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Test Drive: 2013 Ford Mustang GT

 

Ever since Ford revolutionized the Mustang in 2005 with retro styling and new engines, the Mustang has kept getting better. In 2010, they updated the retro look, and then in 2011 they came out with the all-new 5.0-liter, 412-horsepower engine.

The Mustang evolves a little more for 2013 with some slight changes and improvements. The exterior gets a subtle refreshing that gives a more aggressive look. The front grille and splitter are more prominent than before, and the hood has gotten a pair of functional hood vents. The rocker panels are now painted to match the body color, which now comes in an attention-getting lime green color called “Gotta have it Green,” which looks like it could glow in the dark.

The biggest changes to the exterior have to do with lights. I know this doesn’t sound like much, but once you see the new, chiseled LED taillights with smoked lenses, you’ll instantly fall in love; and don’t worry, they still retain the popular sequential-turn-signal function.

HID headlamps are now standard on all models and have little light bars next to them, which makes for a nice, subtle accent. Ford even offers a floodlight underneath the mirrors that feature the Mustang logo; your friends will be amazed.

Sadly, the interior of the Mustang doesn’t see many changes for 2013 and continues to be the weak point for the Mustang with its cheap materials. This was even worse on our base GT, which lacked the aluminum trim of the premium models.

There are, however, two new options available for the interior. One is the option of cloth- or leather-trimmed Recaro sports seats that were found on the BOSS 302 last year, an option worth considering since we thought they were amazing on the BOSS.

The other new option is a 4.2-inch LCD display in-between the speedometer and tachometer that has a new feature called “Track Apps.” Track Apps can measure different performance characteristics like g-loading, acceleration (0-60, 0-100, eighth mile and quarter mile) and braking (60-0 mph and 100-0 mph). There is even a simulated “Christmas tree” (the green, yellow and red lights at a drag strip). Be warned, however, it says it’s for “track use only” — yeah right.

Speaking of performance characteristics, the powertrain of the Mustang comes to 2013 essentially unchanged. The engine has gotten an eight-horsepower bump to 420, thanks to BOSS 302 piston coatings and the removal of little oil injectors that cooled down the pistons, which Ford said were unnecessary.

Our 0-60 mph time was a tenth better than the 2011 Mustang GT at 4.6 seconds, which you could attribute to the eight extra ponies, but I’d like to think I’ve improved my driving since then. We didn’t have a chance to do a quarter-mile run, but I would expect it to be the same as the 2011 and 2012 models, which were 13.0 seconds at 110 mph.

The electronic power steering system in the Mustang now has three modes; comfort, standard and sport. We drove it mainly in sport mode, and it provided amazing feedback and response and seemed to be perfectly weighted — it just begs you to give more.

A new performance option for 2013 is the Track Package, which is only available on manual transmission-equipped cars, and comes with a 3.73 rear axle ratio, engine cooler, upgraded radiator, Brembo brake package with special 19-inch wheels and performance tires, and the same Torsen limited slip differential that’s on the BOSS 302. Like the Recaro seats, this is a must have option for any auto enthusiast.

The base price of the 2013 Mustang GT is $31,095, which at $74 a horsepower makes it the cheapest car per horsepower on the market. Add in the must-have options that I spoke about like the Recaro seats ($1,595) and Track Package ($2,495), and the total comes to $35,185.

The Mustang just keeps getting better year after year. 

There are still some improvements and refinements that can be made, but it is way ahead of its competition, and I personally can’t wait for the next-generation Mustang that’s due out in 2014, its 60th anniversary.

The test car was provide by Belk Ford in Oxford.