Fifty years ago, the cop movie “Bullitt” starring Steve McQueen featured a seven-minute chase scene that popularized the young Mustang and launched muscle car movies, like the “Fast and Furious” series.
Ford commemorates the Mustang’s role with a 2019 version wearing the same Dark Highland Green color with a 480-horsepower engine that growls at a stop and roars under hard acceleration.
Our test-drive used a short throw, sweet-shifting, cue-ball-shaped six-speed manual transmission, like the 1968 model, with the manual a rarity today with only 2% of cars sold last year offering manual-only transmission.
It’s the third homage to “Bullitt” built by Ford, after earlier 2001 and 2008 versions.
Ford has not said how many 2019s it will build. Some speculate only 1,968 to honor the movie year, hence a higher price tag than the Ford GT, which uses the same engine and similar features. There will be a 2020 Bullitt.
The Bullitt trim showcases its muscle with on-street acceleration chops, squealing Michelin summer performance tires wrapped around five-spoke 19-inch wheels outfitted with six-piston red Brembo brakes.
Everyone within earshot will turn when hearing the signature burbling of the twinned dual exhausts mimicking the crackling roar of McQueen’s Mustang.
Driver customization included three different steering modes (comfort, normal and sport), plus drive modes of normal, sport+, track, launch control, drag strip and snow/wet. Traction control can be turned off.
Street or track, Bullitt delivers.
Our Bullitt included three options – MagneRide Damping suspension system ($1,695) that moderately cushioned the ride, Bullitt Electronics Package ($2,100) and comfortable Recaro leather-trimmed sport bucket seats ($1,695).
Outside, only a fuel-tank-sized Bullitt logo on the trunk lid identifies the profile, which has a slightly tilted spoiler not on the original.
There is subtle chrome around windows, wheels and the blacked-out front grille. Our color was the original Dark Highland Green (Black Shadow is optional).
Advanced safety aids included blind-spot monitoring, collision alert, lane-keeping assist and dynamic cruise control.
The long doors hindered front access while rear access required agility.
The Bullitt is technology-rich, with Ford SYNC for 60 smartphone apps and hands-free voice control of music, telephone, navigation and other devices. No CD or radio apps.
A customizable 12-inch LCD digital instrument cluster has a Bullitt welcome screen display and some Bullitt logos. There is an 8-inch touchscreen.
The ergonomically designed cabin boasts good audio from a 12-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system, robust air conditioner, average knick-knick space and ample trunk with inflator but no spare tire.
LIKES: Looks, handling, manual transmission, ride, comfort, power, a movie memory.
DISLIKES: Seating access, pricey.
BOTTOM LINE: Iconic Mustang, driving thrills, conversation magnet.
2019 MUSTANG BULLITT
Base price with destination charge: $47,690 (as tested $53,180)
Vehicle weight: 3,705 lbs.
Wheelbase: 107.1 inches
Length: 188.5 inches
Width: 75.4 inches
Engine: 5.0-liter, DOHC, V8
Horsepower: 480-hp at 7,000 rpm
Torque: 420 ft.-lbs. at 4,600 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed manual
EPA rating: 15 mpg city/24 mpg hwy
Range: 16-gallons, regular fuel
Performance: 0-60 in 4.4 seconds