New Bullitt Mustang: best ever modern muscle car!

Love the film? Love Mustangs? Then there's no better new car to channel your inner Steve McQueen – and granddaughter Molly McQueen will approve

Peter Yate’s masterpiece in car direction caused a sensation when it first hit screens on October 17, 1968. Launching both Steve McQueen and the Ford Mustang Fastback into the cultural history books, Ford’s tuned Highland Green pony car became an instant Hollywood icon. Triggering a host of copycat acts, the film won an Oscar purely for the slick editing of McQueen’s 12-minute pursuit; the film’s impact built upon by Ford for decades.

However, with the 50th anniversary of the film this year, Ford USA has pulled out all the stops. Besides showcasing one of two original film cars long thought lost at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit – Ford has unveiled a new limited-edition 2019 Mustang Bullitt.

The new special edition model features a host of tributes upon the bodywork and within the cabin, saluting the celebrated film car with subtle chrome and period-replica paintwork. Under the bonnet lurks an upgraded variant of Ford’s 5.0-litre V8 engine, providing 475bhp and 420 lb ft of torque.

This all makes for a far faster Mustang GT, capable of reaching 163mph, a respectable 8mph increase over the current model. Something the King of Cool would certainly have approved of.

Ford presented a short movie as part of the promotion, starring Molly McQueen – the third-generation member of the McQueen family, Steve McQueen’s granddaughter. Packed full of references to the 1968 original, the short chase involves racing a black Dodge Charger through a multi-story car park in search of the last parking space, a green Volkswagen Beetle inconveniently having taken the penultimate spot.

To channel the spirit of McQueen’s original movie car, the 2019 Mustang Bullitt has been stripped of almost all exterior badging. There are no stripes and no spoilers. A single boot-mounted badge employing the film’s poster-branding logo marks the model’s connection to the film, mimicking the design of the fuel-filler cap. There is no badge on the grill, although the 19-inch wheels and red brake calipers add a touch of menace that even Dodge Charger-driving bad guys can appreciate.

‘This new Bullitt is, as Steve McQueen was, effortlessly cool,’ Darrell Behmer, chief designer of the Mustang, claimed in a statement.

‘As a designer, it’s my favorite Mustang—devoid of stripes, spoilers and badges. It doesn’t need to scream about anything—it’s just cool.’
Darrell Behmer, Mustang Chief Designer

The 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt will be available in Dark Highland Green or Shadow Black with chrome accents, equipped with manual transmission and a gear shifter that will feature a white cue ball knob, in a nod to the original.

For those of a V8 persuasion, the Mustang’s signature burble will be very much present, due in part to the return of Ford’s active value performance exhaust system – which comes as standard alongside black ‘Nitoplate’ exhaust tips.

Standard equipment also includes a heated leather steering wheel and a 12-inch all-digital LCD instrument cluster. While identical in function to the set-up introduced with the 2018 Mustang, there is one coy difference; this version will use a custom Bullitt welcome screen, starting in green before revealing an image of the car, rather than the trademark Pony emblem.

Options are few in number, but include Sat Nav, Recaro seats, memory seating, blind-spot monitoring and adaptive suspension – for jumping down San Francisco’s many hills, naturally.

Expected to be available for summer 2018, Ford has not yet announced the asking price. However, expect it to cost a considerable chunk more than the current $43,990 showroom cost for the current model.

Fancy watching the original car chase?

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