So here it is. The review that the Ford Motor Company doesn’t want you to read. This is the review where I detail why the new 2013 Mustang GT base model is the best performance bargain on the road today. If you do a search on the web you’ll notice that every Mustang GT currently reviewed comes equipped with the full premium and electronics package, navigation, as well as leather interior. This is all well and good, but it can also raise the price upwards of $10,000 if you’re not careful. However if you’re into all that techie stuff, then by all means go buck-wild and option your ‘Stang however you see fit. Me, I’m somewhat of a minimalist which is why I was so excited to get my hands on the car you see here. This is a 2013 Mustang GT base model in ingot silver. It was ordered with two options and two options only. Option 1: the track pack, which gets you the 3.73 torsion differential, the larger radiator and oil cooler from the BOSS 302, performance brake pads for the Brembo brakes, and some 19-inch wheels that are wrapped in sticky 255-series Pirelli tires. Option 2: the stellar Recaro seats from the BOSS 302 and Shelby GT500.
Aside from those options the car is as stock as you can order it. That however doesn’t necessarily mean barren of creature comforts. For instance we’ve still got auto power windows and door locks, a decent stereo with iPod hookup, cruise control, A/C, adjustable-feel steering, dual power ports, steering wheel controls, cup holders and a nice storage bin. Oh… and let us not forget the 5.0-liter V8 that revs to 6,800 rpm and produces 420 hp / 390 lb-ft of torque. That’s a nice touch as well.
Items we don’t get are chrome accented door handles, stitched leather inserts, no track apps, navigation or shaker stereo and no heated seats. In short it’s a stripper, and for the performance enthusiast it’s the answer to the prayers we’ve been sending to Ford since the redesigned Mustang came out in 2005.
Speaking of design, if you look closely there are a couple of new things for the 2013 models. A new lower front fascia gives the GT a more aggressive look, as do the twin (and fully functional) heat extractors on the hood. New rear LED smoked out tail lamps have also been included which I believe lend to a more upscale look and feel.
As mentioned this GT is equipped with the optional Recaro seats, and they are in a word, outstanding. Not only are they extremely comfortable, but they’ll provide you with all day support whether you’re headed to Grandma’s house on Sunday or ripping it up at your monthly track event. The 4-way adjustments are basic and manual, but quite honestly, once you set them properly, they’re all you need.
There are backseats as well so technically the Mustang is a four-seater, however unless you’re under 5-feet tall and weigh in at less than 110 lbs, you’ve got no shot at sitting back there.
Once settled in you’ll notice that visibility is actually quite good. However as with any coupe you’re bound to have a few blind spots. One thing Ford has done to rectify this was to incorporate a secondary mirror into the existing housing. This not only helps with any blind spots, but assists in increasing overall visibility.
Glance down at the dash an you’ll start to notice where the “base” in base model comes in. For instance, set dead center between your speedometer and tachometer are your fuel and temperature gauges and that’s it. There is no battery or oil temperature present anywhere. Base model gas, clutch and brake pedals are also clad in rubber, not the fun stainless like the GT premium. Then there is the question of the steering wheel that offers a tilt function, but no telescoping. Granted this is the same amongst all Mustangs, but in 2012 I would have thought this would be a standard across the board feature. As mentioned, if you can get past the lack of dress up options with the base model, what you’ll be left with is one hell of an automobile.
Now obviously the best part of the GT is the 5.0-liter engine. It revs to 6,800 rpm and delivers power from 1,800 rpm all the way up to red line. Stomp on the accelerator and the Mustang launches with as much tire smoke as you’re willing to deliver. In fact Ford should put a disclaimer on this thing for the simple reason that tires are very expensive. The 5.0’s power is put down by way of a 6-speed manual transmission. The shifts are crisp, however I found that when hard on the throttle I sometimes had trouble finding 3rd gear. This is an apparent issue with the MT82 transmission and one that has been documented throughout the Mustang community.
Considering that the Mustang weighs in at 3,688 lbs. you’ll see that it’s pretty amazing that it’s able to put up such impressive numbers. 0-60 mph comes up in 4.6 seconds with the 1,320 flashing by in under 13-seconds. It will also brake from 60 mph in under 110-feet and pull .91g on the skid pad. Hell, those are good numbers for most sports cars, but for a muscle car with a solid live axle out back, they’re just fantastic.
One thing to be noted however is that this is not a finesse car. It will not deliver you the feel and confidence of say a BMW M3, even though its performance figures are remarkably close. The Mustang is a car you have to man-handle and you have to drive it like you stole it to get the most out of it. Once you get it there though I have to say that the driving experience will keep you giggling for days on end.
This is not a family car. It’s not a car that you show off to your neighbors, nor is it a car for commuting (even though it will pull 26 mpg on the highway). The Mustang is a car that brings out the hooligan in us and makes us want to pick a fight with the school bully just because we can. It was build to give us car enthusiasts a stellar performance value for our hard earned dollar and at days end, thrill us every time we hit the accelerator. As an automotive journalist I get to drive just about everything under the sun, so when I tell you this car is an outstanding machine, I hope you believe me – especially since the one you are viewing is parked in my garage.