Let's get one thing straight right off the bat: the Ford Mustang is not a car for shrinking violets. Get behind the wheel, and you can forget all about blending in with the motoring masses.
Perhaps this overt lack of anonymity is a product of the Mustang's romanticised, cult status in automotive culture, or the fact that it has that whopping great 5.0-litre Coyote V8 under the bonnet, with a soundtrack to boot. It could be down to that muscular, iconic silhouette, or the fact that you can have one in bright orange. More likely, though, is that it's a combination of all of these things and more.
The Mustang, then, is a car that appeals to a certain type of person. One that doesn't shy away from attention, and won't be irked by something so mundane as its claimed 22.8mpg fuel economy figure.
This hasn't stopped Ford from trying to broaden the pony car's appeal outside of the United States, though. After all, the sixth-generation Mustang was the first to be developed with right-hand drive in mind, and this facelifted model brings with it further features to supplement its primary, V8-flavoured USP.
For 2018 there's a new, sharper face, a greater emphasis on safety, a flashy digital speedometer and the option of a 10-speed automatic transmission - just like the one found in the gargantuan F-150 Raptor. More importantly, though, Ford's engineers have worked to improve the 'Stang's handling, retuning the dampers to make it more planted and adding a cross-axis joint to stiffen up the rear suspension. Adaptive MagneRide dampers are available as a £1,600 option, too.
The headline change, though, has to do with the engine. By fitting new dual-fuel, high pressure direct injection and low-pressure port fuel injection system, the 5.0-litre V8 is now good for 450hp at 7,000rpm - a 30hp improvement over the 2015 model. Torque, meanwhile, remains at 390lb ft and is available from 4,600rpm. This is all sent to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual transmission and a limited-slip differential.
Keep the crank spinning at below about 3,500rpm, and the Mustang doesn't feel particularly energetic or urgent - despite the deep, purposeful accompanying soundtrack. There's a need to work this engine to get the most out of it; get your shifts right and the Mustang will take off with savage urgency. With the active exhaust fixed to its angriest setting it sounds volcanic, too, if not quite as outlandish as Jaguar Land Rover's supercharged 5.0-litre V8.
The steering is heavy - suitably so for such a car - and weights up nicely depending which driving mode you're in. There's limited feel here, but the rack is still communicative enough to inform you of what the car's front wheels are doing and while body roll hasn't been completely ironed out, the MagneRide dampers do a commendable job of keeping it under control. It's by no means the last word in precision - instead relying more on the brute force of its powerplant to sprint between bends - but that's all part of its charm.
And that charm is exactly why you'd fork out £41,095 for one. Well, that and the fact that at this price bracket, the V8-powered Mustang is practically in a class of one. Yes, it's a bit of a dinosaur and yes, something like a BMW M2 will offer sharper handling and a more refined interior, but for sheer character the Mustang has it licked.
SPECIFICATION - FORD MUSTANG GT
Engine: 5,038cc, V8
Transmission: 6-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 450@7,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): 391@4,600rpm
Top speed: 155mph
Weight: 1,743kg (to EU, including 75kg driver)
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