This is no quick paint job and badge swap, either. The Bullitt benefits from an open air induction system nicked from the Shelby GT350, bigger throttle bodies and a new exhaust. The result is a modest 8bhp power boost to 453bhp (US market versions get more power thanks to our tough emissions regs), as well as improved responses and, crucially, more noise.
Like the cars used in the original film, the suspension has been uprated with ‘heavy duty’ front springs and a stiffened-up rear anti-roll bar. A number of new features debut on the Bullitt and will transfer to the 2019-model-year Mustang, including a rev-matching system for the manual 'box, a 1000w B&O sound system and an active exhaust.
What's it like?
An event, to say the least. It’s also the perfect antidote to those who say modern cars are dull and characterless. Even the biggest cynics should be able to conjure up their inner child in the Mustang Bullitt, given the chance.
The excitement begins before you’ve even sat behind the wheel. The Bullitt’s debadged and subtly chromed front end is somehow far more menacing than the standard car, while the black-finished and silver-edged 19in wheels look great covering red-painted Brembo calipers. The period correct paint is standard, but you can opt for Shadow Black if you so wish (you shouldn’t, though). Even the badging is subtle enough to avoid being tacky.
Inside, it’s largely standard 2018 Mustang fare, except for a few neat details. From the superbly comfortable logo’d and green-stitched Recaro seats to the cue-ball gearshift knob and Bullitt graphics on the digital instrument display, it feels special yet remains tasteful. Granted, some suspect plastics and a less-than-intuitive touchscreen remind you this isn’t a product of AMG or BMW M, but then the price reflects that.
Stepping in and firing up the Mustang Bullitt is an event in itself. Ford has worked to enhance the old-school feeling of a V8 throbbing away under the bonnet at low revs, so it coughs into life with an almighty roar and settles to an animated, burbling idle. The beauty of this car, which it shares with the regular V8 'Stang, is that it doesn’t need to be driven in anger to feel special.
And that’s an important trait given that driving it flat out can be an intimidating experience. The biggest problem is its sheer size - it’s wider than a BMW 7 Series and, at more than 1.8 tonnes, weighs just as much. That wasn’t an overriding issue on the wide, well-sighted stretches of France’s Route Napoléon we tried it on, but navigating towns on the French Riviera was a daunting prospect in the Mustang.