Wind in your mane
So Bill Ford finally got what he wanted. And if a "red convertible Mustang with a throaty V8" is good enough for Bill, it ought to be good enough for us - especially when the 2005 Ford Mustang convertible is virtually identical to the smash hit 2005 coupe. Identical twins never looked so good. And except for the roof and some changes to the frame, this convertible mimics the style and performance of the coupe. On its own, the Ford Mustang convertible -- coming to dealerships this spring -- has three things going for it: a good-to-great top, a smash hit design, and a price that will make it a popular convertible choice.
Oh yes, the price: At $24,495 for the V6 model or $29,995 for the V-8 GT, it's a solid convertible value. Like the hardtop coupe, convertible gives customers a 210-horsepower, 4.0-liter SOHC V6 engine with 5-speed manual transmission, 16-inch painted cast aluminum wheels with all-season tires, air conditioning, dual power mirrors, rear window defroster, and an AM/FM stereo with CD player. Also standard are four-wheel-disc brakes, power door locks with remote keyless entry, and power windows with driver and passenger door one-touch up/down. The premium V6 model is priced at $25,320 and adds 16-inch machined aluminum wheels with chrome spinners, a Shaker 500 audio system with a six-disc CD changer and MP3 capability and a six-way power adjustable driver seat. Option and appearance packages available on all Mustang V6 models include an exterior sport appearance package, interior upgrade package, 5-speed automatic transmission, antilock brakes with all-speed traction control, side airbags, leather seating surfaces and an active anti-theft system.
GT Convertible buyers will get a 300-horsepower, 4.6-liter SOHC 3-valve V8 engine with a 5-speed manual transmission, four-wheel-disc brakes with four-channel antilock braking and all-speed traction control. Also standard is a stainless steel dual exhaust, front fog lamps, a rear spoiler, and a tilt steering wheel. The GT is also equipped with 17-inch painted cast aluminum wheels with Z-rated performance tires, air conditioning, dual power mirrors, rear window defroster, AM/FM stereo with CD player, power door locks with remote keyless entry, and power windows with driver and passenger one-touch up/down.
The GT Premium model is priced at $31,175. The Premium trim adds a Shaker 500 audio system with six-disc CD player and MP3 capability and Aberdeen leather-trimmed embossed sport bucket seats. Options available include an interior upgrade package, interior color enhancement package, 5-speed automatic transmission, side airbags, 17-inch bright-machined aluminum wheels, an active anti-theft system, and a Shaker 1000 audio system.
So the seat and the stereo on the premium model will move your backside in a multitude of directions. Nice. The look of all of 'em will move your feet and get your heart rapping out a tune, just as the Mustang coupe has for so many people. Even with a soft top, the profile of the vehicle remains similar -- and with the top down, the 2005 Mustang's striking design feels natural, as if it were always intended to be a convertible.
Ford maintains that the coupe was, indeed, designed with the convertible in mind, and it shows. According to Phil Martens, group vice president for product creation, the convertible version adds only 120 lbs. to the weight of the Mustang -- a manageable weight difference made possible by the already sturdy nature and stiffness of the coupe. Indeed, the 2005 Mustang convertible shares its suspension geometry and almost all of its suspension tuning with the coupe. The result is a convertible that is quiet on the road and suffers little by way of acceleration and performance
Out on winding canyon roads, the Mustang Convertible holds its own. In fact, it is startlingly close to the coupe, and while there's more performance in the fastback, the convertible is nevertheless adept in corners and straight-aways. It feels like a lot of car on the road, to be sure, but suffers little negative impact thanks to a wide glass rear window, skinny C-pillars and three-quarter back windows.
In order to keep the rattles and wind whine as silent as possible, Ford used a hard shell on the front portion of the top. With the top down, however, there is a bit too much wind swirling into the passenger compartment, though not enough to halt conversations between front passengers. With the top up, the ride is surprisingly quiet. There is no discernable cowl shake, and body roll is negated by the stiffer frame.
Indeed, the convertible is so close in performance and drivability to the coupe that one must really only choose on price and appearance. That's not easy, given the competitive price and the fact that Ford anticipates a healthy convertible mix to sales -- so you should be able to get what you want in coupe or convertible. It's not easy when your CEO and family icon cuts a commercial about throaty V8s and red convertibles. But Ford delivers exactly what Bill wanted -- and, as a matter of fact, many everyday fans of the Mustang who like to feel the wind in their manes.
Photos courtesy of Ford Motor Company