The Ford Mustang Bullitt 2019 is the latest iteration of Ford’s venerable pony car to hit showrooms (the new GT500 won’t go on sale for another few months). The Bullitt is based on the Mustang GT Performance Pack 1, meaning it’s fitted with six-piston Brembo brakes up front, a Torsen limited-slip differential in the rear, heavy duty front springs, a bigger rear sway bar, and retuned traction and stability control systems. Additionally, the Bullitt gets a slight bump in power over the standard GT, up 20 horses thanks to a slight ECU tune, a cold-air intake and the 87mm throttle body from the Shelby GT350. That makes it the most powerful non-Shelby Mustang currently on sale.
Visually, the Bullitt ditches most of the Ford and Mustang badges in favor of a few Bullitt badges on the trunklid and interior. It’s only available in two colors — Highland Green and Shadow Black — and is fitted with a set of black 19-inch Torq-Thrust style wheels. The exhaust tips have been painted black, too, and the badgeless grille gets a fine chrome lipstick around the rim. Its $47,690 MSRP sounds like a lot, but the Bullitt comes with nearly every option currently available on lesser Mustangs. That includes heated and ventilated leather seating, dual-zone climate control and a 12-inch digital instrument cluster.
The Bullitts we drove were fitted with the $1695 magnetorheological dampers, one of only three available options. Six driving modes remain: Normal, Sport, Track, Snow/Wet, Drag Strip, and MyMode, a customizable option that allows full independent control over steering effort, exhaust, damping, and more. Even in Normal mode, the Bullitt suspension is stiff enough that it doesn’t always get along with road imperfections. Sport mode offered enough control on smooth roads to make us think that Track mode would require not only a track but also even stickier rubber to fully exploit its additional damping. But don’t conclude that the Bullitt’s Michelin Pilot Sport 4S rubber isn’t adequate, because it offers substantial grip combined with wear properties that are far more realistic than the Pilot Sport Cup 2 rubber found on the GT’s Performance Package Level 2 and the Shelby GT350R. The Sport 4S is a remarkable tire—massively grippy, predictable, and never emitting so much as a peep in the hundreds of miles of hard driving we put it through.
Other options are the $1595 leather Recaro seats and the $2100 Electronics package, which includes a 12-speaker B&O Play audio system, blind-spot monitoring, and navigation. Otherwise, the Bullitt is subtle, lacking any side badging and fitted with a wide, unemblazoned grille opening. It’s simple. It’s fast if you’re committed. It’s available only in green or black. And it’ll make your heart melt at 7400 rpm.
The modern Mustang’s road manners took a big leap forward when the entire 2015 Mustang lineup received — for the first time in 50 years an independent rear suspension. This change, along with a higher quality cabin and new styling, facilitated the Mustang’s transformation into a more sophisticated and comfortable car. The car’s performance capabilities have reached new heights, too.
As good as it looks, it drives even better. And drive it I did, taking it up to Angeles Crest Highway for a mountain cruise. While I know the Bullitt has just a bunch of existing Mustang options, it felt more fun than the long-term Mustang GTs we had last year. The big difference: It’s much more eager to turn in to corners, alleviating the nose-heavy feeling of those other Mustangs and giving it a real sports car feel. I didn’t particularly notice the extra horsepower, but didn’t care either, too busy reveling in the never-ending rumble from the adjustable exhaust. Seriously, it sounds so good, and the ability to go from silent to setting off car alarms at the press of a button makes this the only exhaust you’ll ever need on a Mustang.
This year, the 2019 Ford Mustang gains an added element of cool. The Bullitt is back (read more in our Bullitt First Look) as well as a California Special trim. Ford is also teasing us with rumors of an upcoming GT500 that is said to make more than 700 horsepower. Yet there’s still a lot to like in 2019 even if you’re buying a base Mustang. Ford has made a dual-mode active-valve exhaust optional on the EcoBoost-powered Mustang, which should make the car’s four-cylinder engine sound a bit more aggressive (and less like a Focus’ four-banger). A rev-matching feature has also been added to GTs equipped with a manual transmission — now everyone can downshift like a pro.
These changes should keep the 2019 Mustang a highly desirable pick for a pony car. Of course, it still has some primary competition: the Chevrolet Camaro and the Dodge Challenger. All three are genuinely great cars, especially considering the price. If you’re looking for the most well-rounded one, though, the Mustang is the way to go.
It’s been a long time since I’ve enjoyed driving a car as much as I’ve enjoyed the new Mustang Bullitt. It’s not any single feature that nails it for me, rather it’s the entire package that includes noise, styling, features and performance – all of which come together so well to create a car that so much more that the sum of its parts. And at $73,688 plus on-roads, I’m not complaining about the price either. Too much satisfaction for that.
Sadly, they’re not as limited as we would have liked, but all 700 examples for Australia were sold soon after the vehicle was announced and for those keen they’re for sale for $100,000, so not a bad investment, either. In fact, I liked it so much, I bought one, though I’ve had a few things tweaked, so stay tuned for that review later this month.