The raft of updates wrought upon the Mustang for the 2018 model year was chiefly intended to create a more rounded sports car than Ford offered us three years ago. One that might better appeal to customers who refused the car first time around because it didn’t have all the modern active safety and convenience features they wanted.

So if you’ve always liked the idea of Mustang ownership but aren’t prepared to compromise on mod cons such as adaptive cruise control, smartphone mirroring and a modern-feeling automatic gearbox (there are 10 speeds; count ’em), now you needn’t.

Simon Davis

Simon Davis

Road tester
Exterior design is nowhere better distinguished than at the radiator grille, where there’s a dash more chrome but only an empty space where that equine emblem might otherwise be. Menacing

At the same time, Ford has added a new ‘dual-fuel’ direct and indirect injection system to the car’s Coyote V8 engine. Using that new V8 as a basis, the Bullitt adds the ‘open air’ induction system of the Mustang Shelby GT350 and gets as standard equipment the active exhaust that appears as an option on lesser Mustang GTs.

The need to comply with WLTP emissions regulations prevents the 2018 Bullitt from developing quite as much power and torque in European trim as it does in North America, though (475bhp, 420lb ft). On our side of the pond, Bullitt customers get 453bhp and 390lb ft – the former only a nine horsepower improvement on the output of a regular Mustang V8.

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Retuned springs and anti-roll bars, a stiffened rear subframe, reworked power steering and retuned stability control feature on all 2018 Mustangs. Magnetorheological adaptive dampers are an option on the higher-end examples, the Bullitt included – and our test car had ’em.

In addition to those items, the Bullitt’s running gear has been augmented most by something US Mustang buyers have been able to access these past couple of years: Ford’s GT Performance Package. The car gets six-piston brake calipers from Brembo; suspension springs that have been lowered and stiffened by another few degrees; beefed-up anti-roll bars; recalibrated dampers; and a Torsen limited-slip differential.

The Mustang Bullitt is manual only and available in just coupé form. Its six-speed manual ’box benefits from the twin-disc clutch and dual-mass flywheel fitted to all 2018-model-year ‘stick-shift’ V8s, as well as an automatic mid-shift rev-matching function.

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