If you have seen the movie “Bullitt,” you know and understand this car. The newest version of the Mustang features the look of the movie car, with some nice touches to bring it into the 21st century.
The movie starred Steve McQueen driving a 1968 Mustang fastback and featured probably the best car chase scene in any movie to date. The movie made Mustangs as cool as McQueen himself, and many people made replicas of the movie car themselves. A 1968 Mustang is not great for daily transportation, but Ford wants you to have a 2019 version in your garage and, it has done an amazing job of producing a car that is modern in every way, yet has the feel of the original.
The standard GT model’s 5.0 liter V8 produces 460 hp but the Bullitt gets the intake manifold and throttle body from the GT350, increasing the power to 480 horsepower while torque remains the same at 420 pound-feet. The extra 20 horsepower is not really noticeable or needed, really. Ford claims that the Bullitt is good for 163 mph, an increase of 8 mph. Either way, it is plenty fast.
The Bullitt is only available with a six-speed manual transmission and it is a good one, with heavy but solid shifts. The shift knob is a replica of the original and the linkage is precise and eager. You can run up through the gears and hit 60 in around 4 seconds. It is a fast car, but not much faster than a regular GT. It is about more than just speed, though. The Ford V8 sounds so sweet and it seems like the Ford engineers have tried to tune the exhaust to have that classic V8 sound. Driving around the city, you tend to want to drive with the windows down so you can hear the music from the V8.
The Bullitt is essentially a Mustang GT with the performance package 1. That means it has 255-40-19 summer tires in front and 275-40-19s in the back with Brembo six-piston front brakes. Also included in that package are heavier duty springs, chassis bracing, larger radiator, Torsen limited slip differential, and bigger rear sway bar. That package works superbly in the GT and it feels the same in the Bullitt.
The Bullitt is a joy to drive, with tons of power, and unlike many of today’s turbocharged cars, the power is always there. It redlines at 7,500 rpm, which is an amazing number for a large V8. Unlike some other V8s, the Bullitt engine actually pulls hard all the way to redline. This car is so fast that there are not many places on the street that you can stretch the car’s legs without risking your license. It also handles well and can feel at home on a canyon road or a racetrack.
That is all great, but to keep drivers from killing themselves, manufacturers are forced to use electronics to keep the car on the road. Turn the stability control off and you need a lot of skill to drive a 480-horsepower car on the edge. We drove it with the electronic nannies on, and it would kick in at the first sign of trouble.
The bottom line is that the Bullitt is a fun car to drive, and it brings a smile to your face. However, it is expensive, with a base price of $46,595. With a few options, our car was around $55,000. At that level, you begin to think of other cars. It is hard to argue with the speed of the Bullitt and there are not many cars at this price that will outrun it until you start looking at the Mustang GT350 that starts at $57,240. Or you can go the other way and just order a GT with the performance package 1 and save a lot of money, but you will not have the exclusivity of the Bullitt.
In the end, the decision is yours, but Ford has shown that there is a Mustang for every budget, and that they are all very good at going quickly. It just depends on how you want to go about it.
|Engine:||5.0-liter DOHC V8|
|Horsepower:||480 @ 7,500 rpm|
|Torque:||420 @ 4,750 rpm|
|Front suspension:||Double-ball-joint, independent McPherson strut|
|Rear suspension:||Independent, with coil springs|
|Axle ratio:||3.73:1 limited slip|
|Curb Weight:||3,850 lbs.|