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2008 Ford Mustang GT Test Drive

It’s a Lot Like the 2007 GT with a Few New Features

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2008 Ford Mustang GT Test Drive

2008 Ford Mustang GT

Photo © Jonathan P. Lamas
Long gone are the days of the 5.0 Mustang. The fifth generation's answer to a performance pony is the 4.6L GT Mustang; GT standing for Gran Turismo or Grand Touring. So the question everyone’s asking is, "What's new for 2008?" While there are a few new options such as ambient lighting, optional HID headlamps, and standard-side airbags, the 2008 Mustang GT is very similar to the 2007 model. How so? Read on. $27,020 base, $33,280 as tested, EPA fuel economy 15 MPG city, 23 MPG highway.

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First Glance: New Features in 2008

Over the past few years, I’ve driven my fair share of Mustang GTs, and to be honest, I am extremely impressed with the refinements Ford made to the Mustang in its fifth generation incarnation. The car clearly conveys classic Mustang styling through and through. Best of all, Ford is offering more and more options at the factory level for buyers than ever before. For instance, in 2008, Ford is offering a new ambient lighting feature for the Mustang which illuminates the front and rear foot wells and front cup holders in either red, orange, blue, indigo, violet, green and yellow. Kudos to the guys in Detroit for offering options for the Mustang that were previously only available in the aftermarket community. If I had wanted to add similar lighting to my fourth generation Mustang, a purchase of a Street Glow kit would have been required.

In addition, Ford has made the Mustang safer by making side airbags standard on both front and passenger seats. The company also offers optional HID "high-intensity discharge" headlights on the 2008 GT, which make for a brighter bulb at a lower wattage. Although the vehicle I tested used traditional headlights, J.D. Power and Associates says that HID headlights offer additional safety over traditional headlights. According to the company, "With their brighter light output and a more focused beam, high-intensity headlights are an active safety feature because they help you to avoid accidents before they happen."

2008 Ford Mustang GT Interior

Photo © Jonathan P. Lamas
The 2008 Mustang GT is also available in three new colors: Vapor Silver, Sangria Red, and Silver Metallic, although the Mustang I tested was a Dark Candy Apple Red GT. To be honest, I wasn’t won over on the color. For some reason I always imagined Candy Apple Red looking sharp, as I’d seen the color on many classic Mustangs. When I first saw it on the 2008 GT, I felt it was a bit much. For some reason the color just didn’t seem to mesh with the car. Maybe it just needed some white racing stripes.

In the Driver's Seat: Love the Creature Comforts, Especially in Heavy Traffic

Being behind the wheel of the Mustang GT is a powerful experience. The hum of engine and the flow of power through the car’s dual exhaust had me wishing it was race day. As for steering, the wheel's grip felt comfortable and provided plenty of performance while I navigated through tight turns and the occasional fast moving rush hour traffic. The optional 6-way power driver’s seat allowed me to stretch out, with plenty of room to relax, while keeping my feet positioned close enough to the vehicle’s pedals. True, I grew tired of up shifting and down shifting on the 405, but that’s the nature of the beast. A manual transmission in Los Angeles is a lot of work. As for the gear shifter itself, I found it shifted smoothly through the gears, although there was a bit of an unnatural feel when shifting from third to fourth and visa versa. This could be due to my positioning or simply a personal preference.

As for creature comforts, the optional DVD-based Navigation System for the 2008 GT is nice. I can’t tell you how many times the system helped me find my way out of bumper-to-bumper traffic here in L.A. Unfortunately, the system adds $1,995 to the price of the vehicle. Here in L.A., I found it well worth the price. In other parts of the country, small towns and the likes, the feature is probably an unneeded additional cost.

2008 Ford Mustang GT

Photo © Jonathan P. Lamas
I also found the built-in Sirius radio feature to be a blessing in disguise. Yes, it adds $195 to the price, but it’s well worth the cost. I tuned into Hair Nation and listened to "I Can’t Drive 55" by Sammy Hagar more than a few times while cruising down the 101 Freeway. Best of all it was commercial free.

Of course, my favorite feature was the instrument alert system which informed me I had 40 miles to go before I ran out of gas. This feature takes the guess work out of riding on empty. It can also save the day if you’re not paying attention to your instrument gauges.

Other options on the GT included heated seats. Maybe I’m just old school, but isn’t that what your back end is for, to warm the seats? I tried the feature out and it worked perfectly fine. I just wasn’t that interested in using the device. Maybe another winter back in Jersey would change my mind.

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