Here is how to get the most out of the 2022 Drive Best Large Sports Coupe, which comes in a variety of trim levels and with a host of available features. As the Ford Mustang V8 illustrates, sometimes the tried-and-true methods of the past are the most effective.
Build a sports coupe with a massive V8 engine. Then equip it with a suitable set of brakes, tires, and suspension so that its potent powerplant can be fully utilized, and furnish the inside with all the tools the driver will need to wage war.
In other words, it’s not exactly rocket science, but the end product is a rocketship that can travel on roads.
The Ford Mustang demonstrated that this is a recipe that, while seemingly basic, can please even the most voracious sports car appetites if executed properly.
In the first-ever Drive Car of the Year honors, the Ford Mustang triumphed over the finely honed Toyota Supra and the thunderous Jaguar F-Type to take home the Best Sports Coupe trophy.
It wasn’t a cakewalk, but the Mustang managed it. As a matter of fact, the Sports Coupe category was the most heated of all 20 divisions this year, with the Mustang and the Supra going down to the wire. In the end, however, the Mustang triumphed, and looking back, it’s not hard to understand why.
Even if you’re only tootling to the store, getting behind the wheel of a Ford Mustang V8 is an experience. The sight of it in your driveway, along with the sound of its 5.0-liter V8’s hungry bark when you start it, is enough to make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck.
As you pass the cue ball gear lever through its gate, the sensations persist. Then, if you’re as fortunate as we were at Drive Car of the Year and have access to a racetrack, you may witness the full potential of the Mustang V8.
The Mustang’s greatest trick is the illusion of lightness it creates when driving; it does not accelerate, brake, or dive into curves like a heavyweight of 1800 kg. It’s a rumbling, touchy sports vehicle that brings the action right up to the driver’s face.
That’s what makes a sports coupe terrific, but it’s not enough to earn Drive’s Car of the Year.
Value and cost of operation are major factors to think about. At a starting price of $64,390 (before on-road charges at the time of testing), the Mustang V8 offers excellent value when one considers its larger size, greater utility, greater power-to-weight ratio, and lower maintenance expenditures over the course of its warranty.
Ford provides the Mustang in four distinct configurations: the Fastback, the GT Coupe, the GT Convertible, and the Shelby GT500. We think the 2.3L Mustangs are fine if you’re on a tight budget, but if you’re going to spend money on a Pony Car, it should have the guts of a racehorse.
You’re only getting half the fun out of life if you settle for less. It’s like trying to enjoy the world’s finest cuisine while suffering from a stuffy nose.
Most highly recommended is the Mustang GT Fastback with either the standard six-speed manual or the optional 10-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters.
We agree that the 10-speed automatic offers faster acceleration, but we can’t deny that driving a six-speed manual is more fun and exciting.
And the same holds true for the Convertible. While it’s great to hear that glorious V8 roar, the dynamics aren’t quite as sharp due to the elimination of the roof as a structural member and the addition of 70 kilograms of bracing.
The truth is that hardly many people have a genuine need for a Sports Coupe. However, if you don’t want to, there’s no obligation to eat at an expensive restaurant. Fortunately, life is about more than meeting basic requirements; it’s also about enjoying gratifying experiences.