Ford Mustang Fastback 5.0-litre V821 | 03 | 2016Scotcars rating

    First taste of the new Ford Mustang, and we share a birling date with Scot Marino Franchitti

    IT'S ONE OF those emails you love to get from manufacturers: "Would you like to join us at Silverstone to drive the Ford Mustang? Oh … and Marino Franchitti will be there too." (Related: Read our Exclusive interview with Ford UK boss Andy Barratt)

    There's no question, the right-hand drive Ford Mustang is one of THE cars many people are keen to drive: Scotcars being amongst the keenest. But due to a number of reasons, Ford hadn't been in the position to allow journos to drive the cars.

    But ahead of the 'official' UK Mustang launch next week, we got the invite to chuck the new 5.0-litre V8, with 415bhp, round the Stowe Circuit at Silverstone.

    As if that wasn't enough, the Boy from Bathgate, Marino — who will lead Ford's return to the Le Mans 24-Hours in June, and the 2016 World Endurance Championship, behind the wheel of his Ford GT — had promised me a drive. How could I say no?

    Related: Marino Frachitti — I'm ready for the green light

    Of course a full roadtest will follow once we've driven the Mustang on UK roads next week, but till then hopefully this will whet your appetite.

    The Mustang is, of course, the iconic All-American muscle car, and till now it's only been available as a left-hooker. Now though it's armed and ready for the Scottish roads.

    Under the long bonnet there's a 410bhp 5.0-litre all-aluminium V8 lump which, according to Ford, will catapult you from standstill to 62mph in 4.8 seconds, and on well past 100mph.

    And … the American beast will only cost you £34,000, making it the cheapest V8 car on sale in the UK by the best part of £15k. There will also be a 2.3-litre EcoBoost version of the Mustang available too, but it's expected more than 60% of buyers will opt for the big, burbling V8. The vast majority — expected to be around 80% — will opt for the Fastback, with the convertible accounting for the balance.

    Related: Ford develops glare-free high beam

    There's no denying the new Mustang looks every bit an American muscle car. Its long bonnet and fastback looks certainly scream 'look at me!'.

    And the car has already, clearly, made an impact: there's now a 12-month waiting list in the UK.

    There's no question the combination of the Mustang's iconic name, allied to it being the first time it's available in right-hand drive form, plus Ford's aggressive pricing policy has ensured demand is high.

    It also comes with a serious marketing spend; the fact the Mustang is part of the One Ford philosophy of offering the same cars — which includes the new Edge SUV — around the globe means it's also the firm's flagship sports car.

    My initial driving impressions of the V8 Mustang were restricted to three laps of the tight, twisty Stowe Circuit at Silverstone.

    There's no denying — despite earlier reports from media platforms indicating the Mustang would struggle with corners — that it is well-balanced and is capable of changing direction quickly.

    Naturally, with a big V8 tucked under the bonnet, when you get the power down in corners the back end squirms to get the power down. That grip is helped by the standard limited-slip diff.

    Related: Exclusive — Ford Edge SUV

    Three laps done, it was then a case of watching how the pros do it. Marino, as you will be aware, is leading Ford's return to the Le Mans 24-Hours and the Blue Oval's assault on the World Endurance Championship in the brilliantly-liveried Ford GT.

    Crash helmets on; all traction control and electronic wizardry turned off, we were off …. first leaving a snaking trail of burned rubber from the rear wheels after demonstrating the Line Lock facility.

    I know: boys will be boys!

    Franchitti then preceded to demonstrate why he races cars, and I merely write about them.

    Birling the wheel first one way then the other as he powered and slid the car through the corners, the tail being expertly flicked first right then left, it was an impressive demonstration … and fun.

    There's no denying the Mustang is a big car for UK roads, and I'll have a better feeling of how it sits amongst traffic when I drive it again next week when I give you a full report.

    Till then, I'll just have to enjoy a few more laps with Marino!

    Related: Ford names Franchitti's team-mates

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    Jim McGill

    Quick Stats
    Price OTR/As Tested £33,995 / £33,995
    Engine / Power: 4951cc V8, 6spd manual / 415bhp
    How fast?: 0-62mph 4.8sec; / Max 155mph
    How big/heavy?: L4784mm W1956mm (mirrors folded) H1381mm / 1720kg
    How thirsty/CO2?: 20.9mpg combined / 299g/km CO2
    InsGP/Road tax: 43 / Band n/a
    Alternatives: Audi TT, BMW 2 Series, Porsche Cayman or second-hand BMW V8 M3

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