I’m a sucker for an orange car; maybe living in the UK it gives me a feeling of an open-top on a coastal road in the sort of summers that we seldom get here for more than a couple of days – and normally while we’re all busy at work. It looks like Ford has tapped into this feeling with precise accuracy with the new Ford Mustang California convertible. What’s more exciting about this summer-timed special edition by Ford is that not only does it hark back to the American Mustangs of the sixties, but it’s also available in Europe.
Following the Ford Mustang’s debut in 1964, the unique Shelby GT-inspired California Special prototype appeared featuring a black grille with racing stripes on each side, and it is this that the Mustang California is nostalgically referencing. The car itself is based on the existing Mustang GT convertible; the fifth generation (we are now on the sixth generation) of which Ford revealed on the beaches of California back in 2005 based on the then new D2C platform. At the time Ford’s Senior Vice President of Design, J Mays, called it ‘retro-futurism’ – a term that fits quite nicely with this new Mustang model.
The car is certainly striking in its Cyber Orange colourway, and an Ebony Black honeycomb grille and ‘colour shift’ decal stripes – all in complementary black, grey, and red colours – add to the lovely paint job. Colour shift refers to the unique ‘California Special’ wording which is only clearly visible in strong sunlight offering a more reserved touch – Ford describe this as a ‘hidden script’. If orange is not your flavour, Grabber Blue is also an option with both colours nicely offsetting the black roof which completely folds down in just 8 seconds. The California is also kitted out with Carbonised Grey 19-inch alloys to colour-match those exterior tweaks. Inside, the colour scheme is extended with Miko grey suede seat coverings made from recycled polyester, while the instrument dials are housed in a Carbon Hex aluminium trim, which adds a touch of slightly subdued classy metallic glamour to the dashboard.
Powering the Mustang California is, you will be relieved to hear, a 5-litre V8 petrol engine offering up 529Nm of torque and 450PS, controlled by a 6-speed manual transmission which features rev technology for what Ford describes as seamless gear changing. 0-62mph is achieved in a respectable 4.8 seconds with the 6-speed manual; opt for the 10-speed auto and you can achieve the same in 4.5 seconds, thanks to optimised performance drive modes. The choices here are Normal, Sport, Track and Snow/Wet – the last being a real hint that the Ford Mustang California, however it makes you feel, will not be able to change our regular European weather. The car even has a Good Neighbour mode to temper the growl from the V8 engine in built up areas.
If you can find an open and empty winding coastal road to rival those of California (and we do have a few in the UK), the Mustang will offer good traction and grip in the corners thanks to Ford’s MagneRide suspension system which will be monitoring ride conditions an incredible 1,000 times a second. With this, electronically controlled fluid distribution will allow the Mustang California to match its suspension to the ride conditions.
Pricing is keen in relation to its brothers and sisters and will start from £52,105, which is less than £700 more than the standard convertible, surely making the Ford Mustang California a very attractive and viable option.
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