Automotive Review - 2008 Ford Mustang

 by Brian Lebow

The Good: Retro interior and exterior styling champion this American classic. Great available powertrain options for enthusiasts.

The Bad: Low quality plastic interior components, un-accommodating seats for some drivers and especially rear passengers.

Overall: There's a reason that nearly one of every two sports cars sold in the US is a Mustang, the tradition of affordable American made muscle continues.

For nearly 50 years Ford has been consistently bringing their legendary Mustang to market. Since its inception the Mustang has been a champion, and now more than ever, even while SUVs continue to roam the landscape, the Mustang captures hearts and minds, some nostalgic customers, but many younger buyers that love the idea that the Mustang represents, American muscle, of long ago back, with a vengeance.

2008 Mustang Bullit

2008 Mustang Bullit

The divide between buyers going green and buyers sticking to the SUVs may be shrinking, especially given Fords restyled Mustang. This stellar thoroughbred races to market in several incantations including a coupe, convertible and the GT500 version of each. The Mustang survived the oil crisis and the popularity boom of SUV yet lived to see another day, and since it's restyling in 2005, it's back in market, capture two buying segments, new younger buyers, and older reminiscent buyers. We like the Ford Mustang, it captures the American spirit and beckons back to simpler days, days a peanut farmer resided in the White House. The redesigned Mustang is certainly reminiscent of the original, and the curbside reaction is often excitable as pedestrians give that approving nod, car buffs glaze over and everyone knows exactly what it is you're driving from the moment they see it, it's a Mustang, American made muscle.

The 2008 Mustang is available in coupe and convertible body styles, V-6 Deluxe, V-6 Premium, GT Deluxe and GT Premium, all built in Michigan. While the Shelby GT and GT500KR are built in Nevada. The standard engine is the 4.0 liter SOHC V-6 producing 210 horsepower and 240-lb feet of torque. While GT brings a 4.6-liter V8 outputting 300 horsepower. The Shelby GT engine (the 4.6-liter V8) is modified with Ford racing performance parts and outputs 319-horsepower; and ultimately the Shelby GT500 which features the 5.4-liter supercharged V-8 - outputting a bad*@* 540-horsepower, AND with the Ford Racing Power upgrade pack, a short throw shifter, and unique suspension tuning. Engines are paired with the standard 5 speed manual, the six speed manual, or 5 speed automatic transmissions, and all Mustangs are rear-wheel drive. Though it's true the Mustang lacks a bit of the refinement you'll find in others in the segment, like Mazda's RX-8; Mustangs power, price, descent handling and legacy are more than worth the price of admission. Here's an amazing fact, nearly one out of every two sports cars sold in America is a Mustang. Other American manufacturers are getting back into the segment but we have no doubt that the Ford Mustang will continue to capture a huge chunk of the segment.

Here is the list of current members of the 500 (and up) Club as of July 07:

Bugatti Veyron 16.4 1000-hp W16
Saleen S7 750-hp V8
Lamborghini Murcielago LP640 640-hp V12
Ferrari 599 GTB 620-hp V12
Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren* 617-hp V8
Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG 604-hp V12
Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG 604-hp V12
Maybach 57/62 S 604-hp V12
Dodge Viper SRT10 600-hp V10
Bentley Continental Flying Spur 552-hp W12
Bentley Continental GT 552-hp W12
Bentley Continental GTC 552-hp W12
Maybach 57/62 543-hp V12
Ferrari 612 Scaglietti 540-hp V12
Ford Shelby GT500 540-hp V8
Lamborghini Gallardo* 520-hp V10
Aston Martin V12 Vanquish S* 520-hp V12
Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG 518-hp V8
Mercedes-Benz CL63 AMG 518-hp V8
Mercedes-Benz SL600 510-hp V12
Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG 510-hp V8
Mercedes-Benz S600 510-hp V12
Mercedes-Benz CL600 510-hp V12
Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG 507-hp V8
Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Wagon 507-hp V8
Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG 507-hp V8
Chevrolet Corvette Z06 505-hp V8
Mercedes-Benz R63 AMG 503-hp V8
Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG 503-hp V8
Porsche Cayenne Turbo 500-hp V8
BMW M6 500-hp V10
BMW M5 500-hp V10
BMW 7-Series Alpina B7 500-hp V8
Bentley Arnage T 500-hp V8

* information from 2006 model year

This is an exclusive and expensive club to join. For those with the ambition to be in this league, the entry level vehicle (by price, not power) is the Shelby GT500.

Everything old is new again! Thanks to the restyling in 2005 the Mustang has appeal that bridges the generation gap. Check out the big grille, tri-bar taillights, round dual head lights, chrome bezel and fog lamps, exterior lines/sculpting and on the coupe the triangular quarter windows and fastback roof - all elements that beckon back to the days of the 1965 - 69 Ford Mustang. For a lot of people the Mustang is not just a car, it's part of their life, a major memory of their youth. It's this legacy that gives Ford at least half of the segment, the other strong portion is young buyers that are simply impressed with the driving prowess that IS the Ford Mustang.

The Way you feel Inside: This updated Mustang has some nice modern touches that gel with the retro look of the interior nicely. The gauge cluster is two circular gauges much like you'd find in the original Mustangs. Fit and finish are generally good. The extensive use of low quality hard plastic is disappointing. The convertible top is well-insulated. Step to the Interior Upgrade Package and find less plastic, with satin aluminum accents and color changeable lighting for the instruments and accent lighting for the interior, according to Ford you can create more than 125 color combinations.

On the Road: Driving connects one with the road in the Mustang. Find respectable acceleration in the V-6. The Mustang GT of course provides a true muscle car experience, with all that torque at your beckon call, it's easy to start quick and finish strong. Great tones from the exhaust announce your arrival.

Safety: The 2008 Ford Mustang earned a five star (out of five=Best Possible) rating for front-impact protection and four stars for side impact protection, from the NHTSA. IIHS (Insurance Institute of Highway Safety) gave the Mustang an 'Acceptable' rating (the second highest possible) in frontal offset tests and a 'Good' (the best possible) for side-impact test.

Advanced passenger safety features include: seat mounted thorax side air bags; dual stage driver and front passenger air bags; seat weight sensing system for the passenger as well as crash severity sensing (combined with the weight sensing system this is truly advanced technology).

Mustang Anti-Theft: The optional active anti-theft package offers a sensing module to guard against tow-away thefts; an interior motion sensor to detect smash-and-grab break ins, another good idea - the separate alarm sounder - in addition to the horn - just in case a thief tries to 'get smart' and disable the horn; also the high-capacity battery allows the alarm to sound longer!

Major Options: V-6 Deluxe: adds Aux audio input; One-touch up-down power windows; Power mirrors and door locks; keyless entry; speed control; and more.

V-6 Premium adds: 16-inch painted bright machined aluminum wheels with chrome spinner; shaker 500 audio system with 6-disc CD changer and MP3 capability; Six-way power adjustable driver seat.

GT Deluxe adds: 4.6-liter 3-valve, V-8 engine; ABS with traction control; rear spoiler; stainless steel dual exhaust; Performance tires with 17-inch painted cast aluminum wheels; complex reflector halogen headlamps with integral turn signals; front fog lamps in grille; and AM/FM audio system with single CD.

GT Premium adds: Shaker 500 audio system with six-disc CD player; and Aberdeen leather- trimmed, embossed sport bucket seats.

New for 2008 is the limited-edition Warriors in Pink Mustang - produced for the 25th Anniversary of and in support for 'Susan G. Komen for the Cure'. The vehicle features pink exterior and interior design accents and sales from the Warriors Pink edition will help support Susan G. Kohmen for the Cure. Design elements of the model, include: Pink ribbon and Pony fender badge; Pink Mustang rocker tape stripe; Charcoal leather seats and charcoal floor mats with pink contrast stitching; and unique Pony grille with chrome bezel and fog lamps.

Ever expanding the reach and appeal of the Mustang, with The Warriors in Pink Mustang, there's one for everyone in the house. For your wife, a Warriors in Pink Mustang, and for dad, the powerhouse - GT500.

By the numbers

The Ford MUSTANG (V-6) with automatic transmission is rated at 16 mpg city/24 highway on regular fuel.

The 2008 Ford MUSTANG - MSRP Price

Coupe Deluxe $19,995
Coupe Premium $21,225
Pony Pkg $21,975
Warriors in Pink $22,770
Glass Roof $23,220
Convertible Deluxe $24,820
Convertible Premium $26,050 **

GT (4.6-liter V-8 300-HP)
Coupe Deluxe $26,585
Coupe Premium $27,765
CA Special $29,660
Glass Roof $29,760
Bullitt $31,065
Convertible Deluxe $31,400
Convertible Premium $32,590
CA Special Convertible $34,485

Shelby GT $38,220
GT500 Coupe $42,675
GT500 Convertible $47,500
GT500KR $79,995

** Test model.

Ford provided LeBow Media, LLC a vehicle for our review.

For Photos and Video of the Ford Mustang, visit us online This review is the original work of Brian LeBow from

Brian LeBow, of LeBow Media, LLC is the original author of this new car review. Our automotive review site is online at

Article Source: March 25, 2009

Back to the Muscle Car Article Index Pg. 4 -->