Ford Mustang: Caught In The Act

She’s been nicknamed ‘Bluebell’. I know, not the most macho of names for a 5.0-litre, manual V8 Mustang but Grabber blue is very blue, so it kind of just stuck. And finally we’ve upgraded from the (admittedly excellent) winter tyres to something a little stickier… 19in Pirelli P Zeros, to be exact, in 275/40 and 255/40 flavours back to front.

Initial impressions: noticeably more wayward in cold conditions for early starts thanks to different ‘hysteresis loops’ for the relevant rubber compounds (yes, I’ve been researching things on the internet again), but slightly sharper steering, less wander under braking and much more aggressive turn in. Quite a surprising amount more.

Plus, there’s much more lateral grip, and it feels as if the sidewalls are significantly harder. I’ve said this before, but it really is amazing what a difference those bands of rubber make to the way your car will behave – the Stang almost feels like its had suspension tweaks rather then new boots.

But, as ever, to really get a handle on how much more grip is available, and to …er… scrub the new tyres in properly, a quick trip to the track was ‘necessary’. So the Mustang in stock form isn’t exactly a GT3 RS, but it’s really easy fun on a track.

But for all the very genial and easy-to-use handling characteristics on a racetrack, this is the first time I’ve really, really felt the need for more power: 400+bhp is nice, but 500–600bhp would be nicer. Plus, the one thing that really grates is that the Stang just isn’t loud enough. Come on, Ford, just one little sidepipe? Please?

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