► Just over £100k
► The most unique supercar?
Since its creation in 1964, the Mustang has been synonymous with value. In stock form, the original Pony car gives you a solid chassis and a characterful, V8 block and around 450bhp – all for a sub £50k asking price. It offers incredible bang-for-buck, and it maintains balance in the Ford Performance line-up, adding some brutal ying to the ST models’ more practical yang.
For Ford – and the majority of Mustangs that roll off the production line – that’s where the journey ends, but for this Clive Sutton CS800, it’s only the beginning. The Mustang’s bargain price means some owners have spare cash lining their pockets, and Clive Sutton is more than happy to take advantage of that headroom and help them burn through it.
Under its carbonfibre hood, this Mustang has Clive Sutton’s own Stage-2 tuning, which means a Whipple supercharger, larger throttle body and uprated hi-flow fuel injectors, all which add up to 808bhp and 640lb ft of torque.
The upgrades continue on the outside; in addition to the exposed-weave bonnet, the CS800 comes with a speed-bump-worrying front splitter, extra side vents and skits and best of all; slatted quarter windows.
But, despite its Dominic Toretto looks, the CS800 isn’t a one-off monster created in a shed – it’s the product of a detailed customisation process. Clive Sutton has provided a menu for petrolheads, and it’s available for those with cars already.
What’s it like to drive?
Clive Sutton’s reps also assured me the car’s power is usable; though that depends on your definition of the word. Put your foot down and the V8’s revs build like thunder, the car lunging forward and turning every slip road to a quarter-mile run.
Just as the noise and vibrations start to rattle your teeth, it’s time to stamp on the clutch and yank the cue-ball shaped gear-selector. Fishtailing common in most gears, and you almost expect the road bunched up behind you, such is the torque produced by the modified powertrain.
But drive the car sensibly, and it’s more well-mannered than you’d think. Ford’s factory-spec Magnaride adaptive suspension system is proficient enough, and the drive modes give you everything from normal to drag. The steering wheel can be weighted up, too.
The ‘box is a little awkward, but the chassis is firm and comfortable. The only issue? This refinement only shows up when you’re driving with about 3 tenths of the car’s power. Put your foot down, and the CS800 chassis is overwhelmed: just like putting soap box wheels on a rocket, it’s not really the overarching factor in how the car handles.
Driving it the CS800 at more sedate speeds does give you a chance to appreciate its customised interior. Largely the same on the ‘Stang on which its based, the CS800 adds a few flourishes here and there – but none that overstep the car’s already loud attitude.
Talking of loud; the CS800 also benefits from XFORCE, a smartphone app directly connected to the car’s exhaust valves. The app make it possible to change the position of the valves and their resultant tone, and it’s quite useful in practice:
Open the valves when you’re on a midday A-road blast for a thunderous V8 soundtrack, or keep them closed when you’re creeping back from an airport run at 1am. However personal experience suggests that even with the valves closed, the CS800 will still get curtains twitching.
The first 15 mins with the CS800 are utterly terrifying, but it’s incredible how easy the CS800 becomes to live with. Driven at lower speeds, the CS800 builds on all the refinement and road presence of the standard Mustang – find some better roads, though, and the CS800 is able to truly flex its new superpowers.
The Mustang has always offered incredible value and, despite this particular CS800 now scraping over the £100,000 mark (upgrades start at £63k), it still feels like a bargain. It may now be in R8 and even 911 GT3 territory, but it’s different enough to be in the conversation. It’s hard to find something as special, distinctive and fun as the CS800, even at six figures.
One more thing: it’s worth pointing out that this price includes a new Mustang plus upgrades; it’s possible to apply the same upgrades to a second-hand ‘Stang for significant ‘savings.’