Even though the 2018 coupé and convertible Mustangs feature a new 10-speed automatic, drop the V6 from the line-up, have a new port fuel injection for the big 5.0 (in addition to direct injection) and a bump up in the compression ratio (from 11:1 to 12:1), and a revised front and rear, and a freshened-up cabin, and some new tech, Ford is calling this just a refresh. Blimey, they sure did put some effort into this!
The facelifted pony, engaged as ever in a constant battle of one-upmanship with the Camaro and the Challenger, gets quite a lot of changes compared to the outgoing car.
Starting with the most important facet when talking about muscle cars, the engine of the 2018 model will be available with just two motors — the aforementioned 5.0-litre V8 and the Ecoboost 2.3-litre four-pot. They’ll be mated to the 10-speed slush ’box, which will be shared with GM (the new Camaro gets the gearier transmission too — who said rivals can’t share?) and if you opt for the six-speed manual there’s good news; the row-your-own has been bolstered with a twin-disc clutch and a dual-mass flywheel so that it will be able to handle more power.
But Ford is keeping us all in suspense when it comes to performance figures — as it hasn’t revealed any just yet. But we’re expecting big numbers to go with all the other big changes for this year. They’ll definitely have more than the 310 and 435 horses the two currently make. For instance, they’ve been thoroughly revised inside and out — and underneath; they pack a MagneRide damping system borrowed from the track-ready Shelby GT350 as part of the Performance Package and they’ll benefit from upgraded shocks and a cross-axis joint in the rear suspension. As for the tweaked exterior (Ford says the sheet metal forward of the A-pillar has been reworked — it sure looks like it has) it brings with it a set of smaller headlights (with three short strips of LED daytime running lights), a bigger grille and a redesigned bumper. Online warriors have been commenting that the ’Stang must be unhappy — but we like the serious front end, behind which sits a 20mm lower bonnet with new-look air vents. The back features a revised bumper, redesigned LED taillights and a rather big wing. Wondering how can you tell the Ecoboost cars from the V8s? The former get a dual exhaust while the latter features quad-pipes, that’s how. As for the convertible, Ford says that the roof, which utilises the same mechanism as the 2017 model, can be lowered in 10 seconds. That has to be one of the fastest in the auto industry. Ten new wheel designs will be offered along with three new paints — Kona Blue, Orange Fury and Royal Crimson.
The cabin still has the nifty Sync 3 system but the highlight of the nip and tuck is a digital 12in LCD instrument cluster that’s fully configurable and when you change between drive modes, it changes with you. Some of the active driver assist tech include pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection, distance alert, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, and driver alert system.
The coupé and convertible should be in the region by the end of the year and we can’t wait to pit this with the new Chevy.