2024 Ford Mustang GT Premium: Test Drive (GT Performance Package) | The Daily Drive


2024 Ford Mustang GT Premium
2024 Ford Mustang GT Premium

Consumer Guide Automotive, New Car Review2024 Mustang GT Coupe Premium w/ GT Performance Package

Class: Sporty/Performance Car

Color: Dark Matter Gray

Seating Capacity: 5

Miles driven: 189

Real-world fuel economy: 18.8 mpg

CG Report Card
Room and Comfort B
Power and Performance A
Fit and Finish B+
Fuel Economy B-
Value B-
Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide’s impressions of the entire model lineup.
Big & Tall Comfort
Big Guy B-
Tall Guy B-
Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. “Big” rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, “Tall” rating based on 6’6″-tall male tester.
Drivetrain
Engine Specs 480-horsepower 5.0-liter
Engine Type V8
Transmission 6-speed manual
Drive Wheels Rear-wheel drive

Driving mix: 70% city, 30% highway

EPA-estimated fuel economy: 14/23/17 (city, highway, combined)

Fuel type: Regular gas

Base price: $46,015 (not including $1595 destination charge)

Options on test vehicle: Equipment Group 401A ($2900), GT Performance Package ($4995), Bronze Appearance Package ($995), floor mats ($200), Active Valve Exhaust ($1225), Recaro-brand front seats ($1650), red seat belts ($295), MagneRide suspension ($1750)

Price as tested: $61,620

 

Quick Hits

The great: Spirited performance, rewarding to drive

The good: Upscale cabin, unexpected on-road refinement, long-trip comfortable

The not so good: Performance options add considerably to the bottom line

 

Tom Appel

There are realities we’d all rather not face. Though there are some still in denial, Seinfeld really was cancelled, the Double Cheeseburger really was dropped from the McDonald’s Dollar Menu, and the gas-engine Ford Mustang will be discontinued—we just don’t know when. There’s some question as to what happens to the Mustang after 2028, and if you like to spend time worrying about things, the Mustang is worth fretting over.

2024 Ford Mustang GT Premium
2024 Ford Mustang GT Premium

New for 2021, the Mustang Mach-E gave model loyalists a start. While the small electric crossover has absolutely nothing to do with the brand’s pony car, use of the name suggests that the carmaker isn’t as protective of the Mustang brand—or legacy—as sporty-car fans might have hoped they’d be.

And while Ford has a vested interest in keeping the Mustang moniker in play, don’t bet on its commitment to gasoline-fueled V8 engines, manual transmissions, or convertibles. If we were betting on this, we’d wager that the Mustang goes all electric—and all automatic transmission, and all coupe—after 2028. And while we’d also wager that whatever that car looks and feels like—and it is likely to be awesome—it will not well represent the affordable, light-weight, generally playful character of the original 1965 ‘Stang.

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Dashboard, center console,
2024 Ford Mustang GT Premium

Given this uncertainty, it is more important that ever to appreciate what we have now. And, we are delighted to note that the freshened for 2024 Ford Mustang is not only the last surviving pony car, it is among the most reward to drive sporty cars available today, at any price.

The 2024 Mustang lineup is pretty simple, which we appreciate. There are a total of nine Mustang trim levels, and two body styles, Fastback and convertible.

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Recaro Seat Package
2024 Ford Mustang GT Premium

From least expensive to most, there’s the EcoBoost (about $32,000 for the Fastback, $40,000 for the convertible), EcoBoost Premium (about $37,500 Fastback, $43,000 convertible), GT ($43,500 Fastback), GT Premium ($48,000 Fastback, $53,500 convertible), and, offered only in Fastback trim, the line-capping Dark Horse and Dark Horse Premium ($60,000 and $64,000 respectively.

EcoBoost models are powered by a 315-horsepower, 2.3-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine which mates exclusively to a 10-speed automatic transmission. The GT and Dark Horse come with a 5.0-liter V8 engine which is hooked to either a 6-speed manual or 10-speed automatic transmission. The “Coyote” V8 is rated at 480 horsepower in the GT, and 500 in the Dark Horse. All Mustangs feature rear-wheel drive.

Consumer Guide recently spent a week behind the wheel of a 2024 Mustang GT with manual transmission in Dark Matter Gray, featuring a number of significant options including the GT Performance Package, and MagneRide Damping System. Including destination charge, our test car came to $61,620.

If your last memories of a Mustang interior were formed in the Nineties, you’re in for a shock. The Mustang cabin is now more BMW than Daewoo (Nineties reference), composed of premium-grade materials and classy dose of minimalist design. Indeed, using the word “cockpit” feels pretty much on point.

The console touchscreen and the instrument cluster are now units of a single contiguous panel, which looks clean and efficient. We found the infotainment system/touchscreen icons easy to identify at a glance, and the system generally simple to navigate. We do prefer our climate control access to be comprised of actual physical switchgear, but didn’t find the Mustang’s setup especially onerous. Also, the Bang & Olufsen audio system is very good.

Despite its slinky low silhouette, the Mustang is relatively roomy and easy to enter and exit. Likewise, outward visibility is better than most folks probably expect. Rear seat room is more expectedly limited—and no place to stow an adult of any sort—but the seats are there, just in case.

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Dark Matter Gray, Hood slats, Hood vents,
2024 Ford Mustang GT Premium

Once inside, Ford’s last car is very roomy, and comfortable for the long haul. That said, the extra-cost ($1650) Recaro-brand sport seats should be carefully vetted prior to ordering your Mustang. The seats are too confining for larger adults, and may prove too firm for extended drive, regardless of your stature.

As for performance, the Mustang GT is as rewarding to drive as ever. Consumer Guide’s test car came equipped with the $4995 GT Performance Package, which seriously upgrades the ‘Stang potential. Including in the package are Brembo-brand performance brakes, unique suspension tuning, heady-duty front springs, larger rear sway bar, front strut-tower brace, subframe brace, lowered ride height, and a Torsen-brand limited-slip differential.

Not having a Mustang without the Performance Package to compare our test car to, we can only say that our car was frankly amazing to drive. In classic, high-power, rear-drive tradition, we found our test car to be fast, flingable, and surprisingly refined. The clutch was firm but not too heavy, and the shifter precise, and though a little high-effort, still easy enough to push through the gate with just our fingers.

This editor finds the Mustang GT’s “enhanced” exhaust note a needless novelty, leaving me to wonder what this car might sound like without the tweaking. The strangely flat blat produced by the Mustang is at odds with what muscle cars of the Seventies once sounded like. It’s worth noting that on this issue, I seem to be alone. The sound of V8 Mustangs is ubiquitous on the streets around Chicago, and I rather wish the car’s soundtrack was a little less synthetic.

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5.0 Badge
2024 Ford Mustang GT Premium

Good news on the economy front: First, the GT’s beefy V8 performs just fine on a steady diet of regular-grade fuel, and, our observed fuel economy was surprisingly good. Despite succumbing to the Mustang’s lead-foot siren’s call, we saw nearly 18 mpg, a figure which can no doubt be improved upon with a little operator restraint.

It’s easy to argue that the Mustang has lost some of its historic charm now that a GT convertible can be optioned up to nearly $70,000—that’s Chevrolet Corvette territory. Two thoughts on Mustang prices, and value: First, the Mustang GT performs on a level that until only recently was exclusive to cars like the Corvette, or even pricier exotica. Secondly, the more-affordable EcoBoost Mustangs are extremely capable in their own right, and very rewarding to drive, even though they come only with the automatic transmissions. In fact, the EcoBoost is so good, we really don’t consider it an entry-level model.

What’s to come of the Mustang? Our crystal ball needs to be recharged, but we suspect that we’re not too far from the ‘Stang going exclusively electric. Expect breath-taking acceleration and—God help us—fake exhaust noises to help us swallow the bitter pill of America’s most-beloved sporty car going to battery power.

The good news is that the Mustang is as good as it’s every been, and if you want a manual transmission, you can still get one. Things may seem peaceful now, be we’re pretty sure this is the calm before the pony-car storm.

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2024 Ford Mustang GT Premium
2024 Ford Mustang GT Premium

2024 Ford Mustang GT Premium Gallery

(Click below for enlarged images)

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