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20 Best Modern Mustangs That Keep the Legend Alive

Vukasin HerbezOctober 14, 2018

The quintessential pony car of the last half of century is arguably the Mustang. It was and still is a customer favorite. And the Mustang is one of the longest-serving nameplates in the industry when it comes to sports or muscle cars. The Mustang has endured numerous recessions and poor sales, as well as fashion trends and technology changes. Yet it has still handled all the challenges without compromising its essence and recognizable style.

You may already know about the coolest classic Mustangs, but this list will cover the coolest modern Mustangs. It was one of the first models that accepted retro styling. Also, Ford introduced a fantastic-looking model that was recognizable and iconic, as well as modern and contemporary. Also, the Mustang was one of the first domestic muscle cars that started the muscle car revival in the early 2000s.

So, even if the classic models are more desirable and valuable, the modern Mustangs are equally important and much faster, too. Read on to learn about the 20 coolest modern Mustangs you can see on the streets or buy while they are still affordable. So, if you buy a 2013 Shelby GT500 today, someday it could be as valuable as a 1967 GT500.

  1. Ford Mustang SVT Cobra

Inspired by the wild SVT Cobra Rs from the ’90s, Ford didn’t name the 2003 model with an “R” since it wasn’t in limited production. In fact, the SVT Cobra was available to the public rather than just race car drivers and private teams. However, this SVT Cobra was an important model for the Mustang dynasty because it featured two firsts.

The first was adding a factory supercharged engine and second was the independent rear suspension. The Ford Special Vehicle Team (SVT) took a standard 4.6-liter engine block and mounted different heads. The also added a supercharger to get 390 HP and 390 lb-ft of torque. They named the engine the “Terminator.” But the rumor was that it delivered more than the advertised 390 HP.

So, to handle all that power and torque, Ford equipped the SVT Cobra with an independent rear suspension. A setup similar to the first Ford GT, it increased stability at high speeds and hard launches. Also, it made this Mustang handle like a dream. And the 0 to 60 mph time took only 4.7 seconds, making the SVT Cobra a drag strip terror.

Ford offered this model in 2003 and 2004, building around 20,000 of them in coupe and convertible form. And despite being almost 15 years old, those cars still hold high prices on the used car market.

  1. Ford Mustang GT

The world was stunned when Ford introduced the fifth generation Mustang in late 2004 as a 2005 model. The retro-futuristic design was perfect for the time because it captured the essence of the legendary first generation. But it also presented an elegant and sporty shape that is still modern, even 15 years after the unveiling.

The new Mustang featured a lot of new technology, yet it still had a somewhat older platform with a live rear axle. Nonetheless, buyers went crazy for the car. So, during its 10-year market life, Ford introduced numerous special versions and extremely powerful Shelby models. But the sweet spot in the range was always the regular GT model.

With a 4.6-liter 300 HP V8 engine and later a 5.0-liter 425 HP V8 engine from the 2011 to 2014 model year, the GT was a capable car with exceptionally good road manners. It was fast, handled well and looked cool in any color. And its affordable price means it is quite common.

Also, its simple mechanics means it is affordable to maintain. And the soundtrack from the V8 engine is second to none and the looks are still fresh. So, if you are looking for a V8 powered Mustang with performance and loads of attitude but are on a budget, this is the car for you.

  1. Ford Mustang Shelby GT-H

With the retro-looking car came the return of legendary Mustang special versions like the Shelby GT-H. Back in 1966, Shelby offered its GT350 model as a rental car through the Hertz network. They painted the cars with black with gold stripes and the GT350-H model designation.

So, exactly 40 years later, Ford did exactly that with their 2006 Mustangs. They tuned them to Shelby specs and named them the Mustang Shelby GT-H. The cars were regular GTs with a 19 HP power increase and new front end. Ford updated some details and added black paint with gold stripes.

And once again, they offered the Shelby GT-H as a rental car at selected locations. Also, after that use, they sold them to the public as used cars. So, if you want a cool piece of modern Mustang history, search the ads for a Shelby GT-H in nice condition.

  1. Ford Mustang Bullitt

When the retro-looking masterpiece of design saw the light of day embodied in the 2005 Mustang, fans of the legendary pony car were ecstatic. The new car not only looked fabulous, it also introduced new levels of power and performance. However, its retro look opened the doors for numerous special editions that mimicked the fantastic Mustangs from the past.

Again, Ford couldn’t resist, so in 2008, they presented the new Bullitt Mustang. Just like the original, it was dark green with a blackout grille. Also, it had American Racing wheels and a few mechanical modifications. And the 4.6-liter V8 engine pumped 315 HP and 325 lb-ft of torque.

That engine was enough to launch this Highland Green Mustang coupe to a 5.0-second 0 to 60 mph time. Since Ford produced them in limited numbers, the 2008 Bullitt Mustang has a collector’s car appeal.

  1. Ford Mustang Boss 302

Ever since the first retro Mustangs appeared in Ford showrooms across America, car fans have asked for the return of the Boss 302. And for those who don’t know, they presented the Boss 302 in 1969 as a racing car homologation special for the Trans-Am races. So, 43 years later, Ford revived the Boss 302 with a new 5.0-liter Coyote V8. In fact, the engine delivered 444 HP and 380 lb-ft of torque.

Again, this was almost a pure racing car with no back seats. Also, it had a factory-installed roll cage and a host of external and internal modifications. As you would expect, the performance was better than the regular Mustang GT. The 2012 Boss 302 could accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 3.97 seconds and top 155 mph. And the 2012 model is widely considered one of the coolest Mustangs of all time.

However, the modern Boss 302 was an expensive, limited production model when it first came out. But since it was so good, the demand for well-preserved examples is high. So, the prices are well beyond an average 2012 Mustang GT. So, if you want to become the owner of a new age Boss 302, you’d better hurry up since good examples will go up in price with time.

  1. Shelby GT 500

The first Mustang to wear the Shelby name in almost 40 years was the 2007 model. The Ford SVT department conceived it. And they were the same folks who designed the Cobra R models. However, the 2007 Shelby GT 500 was something else. It looked mean and had an aggressive design with multiple upgrades.

Best of all, it sounded terrifying, thanks to the new 5.4-liter supercharged V8 engine with 500 HP and 480 lb-ft of torque. This was the first production Mustang that broke the magic 500 HP barrier. So it was the most powerful muscle car at the time. With racing stripes on the hood, roof and trunk, four exhaust pipes and the scary rumble from the massive V8, the 2007 Shelby GT 500 would make Carroll Shelby proud.

Of course, the performance was amazing with 0 to 60 mph times taking only 4.5 seconds. But this car could probably could do better. In fact, it’s massive torque burned the rear tires if you pushed the pedal too hard.

  1. 2013 Shelby GT500

The swan song of those SVT supercharged Mustangs is the 2013 Shelby GT500. This glorious muscle car had a 5.8-liter supercharged V8 that pumped 662 HP and 631 lb-ft of torque. At the time, this was the most powerful American-made V8 motor. In fact, it was a proper beast of an engine.

They installed in an RWD, live axle platform. And it was famous as a tire smoke generator. But besides its burnout and show potential, it was also a serious performance machine. A 0 to 60 mph sprint took only 3.5 seconds.

So, the $50,000 Mustang could embarrass a $250,000 Ferrari at a stoplight drag race. Car buyers loved this overpowered Mustang. And despite the fact Ford discontinued it, the Shelby GT500 still is the king of the hill among Mustang fans.

  1. Ford Mustang EcoBoost

The all-new for 2015, sixth-generation Ford Mustang was quite a revolution. Ford abandoned the retro look in favor of a more aggressive and modern styling. Also, the whole platform was new. Finally, as a regular production item, a competent independent rear suspension found the way in the Mustang.

But under the hood of the new Mustang, there was a surprise. Ford offered a 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder as a middle model, slotted between the V6 and 5.0 V8. The 2.3-liter had 315 HP and a superb performance. However, it was reminiscent of the classic 1984 Mustang SVO that also had a 2.3-liter turbo.

The modern turbo power brought interesting handling to the often nose-heavy Mustang. But with this engine, they transformed this muscle car Mustang into a modern import sports car. For those who want the Mustang of the future, this is a perfect choice.

  1. Ford Mustang GT Performance Pack 2

The current 5.0 GT Mustang is one of the best Mustangs in history. However, Ford waited until 2018 to unveil the new GT Performance Pack 2 properly. And this car as it is one of the coolest modern Mustangs, as well as a true performance model for muscle car fans. So, what exactly is the Mustang GT Performance Pack 2?

First, it is a GT, which means it has a 5.0-liter Coyote V8 with 460 HP and 420 lb-ft of torque. Ford mated it with a six-speed manual transmission in the best tradition of classic muscle cars. With the 0 to 60 mph times in the low four-second range, the Performance Pack 2 is fast. But the numbers are just half of the story. The essence of the Performance Pack is in the handling and braking.

Also, it has less weight and a lot more of driving dynamics. For $6,500 above the price of a regular GT, you will get both chassis and aerodynamic improvements, stiffer springs and beefier anti-roll bars. And you’ll also get performance tires, bigger brakes and racing seats. With this package, they transform a standard Mustang GT from a great sports car into a fantastic driver’s machine.

Some car magazine editors think Ford should’ve named this the Performance Pack 2 Boss 302 since it captures the same idea for the same type of customers. So, if you are on the market for a performance version of the new Mustang and you can’t afford the Shelby GT350, the Performance Pack 2 is the perfect alternative. In fact, it offers almost the same level of performance and handling for a significantly lower price.

  1. Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R

For those who want a classic, screamer Mustang with a Shelby heritage, but with modern technology and an unbelievable V8 performance, the new GT350R is a perfect choice. And although Ford based the Shelby on the Mustang GT, much of the car’s suspension, design, aero package, and engine were new. However, the biggest single difference was the fantastic Voodoo engine, which has a 5.2-liter displacement, 526 HP and 429 lb-ft of torque.

But the main feature of this high-revving powerplant is the flat plane crank technology. It allows the big V8 to scream to almost 9,000 rpm. It is the same technology exotic manufacturers the exotic car makers like Ferrari use. But this is the first time a muscle car has had such an advanced engine. Ford’s investment into the Shelby GT350R paid off since the performance is mind-boggling with 3.9 seconds for 0 to 60 mph.

But the numbers don’t do justice to this car. The Shelby GT350R is a pure sports car that delivers fantastic driving dynamics and experience to drivers. And it is much closer to the Porsche GT3 in terms of precision driving and cornering speeds than it is to those humble Mustangs of yesteryear. This car is not only one of the fastest Mustangs ever, it is also one of the best sports cars made in recent years.

  1. Ford Mustang V6

You might be surprised to see a V6 powered Mustang among all those high horsepower machines. But, just look at the numbers. The baseline 3.7-liter V6 engine produces 306 HP which is more than some of the fastest Mustangs in the ’80s or the early ’90s.

Also, the inexpensive Mustang V6 accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in just five seconds. Maybe it isn’t the most glamorous or desirable package, but it is still fast. So, it’s helping the Mustang reputation as the most popular performance coupe on the market.

  1. Ford Mustang Bullitt 2018

One of the biggest Mustang legends is Steve McQueen’s Highland Green 1968 Fastback. They used in the shooting of Bullitt, a cop movie from 1969. The movie became famous for its chase scene and for decades, this car represented one of the coolest Mustangs in the world.

Because Ford couldn’t resist using it for special versions, they’ve released three Bullitt Mustangs. They presented the first one was in 2003, the second in 2008 and the third in 2018 as a 2019 model. Ford has based all three Bullitt special versions on the GT V8 model. So, they all feature the special green paint and dark wheels, although there’s been an upgrade in power and numerous trim changes.

Also, all three are highly collectible and desirable cars and big parts of Mustang history. The latest one is the 480 HP street fighter dressed in the recognizable dark green color. Best of all, it delivers sub-four second 0 to 60 mph acceleration times.

  1. Ford Mustang Cobra Jet Drag Car

Ever since 1968 and the introduction of the famous 428 Cobra Jet engine, Mustangs with this name were dragstrip terrors and street fighting machines. However, in the last couple of years, Ford decided to introduce some specially-prepared Mustangs. And they are not exactly street legal, so they sold them only to drag racing teams and privateers.

They called the 2018 version the Mustang Cobra Jet. And Ford equipped with a 5.2-liter Coyote V8 with a 3.0-liter massive supercharger on top, pushing close to 1,000 HP. Also, the drag slicks, special rear axle and numerous other details are all part of the deal. So, Ford will produce just 68 cars for 2018 at $130,000 each.

  1. Roush P51 Mustang

Jack Roush is a famous Mustang tuner and racer. His company produces not only numerous Mustang racing parts, engines and components but turn-key cars and special edition models. And one of the latest, most popular is the P51 Mustang. Interestingly, the legendary WWII fighter plane is what inspired it.

With 727 HP from a supercharged 5.0-liter engine, various upgrades, special wheels and a body kit, the Roush Mustang is not hard to miss on the streets. However, it’s hard to catch since it can outrun just about any other sports car on the road.

  1. Saleen Mustang Parnelli Jones 302

Parnelli Jones was one of the most famous Ford Mustang racers who won numerous races in the late ’60s and early ’70s behind the wheel of his orange Boss 302. So, to commemorate his success and those legendary Boss 302 racing cars, Saleen produced a lineup of limited production Mustangs in 2006.

And they painted all the cars in their signature orange color with the correct livery. However, they equipped the car with a modern 370 HP V8 engine. Also, they added a special interior trim and had the legendary driver himself sign it.

  1. Ford Mustang Mach I 2003

The early 2000s saw the redesign of the fourth generation Mustang as well as the introduction of some interesting, powerful versions. And one of those is the Mach I. It featured a retro-inspired graphics package, new colors and upgraded engine and exhaust. Clearly, the Mach I from 2003 was an homage to the fire-breathing Mach I from the late ’60s and early ’70s.

They tuned the 4.6-liter V8 engine to deliver 305 HP and 320 lb-ft of torque, which went to the rear wheels over a six-speed manual gearbox. The 0 to 60 time was swift at 5.6 seconds. But the coolest details were those gorgeous retro-inspired five-spoke wheels.

  1. Ford Mustang SVT Cobra 2000

The coolest-looking fourth generation Mustang is undoubtedly the 2000 SVT Cobra R. Again, this is a limited-edition model with the “R” designation. And Ford produced only 300 of them they intended for racing drivers and teams. However, compared to the other regular Mustangs, the Cobra R featured many improvements and enhancements.

First and foremost was the engine, the 5.4-liter V8 with 385 HP and 385 lb-ft of torque. Second, the body kit with front and rear spoilers and side skirts. Third, stiff suspension and a few chassis modifications. The car was clearly for performance, so the buyers got exactly that when they pressed the gas pedal.

  1. Ford Mustang Hurst Kenne Bell R Code

The Hurst company is infamous among muscle car aficionados. But back in the day, Hurst worked with other brands like Oldsmobile or Chrysler, not Ford. However, in 2017, Hurst and Kenne Bell introduced a special white and gold Mustang GT. And it came with some amazing features and an updated design.

They supercharged the 5.0-liter V8, so it now delivers 750 HP. And that can launch this coupe to extremely fast 0 to 60 mph times. The body kit is unique and includes front, back and side inserts, as well as special wheels and an interior trim.

  1. Ford Mustang GT Premium Convertible 2018

Although most limited editions models may be the most interesting for collectors, those standard models are most important for regular car fans. But, if you want to fully enjoy the magic of the Mustang, there is no better choice than the GT Premium Convertible. It delivers 450 HP and comes with loads of creature comforts and options.

The GT Convertible is a perfect balance a between muscle car and luxury cruiser since it has enough power to burn the rear tires in any gear. Yet it still possesses the comfort, ride quality and luxury to make you feel special.

  1. Galpin Fisker Rocket

Galpin Ford is one of the biggest Ford dealerships in America, and Henrik Fisker is one of the most famous car designers. And when two giants of the car industry meet, there is bound to be something interesting happening.

The result is the 725 HP specially-designed Mustang they called the Galpin Fisker Rocket. The body is different from the standard model, resembling the regular Mustang GT. Also, the interior, suspension, brakes and various other bits are new. And lastly, this is a limited production model for serious collectors and people who want the ultimate Mustang.

These are the 20 best and coolest modern Mustangs that keep the legend alive. Did you find your favorite from this list? If you buy it, you’ll be the envy of your neighborhood.

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