Car of the Year Car Reviews

Ford Mustang: 2019 Motor Trend Car of the Year Contender

Blast from the past

Blast from the past

WE LIKE The sound, styling, and acceleration

WE DON’T LIKE How it handles, price-value equation

Not many vehicles have the visceral feel of the Mustang GT.

Both the Bullitt and convertible versions we tested are powered by Ford’s famous 5.0, each tuned to deliver its own unique and vicious roar. Chris Theodore waxed nostalgic: “I swear the Bullitt’s exhaust note exactly matches the soundtrack from the movie.” In the convertible, you don’t need to put the top down to enjoy the V-8’s burble; it’s loud enough for everyone in the area to enjoy—or scorn.

You don’t need to drive the new Bullitt edition hard to enjoy it—rowing the stick shift at a normal pace is far more pleasurable than one would expect. And the convertible’s optional 10-speed automatic quickly snaps through the gears under full load.

The engine’s robust power output makes both models straight-line brutes, but things change when the road starts to twist. On the winding track, the Mustangs fell apart with poor body control and a rear end that has a mind of its own. As Angus MacKenzie puts it, “both [the Bullitt] and the convertible feel clumsy with heavy-handed nanny interventions when driven hard. Switch everything off, and both cars are very hard to balance, very easy to spin.” Mark Rechtin had the convertible collapse into limp-home mode in less than two laps of the circuit.

Although the Bullitt is engineered as a back-road blaster, “the ride on this car is just so awful,” Christian Seabaugh said. “It’s choppy and rough, even on perfectly smooth pavement.”

When taking their handling manners into account, along with some chintzy interior components and $50,000-plus price tags, our pair of Mustangs don’t excel in enough of our criteria.


2019 Ford Mustang GT (Convertible) Bullitt
Base Price/As tested $45,850/$56,725 $47,590/$51,385
Power (SAE net) 460 hp @ 7,000 rpm* 480 hp @ 7,000 rpm*
Torque (SAE net) 420 lb-ft @ 4,600 rpm* 420 lb-ft @ 4,600 rpm*
Accel, 0-60 mph 4.2 sec 4.6 sec
Quarter-mile 12.5 sec @ 114.5 mph 12.9 sec @ 112.5 mph
Braking, 60-0 mph 111 ft 105 ft
Lateral Acceleration 0.96 g (avg) 0.98 g (avg)
MT Figure Eight 24.3 sec @ 0.82 g (avg) 24.3 sec @ 0.81 g (avg)
EPA City/Hwy/Comb 15/24/18 mpg* 15/24/18 mpg*
Vehicle Layout Front-engine, RWD, 4-pass, 2-door convertible Front-engine, RWD, 4-pass, 2-door coupe
Engine/Transmission 5.0L DOHC 32-valve V-8/10-speed automatic 5.0L DOHC 32-valve V-8/6-speed manual
Curb Weight (F/R Dist) 4,038 lb (53/47%) 3,866 lb (54/46%)
Wheelbase 107.1 in 107.1 in
Length x Width x Height 188.5 x 75.4 x 54.9 in 188.5 x 75.4 x 54.3 in
Energy Cons, City/Hwy 225/140 kW-hrs/100 miles 225/140 kW-hrs/100 miles
CO2 Emissions, Comb 1.08 lb/mile 1.08 lb/mile
* Engine output tested on Premium fuel, EPA results tested on Regular