by Gabe Beita Kiser
Getting arrested for jumping your 2020 Mustang Bullitt down the stepped roads of modern-day San Francisco is a certainty. Gone are the days where cops would look the other way while secret agents and evil crime bosses could run amok in some of the largest cities in the USA, but all is not lost: you can buy a brand new Mustang Bullitt and quietly cruise along at the speed limit where McQueen took flying lessons in his 1968 GT Fastback. The 2020 car matches its show with a lot of go, and unlike many tribute cars, it has been thoughtfully modified to give a unique driving experience that sets itself apart from the rest of the Mustang range. The 5.0-liter Coyote engine now produces 480 horsepower thanks to a few choice Shelby GT350 parts and has seen extensive work done to the chassis. Feature-wise, the Bullitt shares its goodies with the GT Premium but also gets exclusive details like a white cue ball shifter, green stitching on the seats, and the unique option of a Highland Green paint job to match the original. At $47,810, the 2020 Ford Mustang Bullitt offers exclusivity, performance, and surely a nod of approval from old Steve himself.
The 2020 Ford Mustang Bullitt is based on the sixth generation of the pony car first introduced in 2015. For 2020 the Bullitt has remained unchanged mechanically but receives a small tech update along with the rest of the Mustang family. The FordPass Connect system now comes standard on the 2020 Bullitt and allows the occupants of the car to connect to the internet via a built-in 4G Wi-Fi router, which has a range of 50 feet outside the vehicle as well as the ability to connect ten devices at once.
One of the greatest reasons why the Bullitt has been cemented into the minds of petrolheads everywhere is its distinctive exterior styling, and nothing has changed in the decades since the original car appeared on the big screen. The 2020 Mustang Bullitt has a few easy to spot exterior alterations that set sit apart from the rest of the range, most notably that Dark Highland Green, which looks especially good, glinting in some San Fran sun. The badgeless front grill, black exhaust tips, and rear spoiler delete all come together to create a wholly believable modern recreation that uses tasteful modifications in a nod to the original. Standard exterior features across the Mustang range include LED headlights and tail lamps and power-folding side mirrors with blind-spot mirrors. Standard exterior bits on the Bullitt are red-painted brake calipers and a gnarly valve-operated exhaust system with black tips that easily set of Prius alarms at 50 yards. It looks mean and it means business, with the 19-inch Torque Thrust Design alloy wheels being a classic throwback to muscle cars of old.
The Bullitt shares its dimensions with the rest of the Mustang clan, which means you get a well-proportioned sports car that isn't afraid to flaunt its full curves and looks planted and assured on the road. The exclusive Dark Highland green and badgeless front grille give the impression that the Bullitt has a longer hood, but it actually shares its total length of 188.5 inches with the rest of the non-Shelby Mustang range, the same goes for its total width of 75.4 inches and a height of 54.3 inches. The Bullitt rides on a relatively short wheelbase of 107.1 inches, and weighs in at 4,398 lbs, a number which it tries its best to hide, but cannot be ignored when pushing hard through the corners.
It wouldn't make sense to buy a Bullitt in anything other than Dark Highland Green unless you're purely into it for its performance-enhancing features over the stock GT, then you can have it in Shadow Black. Both deserve their credit: drive around in a Dark Highland Green Bullitt, and you instantly feel like McQueen, which is kind of why you'd buy a Bullitt in the first place, right? The Shadow Black is the perfect sleeper color for this car; hiding an improved chassis and more power under a skin resembling that of most other run-of-the-mill Mustangs. Only those with a keen eye will be able to pick up the differences that make the Bullitt unique.
The 2020 Mustang Bullitt is as fast as its looks suggest. The Mustang GT on which the Bullitt is based is no slowpoke, thanks to its beefy 5.0-liter V8 engine, which produces oodles of low-down torque, and wide rear tires that manage to put the power down reliably. A stock GT will sprint to sixty in around four and a half seconds, but the Bullitt will cut it closer to four thanks to some improvements made to the chassis, which helps it lay down the power more efficiently. A 20 hp bump in power doesn't hurt either. The quarter-mile is vanquished in 12.4 seconds, and at full tilt, the 2020 Bullitt will top out at 163 mph. The combination of modifications places the Bullitt between the GT and rev-happy Shelby GT350, perfect for those with a bit of skill behind the wheel who want something a bit sharper than the standard GT.
In GT form, the 5.0-liter Coyote V8 produces 460 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque and is much loved for its rev-happy nature and linear power and torque curves. In the Bullitt, this engine gets a new breath of life thanks to some intake modifications that push power up by 20 hp for a total of 480 hp. The Bullitt borrows its modifications from the flat-plane-crank Shelby 350: a high-flow intake manifold with longer runners is attached to a larger throttle body, now measuring 87mm, up from 82 mm in the GT, and an exposed high-flow air filter sits at the top, allowing the Bullitt to suck more air through its angry green face. The 2020 Bullit features the dual-port direct injection tech and higher compression ratio enjoyed by 2019 models and beyond, as well as a slight increase in capacity to 5,038 cc, up by almost 100 cc over pre-2019 models. These small modifications add up and make the engine under the hood of the Bullitt feel more eager to rev out and adds top-end surge too.
A six-speed manual transmission is the only option available, and we wouldn't have it any other way. This transmission features a twin disk clutch, and rev-matched downshifts for an engaging driving experience hard to beat at this price. Not to mention, the cueball shifter is a work of tactile art.
Driving the Bullitt is a whole new experience after coming out of a standard Mustang: everything feels sharper, more responsive, and perfect for outrunning bad men on the streets of San Fran. The reason why the Mustang Bullitt feels so good is that it comes standard with the GT performance package, which adds a long list of chassis and suspension upgrades, including a beefier rear sway bar, K-member bracing, sportier front springs and modified traction control and power steering software. All of these elements combine to allow the 4,398-lb Bullitt to dance around corners with exceptional confidence, and although it can't hide its weight entirely, it gives enough feedback to let the driver know exactly what's going on with the chassis and tires below. The optional MagneRide damping system gives added comfort and predictability, and when carving through twisty roads, the Bullitt feels planted, with a special mention going out to those wide 275/40R19 rear tires. Brembo six-caliper front brakes make quick work of stopping the car in its tracks and should stand up to some serious abuse around a racecourse or twisty road.
Despite the increase in power, the Bullitt manages to beat its sibling, the Mustang, GT in terms of gas mileage. Ford gives EPA estimates of 18/29/22 mpg city/highway/combined, a combined improvement of four mpg. Good luck reaching those numbers in the first few months of ownership, especially when the exhaust valves are opened up. Compared to the more powerful Shelby GT350's number of 14/21/16 mpg, the Bullitt seems like an economy car. All V8-powered Mustangs share the same 16-gallon fuel tank, which gives the Bullitt an estimated combined range of 352 miles.
Ford continues the trend of bringing in the retro style of classic Mustangs from the 1960s but in a clean and contemporary way that is functional, pleasant to look at, and relatively easy to use. The 2020 Bullitt differentiates itself by adding Bullitt sill-plates, a chassis build number plaque to denote its exclusivity, and a Bullitt logo on the driver's airbag. The green stitching on the seats and the classic white cue ball shifter are small touches that really give the Bullitt its own personality. The Bullitt gets a 12-inch driver information display as standard as well as a few gauges that measure oil pressure and vacuum. A heated steering wheel, dual-zone climate control aluminum instrument trim, and a leather-wrapped center console wrap up the Bullitt spec interior. The Mustang Bullitt is a perfect example of how changing a few select interior touchpoints can give a cabin its own distinctive feel, and this interior makes one feel like an action hero.
Ford claims that the 2020 Mustang Bullitt can seat four, but make no mistake; even children will find the rear seat uncomfortable and challenging to access. What the Mustang does offer is class-leading space up front, with an impressive 45.1 inches of front legroom, 37.6 inches of front headroom, and 56.3 inches of shoulder room. The rear tells a different story with only 29 inches of legroom and 34.8 inches of headroom. Once buckled up, it's easy to find a comfortable seating position, and forward visibility is good. Large blind spots and a small rearview window require more reliance on driver assistance tech and the rearview camera. The heated and ventilated front seats in the Bullit are upholstered in leather with model-specific green stitching and offer enough support for daily driving but could do with added bolstering when pushing hard.
The interior of the Bullitt gets the full treatment, sharing the GT Premium Plus package, which adds luxury features such as leather front seats with green accent stitching also included on the center console, shifter boot, and knee bolster. The instrument panel gets a touch of aluminum, as do the door cards, but these touches are overshadowed by cheap-feeling plastics that brings down the overall feel of the interior. In terms of interior color options, new owners can choose between black or black, in keeping with the style of the original Bullitt car. The only thing missing on the latest version is a wood-trimmed dashboard. The overall feel of the materials and build quality is good, but won't match up to German or Japanese sports coupe standards.
It should be remembered that the Bullitt shares its dimensions with every other Mustang in the range, which means you get enough cargo space to make it a rather practical daily driver, primarily when you use the foldable back seats as extra storage. Trunk space measures in at a respectable 13.5 cubic feet, and the trunk lid opens up almost 90 degrees, but access is still compromised by a narrow entrance. The trunk is able to fit enough baggage for a two-person extended trip, more than most in its class, and the same goes for small-item storage; the center console bin is generously sized as is the glove compartment, but the door pockets are on the slim side. Two cup holders behind the shifter are trimmed in aluminum and offer snug support for a medium-sized coffee.
The list of range-standard features for 2020 is an impressive one which includes an electronic line-lock system for extra smoky burnouts, driver assistance tech for when that burnout goes wrong, LED headlights to try and spot innocent bystanders through all the smoke and an SOS post-crash alert system to tell the authorities where the massacre took place. Other range-standard features include an auto-dimming rearview mirror, power-folding side mirrors, Ford's MyKey system - which allows for enhanced security and vehicle control-as well as a rearview camera. On top of all that, the 2020 Bullitt is the benefactor of a 12-inch driver display, a number of interior appearance updates which include the classic white cue ball shifter, heated steering wheel, and Bullitt branding along with a slew of performance enhancements, most notably to the chassis and suspension. Under the hood, the Bullitt shows off it's Shelby GT350 intake, upgraded radiator, and engine bracing. Under the skin, you'll find uprated front shocks, stabilizer bars, and re-tuned traction control and powertrain control software.
Ford's Sync3 infotainment system does duty in the 2020 Ford Mustang Bullitt, and although it's not super quick to respond or smooth in operation, Ford has packed a wide range of its own in-house software as well as external tools to make it competent for 2020 starting with FordPass Connect, a built-in 4G LTE Wi-Fi system that allows for up to ten devices to connect to the Bullitt at any given time. The FordPass system also offers innovative services such as finding parking spots before you arrive at your destination, locating the gas station with the best prices, and more. Ford has included Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, but the Syn c3 system also features Amazon's Alexa, which opens up voice navigation, traffic info, Amazon Prime shopping, and even the ability to control your smart devices at home. Passengers can literally watch the first half of the 1968 classic Bullitt while the driver tells the TV at home to prepare for the second half. Welcome to the year 2020.
Despite offering a wide range of trim and engine options, the Mustang range of cars has proven to be reliable, and the same goes for the Bullitt: despite a number of recalls issued over the past three years, not one affected the angry green machine, and a JD Power score of 76 is a testament of its overall reliability. Ford offers the same warranty as it does for the rest of the Mustang range, which consists of a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty, including a five-year/60,000-mile drivetrain and roadside assistance plan as well as a five-year/unlimited-mile corrosion warranty.
The Mustang Bullitt achieved commendable ratings by the major safety rating agencies. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2020 Mustang full marks in every category, but the folks over at the IIHS took a more critical viewpoint: their crash tests revealed an average performance for the all-important small front overlap test, but in the majority of the other crash tests the Mustang performed well. The IIHS failed to test headlight performance and didn't give a rating for the optional driver assistance and crash prevention systems.
Standard safety features on the 2020 Bullitt include dual-stage front airbags as well as front knee airbags, front-seat side airbags, and side curtain airbags. A rearview camera and advanced traction control help keep things in line. Despite the increased power and handling capabilities of the Bullitt, Ford didn't think it necessary to include any modern driver assistance tech as standard. To get basic blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, you'll have to fork out for the Bullitt Electronics Package, which also includes voice-activated navigation with SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link.
Many manufacturers have paid tribute to their cult movie classics of yesteryear by bringing out modern versions, but in many cases these cars only pay lip service, a perfect example would be the Chevy Camaro Transformers edition which basically consisted of a standard Camaro LT V6 or SS V8, but with a $1,000 appearance package, nothing more. The Bullitt edition has been done before; in 2001, 2005, and now with the latest car. Every single version was much more than its Dark Highland Green paint job: Ford went to the effort of making the Bullitt truly perform by modifying the chassis and engine, truly setting it apart from the rest of the range. The 2020 Mustang Bullet is more accomplished than ever; it's fast, practical, good looking and it makes whoever drives it feel like a superstar. What more could you want from a pony car?
The 2020 Mustang Bullitt starts off with an MSRP of $47,810, which is a hefty $12,180 more than the Mustang GT and $12,630 less than the Shelby GT350. Ford has been clever with its pricing, which gives prospective Mustang buyers a wide range of options and the freedom to spec their cars to their liking without breaking the bank entirely. Considering the fact that the Bullitt offers increased performance thanks in part to a larger intake borrowed from the Shelby GT350, Brembo brakes and a tweaked chassis, the price difference between the GT and Bullitt starts to make sense and poses as an attractive offer even for those who aren't familiar with its Hollywood roots.
The 2020 Ford Mustang Bullitt is a standalone model in the Mustang range. It sits above the GT Fastback and GT Premium Fastback, and slots in below the Shelby GT350 and GT500. The Bullitt includes all standard Mustang features such as LED headlights, a rearview camera, and push-button start but adds a whole lot more on top of the basics. The GT Premium package comes as standard, which includes selectable driving modes for comfort sport, track, dragstrip, and snow, an eight-inch infotainment display with Ford's Sync 3 system, leather-trimmed seats, dual-zone climate control, and more. Over and above the comforts of the GT Premium package, the Bullitt also gets a slew of performance upgrades, some of which are borrowed from the rabid Shelby GT350: on the chassis side, the Bullitt gets a K-member brace, custom front springs a beefier anti-roll bar and other model-specific tweaks. A 3.73 limited-slip rear differential, upgraded radiator, GT350 intake manifold, and a tweaked ECU increase performance by a noticeable margin and transform the Bullitt from fun to highly capable.
5.0-liter V8 Gas
The options list on the 2020 Bullitt includes a range of exterior and interior packages that improve performance and comfort levels even further. One of the most noteworthy features is the $1,695 Magneride suspension system, which adds a level of comfort and enhanced road holding well worth the asking price. The interior of the Bullitt can be made to feel even more sporty with a set of GT racer lookalike Recaro bucket seats, yours for only $1,595, or you could opt for the 12-speaker Bang & Olufsen premium sound system which features an in-trunk subwoofer and HD radio technology. The $2,100 Electronics Package consists of the above-mentioned sound system but also adds blind-spot monitoring and cross-traffic alert, memory function on the driver's seat, navigation, and a subscription to SiriusXM satellite radio.
As there's only one model to choose from, you'll have to look at the options list to get the most out of the Bullitt edition. A must-have is the Electronics Package, which adds a number of infotainment and safety upgrades. For those who would like to increase performance and comfort levels further, the MagneRide suspension option is definitely worth a look. These options make a marked difference in the everyday practicality and overall enjoyment of the car, but don't stray too far down the options list, as you could end up in Shelby GT350 territory. Regardless of how you option your Bullitt, you better not even think of leaving the showroom without making sure it's Dark Highland Green in color!
Some will wonder if the Bullitt's $12,180 premium over the regular GT is truly justifiable: it all boils down to what you're looking for in a Mustang. The GT runs the same 5.0-liter Coyote V8 as found in the Bullitt, but doesn't get the Shelby GT350 intake, which translates into a lower power output of 460 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque at 4600 rpm, but it gets the option of a 10-speed automatic transmission. The GT rides on skinnier tires but returns thirstier fuel consumption figures of 15/24/18 mpg in manual guise. Interior space, features, and quality are all comparable, especially when the GT is specced with the premium package, but in the end, it misses out on some Bullitt exclusives such as that cool cue ball shift knob and custom seat stitching. The Bullitt is the superior performance machine and offers the appeal of exclusivity, but at the price, the GT is still a performance bargain worth every cent of its $35,630 asking price.
Both the Bullitt and Shelby GT350 are iconic pony cars that have captivated the hearts and minds of car fans for decades, the significant difference being that one originated on the big screen while the other was born on the racetrack. From the get-go, it's clear that the GT350 is a more serious performance car: the flat-plane crankshaft and other high-performance modifications on the 5.2-liter V8 result in a potent 526 hp and 429 lb-ft of torque. It is the way the GT350 delivers its power that has people talking; it revs out like a screaming banshee and is considered one of the best sounding cars out there, period. Both cars are only available with a six-speed manual, but the GT350 suffers at the pumps with estimated mileage of 14/21/16 mpg. Interior and cargo space is shared between cars. At $60,440, the Shelby GT350 doesn't try to be a more practical or comfortable car, but it will blow away the Bullitt on the track or street every day of the week and will turn more heads than the Bullitt.