2017 Ford Mustang GT Convertible

2017 Ford Mustang GT Convertible

On the cusp of a refresh in 2018, Ford’s Pony car is still a charismatic beast.

Words by: Adam Allen

 

 

This car still attracts attention, doesn’t it?

The current 6th generation Mustang you see here has been on sale now for three years, but the smiles, thumbs up and admiring gazes received from onlookers hasn’t abated one iota. There are few cars out there that generate that kind of response, and most of them cost a heckuva lot more than the price tag of Ford’s venerable pony car, even if the $61,398 commanded by our tester is getting into pricey territory. The Oxford White/Over the Top racing stripes coupled with the black wheels that come with the GT Performance Package made for aesthetics that effortlessly turned heads. Even folks who lack a remote interest in cars take notice of the Mustang.

Performance package, huh? Explain.

The standard issue GT is plenty entertaining- the last time we drove one a few years ago, it proved itself to be more than capable of slapping a grin on the faces of those in the driver’s seat as well as making short work of sinewy tarmac. For $3,700, Ford upgrades the Mustang’s already impressive chassis with some tasty hardware- staggered 19” performance tires, a 3.73 final drive ratio and huge Brembo stoppers round out the highlights of the goodies you get when you check off that box on the options sheet. We’d say it’s money well spent, and it should be a must-have for those that have plans of heading to the track or participating in autocross events. Grip is elevated significantly thanks to the sticky rubber and bracing for the chassis as well as the shock towers up front, and the Brembos refuse to fade and are controlled by a pedal with commendable feel. The revised gearing in the rear keep the engine spinning higher and help provide an excuse to row the excellent 6-speed manual gearbox like we had in our car.

You picked a great time of year to review a convertible with a heap of horsepower under the hood.

Gearheads everywhere and from all walks of life can appreciate that feeling of joy that’s hard to articulate when everything comes together- driving a high-performance drop-top in the peak of summer. The scenario seems almost cliché if it weren’t so incredibly beautiful; the sun fading over the horizon while the air is redolent with the smells of fresh cut grass layered over the sounds of crickets. In that context, while you find yourself rowing the gearbox of a powerful car while pouring down your favourite two-lane road devoid of traffic is one of the quintessential driving experiences you can have behind the wheel. We spent the week chasing experiences like that in the Mustang and we were never disappointed. You can dial up the urgency in which the car responds to your inputs while cruising the countryside, from the docility of Normal mode all the way up to the full red mist setting you get in Track mode. Compared to its fixed roof stablemate, the Mustang is a softer conveyance but no less capable- its limits are decidedly high for a convertible. And yes, it comes available with the Line Lock feature so you can annihilate the rear tires to your heart’s content and have a cloud of tortured rubber envelop you and the cabin entirely, if that’s your thing. What we love most about the Mustang, and especially in GT guise, is how organic it feels when you pick up the tempo. It has all the modern driver assistance aids and technology you’d expect of a premium modern pony car, but it feels like an anachronism in the best possible way.

It’s a comfortable place to enjoy the virtues of open air motoring, isn’t it?

The seats are heated and cooled and offer superlative comfort- they are the automotive equivalent of easy chairs. The air conditioning is strong enough to blast arctic air in your face for those times the sun threatens to fry you whole like when you find yourself stuck in traffic on a blazing hot day. The interior features flourishes like the engine turned trim on the dash and aviation style switches for the hazards, traction control and drive modes don’t make as big as splash as they did when they were new, but everything is tasteful and well assembled. SYNC 3 still ranks as one of the better infotainment systems going, and our tester had the cochlea rattling Shaker stereo system, loud enough so the motorists two lanes over on the highway can enjoy the tunes you’re listing to. One of the best parts of the Mustang convertible experience that doesn’t include the sublime engine and chassis is the breeze in which the top lowers and raises. It preforms its choregraphed movement in less than 10 seconds and without any whirring or other motorized noise, and can be done while you wait fort the traffic light you’re stuck at to turn green.

What might go wrong?

The ‘Stang is thirsty. Blame the hotter final drive ratio and the Coyote V8’s appetite for revs (and a lack of self restraint by the driver.) What, you thought a big cube V8 was gonna be geared towards fuel economy? That would be hugely missing the point of the GT, although if you’re really careful you will be able to achieve 11.2L/100km or better on a more relaxed voyage, as we did. The only other thing we wished for was greater volume levels from the music coming out of the dual exhaust pipes. Even in Track mode, where the noise is supposedly at it’s loudest, this thing is just too quiet. We’re guessing Ford chose not to make the experience overpoweringly loud so that people didn’t get tired of the rumbling on long trips with the top down, but we found ourselves pining for a louder version of Dearborn’s trademark soundtrack. This should be remedied for the 2018 model year when Ford will offer a dual mode exhaust system- whisper quiet while leaving for work early in the morning and thundering when you want it to be.

Should I buy a Ford Mustang GT Convertible?

If you love the combination of a convertible that features a big bore V8 lashed to a manual gearbox that feeds its prodigious power to the rear axle, your choices in the segment are few- the only other alternative is the Camaro SS and there are some folks whose fierce loyalty to either brand would forbid them from even considering the competition. For now, both the Chevy and Ford remain pleasingly analogue in a world that’s slowly making its way towards 100% digital; we’d give the edge to the Mustang as the better choice. If you happen to take out a Mustang GT Convertible on one of those perfect summer evenings we swooned about earlier, we think it’s all but a certainty that you’ll be signing on the bottom line.

 

2017 Ford Mustang GT Convertible

  • Price as tested: $61,398
  • Body Type: 2-door, 2+2 passenger convertible
  • Powertrain Layout: Front engine/rear-wheel drive
  • Engine:  5.0-litre V8, DOHC, 32 valves
  • Horsepower: 435 @ 6,500 rpm
  • Torque (lb-ft.): 400 @ 4,250 rpm
  • Transmission: 6-speed manual
  • Curb weight, manual transmission: 1,791 kg (3,948 lb)
  • Observed Fuel Consumption: 15.5L/100 km (15 mpg)