2016 Ford Mustang GT California Special

The sound of Bullitt is this high-performance sports muscle coupe.

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The 2016 Ford Mustang GT California Special is one of GAYOT's Top 10 Fun-to-Drive Cars

Nothing says “must be a Mustang,” like a nostalgic special trim and appearance package. For die-hard fans, Ford really delivers with the 2016 Mustang GT California Special. Its unique with black 19” alloy wheels, hood and side stripes, strut tower bar, a special spoiler and numbered plaques on the rocker sills.

Otherwise, all 2016 Mustang GT models will get new turn signal bulbs in the hood vents, just like in 1965/66! It’s a retro gimmick that actually looks cool in this case, since the current Mustang body looks so little like the original.

As far as the drive goes, the 2016 Mustang GT is a thoroughly modern car. Looking out past the nostalgic dashboard and gauge cluster, you see a long, sloping hood more like that of a BMW 6-series than a ‘60s muscle car. The 5.0-liter V8 is the right size and makes all the right sounds, but this “coyote” motor is a four-cam, 7000 RPM screamer that has to really rev up to make its full force known.

You don’t ominously rumble around in the 2016 Mustang, ready to light up the tires at a knowing glance from the dude with the Camaro in the next lane. Instead, this car inspires fantasies of long drives on the autobahn. Of course, America doesn’t have an autobahn, but we do have the car for one. The 2016 Mustang GT is effortlessly fast at high speed, solid and planted even as the needle one the speedometer– marked “GROUNDspeed,” just in case you weren’t sure– gets into the triple digits.

Our race red pony car with ebony leather and Miko suede seats was comfortable enough for daily city duties. Spiked with a 12 speaker Shaker Pro audio system, The Beach Boys never sounded better. Keep in mind that the California Special package ads $1,995 to the bottom line. Shifting gears with this manual transmission was precise and effortless. Rear seats are mostly there for small cargo. Interior design and materials have improved over the years in this American icon.

If you can’t ship your car to Europe to find an autobahn, the Mustang GT still offers plenty of driving fun on our modest, coastal highways. With the new Mustang’s, finally, independent rear suspension, handling over bumps and off-camber bends is way better than before, and you can drive with much more confidence in real world winding roads. With the performance pack, this muscle car is solid without feeling bulky and will hang on to the asphalt with a wrestler’s grip. Though the GT350 is the one to have for track days, the 2016 Mustang GT California Special may just be the perfect pony car for a trip to Big Sur up Highway 1.

Warranty/Service: 3-year/36,000-mile bumper to bumper warranty, 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty, 5-year/60,000-mile safety restraint system warranty, 5-year/unlimited-mile corrosion warranty and 5-year/60,000-mile roadside assistance

Visit the Ford website

Specs

Base Price: $36,395

As Tested: $36,395

  • 15 / 25 mpg
  • EPA
  • 4.7 sec
  • 0-60
  • 435 hp @ 6500 rpm
  • Horsepower
  • 155 mph
  • Top Speed
  • Engine: 5.0-liter Ti-VCT V8
  • Horsepower: 435 hp @ 6500 rpm
  • Torque: 400 lb.-ft. @ 4250 rpm
  • Transmission: 6-Speed Manual, standard
  • Curb Weight: 3,705 lbs
  • Wheelbase: 107.1 in
  • Length: 188.3 in
  • Width: 81.9 in
  • Height: 54.4 in
  • Brakes: Power 4-Wheel Disc; Anti-Lock System with Traction Control
  • Suspension: Double-ball-joint MacPherson strut with stabilizer bar, Integral-link independent with coil springs and stabilizer bar
  • Traction: Electronic Stability Control
  • 0-60 mph: 4.7 sec
  • 60-0 mph: 157 ft.
  • Top Speed: 155 mph
  • EPA City: 15 mpg
  • EPA Highway: 25 mpg
  • Combined MPG: 19 mpg
  • Seating Capacity: 4
  • Safety: Advancetrac traction control, driver knee and side air curtain airbags, dual front and side airbags, mykey locking system, perimeter alert, latch child safety system

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