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2018 Ford Mustang: What We Learned Trying to Tame 460 Horses

Close-up of front passenger side Mustang GT for 2018

Close-up of front passenger side Mustang GT for 2018 With more power and a new automatic transmission, Ford Mustang got a major overhaul for 2018. | Eric Schaal/The Cheat Sheet

Some 53 years after the first Ford Mustang rolled off the line, you might think the concept had gone as far as it can go. However, the 2018 edition’s 10-speed automatic transmission, 12-inch digital cluster, and ability to crank 460 horsepower would force you to reconsider. Things may change in the future for Detroit automakers as they wean their lineups off gas, but for now it’s full speed ahead for muscle cars.

The mid-cycle refresh of Mustang hammers that point home. Just three years after the debut of the redesigned model, the 2018 Mustang GT can now sprint to 60 miles per hour in 4.0 seconds or less. (Both automatic and manual transmissions can hit that mark.) The power and speed boost come only with about $2,000 added to the price tag for the base V8 ($35,095), so this car will remain among the fastest at affordable prices.

Still, change does not guarantee improvement, so we accepted Ford’s invitation to find out more behind the wheel of the new models. Over two days in the hills of Malibu, we tried out the 5.0-liter V8 and EcoBoost Mustang ($25,585), which got several upgrades of its own. Here’s what we learned driving the 2018 Ford Mustang, including which models should return the best value for your money.

1. Listen to the V8 roar

Front view of 2018 Mustang in Orange Fury with Performance Pack

Front view of 2018 Mustang in Orange Fury with Performance Pack Ford Mustang GT | Ford

Standing near the top of the Santa Monica Mountains around 8 a.m., you can hear just about anything. When a V8 Mustang is within a few miles, you can almost feel the cliffs shake. The 2018 GT edition got a volume boost, courtesy of its Active Valve Performance Exhaust system, to go along with its power upgrade. From quiet mode to sport mode, the results are a pleasure to behold.

You don’t need to stand above a canyon to hear the sound, either; it hits you wherever you are. My first impulse was to run the windows down so I could hear the engine’s thunder as I snaked up and down the mountainside. You might lose a little of the comfort factor doing this on a hot day (i.e., without the air conditioner on), but I can’t see driving the 5.0 without taking in the engine’s roar every chance you get.

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