- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 28, 2005

Take one part 1960s legend, add one part 2005 refinement, and you have one of this year’s hottest sellers, the 2005 Mustang GT.

At first glance, you think you are in a time warp, as the 2005 is a dead ringer for Mustang fastbacks of the late 1960s. Ford has taken the best styling cues of those models and updated them nicely. From the front with dual round headlights and foglights inset into the grille, to the dashboard with spot-on retro styling, this car is more “throwback” than a Bill Russell jersey.

But have the performance and ride quality also taken a leap forward? Without a doubt. In seven days of spirited driving, I found no significant flaws in the Mustang GT. Yes, it still has a solid rear axle — an independent rear suspension is far superior for ride and handling quality — but the handling and ride are certainly acceptable.

Here’s why I refuse to complain about Ford’s decision to trim a dollar or two here and there: The Mustang GT rolls out the door for only $25,705! For your 25K, you get a world-class engine that pumps out 300 horsepower, 315 foot-pounds of torque and will totally embarrass many so called “sports cars” from Germany and Japan. For your 25K, you get one of the sweetest engine sounds available today.

Though the test car was equipped with an impressive “Shaker 1000” premium six CD/MP3 audio system (a $1,295 option), I rarely turned on the tunes, preferring instead to listen to the symphony of Mustang’s multivalve cylinder head and dual exhausts. For your 25K you get the reigning head-turner, guaranteed to ruin your desire for privacy as everyone from grannies to school kids angle to get the best look at your hot ride. For your 25K you can “Buy American” and feel good about it as the Mustang exhibited nary a rattle or shake, and is very well put together.

The test Mustang was silver with optional red leather interior accents ($175).

The 2005 Mustang is also available in V-6 guise, but the price differential ($23,760 MSRP) is so small, why bother. Even if gas costs $3 per gallon, this V-8 is worth the difference you’ll pay in fuel economy.

I averaged just more than 20 miles per gallon.

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