What Car? says...
Yes, the car you’re looking at is a Ford Mustang Convertible and, yes, it does have a steering wheel on the correct side of the car. Interested? We thought you might be.
Unlike the fastback version (read, Coupé), the Convertible only comes with a choice of two petrol engines – but, spoiler alert, they’re crackers. The cheapest is a relatively mild-mannered 2.3-litre four-cylinder unit, with ‘only’ 266bhp, or you can have a full-fat-with-bacon-on-top 5.0-litre V8, with 444bhp. You can also get the latter engine in a 454bhp configuration, but this is reserved for the Bullitt edition coupé.
Despite costing around the same as a basic Audi A5 Cabriolet or Mercedes C Class Cabriolet, the Mustang Convertible is a big car (closer in size to an E Class Convertible) that comes stacked to the canvas with standard equipment. And we’re not just talking about basics like keyless entry and adaptive cruise control (both of which, rather surprisingly, are options on the Audi and Mercedes) – go for the V8 and you get exotic Brembo brakes, an active exhaust system and various track-focused apps. You even get a pair of rear seats that make it semi-practical.
If that sounds like your cup of Joe, click through the next few pages to see how it drives, what its interior is like and how kind it is to your wallet. And if you're already hungry for a slice of this American pie, check out our New Car Buying service for tasty Mustang savings.
Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
If you’re hoping for a delicate driving experience, the Mustang Convertible isn't the car for you. In keeping with its brawny image, its steering wheel requires a bit more muscle to turn than the Audi A5 Cabriolet's, and the front wheels are slower to react to your steering inputs.
However, while the Mustang doesn’t dart into bends as eagerly as an A5 Cabriolet or a Mercedes C Class Cabriolet, it has plenty of grip once settled into a corner. You even get a reasonable amount of steering feedback filtering up to your fingertips. Push too hard and you'll feel the nose of the car gently running wide of your intended line, although if you’re too greedy with the power on the way out of corners, there’s actually more chance of the rear sliding – especially in the wet. Still, it's more fun than frightening when that happens.
With the optional MagneRide adjustable suspension fitted, the Mustang Convertible does a good job of controlling its body movements as you brake, turn and accelerate – no mean feat, considering that even the lightest model weighs nearly 1800kg. Ride comfort is also reasonably plush if you leave the system in Comfort mode. The standard suspension isn’t as impressive, the ride suffering on crumbling urban roads. On such rough surfaces, you'll also notice the body shimmy and shudder, highlighting the reduction in stiffness that was brought about by dispensing with the Fastback’s solid metal roof.
The entry-level, 2.3-litre turbocharged Ecoboost engine is very flexible, pulling hard from around 1500rpm, and acceleration doesn’t tail off until you hit 5500rpm, so it feels effortlessly quick. The 5.0-litre V8 feels even mightier, but you have to be prepared to work it hard before it feels as rapid as 444bhp would suggest. How much harder? Let’s just say it does its best work beyond 3500rpm and hits its peak output at a heady 7000rpm.
It's well worth the effort, though. We prefer the V8 for its thunderous noise and the rabid performance it delivers – performance that's entirely appropriate for a car with this kind of road presence. What's more, while the engine is a joy to work hard, the standard six-speed manual gearbox (which is also standard with the 2.3-litre engine) is slick and has a meaty, mechanical feel that’s totally in keeping with the Mustang Convertible’s character. We also love the Brembo brakes that come as standard on V8 – they’re not only more powerful than the standard brakes, they also have plenty of feel and don’t get tired after prolonged use.
The optional 10-speed automatic gearbox is less impressive. It's a bit jerky when parking and has a habit of switching between ratios indecisively on the move. Happily, steering wheel-mounted paddles allow you to take full control when you want to, just be prepared that you will need to pull the downshift paddle several times when braking into corners or overtaking.
With the roof down, you can just about hold a conversation at 70mph, but there is a fair amount of buffeting compared with what you’ll experience in an A5 Cabriolet. When the roof’s up, it also doesn’t block out wind or road noise as effectively as the A5, but engine noise quickly fades into the background, mostly thanks to a long top gear. This also keeps the revs right down (on the V8, at least) when you’re on a motorway cruise, resulting in surprisingly reasonable fuel consumption (more on that later).
The interior layout, fit and finish
The Mustang Convertible's driving position is, for the most part, very good. There's a huge range of adjustment to the steering wheel and seat, so even the tallest of drivers should have no problem getting comfortable. That said, some might wish for the seat to go a little lower.
The leather-trimmed front seats offer decent lateral support and come with six-way electric adjustment as standard. However, visibility – particularly over the shoulder – could be better when the roof is up (unsurprisingly, it isn’t an issue when the roof is down). We’d also point out that the Mustang Convertible is quite wide, and judging where the end of the bonnet is can be quite difficult.
The Mustang Convertible's decidedly retro-flavoured interior design gives it a very different ambience from its plush but predictable premium rivals. It’s charming, certainly, but the characterful design touches can’t hide the use of cheaper-feeling plastics and switches than you'll find inside more upmarket German competitors.
More impressive is the 12.0in digital instrument cluster that comes as standard. Its graphics are sharp and you can toggle between a variety of screen layouts. These range from conventional-looking dials to a racier arrangement where the rev counter is displayed as a horizontal bar, with lights that flash when it’s time to change up a gear. You can even change the colour of the instruments.
Unfortunately, this sophisticated display rather contrasts with the Mustang's more basic-looking Sync 3 infotainment system. Its 8.0in touchscreen has big icons and is fairly responsive, but it looks like someone designed the menus on PowerPoint. You have to pay extra for sat-nav, but the good news is that Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring are standard. That means you can use your phone's navigation apps via the car's touchscreen.
Lastly, if you’re something of an audiophile, we’d also recommend pairing the Sync 3 system with the optional B&O premium sound system. It’s priced competitively and is significantly more powerful than the premium sound system options available on the Audi A5 and Mercedes C-Class Cabriolets.
Passenger & boot space
How it copes with people and clutter
There's lots of space up front for even very tall people to get comfortable, but despite the Mustang Convertible's sizeable proportions, the two rear seats are a bit cramped. Children and particularly short grown-ups will be fine on longer journeys, but average-sized adults will find their knees brushing the seat backs. At least the long doors mean access is a little easier than it is in the Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet. The Audi A5 Cabriolet is a more accommodating four-seater than either rival, though.
Surprisingly, the Mustang Convertible gets Isofix mounts in the rear, so two child seats will be secure, although, once you’ve seen the Mustang’s Euro NCAP safety scores (which we discuss on our costs and verdict page) you might think twice about putting your loved ones back there.
Officially, the Mustang Convertible has a bigger boot than its immediate rivals and you can even fold the rear seats down when you need to carry longer items. This allows space for anything from a set of golf clubs to a small buggy, but a narrow opening and a high load lip make loading broader items quite tricky.
Buying & owning
Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is
If you want a convertible with a hairy-chested V8 engine under the ‘hood’, the Mustang’s closest rival is the far pricier Mercedes-AMG C63 Cabriolet. The 2.3-litre Ecoboost version, meanwhile, parallels models towards the bottom of the Audi A5 Cabriolet and Mercedes C Class Cabriolet lineups, and is predicted to hold onto more of its value over the next three years than either of those models.
What’s more, as we mentioned earlier, Ford, in true American style, has gone big on the standard equipment list. Features include (take a breath), electrically adjustable seats, keyless entry and start, a selectable drive mode switch, an active exhaust system, a limited-slip differential, LED headlights, 19in alloy wheels, adaptive cruise control, dual-zone climate control, puddle lamps, a heated steering wheel and a rear-view camera.
However, its running costs won’t exactly suit the parsimonious. Tyres and fuel will be among your biggest bills, and don’t be fooled by the ‘Ecoboost’ badge on the 2.3 engine; this four-cylinder unit is still very thirsty (its official combined economy figure is 30.7mpg, but we think you’re more likely to see MPG in the mid-20s on a good day), albeit not quite as outrageously so as the V8 – at a cruise you can expect to see mpg in the low 30s from the eight-cylinder motor, but drive harder and this will drop into the low teens (which is in line with Ford’s official figure of 23.2mpg for the manual). Insurance and tax costs are also higher than they are for most rivals, all of which emit substantially less CO2. However, none of this is likely to come as a surprise to anyone seriously considering a Mustang Convertible.
The Mustang didn’t feature in our 2020 What Car? Reliability Survey, but Ford as a brand came in a disappointing 18th place out of the 31 manufacturers featured. Still, that was enough to outperform Audi (22nd) and Mercedes (26th). A three-year, 60,000-mile warranty is standard and can be extended to five years at a reasonable cost. UK and European roadside assistance is included for the first year.
Automatic emergency braking (AEB) and lane-keeping assistance are standard in every model. However, while Euro NCAP hasn’t appraised the Mustang Convertible for safety, the Fastback (hard-top) model scored a lowly three stars out of five. Concerningly, the Mustang performed very poorly for child occupant protection in both frontal and lateral impacts, leaving it with a score of just 32% in this category – the A5 Cabriolet hasn’t been tested, but the C Class Cabriolet’s score of 79% is much more respectable.
|RRP price range
|£59,085 - £61,085
|Number of trims (see all)
|Number of engines (see all)
|Available fuel types (which is best for you?)
|MPG range across all versions
|25.7 - 27.2
|Available doors options
|3 years / 60000 miles
|Company car tax at 20% (min/max)
|£4,175 / £4,323
|Company car tax at 40% (min/max)
|£8,351 / £8,647