle. The cowl shake and lost rigidity already erase anyone’s goal of using this as a track machine, but that’s not to say it handles badly through the roads it’s most likely going to encounter during its lifetime. As a matter of fact, the Mustang corners and handles extremely well for what it is, with precise steering, grippy Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires, and a nice calibration of the car’s MagneRide suspension. It’s a far cry from muscle cars of old, whose solid rear axles gave it the reputation of being good in a straight line but completely useless when the roads become twisty.
However, it is in the transmission where it is an 80% hit and a 20% miss. The new 10-speed automatic is very smooth and responsive through downshifts, and unless the exhaust is in its loudest setting, the sheer number of gears keeps the engine revs really low out on the highway, making the interior very quiet and refined. It also has the capability to skip gears instead of cycling through all ten of them. Unfortunately, the engine’s taut powerband and broad horsepower and torque curve oftentimes confuse the transmission when overtaking, initially downshifting to 6th, only to think it should downshift to 4th moments later. It’s simply too many gears that it limits what the 5.0-liter V8 is truly capable of. It does give great fuel economy though, averaging 6.5 km/l during the whole week this car was with me. This breaks the tradition that you need to own an oil refinery in order to be able to live with the Mustang.
Like all of these high-performance cars, the most likely place you’ll find them is through your gated community, or through BGC, Tagaytay, NLEX, or SLEX. The Mustang convertible has a completely different personality from the Mustang fastback. Eliminating the roof completely removes all intentions of it becoming a track car. Instead, it has turned into a boulevard bruiser, perfect for cruising along mountains and coastlines at breakneck speeds with the wind in your hair, the sunset in your view, and the eargasmic V8 engine roaring just behind you. Just like the iconic Big Mac, the Ford Mustang convertible is the epitome and icon of the American dream.
Pricing and Rating
Exterior Design: ★★★★★
Interior Design: ★★★★☆
Space and Practicality: ★★★★☆
Fuel Efficiency: ★★★☆☆
Value For Money: ★★★★☆
Overall: 4.3 out of 5