Back in 1966, Ford’s drop top Mustang had a starting price of around $2,652. It produced up to 271 hp thanks to an optional 289 K-Code engine, and you could order a radio antenna for around $60. No doubt, times have changed. Here we are some 45 years later. In keeping with tradition, Ford’s convertible Mustang continues to deliver plenty of open air fun with power to boot. $38,145 base (Convertible Premium), $44,845 as tested, 17 mpg city/26 mpg hwy.
First Glance: Eyes Playing Tricks on Me
Our test vehicle was equipped with all the creature comforts found in the comfort package. It featured leather trim sport seats, a power 6-way driver’s seat, ambient lighting, a leather wrapped steering wheel, and SYNC voice activated controls. Other features included dual vanity mirrors, automatic headlamps, and a stainless-steel dual exhaust system. Oh, then there’s the power locks, power windows, remote keyless entry, and a universal garage door opener.
My favorite feature of the car was its Lava Red Metallic exterior paint job. Talk about playing tricks on the eyes. From a distance the car almost appeared to be black in color. Upon closer inspection, the “Lava Red” paint becomes more apparent. Even more so when graced by direct sunlight or a photographer’s camera flash.
In the Driver's Seat: Blue Skies Above, Open Road Ahead
The interior of my test Mustang was all decked out, and space was more than adequate; obviously more so when the top was dropped. Speaking of dropping the convertible top, this is achieved by holding a button above the windshield between the passenger and driver seats. It was blue skies above in less than a minute.
As for technology, Ford continues to improve upon its offerings. Its SYNC voice activated control system is truly a life saver. I paired it with my iPhone prior to hitting the open road. This took a few minutes, and was a relatively easy process. While behind the wheel, I was able to make calls by pressing a button integrated into the steering wheel. This allowed me to keep my eyes on the road at all times; a definite must in L.A. traffic. First I pressed the button. Then the system asked me what I would like to do next. I asked it to dial 867-5309, and there was Jenny lickedy split!
Another nice feature in my test Mustang was dual temperature controls; one for the driver and one for the passenger. This came in handy when I was driving with my wife. She likes to keep things on the cool side, while I prefer keeping them warmer. One cabin, two temperature controls. Genius idea! Thank you Ford.
On the Road: Fun to Drive with Decent Handling
It was a sunny California afternoon when I first took the car out for a spin. I put my foot down, to merge with traffic, as I made my way onto the 101 freeway here in Los Angeles. The car pulled forward quickly and with ease. Several days later, I put the car through its paces by venturing down some tight canyon roads north of Los Angeles. The Mustang convertible offered up responsive handling with an overall smooth ride. It features Reverse-L independent MacPherson struts in the front and a solid stabilizer bar in the rear.
As with previous model year convertibles, the 2012 Convertible does have several serious blind spots when the top is in the up position. That said, this is no longer as much of an issue as it was in the past. My test Mustang featured spotter mirrors integrated within the stock setup. Nice touch, as I was easily able to bypass any blind spots by using the mirrors as a guide.
Bringing the Mustang to a stop was as easy as getting it moving. My test Mustang featured Ford’s optional Brembo Brake package, complete with 19-inch premium painted aluminum wheels equipped with Pirelli P255/40R19 tires. This will set you back an additional $1,695.
Road noise, with the top up, was even less apparent than in the past; a definite plus for those planning on a long road trip. While airflow was obviously increased with the top down, it wasn’t out of control. That said, I wouldn’t recommend dropping the convertible top on your way into the office. On second thought, I think you should!
Journey's End: Open Road Adventure
Bottom line, the GT Mustang Convertible is an American classic. It’s something you can take pride in on a Sunday afternoon with the family, and it does fine as a daily commuter as well. Come Friday evening, you can leave the office, put the top down, crank up some good tunes, and put the work week behind you. That’s what I did on my final day of testing. It worked wonders for this car enthusiast’s soul.
The 2012 Ford Mustang GT Convertible features a 3 year/36,000 mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, a 5 year/60,000 mile powertrain warranty, and 5 years/60,000 miles roadside assistance. It received the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) highest rating (Five) for roll over safety in a single crash, and it’s estimated to cost you $2,250 a year in annual fuel costs. This is based on 15,000 miles at $3.00 a gallon.