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The secret diary of a motoring journalist aged 39¾'ish


13th January 2020

Yes, yes, I know it’s the middle of winter and the naysayers are predicting snow-magedon as usual, but I love a convertible at this time of year. There’s something very satisfying about mooching along with the top down, enjoying the fresh air while your hands and toes are gently toasted by warm air. It helps this Ford Mustang Convertible has a 5.0-litre V8 heater to do the job.
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I’ll be honest, deploying the Mustang’s considerable power at this time of year demands more caution than in the summer. Damp roads can have the rear wheels spinning out of slow corners and junctions all too easily. Persevere, though, and it will still notch up 60mph from rest in 4.8 seconds, so this cabrio is no slouch and it’s all accompanied by one of the best sound tracks of any new car.
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Another day, another chance to get the roof down on the Mustang. One thing I don’t like about this operation is the initial release handle that requires the driver to twist and pull the lever. It means the system isn’t fully electric or fully manual, which to me feels like a compromise when almost every rival to the Ford comes with a totally electric system. It’s one area where I’d be happy to give up my blue collar credentials.
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As wonderful and tuneful as that 5.0-litre V8 motor is, I’m not a fan of the auto-blipping function on down shifts with the six-speed manual gearbox. It smooths the changes and helps those less willing to put in the effort, but this strikes me as an enthusiasts’ car, so why not let us enjoy that heel ‘n’ toe fun all the time? Still, it is a cracking engine with effortless power and superb surge when you want it.
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A day to nip down some country lanes in the Mustang, which are not its natural habitat. The handling is at best okay compared to the likes of a BMW M2 with a similar £50,000 asking price. In this environment, the Ford feels bulky and the chassis just doesn’t want to deal with the lumps and bumps of back roads. The steering is good, however, and far more accurate that I remember it in the previous Mustang drop-top I drove.
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It’s the weekend and the kids are as keen as I am to enjoy the roof down fun on offer in the Mustang. This means fitting my daughter’s child seat, which look a little incongruous when you see the Ford in profile. However, she loves it and immediately gets into the glamour of the Mustang by donning sun shades and waving at any and every passer-by
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A quick jaunt to Brooklands in Surrey today. The fuel economy of the Mustang very nearly required a second mortgage, but it makes for a wonderful long-distance cruiser thanks to the well insulated roof. While at the museum, I spotted this very different take on the convertible theme that was giving passenger rides up the famous Test Hill. I suspect the Mustang could do this with ease.
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