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2005 Mustang GT Mid-Size Convertble

New Car Review of the 2005 Mustang GT Mid-Size Convertble

Base MSRP Range: $19,215-$30,745

Base Invoice Range: $17,773-$28,110

MSRP As Tested: $31,625

Versions: 4.0 V-6, 4.6 V-8

Vehicle Category: Mid-Size Coupe and Convertable

Engine Location: Front Engine

Drive Wheels: Rear-Wheel Drive.

Standard Engine: 4.0-liter, Single Overhead Cam, 12-valves, V-6, 210 - horsepower at 5250 rpm and 240 lb-ft torque at 3500 rpm.

Optional Engine as Tested: 4.6-liter, Single Overhead Cam, 24-valves, V-8,300 -horsepower at 5750 rpm and 320 lb-ft torque at 3,250 rpm.

Transmission: Five-speed automatic, Five-speed manual.

Fuel Economy (city/hwy): V-6 Automatic 19/25, V-6 Manual 19/28, V-8 Automatic 18/23, V-8 Manual 17/25.

Standard Safety Features: Driver and passenger airbags, Four-wheel disc brake.

Competition: Honda S2000, Nissan 350Z, Pontiac GTO, Scion tC.

I realize this probably makes me sound like a Nazi, but I'll just come right out and say it anyway: I've never really liked the Ford Mustang.

It's not that the Mustang is a bad car. It's certainly not. It's fast, looks great, has a legendary history and is even affordable, but it's never been the type of car I fall in love with. I've always thought it was too heavy, too unresponsive and too bland for my personal taste -- like a Taurus that started going to Gold's Gym.

Despite my misgivings about the Mustang in general -- misgivings that obviously aren't shared by most people, judging from the number of thumbs up and people yelling "nice car" as I drove around town -- only one vehicle came to mind when it was time to pick what I'd be driving on Independence Day.

Thankfully, a red Mustang convertible was available.

It was perfect. Right after Old Glory, Uncle Sam and the national anthem, nothing says "I love America" like a red Mustang. It's right up there with baseball and apple pie on the Americana scale.

This was also my first chance to drive the all-new 'Stang in any form, and I was eager to see whether Ford brought its classic musclecar closer to what I wanted -- a more responsive, lighter weight Mustang that could corner as well as it accelerates.

First off, the new design looks even better in real life than it does in pictures, which is hard to believe. It's absolutely gorgeous, evoking the same stylistic themes that have carried it through its long and storied history.

The styling has obviously got a sense of heritage, but it's not blatantly retro like the Thunderbird, PT Cruiser and New Beetle. It has a hint of the classic Mustang fastback look, yet it also has enough newness to look thoroughly modern at the same time. It's a brilliant design.

This carefully refined sense of history flows through the interior, too, where a twin-pod instrument panel looks like it was inspired by Mustangs of the '60s and '70s. Ford evidently spent a great deal of time and money perfecting the interior, where nice materials and quality construction show a huge leap over Ford interiors of just a few years ago.

But back to the big question: How does it drive?

Thankfully, the 2005 redesign was a huge improvement over Mustangs of the past, as control and stability are considerably better. Still, it feels like a Mustang. It has a solid rear axle, as opposed to a fully independent suspension like most modern cars have, but it's not nearly as jittery or bouncy as Mustangs have been in the past.

As opposed to the smaller, lighter, ultra-responsive cars that I personally love, the 'Stang still feels meaty, sounds throaty and oozes a slight sense of danger lurking beneath the sheetmetal. It's sinister and very manly -- exactly like a musclecar should be.

And the best part? It's faster than ever, accelerating like a rocket with the big V8 engine in the test car I drove.

The base V6 engine makes 210 horsepower and 240 foot-pounds of torque, but the 4.6-liter V8 -- the only engine that really makes sense in a Mustang -- cranks out a whopping 300 horsepower, 40 more than the previous generation V8.

Pricing for the convertible starts around $24,500 with the V6 engine or $30,000 for the V8-equipped Mustang GT.

And, as the Mastercard commercial would say, "Watching fireworks on the fourth of July with the top down: priceless."

God bless America.

Pros? It's a Mustang, for heaven's sake. It's the automotive equivalent of the bald eagle, with the kind of all-American heritage and style that make it a blast to drive. And with a V8, it's really, really fast.

Cons? A solid rear axle is antiquated technology that most people have no use for in everyday driving. It results in a less controlled, sloppier ride than the smoothed-out feel that most other new cars take for granted.

Ratings (1-10)

  • Style: 10
  • Performance: 9
  • Price: 9
  • Handling: 4
  • Ride: 6
  • Comfort: 7
  • Quality: 8
  • Overall: 9

More Data

Where Built: USA

Major Options: Sports package, Interior upgrade package, Safety package, Comfort package, leather upholstery, alloy wheels, front side airbags, antilock brakes.

Seating: 4.

Number of Rows: 2

Length in Inches: 187.6

Warranties: 3 years/36,000 miles bumper to bumper, 5 years/unlimited miles corrosion protection, 3 years/36,000 miles Roadside assistance.

Weight in Pounds: 3,300 lb. coupe - 3,476 lb. convertible

Cargo Capacity in Pounds: Not available.

Gross Maximum Vehicle Weight in Pounds: Not available.

Towing Capacity in Pounds: 1000 lbs.

Gas Tank Capacity in Gallons: 16.0

Destination Charge: $675