Sports coupes like the Ford Mustang are automotive emotions in motion, with curves to excite and power to excite.
The sports coupe is the beating heart of the auto company. They may never sell in bulk – unless the name is Mustang – but they do play an important role in convincing buyers that the Econohatch or Brand X’s seven-seater SUV might just have a bit of the same zest to make daily driving a little less banal.
But that doesn’t mean much to anyone shopping for a sports coupe. This buyer wants a car that drives as fast as it looks, and looks great in the garage. They wanted a car that rewarded every time they looked or turned the key, and they wanted a car that would remind them of the sheer joy of automotive performance when houses turned to woods and roads began to wander.
This year, Ford Mustang V8 proving that it is the Best Sports Coupe in Australia.
The Ford Mustang we had at Drive Car of the Year was the mighty Mach 1, the epitome of the Mustang breed, and the most powerful Ford Mustang offering in Australia. It launched in June but buyers will have to wait until the end of the year for shipping, and there’s a good chance it’s sold out by now.
The Mustang Mach 1 is based on the Mustang V8, and despite its higher capabilities, we know that the base Mustang under the add-on is a very capable and competent vehicle.
That’s why the Ford Mustang V8, not just the Mustang Mach 1, won the 2022 Drive Car of the Year Best Sports Coupe category.
Driving a Ford Mustang feels special, feels like an opportunity, even if you’re just stopping by the store. Everything from how it looks in your driveway to the way the 5.0-liter V8 barks voraciously when you turn it on makes the hairs on your arms tingle.
The thrill continues as you move the cue ball’s gear lever through the gate. Then if you’re lucky enough to own a race track like we did at Drive Car of the Year, you’ll see what a V8 Mustang can really do.
The Mustang’s biggest trick is to disguise its weight; this car doesn’t accelerate or brake or corner like the 1800kg heavyweights. It’s a tactile and jarring sports car that immerses the driver in action to the eyeballs.
That’s the foundation of a great sports coupe, but it takes more than that to win Drive Car of the Year.
Operational costs and values are important considerations. The Mustang V8 starts at $64,390 (plus on-road costs at the time of writing), which greatly reduces the Toyota Supra, making the Mustang a great value when you also consider that it’s bigger and more practical but has better power-for-weight, and much cheaper to service during its warranty period.
All of those elements count towards Drive Car of the Year because as much as we want every day is a race track, it’s not. We drive our sports cars on regular roads in daily traffic much more often than we do on our favorite country roads. So the Best Sports Coupe award has liveability criteria to consider along with all the elements that make a great sports coupe.