by Adam Lynton
The Mustang GT Convertible, its rear wheels powered by a formidable 460 horsepower, 420 lb-ft of torque 5.0-liter V8 engine, is a veritable icon in the U.S. It's powerhouse motor, governed by a polished ten-speed automatic gearbox, rips from 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds - 4.1 seconds with the stock six-speed manual gearbox in play. It comes equipped with an array of performance-based underpinnings and features a fully lined power-operated cloth top, which - along with its nifty powertrain - cement its appeal. Nailing the trifecta of thrilling power, inspiring capability, and cinematic top-down joyrides, the Mustang GT Convertible has a well-deserved reputation. Yet, with long-standing rivals like the Chevrolet Camaro offering packages just as appealing, competition for the Mustang is as stiff as ever. Nevertheless, the venerable pony-car has a distinctive novelty about it, and now with its modernized conveniences that have been well-integrated with its nostalgic retro styling, it manages to stay near the top of the log for any enthusiast looking for pony-car revelry. Or does it?
For 2019, the Mustang GT gets rev-matched shifting with its stock six-speed manual gearbox and FordPass Connect in-vehicle Wi-Fi. An all-new custom-tuned 1,000-watt Bang & Olufsen high-performance sound system replaces the prior year's Shaker Pro audio system in the options cache, which comes with the single-CD player that has been deleted from the standard audio setup. A California Special Package has been made optional for the GT Convertible, three over-the-top tape stripes have been added to the exterior customization options, and two new exterior color hues replace three outgoing shades: Triple Yellow Tri-coat, Lightning Blue, and Royal Crimson Metallic are deleted in favor of Velocity Blue and Need for Green.
See trim levels and configurations:
|GT Premium Convertible||
5.0L V8 Gas
The Mustang line keeps the exterior updates from its mild 2018 facelift. The front end is characterized by a forward-sloping hood featuring dual vents, and sporting a distinctive front fascia. LED headlights, and Mustang's signature LED three-blade running lights, flank the Mustang's classic black mesh grille, while a molded chin skirting underscores the narrow LED turn signals and integrated fog lamps. A fully lined black cloth soft-top discerns the top half of the Convertible, while 18-inch machined-face aluminum wheels fill the arches of the low-slung frame. A blade decklid spoiler, LED sequential taillights, and dual bright rolled polished exhaust tips fashion the rear end.
Even for a pony-car, the Mustang is brutish in its dimensions, making standard convertibles such as the BMW 2 Series look like mere dinky toys. At 188.5 inches in length, the Mustang is nearly 14 inches longer than the 2 Series; it's wider by 5.2 inches with a width of 75.4 inches, and only marginally shorter at 54.9 inches in height. The 2 Series benefits from a tighter wheelbase, however; at 105.9 inches, it's 1.2 inches shorter than the Mustang's 107.1 inches. The manually equipped Mustang weighs in at 3,891 lbs, and the automatic at 3,904 lbs.
The stirring 460 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque from the potent 5.0-liter V8 engine are dispatched to the rear wheels of the Mustang GT, modulated via a standard six-speed manual transmission or optional ten-speed automatic. Off-the-line acceleration is instantaneous and awe-inspiring - the V8 and manual gearbox propel the pony-car from 0-60 mph in 4.1 seconds. Shifts are smooth and swift, and the act, most importantly, is highly immersive. The automatic gearbox gets the GT through to the 60 mph mark in a quicker 3.9 seconds, and although it feels properly programmed to deliver intuitive shift points and matching rev ranges, it can feel sluggish at times and is completely discombobulated when switched to manual mode. The manual transmission is the better choice in terms of feel, but buyers won't regret choosing the auto either, especially for casual drivers who prefer the GT Convertible for its relaxed, top-down experience over its sports car underpinnings.
The Mustang GT Convertible is impressively capable and at the same time, luxuriously comfortable. Though only around 200 lbs heavier than the Coupe variant, the convertible's added weight is still tangibly obvious in comparison; its body structure also feels less rigid than the Coupe's, as its underpinnings audibly contort when it's driven over typical undulations. Everyday road imperfections are otherwise well-managed by the GT's standard suspension setup, although the available adaptive suspension does help to improve comfort and even capability.
The Mustang GT handles with impressive competence even in its stock arrangement, body-roll is minimal, and its composure is impressive, eliciting inspiring levels of confidence and boundless thrills. Its steering can feel dead at the center, but its effort modulates suitably for easy low-speed maneuvering and confident levels of control at higher speeds. The tires provide decent levels of grip at the limits, and the brakes deliver ample stopping power for the beastly performance convertible. The Mustang GT is a pony car that's not only fun-to-drive and very much capable, but also adequately comfortable and easy to live with on a daily basis.
A thirsty V8 engine and a 3,900 lb curb weight is a lot to maintain, both the manual and automatic-equipped Mustang GT Convertibles returning an unimpressive 15/25/18 mpg on the EPA cycles. The Chevrolet Camaro SS, with its 6.2-liter V8 engine, performs marginally better, returning 16/24/19 mpg. The Mustang employs a 15.5-gallon gas tank, which when filled to the brim accords the GT with a range of around 279 miles before running empty.
The Mustang GT Convertible seats four occupants in a two-plus-two seating configuration, all the seats are comfortably cushioned and adequately supportive, but the cabin room is only ample upfront. The rear seats are rather narrow, and legroom is significantly restricted; fortunately, in-cabin headroom is otherwise decent throughout, and with no center rear seat, those with broad shoulders shouldn't feel too claustrophobic. Locating an optimal driving position is effortless thanks to the six-way power-adjustable driver's seat, and tilt and telescoping steering column. And in the way of all-round outward visibility, the Mustang can be considered one of the best.
The Mustang Convertible's trunk capacity of 11.4 cubic feet is only two cubic feet less than the Coupe variant. That's about enough room for the six five-gallon jerry cans you'll need to quench the V8 motor's undying thirst on desert road trips. The trunk's aperture is wide and the lift-over height relatively low for easy loading and unloading. The BMW 2 Series offers about the same in trunk capacity, the Chevrolet Camaro, however, offers only 7.3 cu.ft.
There isn't much in the way of in-cabin storage, however, with only narrow door side pockets without bottle holder slots, a tiny passenger-side glovebox, sizable dual cupholders, and a compact center armrest console located between the front seats. Map pockets are located on the back of each front seat as well.
The Mustang GT Convertible roars to life with either a click of the remote ignition SmartKey function or push of the push-button start feature; keyless entry is standard via the Intelligent Access system. Occupants are welcomed by leather-trimmed, heated, and ventilated power-adjustable front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, and MyColor ambient LED interior lighting. A leather-wrapped steering wheel with tilt and telescoping function feels good in hand and aluminum foot pedals and a driver footrest hint at sporty, yet thoughtful, touches throughout. An auto-dimming rearview mirror is fitted and also encapsulates the universal garage door opener, while the selectable drive modes four-gang toggle switch pack is mounted in the center dash area. Cruise control comes standard in the Mustang, along with an integrated rearview camera and reverse parking system.
An eight-inch infotainment touchscreen adorns the center dash of the Mustang GT, tethered to a nine-speaker stereo system with AM/FM radio. Ford's functional and intuitive SYNC 3 system is installed to the setup as standard, with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration, as well as voice control, Bluetooth technology, AppLink, 911 Assist, and SiriusXM radio connectivity. A smart-charging USB is located on the front center dash, and another within the center armrest console. The SYNC 3 infotainment system is favorably responsive, and the user interface is easy to use and understand - it's better than many of the rival systems out there. A premium 12-speaker Bang and Olufsen surround-sound system is optional and comes with a single-CD player intake and HD Radio connectivity.
There has only been one recall for the 2019 Mustang, pertaining to a malfunctioning instrument cluster which would go blank on startup, meaning J.D. Power's class-average predicted reliability rating of three out of five was a suitable designation. No further issues are logged for the 2019 Mustang. Ford covers it with a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.
The NHTSA has not fully evaluated the Convertible variant of the Mustang GT, although rollover scores were given at a full five stars. Additionally, its stablemate, the Coupe variant, was awarded top-notch overall safety ratings of five out of five stars. The IIHS gave the Convertible a top rating of Good for three specified evaluations. The Mustang GT's standard safety consignment includes only six standard airbags, a tire pressure monitoring system, an SOS post-crash alert system, a rearview camera, and reverse parking sensors.
The 2019 Ford Mustang GT Convertible is an exceptional vehicle, offering a trifecta of appeal in apt performance capability, comfortable daily drivability, and luxurious top-down leisure. The 5.0-liter V8 engine is a refined piece of work, along with both the Mustang's transmission options that deliver ample power inputs and concise responses throughout. It comes standard with an independent rear suspension, limited-slip differential, and a host of other performance-focused traits that accord it with decent performance and handling dynamics. A great balance of modern, yet retro, design and style make the Mustang so distinctive, while up-to-the-minute and user-friendly tech features augment its novelty. In relation to its closest rivals, the Mustang compares better in almost every regard. Its confined rear cabin seats, which are a commonality within the segment, are its only real drawback, as well as its thirsty engine - but, most serious buyers will have factored this in before buying it. The Ford Mustang Convertible is a great buy for anyone seeking a fine blend of capability, livability, and luxury.
The 2019 Mustang GT Convertible is priced with an MSRP of $44,855, excluding Ford's destination charge of $1,095 as well as tax, registration, and licensing fees. That's almost $8,000 more than the EcoBoost Premium Convertible with which it shares its base features. The ten-speed automatic transmission costs an additional $1,595. A fully-loaded Mustang, with all the possible optional packages and accessory boxes ticked, will hold a price upwards of the $60,000 mark.
With only the single trim option available, the decision comes down to which gearbox and what options to include to get the most out of the Mustang GT Convertible. The manual gearbox is the one we'd go for, purely for the fact that it augments driver engagement and adds to the GT's raw pony-car ethos. The automatic transmission is a decent option too but performs far less attractively when switched to manual mode. To compound on the Mustang GT's capability, we suggest ticking the box for the GT Performance Package which, along with a few sportier cosmetic items, adds a decent array of performance-based underpinnings, including Brembo six-piston front brake calipers. The premium Bang & Olufsen 12-speaker surround-sound audio system is also a worthwhile upgrade, along with the Ford Safe & Smart Package which comprises some much-needed driver aids, including lane-keeping assist, pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection, and forward collision warning with brake support.
There are two trim variations of the Camaro SS Convertible; the one is $3,000 cheaper than the Mustang GT Convertible, and the other $2,000 more. The Camaro SS is the V8 equipped model from the Camaro lineup with its 6.2-liter engine produces a lesser 455 hp, but a greater 455 lb-ft as opposed to the GT's 5.0-liter engine. It's not as fast as the GT off-the-line, with a 0-60 mph time of around 4.4 seconds, and is only marginally more fuel-efficient with EPA estimates of 16/24/19 mpg. It is, however, slightly more capable in handling than the GT when pushed to its limits. The GT is much easier to live with on a daily basis, with the Camaro's narrow windows severely compromising outward visibility. The Camaro has only 7.3 cubic feet of room available in the trunk as well, four cubic feet less than in the GT. The Mustang does have a more spacious interior, and the rear seats are actually semi-usable, it also elicits more of a premium feel than that of the Camaro, which is somewhat tacky overall and mediocre in quality. The Mustang GT is the better buy for the money, and proves to be a more fit all-rounder; the Camaro only has one up on the Mustang in terms of performance capability.
The Mustang GT Premium Coupe variant is around $5,500 cheaper than the Convertible; it differs predominantly in its hard-top design, which influences size and weight. The Coupe has a trunk capacity two cubic feet more than the Convertible, which doesn't really contribute much in the way of practicality. The rear cabin headroom is also impeded on by the sloping rear roofline in the Coupe. Where the Coupe does show some advantages over the Convertible, however, is in its structural integrity, while the Convertible does receive the necessary chassis stiffening, and it subsequently feels less rigid than what the Coupe does. The underpinnings of the Coupe and its in-cabin constituents remain solid and composed at all times, where the Convertible's noticeably creak as the vehicle contorts over undulations. The Coupe is also around 200 lbs lighter than the Convertible, making it slighter faster off-the-line. The GT Convertible offers the obvious advantage of top-down leisure driving, but the Coupe compounds on the Mustang GT's inherent pony-car character. Unless having the wind in your hair is your prime goal, rather opt for the Coupe.
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