Thank goodness the manual has remained. With an automatic gearbox this Mustang 'vert would have a perfect score on the anti-PH spec bingo - four cylinders, no roof and very reserved Magnetic Grey paint. What's a muscle car without a lairy colour?
Anyway, with both the four-cylinder and convertible models expected to make up a significant portion of sales in the UK, it only seemed right to test that as well. Can the endearing Mustang charm of the V8 fastback transfer to a four-cylinder drop-top?
In a word, no. Unequivocally not. Perhaps that view is tainted somewhat by having driven the V8 first but it's hard to come away from the Ecoboost and not feel significantly disappointed.
And this is not some power-crazed PH perspective where anything under 350hp is too feeble for our powerfully-built frames. It's simply not that exciting, which is odd given a related engine feels a perfect fit for the Focus ST. The numbers are there, and some impromptu tests with a V8 reveal it's not that far behind on the road, but it's simply not a pleasant engine to use. The sound is diesel-esque and plain, but so is the power delivery - torque is plentiful but it noticeably tightens further up the rev range, to the point where you short shift and rely on the turbo's urge to push the Mustang along at a reasonable pace. At least the gearbox itself is pleasant, short and precise like the V8's with less of the brawn. But where that car will have entertained by the second gearchange there's no such enjoyment from the four-cylinder. It was inevitable to a degree, but certainly not expected by this margin.
Unfortunately the bad news continues for this particular Mustang because it certainly doesn't set a new benchmark for convertible dynamics. Even on smooth German roads the structural rigidity can often be found wanting, the car shimmying and wobbling over imperfections at normal speeds. If the coupe is anything to go by then this car is surely a massive improvement on previous Mustangs, but it's some way off the best at the moment.
There's more, too. Sorry. The appeal of the V8 fastback is clear as it's the Mustang the purists want, the true muscle car and, encouragingly enough, the most popular in the UK pre-order lists. Over here, without many boulevards to cruise or Sweet 16 birthday presents to buy, where does that leave the Ecoboost convertible? Those with a 4 Series or A5 cabriolet at the moment probably won't be considering the Mustang as a replacement, and it's patently not sporty enough to rival a TT.
Hopefully the Ecoboost engine finds a more natural home in the fastback Mustang. Let's also pray for some improvement before a version of that engine makes it to the Focus RS as well. For now the Ecoboost cabriolet feels the most American of the new Mustangs and that isn't intended as a compliment. It certainly looks good but beyond that it's rather left wanting.
FORD MUSTANG ECOBOOST CONVERTIBLE
Engine:2,300cc 4cy turbo
Transmission: 6-speed manual, rear-wheel drive, limited-slip differential
Torque (lb ft): 317@3,000rpm
Top speed: 145mph (limited)
MPG:34.4 (NEDC combined)