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Test Drive: 2012 GT Convertible Mustang

5.0 Coyote Drop Top with 412 Horsepower to Boot

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating

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2012 GT Convertible Mustang

2012 GT Convertible Mustang

Photo © Jonathan P. Lamas
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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

For starters, Ford’s 2012 Mustang GT Convertible features the Coyote 5.0L V8 engine, capable of producing an estimated 412 horsepower and 390 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4,250 rpm. It’s available with either an automatic, or manual, transmission. Our test vehicle featured a six-speed manual transmission. In all, it sits as tall as its coupe counterpart (approximately 55.8 inches). That said, interior headroom is slightly improved over the coupe. We’re talking a meager .3 inches in the front, while the rear seats offer up an additional 2.2 inches of headroom space (36.5 inches). Of course, there is a tradeoff. The convertible has less rear shoulder room, five inches less to be exact (45 inches total).

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

2012 Mustang GT Convertible Interior

2012 Mustang GT Convertible Interior

Photo © Jonathan P. Lamas
My convertible Mustang was practically begging to be driven; preferably fast with the top down on a sunny day. Not a problem here in Southern California. As I eased myself behind the leather wrapped steering wheel, I thought back to our last test drive of a convertible Mustang. That was back in 2009 when we tested Ford’s 2010 V6 Convertible in Hawaii. That sure was fun!

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

The 2012 Mustang GT Convertible makes for a confident daily driver with its solid handling characteristics, and it’s packed with adequate power beneath the hood. I spent a week behind the wheel of the car. In all, I was impressed.

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

2012 Mustang GT Convertible Top Down

2012 Mustang GT Convertible Top Down

Photo © Jonathan P. Lamas
When it comes to open road adventure, Ford’s Mustang convertible does the trick. Although the decked out set up will set you back a pretty penny, $44,845 as tested, there’s no doubt; this car is a world of fun to drive. With a 5.0L Coyote engine purring under the hood, and decent handling to match, the Mustang GT Convertible knows how to hold its own. No, it won’t outrun a Shelby GT500, and it doesn’t get as good of mileage as Ford’s V6 model. But hey, I have a feeling those things aren’t deal breakers for those serious about buying this car.

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.

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