Ford Mustang Bullitt (2019) review: the Pony, tamed

Published:06 November 2019

Ford Mustang Bullitt (2019) review: the Pony, tamed
  • At a glance
  • 4 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5
  • 3 out of 5
  • 5 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5

By Curtis Moldrich

CAR's online editor and racing-sim enthusiast

By Curtis Moldrich

CAR's online editor and racing-sim enthusiast

► Sold out
► 8bhp over standard car
► But those limited-edition looks...  

The Mustang needs no introduction, but for structural purposes, here’s one anyway. Ford’s blue-collar hero is back, and for the first time in the UK, it’s touched down in Bullitt form, too. 

Bullitt what?

This particular Mustang cashes in on the now famous Bullitt film – named after the movie’s protagonist Lt. Frank Bullitt, played by with Steve McQueen in the lead role. In Ford-speak, Bullitt means Fastback-only body, DIY six-speed box with cue-ball selector, and a slick Highland Green or grey paint job.

The Bullitt Mustang is debadged for an even meaner look, and you’ll find red six-piston Brembos that hide behind 19-inch, five-spoke rims. Even without the sports seats and the extra detailing inside, this Mustang somehow brings even more appeal – it’s celluloid made real.

Is power any different?

Jump into Frank Bullitt’s office, and you’ll be greeted by acres of muscular, carved bonnet – all of which hides the beating 5.0-litre heart of the Mustang. The V8 sends a sizable 453bhp to the rear wheels, and the power increase comes from a revised induction system: throttle bodies have increased from 82mm to 87mm.


We know how it drives, right?

The Mustang nameplate conjures up plenty of things, Metallica, cheeseburgers, varsity jackets and drag racing – and corners aren’t usually on the list, are they? Only this time, they sort of are.

Don’t expect the supple feedback of something like a Cayman, but don’t expect all the poise of an articulated lorry either. The Mustang is still very much shotgun instead of sabre, but there’s a level of adjustability here that you wouldn’t usually associate with a Pony car.


In corners with the steering weighted up in Sport mode, you get a level of feedback and confidence that makes you really want to use that torque under your right foot. Well, abuse it, if we’re honest.


Unleash that V8 in a straight line, and you expect to find road rolled up behind you Looney tunes-style. Get the revs up mid and late corner-exit, and you’ll find the car rotating exactly as you wish, with a little bit of traction control keeping everything above board. Were outtake-quality drifts this easy, or this accessible before? Certainly not in the Steeda we also drove. 

So it makes you look like a hero in those American style 90 degree corners, wagging its tail on command – but can it handle a cambered, winding and very British B-road? Well, as much as a 1851kg car can. The ride is always confidence inducing, and despite its heft, the Mustang doesn’t disgrace itself on more technical bits of tarmac. The key here is predictability, not outright ability.

And the gears?

The transmission is on the right side of tactile too. Compare it to a Civic Type R – a gold standard amongst our team – and the Mustang’s transmission is clunky, rigid and a little tedious in traffic. In any other car it’d be a disappointment, but in a car with a stonking V8 at the front, torque to remove the earth’s crust, and rear wheels that will spin forever, it fits perfectly. 


Verdict 

While some will moan over the £5400 wedge the Bullitt commands over the regular Mustang, I’d take the £5k hit and file it under ‘wellness and self-esteem.’ The regular Mustang makes you feel like an anti-hero, but the Bullitt adds subtitles and popcorn.  

The Mustang formula is still here: relatively cheap brute force, a burbling Route 66 soundtrack and serious looks. It can bring a bit of San Francisco to the Peterborough services, but there’s more now: adjustability, refinement and the ability to make you actually feel like you’re an actual getaway driver. And also, those five-spoke wheels… Mate.

The only catch? The first batch of 350 UK-bound cars has already been sold, so if you fancy one, expect to pay a premium on the £47,545 asking price.

Specs

Price when new: £47,545
On sale in the UK: September 2018
Engine: V8-cyl, 5.0-litre non-turbocharged petrol, 453bhp, 390lb ft
Transmission: six-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Performance: 4.6sec 0-62mph, 155mph, 22.8mpg, 277g/km
Weight / material: 1851kg/steel
Dimensions (length/width/height in mm): 4789/2097/1382

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  • Ford Mustang Bullitt (2019) review: the Pony, tamed
  • Ford Mustang Bullitt (2019) review: the Pony, tamed
  • Ford Mustang Bullitt (2019) review: the Pony, tamed
  • Ford Mustang Bullitt (2019) review: the Pony, tamed
  • Ford Mustang Bullitt (2019) review: the Pony, tamed
  • Ford Mustang Bullitt (2019) review: the Pony, tamed
  • Ford Mustang Bullitt (2019) review: the Pony, tamed
  • Ford Mustang Bullitt (2019) review: the Pony, tamed
  • Ford Mustang Bullitt (2019) review: the Pony, tamed
  • Ford Mustang Bullitt (2019) review: the Pony, tamed

By Curtis Moldrich

CAR's online editor and racing-sim enthusiast

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