I’ve been lucky enough to drive some incredible cars over the years, including top models from the likes of Aston Martin and Ferrari.
So when I got an invitation to test drive the new Ford Mustang in the hills of Cote d’Azur, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to test it out.
I arrived at Nice Airport on a sunny Friday morning in March and was escorted to the pick up point, where we were greeted by a line of Ford Mustangs, presented in several bold colours.
The first thing that struck me was how handsome the new Mustang is. I mean, this car is seriously hot, and as I would find out later, grabs all the attention.
The new Mustang comes in two engine sizes; a rather unexciting sounding 2.3 EcoBoost, and a much more sexy 5 litre V8.
For the first part of the trip I chose to drive the not so subtle V8 GT Fastback, in Orange Fury with black alloys. There is a soft-top version, but personally I prefer the shape and lines of the coupé.
I climb inside, press the electronic start button and the engine springs to life. The noise of the V8 engine is just delicious. We pull away and a wide smile beams across my face.
We spend the next two hours winding our way through the hills of the French Riviera and I am surprisingly impressed by the performance and handling of this handsome pony.
I am driving the 6-speed manual version for this part of the trip. The gear change is smooth and easy, the steering is perhaps not quite as responsive as I would like, but overall this is a really fun car to drive.
The interior finish is much better than I had imagined. The quality of the workmanship and materials is evident, and the doors feel solid when they open and close. There are no annoying rattles.
The front seats are superb and the overall driving position is excellent. There are an additional two seats in the rear, but I wouldn’t fancy your chances getting your mother-in-law in the back, and it does feel quite claustrophobic. But hey, who cares about back seats when the car looks and drives this good?!
As we arrive at the beautiful Terre Blanche Spa Hotel for our overnight stay, I am struck by how fresh I feel, despite having now been in the car for over four hours.
On the second day I am presented with the keys to the 2.3 EcoBoost, this time in Lightning Blue, 10-speed automatic. I walk towards the car feeling slightly disappointed, and thinking perhaps I should have been less hasty and chosen to drive this model first.
No need to be disappointed as the 2.3 EcoBoost delivers a great performance and is surprisingly fun to drive. Of course, it’s not a V8 engine and it doesn’t have that same amazing sound, but overall it’s really very good.
As we twist and turn through the hills of the Cote d’Azur, I switch from automatic to the paddles. Flicking up and down through the gears, this is definitely a lot more fun and responsive than a fully automatic.
The car comes with several drive modes. Switching between normal, sport and track, you can feel the suspension tighten, and as I press the accelerator the engine is clearly keen to give me more power.
We are now on the final leg of our journey and as we enter Nice city centre I can’t help but notice lots of handsome guys looking my way. Oh hang on, it’s the car they are checking out, not me…
As our trip comes to an end, I am rather reluctant to give back the keys. If I had room in my garage (which I don’t right now), then I would happily take home the V8 GT Fastback, and yes, I would go for the Orange Fury with those black alloys!
Ford Mustang 2.3 Ecoboost 10-spd auto
Price £37,595 Engine 4 cyls in line, 2300cc, turbo, petrol Power 286bhp at 5400rpm Torque325lb ft at 3000rpm Gearbox 10-spd automatic Kerb weight1673kg Top speed 145mph 0-62mph 5.5sec Economy 30.7mpg (combined) CO2/tax band 205g/km, 37%,
Ford Mustang GT 5.0 V8
Price £41,095 Engine V8, 5038cc, petrol Power 444bhp at 7000rpm Torque 390lb ft at 4600rpm Gearbox 6-spd manual Kerb weight 1743kg Top speed155mph 0-62mph 4.6sec Fuel economy 22.8mpg CO2, tax band277g/km, 37%