Price of new four-second Pony will make your eyes water

By Christopher Sawyer
The Virtual Driver

(July 29, 2017) Big news of the week? It’s that the 2018 Ford Mustang GT will do 0-60 mph in less than four seconds in Drag Strip mode, when powered by the revised 5.0-liter V8 mated to a $1,595 optional 10-speed automatic transmission and fitted with the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires that come with the available $3,995 Performance Pack.

That brings your sub-4.0 second Mustang up to $41,585, though this jumps to $45,280 when you add the MagneRide dampers that improve handling without killing the ride. Unfortunately, Ford makes base GT buyers dump the 300A Equipment Group for the $2,000 more expensive and luxurious 301A package. Silly.

The V8 is fitted with both high-pressure direct and low-pressure port fuel injection, and has seen a number of internal modifications that improve both output and fuel efficiency.

As a Ford engineer told me at the launch of the new 5.0, “We went into the boss’s office certain we could get 380 hp, and — as he gave us approval to move forward — he told us to hit 400 or forget it.”

Though they didn’t know at the time how they would hit the target, the 5.0 did launch with 400 horsepower. For 2018, that number has risen to 460 hp and 420 lb.-ft. of torque; a significant improvement over 2017’s 435 hp and 400 lb.-ft., and far above the engineers’ initial expectations.

The EcoBoost four-cylinder motor produces the same 310 horsepower as before, but torque output has increased from 320 to 350 lb.-ft. Order the 10-speed automatic and Performance Pack, engage the Drag Strip mode, and the 2.3-liter engine will propel the 2018 Mustang from 0-60 mph in less than five seconds. Unlike the V8-powered GT, the EcoBoost Mustang is slightly cheaper than before, starting at $25,585 instead of an even $26,000. (The GT’s price has risen $2,000.) Add in the optional transmission and Performance Pack, and this acceleration is yours for $29,475.

That’s an eye watering $12,110 less than a similarly equipped GT, in part because the Performance Pack costs just $2,495. Which means you can add the MagneRide dampers and a raft of other options before entering the GT’s area code.

You can get this performance in a convertible as well, but losing the roof adds a $5,500 premium. Which means an EcoBoost convertible starts at $31,085. Just don’t expect to buy a GT convertible for less than $44,595 as the GT is only available with the Premium Package. A morning spent playing on the 2018 Mustang configurator showed that it is surprisingly easy to get the GT into the $50,000 price range.

This shows not only how far the Mustang has traveled from its affordable performance roots, but begs the question of when Ford — or another automaker — will build an affordable, sexy, youth vehicle for a new generation. But that’s a topic for another time.

The Virtual Driver