Even with its flaws, this is the best Mustang of the bunch.
When I drove the updated Mustang GT, I thought it was the business. Full disclosure: I grew up around Fords my whole life. The Blue Oval runs strong through my family, so I’ve been predisposed to like Mustangs right off the bat. It took awhile to warm up to this current generation, mainly due to the major styling shift and Ford fitting the EcoBoost engine in place of the old V6 units. Eventually I came around and all is well, as we have the 5.0-liter Coyote V8-powered GT, the Shelby GT350 and GT350R, and soon enough the 760 horsepower monster that is the GT500. This one is a special case: the 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt.
It exists to commemorate the eponymous 1968 film featuring Steve McQueen, but is it all for show. Well, yes and no. You do get more power and a different look, but after taking it out for a few days, I’ve concluded it’s more than that. As far as I’m concerned, this Mustang absolutely hits the pony car sweet spot.
Even among its more powerful siblings, the 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt is the best of the bunch.
The Bullitt is based around the standard GT’s components. Here, though, you get bespoke 19-inch wheels that pay homage to the car from the film, special badges throughout the car, and a simple black grille without the Mustang badge with a chrome surround. Unlike the normal GT, there’s no spoiler out back. The Bullitt only comes in two exterior colors: Dark Highland Green and Shadow Black, and is only available as a fastback.
Under the hood of the 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt is the same 5.0-liter V8 you get in the standard GT. However, you get 20 more horsepower than in the GT, at 480. That’s just 46 horsepower short of the Shelby GT350, although the torque figure remains the same in the Bullitt as the GT, at 420 lb-ft. Apart from a similar looking V8, the strut brace says “Bullitt”, which is a nice touch. Unlike the GT models, your only option here is a six-speed manual transmission. Good, as far as I’m concerned — the list of manual cars is growing painfully thin.
The 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt does offer some help if you’re new to the row-your-own lifestyle. Drivers can select Hill Start Assist so they don’t have to rely on the surprisingly weak handbrake on hills. The rev-matching feature also offers endless entertainment as you work your way down through the gears when you come to a halt. If you don’t need the help, you can also toggle both settings off.
The power from the Coyote V8 makes itself known as soon as you take off from the lights. While there is a bit more shove here than the standard GT, it’s not too noticeable on takeoff, since the six-speed manual has the same gear ratio spread. The clutch has linear, progressive feel, so it’s straightforward to find where it bites once you’ve had some time behind the wheel. Spring for the $1,695 MagneRide suspension option, and you get a setup that adjusts to road conditions 1,000 times per second, according to Ford. It offered a smooth, comfortable ride in Normal mode, yet sharpened up nicely when in Sport+ or Track mode.
The 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt rides on bespoke 19-inch wheels wrapped with Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires. This model’s performance upgrades are based around the GT Performance Package, so you get a staggered setup with 255/40ZR19 tires in the front and 275/40ZR19 tires in the rear. Having that extra rubber keeps the car well planted around corners. The traction control rarely intervened, even when I pushed hard.
Of course, if you try to provoke the Bullitt, you can get the rear tires spinning, particularly with the Line Lock feature. Put the car in Track mode, follow prompts to engage Line Lock, and the system holds the front brakes, letting you do a standing burnout without much trouble. If speed is your aim over smoking the rears, the Bullitt also carries Launch Control over from the Mustang GT.
Weight is not your friend
Unfortunately, while all the power to get up to speed is great, stopping all that mass is one of the minus points for the 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt. The Brembo brakes onboard are perfectly effective once they’re warmed up. However, the car did get squirrelly on me trying to slow down quickly, as its 3,850 pound mass shifted forward. Something to consider if you’re planning to drive the Bullitt hard.
Cycling through the drive modes
One of the coolest interior features to the 2019 Mustang Bullitt is its digital instrument cluster. Again, this carries over from the GT, and a MyColor option in the configuration menus allows you to change the color of the gauges. Setting the drive mode to different selections will also move the tachometer and speedometer gauges around to give you the most pertinent information.
In Normal mode, the digital dash display will show two standard gauges, as you’d expect. Switch it to Sport+, and the tachometer will wrap around the left and top sides of the cluster, giving you a clearer view of the 5.0-liter V8’s 7,250 RPM redline. Finally, switch it over to Track or Drag Strip mode and the tachometer dominates the display. Both these modes also disengage the traction control, so you don’t bog down off the line. MyMode lets you configure the steering, suspension and engine response to your liking, while there’s also a Snow/Wet mode for trickier conditions.
Comfort and Convenience
One of the best aspects of the 2019 Ford Bullitt is some of the attention to detail. From the old-school analog oil and vacuum pressure gauges to the “clip-clop” sound of the turn signals and the toggle switches for the hazard lights, drive modes, steering feel and traction control on the center stack, the Mustang offers some neat touches even in GT trim. However, the Mustang Bullitt also offers bespoke badging on the steering wheel, passenger dashboard and on the trunk. The cue ball shifter falls perfectly to hand, as well. Between the shift knob and the positive clutch action, I found myself looking forward to changing gear. That’s when I wasn’t leaving it in first and slingshotting my way up to the redline.
Ford’s SYNC 3 infotainment system comes standard, by way of an 8.0-inch touchscreen display. Against the likes of standouts like FCA’s Uconnect, SYNC isn’t the prettiest looking infotainment system. This latest iteration is more functional, though, and more responsive than previous generations. Happily, the latest Mustang models also come with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support.
The $2,100 Bullitt Electronics Package adds a 12-speaker B&O Play audio system, as well as blind-spot monitoring and a memory function for the driver’s seat, mirrors and ambient lighting. While the standard seats are comfortable, the power adjustment only applies to the seat base and lumbar support. The backrest is still manually adjustable. For $1,595, you can also spec Recaro bucket seats, which are more tightly bolstered for track use.
The Bullitt is the best daily Mustang
I like to think I’m a fairly rational person, and as such the 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt is the one I’d have over all the others. While the handling of the GT350R and the sheer power of the impending GT500 are appealing, this provides all the power I need on a daily basis. Parts of the interior did feel a bit plasticky and the rear seats are effectively useless — it is a coupe, remember — but it doesn’t matter, because you have a V8.
Above all else, it’s comfortable when you need it to be, properly loud and exciting when you want it to be, and at 15 City / 24 Highway / 18 Combined mpg, it’s fuel economy is what I’d expect in the class. At worst, it’s only slightly lower than the Camaro SS’ 6.2-liter engine with a six-speed manual, and is level with the Dodge Challenger’s 6.4-liter Hemi.
At $50,090 for this model, the 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt offers the creature comforts, grunt, feel and personality I want in a pony car. Despite some of its practical drawbacks, it’s a car that’s tough to fault.
See more on what Nathan thought of the Bullitt below:
2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt Specifications
|MSRP||$47,690 (including destination|
|Price as tested||$50,090|
|Engine||5.0-liter V8 (Coyote)|
|0 – 60 mph||4.0 – 4.5 seconds (estimated)|
|Top Speed||163 mph|
|Curb weight||3,850 lbs|
|Fuel Economy (EPA)||15 / 24 / 18 (city/hwy/combined)|
|Length x Width x Height||188.5 x 81.9 x 54.3 inches (mirrors out)|